Tunnelbear Review

Rating

Overall
Speed
Security
Usability
Price
4 / 5

Introduction

There are plenty of VPN providers hawking their wares and services on the internet. If you’re reading this, you already have a good reason to switch onto VPNs while accessing the internet. It’s entirely likely that you’ll find it daunting at the onset in trying to pick a VPN provider. To those of you getting started, we’ve got you started. For regular and advanced users of VPNs, here’s what TunnelBear is all about.

Review Summary

As a minimalistic, concise, simple provider, TunnelBear will appeal to those who seek to use VPNs leisurely. Similarly, users with limited knowledge about VPNs will enjoy TunnelBear. Advanced users are likely to look elsewhere.

  • Pros
    • Easy to use, simple, well-designed clients.
    • Reliable and entirely functional speeds.
    • A free plan on offer, despite being limited.
    • Good value for money.
    • A large development team at work behind the product.
    • Ad blocking and tracker-blocking to provide for additional privacy and security.
  • Cons
    • No P2P connectivity. No torrents.
    • Limited security protocols.
    • Bitcoin accepted for yearly payments alone.

Full Review

TunnelBear is a Canadian based VPN provider which has been operational for four years now, starting in Toronto back in 2011. It joins a select band of mainstream VPN providers which offers a ‘free VPN’ service, albeit with a cap on the bandwidth. TunnelBear caters to a specific user-base and it’ll work seamlessly for those who prefer a simple click-and-connect VPN client without a lot of bells and whistles.

Price

TunnelBear Prices

The pricing plans on offer are simple enough, much like the rest of TunnelBear’s endeavour. Simplicity seems to be a common, recurring theme with the provider.

  • The Little plan (Free)
    • $0 per month
    • 500 MB of free data every month.
    • An additional 1 GB of data can be obtained by seeking it through their twitter promotion.
  • The Giant Plan (1 month)
    • $6.99 per month
    • billed every month
    • Unlimited bandwidth with simultaneous tunnelling through 5 devices.
  • The Grizzly Plan (12 months)
    • $4.16 per month
    • $49.92 billed every 12 months

Servers

TunnelBear Servers

Despite being limited in the number of servers, TunnelBear still has servers spread out over 9 geographically-strategic countries which ensure that server speeds are consistently good. It may not be blisteringly quick but it’s still plenty for the everyday user.

Compatibility

TunnelBear Servers

  • Operating systems include:
    • Windows
    • Mac
    • Linux
    • Chrome OS
  • Device support extends to:
    • Android devices
    • iOS devices
    • Windows mobile devices that include tablets and phones.

Speed

With speeds a tad slower than the top tier providers, TunnelBear was a consistent and solid performer, despite not being counted among the very best. Regular users will find its speeds to suit them just fine. DNS and IP tests showed that there were no leaks either, giving it a clean bill of health.

TunnelBear Servers

  • Using our ISP without TunnelBear enabled:
    • Download 30.1 Mbps
    • Upload: 3 Mbps

TunnelBear Servers

  • Using TunnelBear through OpenVPN:
    • Download: 20.2 Mbps
    • Upload: 2.6 Mbps

Payment Option

TunnelBear Servers

In being a popular VPN provider, more-so due to its free service, TunnelBear accepts the most common and frequently used methods of payment including:

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • American Express
  • PayPal
  • Bitcoin

It’s important to note that Bitcoin is only accepted for the yearly package.

Security Protocols

Unlike other mainstream VPN providers, we find that TunnelBear only offers two protocols for security. They are OpenVPN and L2TP/IPsec. By default users on Mac, Windows and Android are connected via OpenVPN and iOS devices are hooked on with IPSec. Crucially, TunnelBear does not provide 256-bit encryption, with the default standard being 128bit on its OpenVPN protocol.

Customer Support

TunnelBear Servers

The lack of live chat support is disappointing but their help forum has a quick turnaround time for responses and their ticketing system is certainly efficient. We put it to the test and got a response within 18 hours. Not the quickest but it works.

Conclusion

If you’re a relative newbie getting started in getting acquainted with VPNs, TunnelBear makes for a very good choice for a first-time VPN while advanced users and those who prioritize torrent downloading will look at other providers.

Technical Specifications

Coming soon!