Tunnelbear is owned by Canadian based McAfee and unlike other services does not bog you down with jargon. Instead, you’re greeted, treated, and explained everything with a graphical representation of bears!
You will not see much mention of things like protocols, encryption algorithms, or any other technical term for that matter. Instead, the VPN tries to focus on the basics while clearly explaining how to protect your privacy by using it.
Unfortunately, this approach isn’t going to work for everyone. Technical users may not find this approach to be alluring or even useful for that matter. But then again Tunnelbear VPN isn’t meant for tech-centric people.
During our time reviewing Tunnelbear, there were many things we enjoyed about the service. However is this the right VPN for you? That’s a question we’ve set out to answer in this review.
TunnelBear VPN features
TunnelBear VPN does not come with a load of features like competing services. However, the features offered all work perfectly and as intended.
Vigilant Bear aka Kill-Switch: If you lose connection to the server, the application will temporarily turn off your internet until the connection can be re-established. With the feature turned on, you can be sure that your data isn’t leaked because of a temporary lapse in the connection.
5 Connections Simultaneously: You can have up to five devices connected to the same service at a time. That means your laptop, Android phone, iPhone, computer, and tablet can all use the same VPN at a time.
GhostBear: The GhostBear feature was one that we found ourselves using a lot even though it significantly slows down the connection. The idea behind this feature is simple. Many websites don’t allow people to access their services if they are using a VPN. The GhostBear feature hides the fact that you are using a VPN. So, you can access the site, and its associated features with it turned on.
Ironclad Encryption: TunnelBear VPN uses industrial level AES 256-bit encryption. The encryption is turned on by default, and so everything that goes to and from your computer is encrypted.
Number of servers: The Toronto based company has 350+ VPN servers that are spread across 22 countries across the world. So, they cover South America, North America, Australia, Asia, and Europe.
Closest Tunnel: Want to ensure that you are secure regardless of which country you end up being connected to? Then this feature chooses the fastest, most secure server based on its proprietary algorithm. Just one click and you’re connected to the best server. During our testing, we found that the connection was indeed to the nearest and often the fastest server.
Like every VPN we’ve reviewed in the past TunnelBear does have it’s fair share of pros and cons. Obviously no service is perfect. But knowing them helps you figure out if the cons and pros are worth it for you.
1 Month Plan
1 Year Plan
2 Years Plan
$9.99 (total costs)
$59.88 (total costs)
$99.99 (total costs)
At first glance, customer support looks awful because there is no phone or live chat support. So, you are stuck with using the ticket based system of which we aren’t big fans for obvious reasons of it being slow.
However, we wanted to see how much time they would take to get back to us and if they would answer our question in its entirety? We did this by opening up a ticket and asking about why we were not able to access Netflix?
We were impressed by both the speed at which they (the TunnelBear team) responded and the entirety of their answer. While they say it takes an average of 48 hours to reply, the fact is that they replied within a few hours is impressive. That’s very fast for a ticket system.
The customer support’s answer to our Netflix question was that the service (Netflix) actively blocks VPN IPs. However, they were working on getting fresh IP addresses, which would allow people to start accessing and streaming Netflix soon.
Out of all the VPNs we’ve tested and reviewed on this website, we have to admit that TunnelBear isn’t the fastest nor does it have the largest network of servers. Though TunnelBear isn’t about having all that grunt but rather usability. However, the fact that they focus exclusively on security with the objective of making the service easy to use is impressive. We give them credit for building a system that’s so beginner friendly that even our moms could use it.
We would recommend TunnelBear VPN to people who haven’t used a VPN before and don’t want to deal with all the technical jargon associated with regular VPN services. However, we’d never recommend it to people who want granular control of everything from port selection to encryption algorithm. Plus during the time we tested it, we were unable to unblock Netflix.
That said the speeds are decent for the price so you should be able to stream quite smoothly except for if it is in 1080p on a 10mpbs connection perhaps because of the throttling applied by the very nature of VPN services.