TunnelBear is one of the most fun VPNs on the market. Most people know this provider as a good VPN service with many advantages. As the free version of TunnelBear works almost like the paid option, it is a great provider for people inexperienced with VPNs.
TunnelBear’s headquarters are located in Canada. Recently, this VPN was acquired by the internet security company McAfee. TunnelBear gives you access to 20 different locations. However, they do not disclose how many servers they have. Also, you have to deal with some puns as this provider abuses them.
Below you’ll find TunnelBear’s scores on different aspects of a VPN. First, you will see how this VPN affects your connection speed and your online safety. Then you can check out the ease of use, server network and additional features. We hope that our tests with TunnelBear will help you find out if this is the right provider for all your needs.
Speed – How is the speed of TunnelBear?
The speed of a VPN connection is very important if you want to do more than just browse the internet. If you intend to watch a movie or play games online, you will easily notice if the VPN is not fast. We tested our internet speed with TunnelBear’s servers to see if there was any lag. We performed some speed tests and analysed the speed of the provider during normal internet usage. Below you will find the results.
TunnelBear speed test result
First, you will see the result of our speed tests. We tested the speed of our “pure” internet to see if connecting to TunnelBear’s servers would influence the speed. Then we tested the connection to a local server and a US server. Results may differ depending on your internet speed and location.
Speed without VPN (speedtest.net):
These are the results of our internet without the VPN that will be used as a parameter.
Speed with a local server (speedtest.net):
This was the speed we got when we connected to a local TunnelBear server. As you can see, the download and upload speeds varied a little, but nothing significant. Also, the ping remained virtually the same.
Speed with a US server (speedtest.net):
When we connected to the fastest US server, we got the following results. As you can see, the ping has skyrocketed and the download and upload speeds have dropped considerably. However, this speed is still acceptable for most internet users.
TunnelBear is very fast. During normal browsing, watching YouTube and downloading, we didn’t notice any change in speed. Although our lag and ping have increased during online games, you can still use TunnelBear to play your first-person shooters and RPGs.
TunnelBear will automatically connect you to the fastest server. If you select the “auto” option, TunnelBear will connect you to the nearest server. If you click on a different location, the software makes sure you connect to the fastest server available in that region. This way, you will always be connected to the server as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, it was not possible to test torrent downloading or Netflix, as TunnelBear no longer allows it. We’ll talk more about that later.
Conclusion: TunnelBear speed
- TunnelBear is pretty fast
- Not much speed difference in daily use
- TunnelBear will automatically connect you to the fastest server
Security – Is TunnelBear really secure?
Probably the most important feature of a VPN is the level of security it offers. People use VPNs to ensure their data remains private and their identity hidden. With TunnelBear you won’t have to worry about your online security. They adhere to the highest international encryption standards and even offer some of the most secure VPN protocols.
In 2018, TunnelBear was acquired by McAfee. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, some people consider that a VPN service ending up in the hands of an American company is a disadvantage.
Below you will find everything about their privacy and registration policy. Also, you will know what information TunnelBear needs to create an account with them.
TunnelBear has strong 256-bit encryption, which is considered standard among VPNs. TunnelBear uses the OpenVPN protocol or IKEv2 on most devices. For iOS and newer, TunnelBear uses IPSec or IKEv2 protocols.
Below you will find a table with an overview of the different protocols used by TunnelBear on different devices.
|DEVICE TYPE||PROTOCOL||DATA ENCRYPTION|
|Mac OS X||OpenVPN/IKEv2||AES-256-GCM|
|iOS 9 onwards||IPSec/IKEv2||AES-256-GCM|
Registration and Privacy
The fact that TunnelBear is located in one of the “5 Eyes” member countries is not ideal for privacy. However, they declare that they do not keep any IP or traffic logs. In fact, TunnelBear tracks some things, but they are very open about it. If you want to know exactly what they track, you can check out their privacy page, which explains everything in detail.
While most VPN providers state that they do not keep logs, most collect pretty much the same information as TunnelBear. It’s nice to see that TunnelBear isn’t afraid to address this topic on their website. Most importantly, they do not keep any traffic or IP logs. That means they can’t see what you’re doing using their VPN.
TunnelBear allowed an independent company to test the security of their services and publish the results. In the survey, you can see that this independent company has verified the security risks of the TunnelBear software. Based on this report, TunnelBear made several necessary changes. It shows that they don’t mind failing if, at the end of the day, it allows them to provide a better service.
Kill switch: VigilantBear
TunnelBear has its own kill switch, called VigilantBear. While it sounds pretty imposing, it basically works like other VPN kill switches. VigilantBear is a security feature within the TunnelBear software that ensures your data is protected even when your VPN connection temporarily drops.
