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TunnelBear VPN Review 2018

TunnelBear VPN Review 2018: A Common VPN Ideal for Occasional VPN Users

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network as it is also known, is a necessary application for anyone who wishes to enjoy a global and truly unrestricted internet without any qualms about compromising ones identity as well as privacy. TunnelBear VPN lets the user enjoy the internet at its fullest all the while keeping their identity and private data protected from trackers or their own ISP. It manages to stand out from all the VPN apps I have used till date owing to its strong service and innumerable features coupled with a simplistic interface. The 256-bit AES encryption is used to encrypt your private data. A strict no-logging policy means you do not have to worry about any records of your online data being tracked as no records are even kept.


PROS:
  • Very easy to install and use
  • Multiple connections (5) across multiple operating systems
  • Trial version available as well as free version with limited data
  • Stringent security

CONS:
  • Slow in some locations
  • Cannot access Torrent
  • No Netflix support
  • Just over 20 servers currently


Overview

TunnelBear VPN Review

Features of TunnelBear VPN

A robust and fluent VPN app based on the basic principle of simplicity defines the workings of TunnelBear VPN. It is a workaholic to be honest and always stays on if set to launch at start up. It means you do not have to reconnect once you restart your computer. The best in its class AES 256-bit encryption is used by this app and its network of 20 servers across 20 countries gets you automatically connected to the closest server for fastest speed and best service.

Privacy protection is paramount for TunnelBear VPN and its active protection mechanisms work round the clock to give the user a hassle free experience on the internet. Unlike its nearest competitors like PureVPN with paid 3-days trial account TunnelBear VPN does have a free trial version. You can try it out free for a month with 500MB of data and if you are satisfied with the service then you can opt for unlimited data by buying their giant or grizzly pack. The strong encryption used by TunnelBear VPN allows you to confidently browse or download on public Wi-Fi. Unlimited data with paid packs lets you download files or watch videos to your heart’s content.

A special feature called GhostBear lets you bypass even the great firewall of China. Browsing anonymously has been made easy by TunnelBear VPN. TunnelBear is also known for publishing an independent security audit. They are audited independently so that the process is transparent and trust worthy. 

Both DNS leak protection and IPv6 leak protection is there in TunnelBear VPN. They work in tandem to avoid any unwilling leak during a DNS search or while routing traffic through private tunnels. In case of disrupted connections it protects your real IP address from leaking. The leak protections prevent your ISP or other trackers from keeping surveillance on you.

Features Table

Location

Does VPN keep logs?

Hiding IP

Kill-Switch

Max Connections

Total Servers

Total Countries

Compatible Devices

Compatible with TOR

Torrenting

Netflix

Does it work in China?

Average Speed Tests

Usability

Customer Support

Price

Toronto, Canada

5

20

20

Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, Linux

Average

Extremely easy to install and use

Support through email, troubleshooting and guide on their website. Helpful support 24/7

Little Bear (Free Plan) - 500 MB Free /month

Giant Bear - $9.99/month (unlimited data)

Grizzly Bear - $4.99/month (unlimited data)

1

VPN Server Locations

TunnelBear VPN is currently available across 20 countries. While the number of servers is not very high, they are still expanding and the number of servers will be increasing in the coming years. Among the 20 servers, 11 are in Europe including in countries like UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands and Switzerland. In the Asia Pacific region there are servers in Japan, India, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. They also have servers in USA, Canada, Mexico and Brazil.

The Auto-tunnel feature, available on Windows, macOS, iOS, and android, can automatically find the best tunnel for the user by determining the location with the lowest ping. However if pinging is not possible with your device this feature will not work.

2

Does VPN Keep Logs?

Like all other VPN apps, TunnelBear VPN does not keep any logs of the user’s activity be it IP address, search history, download history, websites visited or period of activity. They do not log any sort of private data or even lets your ISP track your data. Their privacy policy is listed in details on their website. I suggest you read the whole policy before trying it out.

