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Tunnelbear Review

TunnelBear is a lightweight VPN with plenty of features and more than 22 server locations worldwide. It is easy to install and use but lacks advanced features.

Overall Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
4/5
VPN Network:  2600 Servers located in 49 countries
Country of Origin:  Canada
Devices:  5
Founded Date:  2011
Refund Policy:  Refund at company's discretion
Last Update: February 1, 2021

TunnelBear VPN Overview

TunnelBear is a Canadian VPN service company operating out of Toronto, Ontario. Its main market focus is the Canadian market. TunnelBear is a lightweight VPN with servers around the world.

It has a compact features list that caters to non-technical users. It is easy to install and use. And its graphical interface provides enough information where the customer is connected.

Aside from the regular advantages and disadvantages of the VPN service, there are specific TunnelBear pros and cons worth considering.

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TunnelBear Pros

Lightweight

The Windows app is small and easy to install. It also has a small footprint while in use. This does not put a strain on the computer’s resources.

Easy to Use

The user interface is almost barebones. It just shows a map of the world and the server locations. When you start the app, it can automatically choose the fastest server location to use.

You can override the choice by clicking on a server located on the map. Choosing “auto” would send the data to the fastest server available.

Simple Menu

The menu choices are usually toggles and switches. It does not go into a heavy technical or advanced choices for the user. The available choices are easily explained, and there is a hyperlink to a site explaining the menu choices.

Easy to Understand Privacy Policy

Privacy policies are usually filled with legal terms or they are very technical. TunnelBear’s Privacy Policy is in plain English and easy to understand.

TunnelBear Light editions

Lightweight versions of TunnelBear exist for popular browsers. Chrome, Firefox and Opera have TunnelBear add-ons to allow for browser only data to go through the VPN. All other traffic, like FTP, chat, VOIP and email would go through the regular internet connection.

TunnelBear Cons

Number of Servers Worldwide

TunnelBear VPN has servers all world. However, these are relatively fewer than the competition. Additionally, it has servers in more than 20 countries. Their presence is a little less than the competition, but more than adequate for most purposes. For most purposes, this is not an issue.

Linux, and older OS versions are not Supported

There is no Linux download on the official download page. Windows devices, like phones and tablets, are also not supported. This is also true for older Android and iOS devices.

For Android and iOS users, TunnelBear sends out “end-of-support” notices informing owners that their versions of TunnelBear will no longer be supported. That means that when something goes wrong, they cannot contact TunnelBear support whenever they have a problem.

TUNNELBEAR VPN FEATURES

Customers would use a VPN mainly for security, online privacy, encryption and to access content or websites not available locally.

Other common features and selling points for VPNs include: prevention of geo-location monitoring and tracking, as well as using blocked apps and websites from behind school and corporate networks.

Encrypted browsing ensures leaks from emails and browser requests are not readable and kept private.

This is very helpful when browsing over public networks. Nowadays, the majority of internet usage is via the use of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Security for online communications is not assured when public networks are used.

Browsing the net with a smartphone while in a coffee shop may seem innocent enough, however, it leaves the user vulnerable.

Another feature common among VPN services is the ability to bypass local censorships. There are countries in the world where some websites are not accessible.

At the same time, there are advanced countries that regularly spy on their citizens’ electronic communications, including SMS and email. The use of a VPN helps prevent unwanted and unauthorized access to private communications.

Optimized for Speed

TunnelBear is a lean app which provides a fast VPN service. The user app is as small as possible with the simplest possible interface.

Transparency

TunnelBear conducts regular third-party audits. These are conducted by independent companies to ensure that the customers have the best security and privacy that the company promises. It is the only VPN company which published these results.

User Access to Account Data

To further ensure customer security, they can access their account data straight from the servers. The users can review and delete the data if they wanted to.

Free Trial

TunnelBear has three plans, Free, Monthly, and Yearly. The Free account gives the user VPN Service Access up to 500MB of data per month. The monthly and Yearly plans have unlimited data access.

The user can try TunnelBear features before deciding to buy. The user can join at any time, and upgrade at any time. This means that he can be using the monthly 500MB data access for as long as he wants, and only migrate to the unlimited monthly and yearly plans when he is ready.

Install on Up to Five Devices

You can use TunnelBear in up to five devices with a paid account. These can be on various options systems and devices. Supported operating systems include Windows, OS X, iOS and Android. After installing the app on your device, you only need to login and use TunnelBear.

TunnelBear for Teams

If you need to have a VPN for more than 5 devices, you can choose to sign up for TunnelBear for Teams. One of the advantages of TunnelBear for Teams is for corporate or business teams. It has centralized billing as well as an administration function to keep it simple.

