TunnelBear VPN Review

Our rating
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80%
Features Read more toggle icon
85%
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  • English e-mail support email enabled icon
  • No chat support chat disabled icon
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TunnelBear may not have the largest server network or the most extensive list of features, but it is a well-designed simple VPN app and one of the best for beginner users. There is an excellent no-logs privacy policy too and the product has even been independently audited.

Despite that its server locations are limited to just 23 countries, customers have access to a decent number of over 1800 servers. TunnelBear is compatible with most operating systems including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

TunnelBear also has specialized browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. And, with a TunnelBear subscription, users get protection for up to 5 devices simultaneously, which is more than enough for the average customer.

The TunnelBear app operates on military-grade AES-256 bit encryption and first-rate protocols, to ensure your internet connection is safe from prying eyes.

  • pro icon Free VPN service
  • pro icon Military-grade encryption
  • pro icon User-friendly apps
  • con icon Based in Canada (Five Eyes)
  • con icon No refund policy
  • con icon No live chat support
Price Starting At: 3.33 $ / monthly 59.88 $ / annually
For New Users: No money-back guarantee
Number of servers: 20+
General information
Max Speed: Unlimited
Type of IP offered: Shared
Simultaneous connections / Users: 5
Number of Netflix Libraries: Not available
Information sharing: 5 Eyes Member
OS support: Android, iOS, macOS, Windows
Router support:
VPN Promotion: Get VPN from TunnelBear VPN for 3.33$ per month
Capabilities
Unlimited Bandwidthcross iconKill Switchcross iconSplit Tunnelingcross iconZero Data Loggingcross iconFree Version / Trialcross iconMobile Appcross iconBrowser Extentioncross iconNetflix Approvedcross iconFirestick Compatiblecross icon
Payment options
  • American Express
  • Bitcoin
  • Mastercard
  • Mastercard Debit
  • Visa
  • Visa Debit
  • Visa Electron
Geolocations available
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Romania
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

TunnelBear VPN Security

80%

The Canadian-based company TunnelBear is owned by the well-known online privacy company McAfee. Despite its simple appearance, the TunnelBear uses military-grade AES-256 bit encryption and the secure OpenVPN protocol as standard, to protect you from government censorship, spies, and malicious third parties. With TunnelBear, there is also the option to utilize the IKEv2 protocol on Windows systems. OpenVPN is our preferred protocol as it is fast, secure, and open-source. TunnelBear even offers the option to choose between OpenVPN TCP and UDP connections.

TunnelBear provides complete DNS and WebRTC leak protection, which means you can rest assured that your private internet connection data and real IP address will never become compromised, even if you connect to an unsecured public Wifi network. There is a reliable kill-switch too as part of its VigilantBear setting, a feature that we expect to see in every premium VPN product. This ensures that, in the case that your VPN server connection fails, the kill-switch will cut the transfer of data until it is reconnected so that no unencrypted data is exposed.

There is also the option to activate the 2021 TunnelBear LLC VPN's GhostBear setting which is designed to hide the fact that you are utilizing a VPN connection. This feature is useful for a range of reasons including overcoming VPN blocks on streaming websites.

TunnelBear boasts one of the best privacy policies of any VPN. The provider clearly explains exactly what data it collects and the reasons for it. TunnelBear reassures customers that it will never misuse or sell personal user information with third parties. The provider does utilize third party payment processing, however, this is standard in the VPN industry. TunnelBear apps do not store information about user activities, IP addresses, DNS queries, or timestamps.

For the users of its free version, TunnelBear does store bandwidth data in order to reinforce its limit. This information is rewritten at the start of every month.

TunnelBear is based in Toronto, Canada, which means that the company may be subject to data requests. However, because of its no-logs policy, when you use TunnelBear there is no information stored to potentially connect customers to their internet activities or VPN usage. Therefore TunnelBear is unable to produce any data to law enforcement that does not comply with their privacy policy statement.

