TunnelBear VPN Review 2018: An Excellent VPN Service Recommended for Beginners
TunnelBear VPN can enable you to access just about any website and go online from a wide range of locations worldwide. The client software of the service is easy to use and the service has around 1700 servers in 20 countries. The Toronto, Canada based VPN service is compatible with all operating systems and internet-enabled devices. The best part of the VPN service is that it comes with customized software applications for Mac, Windows, Android and iOS devices. You can even use your TunnelBear account on Apple TV and Linux. With user-friendly setup guides available on the official website, the service becomes a natural choice especially for the beginners.
Features of TunnelBear VPN
TunnelBear, a freemium product, enables the users to bypass geospecific blocking in most of countries. It allows users to appear anonymously in twenty countries, including the USA, Italy, Sweden and Ireland. The clients use AES-256 encryption protocol, although the iOS 8 and/or earlier clients use a different encryption. When you are connected to any of the VPN servers, your actual IP address won’t be visible to the websites you visit. Instead, the website administrators would be able to see the spoof IP address provided by the VPN service.
Number of Servers: TunnelBear uses more than 1500 servers spread in 20 countries around the globe, including the US, Canada, Japan, France, Italy, Mexico, and Hong Kong. However, this number fluctuates more often than not, as the VPN service uses a mix of shared and dedicated servers. The former type might shut down or boot up to accommodate network demands.
Performance: TunnelBear VPN service performed exceptionally well in New York, Germany, Netherlands and in Azerbaijan. The average download speed 21.0 Mbps was reduced by about 50% compared to the pretest download speed of 31.8 Mbps. However, when we tried to download a 750 MB video file, it achieved a speed of 1.23 Mbps, which is a straight 55% drop from the pretest speed level. Tunnelbear performed considerably well in hotel rooms and coffee shops, although the performance was not at par with the most popular VPN services such as Private Internet Access. However, it performed better than many other VPN services such as VPN Unlimited, WindScribe, CyberGhost and Mullvad. However, TunnelBear emerged the second best performer when it came to network connection time. The VPN service took about 6.5 seconds to connect to the network, which is incredible. The only VPN service which could beat this was PIA.
In our latency tests, TunnelBear’s network latency was measured at 66.6 milliseconds, and it’s an average performer in this aspect. For the uninitiated, network latency is the duration of travelling of a data packet from one end point to another. PIA was the best performer in our latency tests, and VPN Unlimited was the worst of the lot (Mullvad was even worse). If you are concerned about Upload speed, TunnelBear’s average upload speed of 14.2 Mbps is a straight 51% drop from the pretest speed levels. Also, TunnelBear does not have a local server in Azerbaijan and you have to use servers based in Romania, although it connects to the Romania-based servers seamlessly. In our tests, TunnelBear maintained a 12-hour uninterrupted connection without any glitch and we could stream videos and music to Smartphone devices quite easily. In case you are interested, TunnelBear also offers a VPN service for the corporate and it’s called “TunnelBear for Teams”.
Security: The VPN service, designed primarily for the normal users, is non-intrusive and cheap, but it’s not open source. They manage the accounts on their servers using exclusive tokens for each user. The VPN service’s safety and privacy level is quite satisfactory, but it does not provide an attack surface. It’s a proprietary software application that quietly runs on your PC, or your tablet or Smartphone, and it’s quite good at managing the most private part of your entire communication on the web, your internet connection. TunnelBear has a zero-log policy, which means it doesn’t keep the logs of the services, applications or websites accessed by the users. However, it collects metadata, which is required for optimizing VPN services.
Pricing: Apart from offering monthly and yearly plans, TunnelBear also offers a pricing plan exclusively for mobile users. The Giant TunnelBear plan, which is essentially a monthly plan, would cost you $9.99 every month. You can use unlimited data and get complete flexibility while you are on this plan. As an add-on, you can use your account on Windows or Mac system and two mobile devices. The Grizzly plan, which is the yearly plan, comes at $59.88. It offers all the advanced features and you can also save more on a monthly basis. With the free plan or the Little Plan, you would get 500 MB of free data every month. The company often runs promotions and offers big discounts, that’s why we recommend you to check TunnelBear coupon page so not to miss a good price.
