TunnelBear VPN Review
TunnelBear is a Canadian VPN provider with OpenVPN security configurations, zero logs policies, a fantastic client and a free VPN service
Tunnel Bear is a virtual private network that allows you to hide your IP address and geographical location, allowing you to surf the web in complete anonymity and privacy. Tunnel Bear has hundreds of servers in over 20 different countries which allows you to connect from just about anywhere in the world. Tunnel bear also has a range of other cool features which allow you to stay safe and private on the internet.
Furthermore, these servers are always expanding and have award winning speeds, meaning that using tunnel bear should not slow your connection. Some of these features include a military 256-bit encrypted network, 24/7 customer support, “Ghost Bear” and it even has a free service from which you can sign up to with the click of a button. All features will be disclosed throughout the review.
- Free Package
- Tough encryption
- Multi-device compatible
- Ghost bear
- Good client
- Zero Logs
- Only available in 20 countries
- Monthly package is a little pricy
- No refund policy
Pricing and Packages
Tunnel Bear has a number of packages and plans, starting from an amazing zero dollars! Tunnel bear offers a free package in which you will receive all the same features as if you were to pay for the VPN monthly. This is very good as the price of VPNs is something that is taken into consideration the most before purchasing, so by having a free package this VPN is very appealing to the casual user. It should also be noted that Tunnel Bear does not distinguish and differentiate between packages and you will be getting the same features regardless of the package you choose. However, despite the fact that Tunnel Bear has a free package to choose, they also have a number of other paid plans. As always, this VPN has tiered plans which decrease in price depending on the level of commitment you provide to their service. Tunnel bear has three plans: free, monthly and yearly.
The Tunnel Bear free plan is great and has all the features you would need to keep safe and secure on the internet, and allows you to use the VPN for a maximum of 500MB a month. The price then goes up to a fairly expensive $9.99 for their monthly plan, but then goes down to an industry standard of $4.17 for the yearly plan, which is fairly reasonable. The annoying thing about Tunnel Bear is that you have to pay for 12 months in advance. This means that if you were to choose their monthly package, you would have to pay $119, instead of $9.99. This is problematic as there is no refund policy which is mentioned later in this review.back to menu ↑
Any good VPN should have a range of payment options that make their users’ online purchases safer and private. The primary reason VPNs exist is to make sure you are secure and safe on the web, so they have an obligation to make sure that you are safe when purchasing on their website. The payment options that are available on Tunnel Bear are decent and they allow to you to purchase the software with some reasonable security.
The software gives you the ability to pay via credit or debit card and accepts all major payments, including Visa, American Express and MasterCard. However, despite this, this is the first VPN I have come across that does not accept PayPal – the secure third-party application. PayPal is a worldwide payment gateway that allows users to claim refunds and dispute online payments that were invalid. It is disappointing to see that Tunnel Bear has not incorporated this into their website. Nonetheless, even with the absence of PayPal, Tunnel Bear does offer Bitcoin payments. Bitcoin is one of the safest ways to pay on the internet and is almost complete anonymous and private. This is because Bitcoin is an encrypted network and is not connected to your private information. This means you can pay for items and software online and cannot be tracked by ISP or Government Agencies, giving you ultimate privacy. Although there is no PayPal, Tunnel Bear compensates with Bitcoin and offers fairly secure ways to pay.back to menu ↑
Tunnel Bear VPN Setup and User-Friendliness
Tunnel Bear was incredibly easy to setup and it took just under 5 minutes. We recommend that you try out their system with the free plan initially, so you can see what their VPN is like. Once I had successfully created a free account and downloaded the little bear plan, I was greeted with a screen that offered me the choice to download either the Windows client or Mac client. I downloaded the Windows client and began the installation process. The software asks you to select a place to save the files and then instantly starts up the software. You will be required to log-in again and will go through a short tutorial/explanation of what Tunnel Bear can do. It should also be noted that I was not required to restart my computer at any point in the installation, which is always a bonus.
Once installation was complete you will see the server selection screen which lets you choose the country you would like to connect too. The client is very clean and simple and I thought it was very good considering the VPN is (partially) free. The location selection screen is simple and effective, and there a number of tunnels you can select to send your connection too. The client also has an auto connect feature which allows you to connect to a server with a strong connection, so your internet isn’t hit too badly by the extra strain.
If you have chosen the free plan, the monthly allowance will be placed in the bottom right of the screen. This is handy if you are unsure about the amount of data you have left to spend when surfing the web. The settings tab (which can be found in the navigation bar) is very basic and is probably the only bad aspect of this client. There are no settings which allow you to change your encryption and data authentication, but there a number of settings that allow you to configure the client to your own preferences.