The provider has impressively completed three independent code audits, the results of which have been publically released. This level of transparency is rarely seen in a VPN provider and is a major plus for any customer looking for a trustworthy and secure provider. The results of the audits that were carried out by Cure53, an independent privacy company, offer evidence of TunnelBear's commitment to user security and anonymity.

However, in the future, we would like to see TunnelBear follow in the footsteps of some of its competitors and make the move to RAM-only servers, which are much more secure than hard-drive storage.

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TunnelBear VPN Features

85%

If you sign up to TunnelBear you will gain access to apps for a range of operating systems including Windows, macOS, iPhone, and Android. All of the TunnelBear apps are well-designed, easy to use, and packed with excellent features.

App setup is easy with TunnelBear, no matter what device or platform you are using. There is support for 5 simultaneous connections which means that you will be able to protect most if not all of your devices at the same time. TunnelBear does offer a free version, however, users are limited to a meager 500MB of data a month, which is hardly enough to carry out the simplest of browsing activities.

TunnelBear VPN does not have the largest server network, with locations in 23 countries across Australia, Brazil, Europe, India, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, North America, and Singapore. This is significantly less than some of its competitors, however, all that matters is the locations that you require. If TunnelBear enables access to your desired locations, there shouldn't be an issue.

TunnelBear also offers an Always-on mode which ensures your VPN server connection is always activated. This means that you do not need to worry about forgetting to reconnect to TunnelBear VPN every time you use the internet.

Torrenting and P2P sharing is supported across all of TunnelBear's servers. However, TunnelBear VPN may not be the best choice if your main purpose is to stream geo-restricted content on sites such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, or Disney+. Upon testing, TunnelBear struggled to unblock any of these streaming websites. A speed test revealed relatively slow speeds when compared to other premium providers, which is disappointing.

In terms of pricing, TunnelBear is one of the most affordable options on the market, as long as you are ready to commit to a long term plan. Prices start at just $3.33 per month if you sign up for the TunnelBear 2-year plan. Customers can choose to pay anonymously for Bitcoin, however, this option is limited to the one-year plan.

Unlike many of its competitors, TunnelBear does not offer a money-back guarantee which is unfortunate. However, it is possible to test the TunnelBear app by utilizing the free trial version.

There is also no live chat option, which may cause issues for novice VPN users. However, you can contact the email support team through the Contact page on TunnelBear's website. Typically, you can expect a reply within a few hours.

Summary

3.5
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Is TunnelBear Free?

Tunnel Bear provides a range of subscription plans including a limited free app. First of all, the Tunnel Bear monthly plan offers unlimited data usage for a relatively reasonable $9.99 a month. The monthly cost drops to about $4.99 per month on the Tunnel Bear yearly plan, or just $3.33 if you are ready to sign up to TunnelBear for three years.

The three-year subscription plan comes with unlimited use of a Remem-Bear Passwords Manager account for no additional cost. Remem-Bear is normally priced at $2.50 a month. If you will use the passwords manager then it is a great deal. However, if you only require a VPN, there are cheaper options available. For example, Surfshark’s 2-year plan comes in at just $2.49 a month.

If you do choose to sign up for a TunnelBear account, it is necessary to note that there is, unfortunately, no money-back guarantee. This is disappointing, as most of its premium competitors offer a money-back guarantee of at least 30 days if not 45.

There is, the option to pay anonymously with Bitcoin, however, this is only possible with the one-year plan and not the monthly or three-year options. Otherwise, there is no support for PayPal and users must pay with a credit card.

Tunnel Bear does offer a free plan, although it is very limited. It offers all of the same features as the premium version, but customers are limited to a meager data limit of just 500MB a month. This is really only adequate to test the service, which means that the free versions act as an incentive to upgrade to a paid plan. 500MB of data equates to about 6 hours of browsing time or just half an hour of regular video streaming. The free app may be sufficient if you occasionally utilize public Wi-Fi hotspots and want to ensure you are protected, but otherwise, a paid plan will be necessary.

How Do I Activate TunnelBear VPN?