Domain Sign-up

Teams can easily add new members using Domain Sign-up. The team administrator can pre-authorize their domain. This allows succeeding member signups with the same email domain to be automatically approved for the team.

This feature does not include members using a popular email address like gmail.com and outlook.com

VigilantBear

When there is no connection to the VPN server, TunnelBear will block all incoming traffic until the connection is reestablished. This helps prevent any accidental leaks in internet communications. It also prevents the device from communicating with unencrypted data.

GhostBear

TunnelBear uses encrypted data to send over the internet to the VPN server. This secures the information being sent from the user’s device. To better hide the encryption GhostBear further massages the data to look like this is regular unencrypted information.

TunnelBear Pricing & Plans

There are only three plans for individuals. The Monthly Plan is priced a $9.99 a month billed monthly. While the annual plan is worth $59.88 (equivalent to $4.99 per month) billed annually. For the biggest saving, you can subscribe to the biennial plan which cost 99.99$ (equivalent to $4.17/month).

There is also pricing for teams. TunnelBear for Teams has the same features for each individual as the yearly plan. It also has a team billing feature, as well as team management. TunnelBear for Teams is priced at $69 per person, billed annually.

TunnelBear VPN Speed Test

VPN tunneling entails passing the internet connection to a VPN server which then forwards the request using that server’s IP address. The user has a choice of server location when connecting to the VPN service. Using TunnelBear does not show any discernible slow down in service.

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TunnelBear VPN Servers

It has servers in more than 23 international locations. These include the following countries:

  • Canada
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Spain
  • France
  • Italy
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Romania
  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong
  • India

Does TunnelBear Work With Netflix?

Yes, TunnelBear works with Netflix, and with other web-based video streaming technology.

You only need to turn on TunnelBear and choose which country you want to watch Netflix on.

TunnelBear can also be used with other streaming services, especially those which run on browsers.

TunnelBear Privacy & Logs

TunnelBear makes the best effort to provide user privacy. It does not keep any user logs. User logs keep track of the websites a user goes to. Canada does not require the ISPs to retain their customer’s online data and logs.

Canadian privacy advocates have been vigilant in ensuring that ISPs do not keep logs. The most prominent legislation about user data and logs was Bill C-30, otherwise known as the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.

The Act would have allowed the Canadian Government the power to demand online user data from the ISPs, in the interest of protecting children from internet predators.

It also had provisions which make it mandatory for ISPs to have backdoor access for the government to access any internet user’s online history and personal details without any warrant and without any need of a reason.

There was a large public outcry against Bill C-30 which subsequently led to its demise.

TunnelBear Support

Most of the problems which a user can encounter, including any questions about Installation, Connection, Speed issues, Accessing websites and services, as well as Common Error Messages, are in the Troubleshooting page on the website. 

If there are any other issues, you can send a message through the website. Tunnelbear has a 24/7 support and will get back to you in a short while. They do not have livechat, or phone support. Their email support is through the website. You send your query and they will answer back through the email address you used to login.

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TunnelBear Refund Policy

For those whose annual fee is paid in full and want to downgrade their plan, the amount unused will be prorated and will be refunded accordingly.

TunnelBear has a 30-day money-back guarantee on new sign-ups.

Is TunnelBear VPN Recommended?

TunnelBear VPN is an easy to use VPN service which can make a non-technical person embrace the technology. However, it is not for all users. It lacks some advanced features which would enable it to compete with other more powerful VPN services. Additionally, even though it has servers in every continent, it lacks global reach.

It is transparent about its emphasis on security and user privacy. It is the only private VPN service provider that publishes its annual audit results. It also has a privacy policy that is readable and understandable by civilians. This is rarely done by VPN and internet services. The transparency about their operations and policies goes beyond what is expected of them.

The pricing scheme is also different from most trial services. Instead of a one-time free usage, they treat the free user as a regular customer, with a 500MB monthly cap. The free 500MB data usage is small compared to what normal users go through. A heavy smartphone user can easily go through that in a day or two. If you are a casual user who seldom needs a VPN service, the 500MB cap would be just right.

At the same time, TunnelBear for Teams allows corporate users to save on VPN costs. The monthly charges are higher, but it also allows for up to 5 devices for each team account.

These 5 devices can be different PCs or different smartphones, with each device owned and used by a different person. It is not a circumvention of the rules, but a different interpretation. A company can have a policy of allowing each team member to only use one computer and a single mobile device to access their corporate internet. This can help the company save on VPN expenses.

The biggest shortcoming is the lack of advanced features. This is not an obvious disadvantage for those who only need to use the VPN for local access and even for corporate use.

Tunnelbear white 300px
4/5
Refund at company's discretion
2600 Servers located in 49 countries
Tunnelbear VPN Review Software Screenshot
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