3

Does VPN Hide IP Address?

Yes, TunnelBear VPN hides IP address. It can hide your real IP address by bypassing your internet traffic through tunnels in different locations thus ensuring that your ISP or government authorities cannot track your real IP. Even if your ISP realizes you are using a VPN service and decides to throttle your bandwidth then you can rely on the GhostBear feature.

The GhostBear feature makes it that much more harder for government agencies or ISP to track your IP address or even your activity online. The feature however is only available for Windows, macOS and android devices and not for iOS because of design restrictions on the iOS.

4

Does VPN Have a Kill Switch?

TunnelBear VPN kill switch feature

TunnelBear VPN is vigilant when it comes to protecting the user’s privacy and its vigilant mode ensures that even if the user gets disconnected due to any glitch then unsecured traffic is immediately blocked until safe reconnection. The kill switch immediately disconnects the user from the internet in case TunnelBear cannot reconnect again to prevent any data leak or IP address leak to the user’s ISP. VigilantBear is always on guard just in case anything goes wrong and next time you are on a public Wi-Fi using social media you do not have to  worry about your identity in case of connection loss.

5

Maximum Connections

With TunnelBear VPN you can connect up to 5 devices with only one account. If you want to connect a new device then you must first disconnected a previously connected device and connect the new one. If you do connect more than 5 devices then you will receive a notification over email or on the TunnelBear VPN app. It however does not support smart TV, gaming consoles or routers.

For office or group connections where you need to connect more than 5 devices at a time then you can take a look at the TunnelBear for teams
6

Compatible Devices

TunnelBear VPN is compatible with Windows (7 to 10), macOS (10.10 to High Sierra), Android and iOS devices. There is also an extension for Opera and Chrome browsers. Though it is compatible with Linux, TunnelBear provides only limited support for Linux.

It is however not compatible with Windows mobile, smart TV, routers, gaming consoles or Kindle.

7

Is TunnelBear VPN Compatible With Tor?

Yes. TOR, as we all know, works similar as a VPN. It masks your real IP address and lets you access restricted websites and content on the internet without your ISP knowing. However your ISP can see that you are using TOR browser and can throttle your bandwidth to hamper your experience. By using VPN over TOR you can even hide the fact that you are using TOR. Not even your ISP can track your activities online or your private data including your real IP address.

8

Can You Do Torrenting with VPN?

Torrent is a popular movie streaming and download site but TunnelBear is unfortunately not compatible with Torrent. Many users use Torrent regularly and they prefer to use a VPN for it to protect unwanted snooping from their ISP. Sadly TunnelBear VPN does not even support P2P sharing. Well not yet at least.

9

Can You Access Netflix with TunnelBear?

Negative again. Even though Netflix is quite popular nowadays and its popularity is increasing by leaps and bounds TunnelBear does not let you access Netflix. Netflix has blocked many VPN including some big ones and TunnelBear is no exception. It may be possible to access Netflix via the GhostBear feature but that may not be a permanent solution to access geo-restricted contents on Netflix. Check 5 best VPNs for Netflix if you consider one for that purpose.

10

Does It Work In China?

China is notorious for government restrictions on almost everything to do with the internet. Google, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are all banned in China and the same goes for VPN. TunnelBear however lets you access VPN service through their afore-mentioned GhostBear feature. By enabling the GhostBear protocol you can bypass the great firewall to safely access any TunnelBear VPN server. The feature disguises your traffic as regular internet traffic with the help of a technology known as Obfsproxy.

11

Average Speed Tests

To understand how fast TunnelBear VPN really is I did speed tests in 4 different locations with varying results. Speed is often dependent on your ISP and your device but considering all other parameters to be fine TunnelBear is frankly on the slower side. Speed in Europe was decent with average download speed of around 50Mbps. The servers near Berlin and Amsterdam were the fastest. The average download speed across USA, including New York, was 35Mbps. Speed in Asian countries like Japan and India were quite slow. The average download speed I recorded in Tokyo was 7.07Mbps.