TunnelBear’s VPN app is well-designed and simple to navigate, even for a novice VPN user. Once you have signed up to your chosen TunnelBear plan, entered your personal details to create an account, and paid for your subscription, you will receive a download link.

After the download has finished, proceed to download TunnelBear on your device. The download and installation process is quick and simple with TunnelBear and should take no longer than 5 minutes from start to finish. When the app or client has installed, simply connect to a server by choosing a location from the server map. To activate any advanced settings such as the kill-switch or Ghost Bear mode, visit the app’s Settings page.

A subscription with TunnelBear will enable protection for up to 5 devices simultaneously. Download and install the VPN app on all of your devices and enjoy the benefits of a premium VPN.

If you are looking for a more advanced setup on routers, gaming consoles, or Smart TVs, it will be necessary to look elsewhere. There are no links to troubleshooting or installation guides either. The client interface is well designed and simple to use. There is the option to select your server location through a large server map or by choosing from the drop-down server location list.

When you have chosen a location, click “ON,” and the app will display a “connection” symbol highlighting your connection. Connection speeds are decent, although long-distance server connections will take somewhat longer. The VPN supports OpenVPN as standard, but there is the option to use IKEv2 too. Users can also choose between an OpenVPN TCP or UDP connection.

There is not an extensive range of advanced settings, however, those that are there are very useful. You can choose to have the VPN app load when your Windows device starts and automatically activate the VPN connection whenever you access a Wi-Fi network that is not on your customized Trusted Network list (which will typically only include your home and work networks).

The GhostBear feature can be used to make your online activities appear like normal internet traffic, hiding the fact that you are using a VPN server connection. While VigilantBear is essentially TunnelBear’s version of a kill-switch. This feature serves to prevent all internet traffic if the VPN server connection fails so as to prevent data leaks. This ensures that no unencrypted data or your real IP address will never become exposed when you are using the VPN software.

TunnelBear’s mobile apps are similar to its Windows version. The interface features a world map with highlighted server locations, as well as a simple list of locations, and basic settings. The mobile client includes most of the same features as the desktop version, including auto-connect when you access an untrusted connection, the VigilantBear kill-switch, and GhostBear for hiding your use of a VPN.

There is also an additional SplitBear or split tunneling feature. This enables you to choose the apps that you want to be rerouted through your VPN and those that you want to use your normal IP address. While this feature may not be necessary for every user, it is handy if the VPN software is not compatible with a particular app.

The VPN also offers a range of browser extensions, enabling you to operate the service directly from your browser. This allows you to select a location, and connect/disconnect from the VPN from inside your browser. The VPN browser extension works as a proxy and thus only protects your browser traffic. However, if this is all that you require, they are a useful addition.

Overall, TunnelBear is one of the best VPNs for beginners thanks to its simplicity.

Is TunnelBearVPN Good?

TunnelBear is a good choice if you are looking for a simple VPN that is free of complications and technical jargon. It is not the most powerful Virtual Private Network on the market but it is a great option for beginners or those with limited knowledge of technology. It is popular for its transparent, independently audited no-logs policy, and its decent range of security features. However, if you are a VPN expert that requires more sophisticated features, or you want a VPN for the purpose of accessing geo-blocked streaming sites, there are a host of other more advanced VPN options on the market if you do require something a bit more powerful.

For example, ExpressVPN costs slightly more at $6.67 per month but it offers access to an impressive number of over 3000 server locations across 94 countries. It is compatible with almost every device and operating system, features advanced encryption tools, offers an excellent 24/7 live-chat option, and can unblock almost every popular streaming site including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.

And, if you are looking for a great affordable option, we would be inclined to point you in the direction of Surfshark. For less than $2.50 a month, Surfshark offers higher levels of customization and streaming capabilities than TunnelBear.

Is TunnelBear Good for Streaming?

Unfortunately, we would not recommend TunnelBear if you are looking for a VPN for streaming purposes. The VPN struggled to overcome VPN blocks on most major streaming sites including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and Disney+.