Usually, this would mean that your data would be vulnerable for a moment, but with the kill switch your data remains protected. The VigilantBear feature ensures your data stays safe no matter what.
What information does TunnelBear need?
To create an account with TunnelBear, you only need an email address and password. You can pay with Bitcoin, that is, you can create a TunnelBear account completely anonymously. However, if you use another form of payment, such as a credit card, TunnelBear will have certain personal information about you.
Conclusion: TunnelBear security
- Like most VPNs, TunnelBear has strong 246-bit encryption.
- TunnelBear has great security protocols for all devices (OpenVPN, IKEv2 and IPs)
- TunnelBear does not keep IP or traffic logs and is honest about the type of data they collect.
- TunnelBear is located in a country of 5 Eyes
- TunnelBear uses independent company research to optimize your security
- TunnelBear has its own Kill switch, called VigilantBear
- To create an account on TunnelBear, you only need an email address and a password.
Usability – Is TunnelBear easy to use?
More and more people are interested in VPNs, so it’s important for providers to offer intuitive apps. Creating an account, installing the software and communicating with the support team should be simple and easy processes. Below, you will find out if TunnelBear is an easy-to-use provider.
The TunnelBear website
The TunnelBear website is basic. It is very easy to create an account and learn about TunnelBear and the services it offers. Everything on the site is very simple, so you don’t get bombarded with information you don’t need.
However, if you want to know more about the services offered by TunnelBear, you will find all the information you need at the bottom of the page.
The account page is also simple and minimalistic. All important information is grouped in 3 tabs. Here you will find your account information, your subscription, your invoice history and the possibility to download all the information they have about you. TunnelBear seems to believe in the “less is more” philosophy, and this is reflected in their software.
Overall, this simple style is nice. However, if you are looking for more specific information, it can be a little difficult to find.
It’s easy to install TunnelBear You can download the software from the website to your pc. You can also find the apps in the different app stores for your iOS or Android device. Installation may take a few minutes, but the installation wizard will take care of the entire process. The only thing you need to do after downloading the software is to open it and enter your account information.
From there you are ready to browse online safely. You can install TunnelBear on Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad or Android. In addition, TunnelBear also has a super easy-to-use extension for your browser.
TunnelBear Appearance and Ease of Use
The look and feel of TunnelBear’s software is remarkable. It is remarkable that they took care of every detail of the look. Also, they tried to make using the VPN as fun as possible. All this resulted in a simple and functional VPN software. It’s super fun to use TunnelBear as the software is funny and visually appealing.
The usability of TunnelBear’s software is also amazing. As a user, you are not constantly bombarded with options and settings. With just one click, you can choose the server location and connect.
As you can see above, TunnelBear’s software is very simple. What you see is what you get. Aside from a few features, what you see in the image above is all you need.
Prices and payment methods
TunnelBear isn’t the cheapest VPN, but it isn’t the most expensive either. TunnelBear costs USD4.17 per month if you opt for the annual subscription. There is also the free version. The downside of the free plan is that you only have 500MB of data. You won’t even be able to watch a movie with that amount of data. So for most of us, the free version is not a viable option.
As you can see in the image above, TunnelBear has the following subscription prices.
- Free subscription with 500MB limit
- Monthly subscription for USD9.99 per month
- Annual subscription for USD49.99 per year or USD4.17 per month
The only payment methods available on TunnelBear are credit card and Bitcoin. There are several credit card options. However, if you pay with a credit card, you will be handing over a lot of personal information to TunnelBear.
So if you want to remain anonymous, the best way to pay is using Bitcoins. It would be great if TunnelBear accepts payments via PayPal and other local payment methods in the future.
Unfortunately, TunnelBear does not offer a money-back guarantee. This is far from ideal, especially if you intend to attract more users.
The TunnelBear support team couldn’t be better. Our questions were answered satisfactorily and cordially, but it was difficult to contact them without having an account. And even with an account, you can’t get in touch directly. You can submit a question by filling out the standard support form, and you will likely get a response within 24 hours. Unfortunately, it is not possible to ask more than one question within an hour.
This makes TunnelBear’s customer support very difficult to contact. Many VPN providers offer a live chat option, which allows you to get your questions answered quickly. TunnelBear answers your questions politely, but it takes a lot longer than most other providers.
Conclusion: usability of TunnelBear
- The TunnelBear website is very simple.
- You can install TunnelBear on any device without any problems
- TunnelBear’s software looks good and is very easy to use.
- You can pay for your TunnelBear subscription by credit card or Bitcoin
- TunnelBear customer support service is “OK” but difficult to contact
TunnelBear server network
To allow the unblocking of certain online content, it is important that your VPN provider has servers in several countries. If you want to access some American Netflix content, for example, you need a VPN with servers in the United States. You can also use a VPN to escape the censorship imposed in your country by connecting to servers in other countries. Below you will find all the information about the TunnelBear server network.
