TunnelBear Is User-Friendly. But Is It Also Private? Find Out In Our Review.
If you’re an experienced VPN user, TunnelBear needs no introductions. This Virtual Private Network is among the most trusted ones on the market and is constantly moving forward in terms of affordability, reliability, and, of course, privacy. You’ll see during this TunnelBear review that it’s equally good when it comes to design, extra features, extensions, apps, and security protocols. TunnelBear VPN is probably the most user-friendly, intuitive and easy-to-use service out there, serving as a great “entry-level VPN” for the beginners. The company was founded back in 2011 and quickly became one of the most trusted and loved providers on the market.
Recently, McAfee, a famous American firm, bought TunnelBear, but that only means more investments and better security for us, the users. This provider is famous for the outstanding Windows client and apps for all the other major platforms, including Mac, iOS, and Android. Furthermore, you are more than welcome to download TunnelBear for free and see whether it suits you or not. As you can see, there’s more than enough to love about this VPN. At the same time, it does come with a fair share of downsides, and we’ll discuss them all in our TunnelBear VPN review.
This is an all-around solid VPN, and the average score is 7.5/8 of 10. Despite the fact that TunnelBear VPN doesn’t have nearly as many servers as, say, ExpressVPN or NordVPN, you can rest assured that your data will be secure with this service. Experts from all over the world praise its user-friendly interface, impressive performance, and great 24/7 support. This service is all about security and ease of use, and happy TunnelBear reviews from the customers prove once again that the team did everything right.
The List Of Pros And Cons
The greatest achievement of this VPN is that it doesn’t make users choose between security/privacy and usability/user-friendliness. The security protocols are top-notch, and the VPN is pretty much invisible when you don’t need it. Furthermore, it comes with a bright and beautiful interface, which is a rare thing these days. Pros looking for a sophisticated VPN with robust capabilities may find TunnelBear VPN disappointing. However, if you are a beginner who don’t want to get lost in a pile of technical terms, this is a solid pick.
- The privacy policies are of the highest standards.
- Works great on short-medium distances.
- User interface is friendly and pleasing.
- TunnelBear Mac client is pretty much flawless.
- Minimum logging.
- AES 256-bit encryption, along with OpenVPN, will keep your device safe.
- A TunnelBear free version is available with 500MB per month.
- With this VPN you can protect up to 5 devices simultaneously.
- As an entry-level VPN TunnelBear is perfect.
- Performance is not always smooth. That’s especially true for long-distance connections.
- You can’t use TunnelBear for torrenting.
On the downside, TunnelBear torrenting is not available: the provider won’t allow you to do that. Furthermore, if you type in something like “TunnelBear Netflix”, you’ll get disappointed, as this VPN isn’t really the best choice for unblocking geo-restricted content (that applies to Facebook, BBC, Hulu, and other websites/services). It might work sometimes, though.
We already mentioned that all the popular platforms are supported, including Win, Mac, iOs, and Android. Plus, the service comes with a series of extensions for your browser. For example, the TunnelBear Chrome extension is very easy to install and will give you instant, one-click access to the VPN. Opera also has an extension, by the way. Unfortunately, Firefox didn’t get a TunnelBear extension, even though it is one of the most popular browsers of our time. The difference between a client/app and an extension is that with the latter, you run only your browser through the VPN, leaving everything else out.
Remember, however, that this means everything else will be totally unprotected. So, even though this is a great feature, make sure you know exactly why you’re using it.
Safety and Encryption
Keep in mind, however, that the company is based in Canada, which means the strict laws of that country will apply. This is exactly why you won’t be able to set up a TunnelBear torrent session. It’s worth mentioning that Canada is a party to the world-famous (and notorious) 5-Eyes Treaty. Besides, this country’s official agencies are known for their tendency to snoop around and violate the privacy of their citizens. The good news is – even if the government does order the service to hand whatever information it has on you, they’ll only get your name, email address, and details about payment – that’s it.
Pricing Plans and Payment Methods
There are only three plans available right now, and if compared to what the other services have to offer, that’s not very impressive. As for the payment methods, you can go with Visa, Master Card, American Express, and even Bitcoins. Oh, and jars of honey can also be used! Bitcoins are becoming more and more popular these days – it’s great to see that TunnelBear accepts them as well. Let us take a look at the plans now and see whether we can find one that fits your budget and personal needs.