Many customers choose to install a VPN for the sole purpose of overcoming geo-restrictions on their favorite streaming sites. A VPN allows you to make it look as if you are accessing a website from a different location, sometimes enabling access to content that would not otherwise be available in your region. However, this method doesn’t work with every VPN provider.

Upon testing, TunnelBear struggled to access BBC iPlayer as the site identified the VPN use and stated “this content is not available in your location.” Despite the fact that the VPN is more likely to enable access to US Youtube libraries, it struggled to access US Netflix as well as a host of other Netflix libraries. It is not successful at accessing Amazon Prime Video either.

However, there is torrenting and P2P support across all of TunnelBear’s servers, making it a good choice for torrenters. The VPN’s servers in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Singapore, the UK, and the US, are the best for torrenting.

Does TunnelBear Store User Data?

TunnelBear offers one of the best online privacy policies of any VPN on the market. The provider offers in-depth information regarding all of the data that it stores, and the reasons for it.

Its logging policy is extremely transparent and states that the provider never collects the IP addresses that visit its website, IP addresses related to service connection, DNS queries when connected to the VPN, or any other data regarding the services, applications, or websites that TunnelBear’s users access when connected to the VPN. Therefore, the provider cannot link any of their customers to any specific activity that is carried out by a particular IP address or device. This is reassuring and means you can rest assured that your online activity will remain completely private and anonymous when using TunnelBear.

The VPN does store some statistical data which is updated when you connect to the server network. This information includes the version of your device, the version of the TunnelBear app that you are using, your activity in the previous month, and the bandwidth you have consumed. Despite that this does not equate to zero-logging, it is a lot less than is seen from other providers. Also, none of this information could be used to link you to your activity online.

Despite that this appears great, there is no way to identify whether a VPN provider is trustworthy or not unless the online no-logs policy has been independently audited. And TunnelBear has done just that. The company now has all of its privacy policies audited annually by industry specialists Cure53. The previous audits covered the mobile and desktop apps, browser extensions, frontend and backend systems, VPN service infrastructure, and TunnelBear’s public website. The audit results weren’t perfect, nor would we expect them to be, but any issues that were highlighted during the audit have now been resolved.

Overall, the level of transparency offered by TunnelBear is impressive, and rarely seen among other VPN providers. Most of its competitors have never completed an independent security audit and those who have often complete less-comprehensive, one-off security audits. Thus, TunnelBear is leading the competition when it comes to transparency.

Does TunnelBear Offer Customer Support?

TunnelBear offers customer service in the form of email support and a range of support guides that are available on its website. To speak to a representative of the support team simply go to the Contact page of the provider’s website.

Virtual Private Networks are legal in most countries and you will never get into trouble for using a VPN to protect your private data from governments, third parties, or cybercriminals.

Netflix and other streaming sites implement VPN blocking technology in order to prevent people from accessing content. Such sites are free to do so, but in the same way, customers can use VPN technology to overcome those geo-restrictions. However, it is also worth noting that using a VPN for accessing geo-restriction content may go against the streaming service’s terms and conditions.

Also, just because the use of VPN services is legal, it doesn’t mean that you are immune to state laws when using one. Even though accessing geo-restricted content on Netflix and ensuring your browsing activity is private, is not a crime, there are other crimes you could commit on the internet for which a VPN cannot offer protection.

What is RememBear?

RememBear is a password manager that is designed to save and manage all of your passwords. The app looks after basic tasks such as saving your passwords and syncing across all of your iPhone, iPad, Windows, macOS, and Android devices.

However, the service is not as sophisticated as some other premium password managers on the market. The product lacks features such as password strength reports, password inheritance, and strong form filling abilities. Thus, considering the price, we would recommend an alternative option.

RememberBear usually costs $36 per year, but it comes free with TunnelBear’s 3-Year VPN plan. While it is a useful extra, we would recommend against opting for TunnelBear solely for the addition of the password manager.

Author Cliff Durward

Hey guys, I'm Cliff! I live in Cleveland, Ohio with my wife and my kids. I love cybersecurity and I've been writing about it for a decade!
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