Number of servers and location
TunnelBear has servers in about 20 locations. Unfortunately, TunnelBear does not disclose the actual number of servers they have. They claim that this would jeopardize the security of their servers. On their website, you can check which countries they have servers in, but not how many are available.
TunnelBear makes it easy for you to connect to the server faster. Whenever you use this service, you will automatically be connected to the fastest server.
If you consider the number of servers, TunnelBear isn’t that impressive. However, they do offer good servers in major countries. In addition, all their servers provide a stable internet connection.
Dedicated IP address
TunnelBear does not offer dedicated IP addresses. They say they intend to offer this service in the future through their “TunnelBear for Teams” plans. Whether they will offer this service to private users is anyone’s guess.
Conclusion: TunnelBear Server Network
- TunnelBear has fast servers in 20+ locations
- For security reasons, TunnelBear does not disclose the number of servers it has
- TunnelBear does not offer dedicated IP addresses.
- TunnelBear will automatically connect you to the fastest server
Not all VPN providers offer the same features, Sometimes additional features can be just what you’re looking for. For example, not all providers support Netflix and torrents. Below, you can learn more about all the features of TunnelBear, including the combination of the service with Netflix and torrents.
TunnelBear and Netflix
TunnelBear does not support Netflix. This means that you will not be able to watch Netflix while connected to a TunnelBear server, nor the content from your country, nor the US Netflix content, for example. If you want to be protected by a VPN and also be able to use streaming to watch your favourite series on Netflix, you are better off opting for VPNs like ExpressVPN, Surfshark or CyberGhost.
TunnelBear and torrents
TunnelBear does not allow P2P traffic. This means that you will not be able to download or upload torrents while connected to a TunnelBear server. The provider does not want to encourage downloading of illegal files.
GhostBear: an extra weapon against censorship and speed restrictions
GhostBear is an extra feature of TunnelBear. This feature helps to disguise your encrypted data as normal data. Some ISPs, companies and governments, may limit your internet speed or your freedom by detecting that you are using a VPN.
By making your encrypted data look like normal traffic with GhostBear, no one will suspect you are using a VPN.
TunnelBear Browser Extensions for Chrome and Opera
TunnelBear has a browser extension for Chrome and Opera The extension works in the same way as a VPN, only in your browser. This is ideal if you don’t want all your traffic to go through the VPN. Furthermore, it is an intuitive way to bypass any geographic restrictions, for example when using Linux.
TunnelBear Blocker for Chrome
TunnelBear has developed its own ad blocker for unwanted advertisements. Blocker for Chrome not only blocks ads, it also helps protect your privacy. This feature blocks email tracking to ensure that no one uses tracking pixels in marketing emails sent to you. It also blocks ultrasonic tracking.
In this way, sounds obtained from your cell phone’s microphone cannot be used for tracking. Plus, it protects you from Adobe Flash, cookies, scripts, malware and browser mapping. It does all this to protect your privacy online.
TunnelBear for teams
TunnelBear also has a VPN service for businesses called TunnelBear for Teams. It offers the same features as your regular VPN, but with some extra perks. For example, it has an additional management feature, priority support, and the ability to add people. TunnelBear’s enterprise option works very well.
Also, due to the fact that you don’t allow access to Netflix and torrent downloading, the service is ideal for large companies.
Conclusion – Our experience with TunnelBear
|Good and intuitive software||No access to Netflix|
|easy to install||Does not allow torrents|
|relatively affordable||No dedicated IP|
|Integrated kill switch||Customer support service difficult to contact|
|Free version with 500 MB data limit|
|Great option for companies|
|GhostBear is an extra weapon against censorship and speed restrictions|
|TunnelBear is clear about its registration policy|
|100% more bear jokes than any other VPN|
TunnelBear scored well on most common VPN features. Good speed, stable servers and offer great security and privacy. Also, it’s heartening to see how honest and clear TunnelBear is about their logging policy. However, there are internet providers that offer more security and privacy.
TunnelBear is a great VPN for most users. The software is easy to use, offers enough protection and looks amazing. TunnelBear makes VPNs truly accessible to everyone.
For more experienced VPN users, it is likely that TunnelBear does not offer such a complete service. One downside of TunnelBear is that it doesn’t support Netflix and doesn’t even allow torrenting.
Also, they only have servers in 20 different locations, which is not a lot of considering the VPN market. TunnelBear focuses on encryption and privacy, not circumventing geographic restrictions, for example. They try to make up for it with GhostBear, but it still can’t get around the Netflix ban.
In short, we recommend TunnelBear to VPN beginners looking for extra security and privacy.