When compared to its nearest competitors and the VPN apps that I have used earlier I have found it to be slow. I noticed that ExpressVPN and NordVPN are the fastest VPN services among others.
12

Installation And Ease Of Use

TunnelBear is very easy to install in any device and any platform. Just visit their website and click download. All you have to do is register on their site by opening an account. Once you have done that choose the operating system on which you want to download the app and you are set to go. Choose the price package appropriate for you and once you have paid you can connect 5 devices from that single account. They do have a trial version for you to try out.

The user interface is very friendly and easy to operate. Once installed on your device you are one click away from connecting to TunnelBear’s server.

13

Customer support

The support at TunnelBear is quite friendly and posses sound knowledge of the application. You can troubleshoot any problem on their website. Just go to ‘Help’ and click on ‘Troubleshoot’. There is also a guide on how to set it up but it is rather quite easy even for an amateur and you can do it yourself.

You can also email them for any further queries and they get back to quickly. There is even a priority support for teams using TunnelBear VPN.

14

Pricing

  • 1 Month

    FREE /month
    • FREE with 500 MB data every month
  • 1 Month

    $9.99 /month
    • Billed $9.99 every month
    • Unlimited data, paid monthly
    • 30-day money-back guarante

There are three different price packages for TunnelBear VPN and they are Little Bear, Giant Bear and Grizzly Bear. The Little Bear package comes free of cost and offers the user 500 MB of unlimited monthly data. The Giant Bear package will set you back by $9.99 each month for unlimited data monthly. The Grizzly Bear package is the most sensible one in my opinion as it offers unlimited data yearly for just $5.00 per month. There is an attractive offer for those interested in a long term 12 month plan bat $59.99 per year. TunnelBear VPN is more or less in the same price bracket as its closest competitors but the reason I prefer it over others because of the free 7-day trial version it offers.

15

How Popular is the Service?

TunnelBear Google trends

Google trend is an application on Google that shows a graphical representation of the interest on the searched item over a specified period in a specified region. I searched the term TunnelBear on Google Trend and in the past 5 years interest has been above average in the US.  Interest on TunnelBear review has seen a rise from last year peaking during December, last year and January, this year. Washington has shown the maximum interest among the sub-regions. When I searched for ‘buy TunnelBear’ it unfortunately did not return any result.

16

Can you hide your identity and location while accessing social media sites?

Yes you can. One of the amazing things about TunnelBear VPN is the round the clock robust protection it provides via its many sophisticated technologies and encryption protocols. It lets you hide your real IP on social media sites. The app does not keep log of your activity online and neither lets any third party snoop in on you. Being anonymous on the internet and on social media has been made easy by TunnelBear. Vigilant mode is always on and in case you are on a public network when the server fails the feature will disconnect your device temporarily until safe connection is re-established. Thus your identity and privacy is always protected.

17

Should you buy it?

I have been using TunnelBear VPN for quite some time now and I am satisfied with it till now. I would suggest you carefully consider your requirements. Are you interested in anonymous browsing? Or are you an avid gamer? May be you are hooked to Netflix. Gamers and Netflix nerds can stay away from TunnelBear VPN but if your needs are as simple as mine and all you are looking for is simple yet strong protection for your privacy and identity then look no further than TunnelBear. It suits small teams and businesses especially well. Beginners can use TunnelBear VPN to get an idea of how VPN works before moving on to more complex VPN apps. You can always try out the free version first if you are having second thoughts.

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7.8 Total Score
Average

Features
7
Download Speed
6
Usability & Support
10
Price
8
PROS
  • Free trial version
  • Easy to install and use
  • 5 multiple connections
CONS
  • Servers's speed is average
  • No torrents supports
  • No Netflix support
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