Advanced Features: Like all other best VPN services, TunnelBear also comes with a host of advanced features, such as the Vigilant Bear or the Kill Switch option. You can easily secure your online activities and internet traffic even if the connection is lost abruptly. If you are not sure which country’s servers to connect, you can use the Closest Tunnel feature for advanced security. Also, the application is set to connect on launch, and you don’t have to worry about reconnecting when you restart your PC. Additionally, the VPN service provides users with a unique feature called GhostBear, which allows you to detect VPN blocking easily. Also, GhostBear feature ensures that your encrypted data is less visible to your ISP, governments and snooping agencies. There’s a complete knowledge base with frequently asked questions, where you can get all your queries answered.
Support: TunnelBear Support is truly outstanding as you can find all the frequently asked questions related to installation and usage in the ‘Help’ section of the official website. If you want to get live assistance, you may contact a “support bear”, which is nothing but a support executive.
TunnelBear How to Guides and Tutorials
How To Use TunnelBear On Different Devices
TunnelBear is an easy-to-use VPN service which covers all the major platforms. Here’s a small guide on how to use the VPN service on your PC, iPhone or Android phone.
How To Use TunnelBear On Your PC
To start with, simply click on the ‘sign in’ button which you can find in the upper right corner of the homepage and you would be required to give your email ID and password. From here, you will be redirected to the ‘download page’. Choose Windows PC as a platform and once the download starts, you can see the setup wizard on your screen. Install TunnelBear and follow the instructions. The Windows client is pretty sophisticated and it is rich with animations. You would be automatically connected to one of the servers, but you can certainly set your preferences later on. The drop-down menu contains VigilantBear and GhostBear switches, and you also have the option to set Trusted Networks. Under the account management tab, you can find technical support or you may simply log out.
How To Use TunnelBear On Android And iPhone
We will start with the iPhone part. Go to iTunes and choose the app. Just click “Yes”, “Agree”, “Install Now” to get started. TunnelBear would prompt you adjust default settings, but you can reverse it anytime later on. After opening the app, you will see a sleeping bear. If you go for the Little Bear plan (the free plan), you can see a gauge in the upper right corner. The drop-down menu is in the upper right corner and here you will see a VPN section. Connect to it and pick one of the available servers. You are all set. If you are downloading it on your Android device, the process is almost the same, except for the fact that you will be downloading it from Google PlayStore. The app supports Ice Cream Sandwich version or higher.
A Detailed Comparison Of TunnelBear And ExpressVPN
Finding the perfect solution for anonymous browsing is quite difficult. You need to choose your VPN service based on your specific requirements. Here’s a detailed comparison of TunnelBear, and one of its close competitors, ExpressVPN.
|App||TunnelBear works perfectly on Windows, Android, Mac, an iOS. Besides, you can get plug-ins for Opera and Chrome.||ExpressVPN is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, iOS, as well as Blackberry. It is fully compatible with routers as well.|
|Support||TunnelBear Help section comes with a search field and you can even get help from a support staff.||ExpressVPN live chat support is one of the best at this moment. Besides, you can visit their informative FAQ section.|
|IP||TunnelBear offers shared and dedicated IP addresses.||ExpressVPN also offers shared and dedicated IP addresses.|
|Subscription||TunnelBear has three different pricing plans – Little (Free), Giant and Grizzly, with the entry price point being $9.99.||ExpressVPN offers three subscription plans – monthly, semi-monthly and annual. The lowest price point is $12.95 (monthly plan).|
|Performance||TunnelBear, with server locations in 20 countries, and you will get unlimited bandwidth if you are on the paid plans.||ExpressVPN has servers in 87 countries and unlimited speed and bandwidth come paired with server switching.|
|Security And Privacy||TunnelBear has 256-bit encryption and effectively prevents VPPN blocking. It has a zero log policy and a kill switch too.||ExpressVPN also uses 256-bit encryption. Apart from the features offered by TunnelBear, it also offers a NAT firewall.|
Pros and Cons of TunnelBear VPN
- It’s a cheap and easy-to-use VPN
- The interface design is pleasing to the eyes and it’s an approachable design
- Download speed is considerably good
- Browser extension available
- Host of advanced features
- Compatible with Netflix
- Supports only a few locations
- Unable to select protocol
- No bittorent or P2P
- No specialized virtual servers
The Final Verdict
If you are particularly looking for a user-friendly and inexpensive VPN service, TunnelBear is a great option for you as you can easily surf the web anonymously. The international download and upload speeds are pretty average, but it offers good value for money overall.