TunnelBear is a VPN service that was first created by Ryan Dochuk and Daniel Kaldor in 2011.
In 2018, the company was acquired by cybersecurity giant McAfee. The company’s headquarters are located in Toronto, Canada, but it operates under the jurisdiction of the United States.
TunnelBear VPN is especially known for their anti-censorship work. For example, the company is known to offer free services to users in countries with widespread government censorship.
But as a user looking for a VPN, you probably want to know, is TunnelBear VPN safe? Is TunnelBear good for protecting online activity? You can get all the answers in our TunnelBear Canada review.
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.
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
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.
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.
Privacy policies are usually filled with legal terms or they are very technical. TunnelBear’s
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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
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
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
TunnelBear Pricing & Plans
There are only three plans for individuals. The Monthly Plan is priced a $9.99 a month, billed monthly. The annual plan is worth $59.88 (equivalent to $4.99 per month) billed annually. To get the biggest savings, you can subscribe to the 3-year plan, which costs $3.33 per 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.
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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.
TunnelBear VPN Servers
It has servers in more than 23 international locations. These include the following countries:
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.