TunnelBear VPN Review
Our Take: TunnelBear keeps private information private with its no-log policy and has a simple, intuitive design. Despite these advantages, the service is somewhat limited in terms of its ability to unblock connections to some of the major streaming services. TunnelBear doesn't work with Hulu, YouTube, Showtime or Disney, which is a major drawback for users with multiple streaming accounts.
TunnelBear VPN service features one-click access, along with a colorful map to help users visualize their connections. The following guide provides an overview of TunnelBear VPN, including a list of pros and cons, an explanation of the service’s key features and a summary of the company’s policies related to information logging, torrenting and streaming audio and video content.
Pros & Cons of TunnelBear
|What We Like and What We Don’t|
Key Features of TunnelBear
To help you choose the right VPN for your needs, we looked at the four most important features of any VPN service: security and privacy, server coverage, performance and price. Below is a breakdown of TunnelBear’s key features.
Security & Privacy
A high level of security is one of the most important features of any VPN service. TunnelBear uses the global standard for encryption: AES-256. This encryption method uses several processes, such as breaking data into blocks and generating encryption keys, to guard against brute-force attacks and shortcut attacks. As a result, it’s nearly impossible for hackers to gain access to data encrypted with the AES-256 method. TunnelBear has two additional security features to keep your data private: Trusted Networks and GhostBear. The Trusted Networks feature tells TunnelBear to connect or disconnect based on which networks are “trusted” and which ones aren’t, and GhostBear makes data less visible to internet service providers and government agencies. For extra protection, a VPN service should also have a no-log policy, which means the company doesn’t save any of the information transmitted across the network. TunnelBear has this type of policy, and it also publishes yearly reports outlining the results of independent security audits. The company founders are committed to maintaining this no-log policy for as long as TunnelBear exists.
Server coverage is another important consideration when it comes to choosing a VPN service. If a VPN only has servers in a few countries, it may be difficult to connect to your favorite sites if you have to travel. TunnelBear has approximately 1,800 servers in more than 22 countries, including France, Germany, Canada, Sweden, Singapore and Argentina. Some governments conduct extensive monitoring of online activity, making TunnelBear even more valuable for travelers. In these countries, the GhostBear feature can make it more difficult for government agencies to monitor your traffic, giving you extra privacy overseas. It’s also important to find out whether a VPN service has many servers in each country or just a few servers. It’s important to have as many servers as possible in each country to spread out the traffic and prevent one or two servers from getting overloaded. Having multiple servers ensures that users can maintain adequate speeds while connected to the VPN. TunnelBear meets this criterion, as it has more than 1,800 servers across 22 countries, which averages out to more than 80 servers per country. Some countries have more and some have fewer, but TunnelBear offers excellent coverage no matter where you travel.
Before signing up for a VPN, it’s important to determine what features are included and identify any limitations that could make it difficult to use the service. For example, anyone in the market for a VPN should check to see whether the service has monthly data limits. TunnelBear’s free plan has a data limit of 500MB per month, but users can upgrade to 1GB by promoting the company on their Twitter accounts. Unused data is lost at the beginning of the next billing cycle. The Unlimited plan has no monthly data limits. TunnelBear works with up to five devices at a time, making it ideal for security-minded users who use computers, smartphones and tablets to browse the internet. This device limit also makes it easy for TunnelBear users to share their accounts with family members and friends. When it comes to streaming, TunnelBear is somewhat limited, as it only works with Netflix, Reddit and Etsy. For users who don’t have multiple audio and video streaming services, this shouldn’t be a deal breaker. TunnelBear even has a team plan to help businesses enhance their online security.
TunnelBear is one of few companies to offer a free VPN service with no hidden fees. Although the free plan does have a monthly data limit, it costs absolutely nothing. The Unlimited Plan costs $9.99 per month when billed monthly, $4.99 per month with a one-year commitment and $3.99 per month with a three-year commitment. Customers who choose the three-year plan also receive a complimentary three-year subscription to RememBear password manager. For businesses with at least two users, TunnelBear also offers a team plan. Like the regular Unlimited plan, the team option comes with unlimited secure browsing. It works for up to five devices per user, making it easier for businesses to prevent outsiders from finding out what sites their employees are visiting. The team plan also features centralized account management and billing for user convenience. This plan costs $5.75 per user per month. TunnelBear doesn’t offer an annual billing option for team accounts.
|TunnelBear Plans & Pricing|
|Customer Support||Email only|
|Platform/Browser Compatibility||Compatible with Chrome, Firefox and Opera|
|Server Coverage||1800+ servers in 22+ countries|
|Number of Devices||TunnelBear supports up to five devices at a time.|
|No-log Policy||The company’s no-log policy keeps user data private.|
|Security Encryption||256-AES encryption|
|Kill Switch||TunnelBear has a kill switch to block unsecured traffic until the VPN reconnects.|
|Website||Learn more at TunnelBear|
What Customers Are Saying
Customers appreciate that TunnelBear is designed to provide one-click access to a secure connection. One user explains, “TunnelBear does everything I need a VPN to do and it’s simple enough to use that I can safely recommend it to anyone.” Business users love that TunnelBear makes it easier to connect with customers. A satisfied user comments that TunnelBear “expanded our horizon to accept customers from many parts of the world” and made it easier to carry out SEO and digital marketing activities.