– Little. This is the free package. With it, you’ll get 500MB of free data every month. If you write about this VPN, you’ll get an additional 1GB. It doesn’t have to be a detailed TunnelBear review – just a short tweet. For the beginners, this is the best way to get to know this VPN better and learn the basics.
– Giant. The second tier will cost you 9.99 dollars per month. It gives you unlimited data, but you’ll have to pay $9.99 every single month (unless you commit to the next plan).
– Grizzly. This is the ultimate offer from the provider. With it, the price drops to $5.83 a month (for a total of 70 dollars once you subscribe). You’ll get protection for 12 full months. According to the company officials, this is the most popular plan, as you get to save 42 percent at the end of the year. It’s sad that there aren’t any other packages available; a 2-year plan would be nice.
The people that provide support are great, no doubt about that. Sadly, they’re not always quick to respond, which is a huge downside. Live Chat is not available, which means you won’t be able to get in contact with the staff the second trouble comes knocking on your door. Many inexperienced users don’t even know how to use TunnelBear; still, they will have to wait for support to hit them back. There aren’t even any phone numbers that you can call; the only option is to send an email. If the team has a lot on its plate, the answer might not arrive the same day.
What about Twitter, you might ask? Don’t rely on it, as you’ll be sent back to the Customer Support of the official website. On the bright side, there is an impressive Help page that has pretty much all the information you will ever need. Just scroll down to the bottom of the screen, access the tiny menu and Help will be there.
How to Use and Installing
To get access to this VPN, you’ll need to sign up first. It’s a very easy and straightforward procedure. Once you enter a valid email address and come up with a password, you’ll get access to the free version of TunnelBear. Next, the website will offer to choose between the different clients for different platforms. The TunnelBear download process is fast, which is a huge plus. The setup wizard will do everything for you: just click “Next” and “Accept” until the VPN is installed. Use the email and password you just entered to log in and access the service.
The TunnelBear APK file is very small and won’t require much space on your hard drive. The clients are all very friendly and stylish. It would be a good idea to go to the Security tab, turn VigilantBear on, and never turn it off. This VPN will always be one click away from being activated. Switch it on and off depending on the task at hand. If you live in China and want to outsmart the Great Firewall, the GhostBear feature will allow you to do that in a single click. It’s great at hiding your OpenVPN activity, making it seems like regular HTTPS traffic.
The Bottom Line
So, what is TunnelBear all about? Can it be trusted with protecting your privacy? Is it good enough to secure your connection and keep the hackers at bay? The answer is “Yes” to all three questions. If you’re looking for a solid VPN service that will keep you protected without overwhelming you with technical stuff and/or putting pressure on your CPU, this is a splendid service. During this TunnelBear review, we learned that it holds its own among the best of the best, offering the clients a winning combination of flexibility, ease-of-use, and style. The free plan is also a nice feature.
Still, even though it is friendly and secure, you might experience some problems with performance (and not only on long distances). Streaming and torrenting aren’t available with TB. Given the fact that more and more people are using VPN services for downloading torrents and getting access to Netflix and such, this fact will be a disappointment for many. On the other hand, the TunnelBear Chrome and Opera extension are great.
This isn’t the best VPN on the market. ExpressVPN, NordVPN, CyberGhost, and IPVanish are bigger, better, stronger, and more reliable. But if you don’t care about fancy features and want only the basic set, this service is exactly what you’re looking for. Many experts love to make all kinds of TunnelBear vs PIA comparisons, and these two, indeed, have many things in common. Private Internet Access doesn’t keep any Logs and allows P2P sharing (that means you can use it for torrenting). Furthermore, PIA offers more plans, including packages for 3 months, 6 months, and 2 years.
The monthly plan is $6.95 (while TunnelBear will charge you $9.99). The 1-year plan will cost you $3.33 ($4.99 with TunnelBear). Finally, the bear’s rival has 3000+ servers against 20. But, again, when it comes to the beginners, the cute design, the simple rules, and the strong privacy protocols TunnelBear offers are more than enough.