Furthermore, Tunnel Bear also has a number of other features in the client such as Ghost Bear and Vigilant Bear. Ghost Bear allows you to mask your connect and make your connection look like it is legitimate. This is great for bypassing the Chinese firewall and getting round content filters. The Vigilant Bear allows you to block any traffic when you are reconnecting or disconnecting from the VPN, kind of like a kill switch. Although there are no features which let you change and mix-up your security protocols, the client is perfect for any casual user.back to menu ↑
Servers and Speeds
As previously mentioned, Tunnel Bear has a number of servers in 20+ different countries. This gives you a wide variety of server locations to choose from and is perfect for the casual user. However, when you compare this to other VPN services, it is not very impressive. Some VPN provides have thousands of servers in 100s of countries and if you live in a fairly remote country it may be difficult to connect to or find a server which doesn’t ruin your speeds.
In the future Tunnel Bear may extend its reach. In terms of speeds, they were fairly average but decent enough for the normal user, and with the auto-connect feature you connection shouldn’t drop too much. One thing that should be noted is that Tunnel Bear does not allow for P2P sharing and torrenting on their servers, which may discourage some users from using their service. In addition, Tunnel Bear does not bypass the Netflix content filter but can hold up against the Great Firewall of China through its little application known as ghost bear. In my tests no DNS or IPv6 leaks were found, and Tunnel Bear themselves state that their VPN will not leak any DNS information.back to menu ↑
Tunnel Bear offers a range of devices that you can install their program onto, and the provider now allows you to connect a total of 5 devices which is very impressive since the VPN network is free. It is important for a VPN service to offer the ability to protect and secure our mobile and other online devices. We live in a digital world and as a result are using our phones and tablets more and more to surf the web. This makes it essential for a VPN service to provide protection against malicious individuals on public Wi-Fi and so they should be offering a wide range of compatible software. Tunnel Bear has a fairly impressive collection of downloadable software, including VPN for Windows, Mac, IOS, Android and Linux. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like Tunnel Bear offers router support making it a little bit useless for large businesses and expert users.back to menu ↑
Most VPN providers offer a range of customer support, including 24/7 care with live chats and a massive knowledgebase. Tunnel Bear offers the standard 24/7 care but unfortunately they do not have a live chat option which is quite disappointing as many of the newer, better systems have this option. The Tunnel Bear software uses email ticketing which was slow at times, and they also provide a forum from which you can ask questions to the community. Their knowledgebase, however, was quite impressive and they seem to make up for their lack of live chat with a number of FAQs and tutorials.back to menu ↑
Privacy and Security
Tunnel Bear offers some good security and runs a very tight ship. They offer a number of protocols and have a strong encryption of AES-256-bit. This is military grade and will protect your connect from almost all malicious individuals, including ISP and Government agencies.
They offer two security protocols, IPSec and OpenVPN, which are some of the best protocols on the market. As always we recommend you stick with the OpenVPN protocol as this is the safest and more up-to-date protocol available. However it should be noted that this protocol will slow your system down slightly. So if you favour speed over security choose IPSec. Tunnel Bear also has a strict no logs policy meaning that they do not keep or retain any usage logs. This is perfect for anyone who is paranoid about security and privacy and doesn’t want their information being transferred to Government agencies like NSA.
back to menu ↑
Free-Trial and Refund Policy
One of the biggest benefits to using Tunnel Bear is that they offer a free service which lets you have all their features for 500MB a month. If you feel you need more you can upgrade to unlimited data for $9.99 a month. However, one of the more disappointing aspects of Tunnel Bear is that they do not offer a refund policy, which is problematic as they require you to pay for a year upfront. However, with the free plan this VPN is great for the casual user.back to menu ↑
Tunnel Bear is a good VPN and is a software that would be perfect for the casual user. The VPN has a number of servers in 20 different countries and has a fantastic free plan that lets you have 500MB free a month. The client is very clean and effective but has little options for security and protocols. They give you the choice to pay by Bitcoin but for some odd reason PayPal has been taken away, which was a little disappointing. In terms of security, Tunnel Bear offers a tight 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN protocols which are the best in the industry, and they keep no logs. The only downsides to this VPN is that the payed versions are expensive, P2P is not allowed and there is no refund policy. However, this VPN is still recommended.
TunnelBear is well-known for its free service and the paid version is just as good. The service is based in Canada and offers servers in 20+ countries with great encryption for all their apps. Their client is fantastic and they keep zero logs!