The Only TunnelBear Review You Must Read in 2023
Updated · Jan 28, 2023
Best for: Increased security and privacy as well as torrenting.
TunnelBear is based in Canada and is owned by McAfee. It has a rather small network with only 23 global locations, including New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Europe, and North America.
TunnelBear has a user-friendly interface, secure servers, and even offers free plans. It has a strict no-logging policy and robust encryption, which offers outstanding privacy to the users.
Wanna know more? Read on!
TunnelBear offers paid and free VPN services across a range of popular platforms. It comes with all the basic features you would need.
The kill switch temporarily stops the internet traffic if you get disconnected from the VPN to ensure your privacy is maintained. It also has a strict no-logging policy to enhance your privacy and security. Moreover, it allows you to connect to multiple devices, and it also has a split tunneling feature.
But let’s dive deeper:
All TunnelBear reviews for 2021 believe the kill switch is one of the most crucial features in a VPN service. Also referred to as a network lock feature, this tool will protect you when you lose the VPN network while you are downloading a torrent. Without this switch, your private IP address would get exposed and might get you in trouble. TunnelBear’s kill switch, called VigilantBear is available for Android, Mac, and Windows.
Split tunneling enables users to route some of the web traffic through encrypted VPN tunnel and some through your ISP. TunnelBear offers you control over the apps that should be tunneled through the encrypted and secure connection. However, this feature is only available on Android.
So, does TunnelBear keep logs?
Well, not exactly.
TunnelBear has an effective, strict no-logging policy, which means it doesn’t keep track of any of your activity while you are connected to the VPN. It enhances your privacy and ensures you can safely browse the internet.
There’s something important we should mention in our TunnelBear VPN review. This provider does record “operational data” whenever you connect to a network. This includes the operating system version used by your device, the version of TunnelBear you are using, whether you were active during the month, as well as the bandwidth you used. This shows that it isn’t precisely zero-logging. However, the data stored is less than what many other VPNs store.
TunnelBear allows you to connect up to five devices. That way you can use it on your desktop, tablet, mobile, etc. and surf the Web without any concerns.
TunnelBear Advanced Features
Being one of the best VPN services on the market, TunnelBear also includes some advanced features, like strong encryption and GhostBear. Let us tell you more about them:
GhostBear basically hides the VPN traffic to provide you with enhanced protection against VPN and DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) restrictions. This is a must feature for restrictive countries like Saudi Arabia and China, as well as with school and work networks.
This feature is available for Android, Mac, and Windows. You will have to enable it by going in the settings and then security options.
TunnelBear offers excellent AES 256-bit encryption for enhanced protection.
TunnelBear Servers and Locations
The company has 23 different server locations. While it covers the basics, the number of servers is not enough. TunnelBear ignores the Middle East, Africa, and most of South America. However, the overall count of servers is not a good measurement for quality. A big VPN company with plenty of users would definitely have a higher number of servers. Whereas all companies spin up the servers as required. But it is still better to have more options.
TunnelBear has 1,800 servers throughout the world. That may seem like a lot, but it falls short when you look at the number of servers offered by other VPN providers.
Since virtual servers are software-defined, many servers can be run on a single physical server. Moreover, a virtual server has the ability to be configured into behaving like it is located in a specific country when it is not. This is often considered a good thing as a server might be in a secure location but also provide coverage to an unsafe location. It typically creates a problem when VPN companies are not transparent about where they send your data.
Whichever VPN provider you use, it is bound to affect your internet browsing experience because you are putting in additional hoops for the traffic to jump from. Therefore, speed is a significant concern for many VPN users. However, this alone should not be a benchmark to select a VPN service.
TunnelBear showed slightly mixed results in the testing. It lowered the upload speed by almost 60%, but it is better than the average for this category. The download speed was also reduced but by almost 75%. The latency increased by 96%. This isn’t surprising since this VPN merely has a handful of servers in the US, which means that your data would have to travel more to stay in the US. Your traffic might be routed to a Canadian server, for example.
Our TunnelBear speed test proved that is not the fastest. It showed consistently low speeds in various servers in different operating systems. It is not suitable for users looking for a fast VPN for downloading and streaming HD videos.
TunnelBear Privacy and Jurisdiction
TunnelBear is based in Canada, which is not a great privacy jurisdiction as it is a Five Eyes alliance member. This indicates that Canada surveillance and collects data with other countries, including New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and the US.
TunnelBear also clearly describes its logging policy. The company can’t link any users to any of the actions being carried out by any specific IP address. This shows that TunnelBear privacy is strong.
Typically, there isn’t a way to determine if you can trust whatever a VPN is claiming, but it is slightly different for TunnelBear. The VPN provider has independent specialists running annual security audit that covers multiple areas of TunnelBear’s service. Their last audit included the public website, frontend, and backend systems, service infrastructure, browser extension, windows, and mobile clients.
The results of the audit weren’t perfect, and the report did reveal various vulnerabilities. The good thing is that TunnelBear fixed those issues. This is a good indication that the company is willing to better itself.
The tests conducted for this TunnelBear VPN review showed that there weren’t any DNS leaks that may pose a risk of the user’s identity being revealed. Moreover, the kill switch is a great security addition.
TunnelBear Security and Protocols
One of the biggest concerns when selecting a VPN provider is how secure it actually is. This TunnelBear review explores the security and protocols used by this VPN to determine whether or not it is secured enough.
TunnelBear uses 256-bit AES encryption and SHA256 for data authentication. Let’s have a closer look at its security:
The VPN uses a strong AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). 256-bit AES encryption is the best one. It is secure, fast, and doesn’t utilize a lot of computing power. The AES-256 is even used by the government agencies, which shows that TunnelBear encryption is indeed the best you can get from a VPN.
SHA (Secure Hash Algorithm) establishes a “hash” made up of unique characters that can be compared to validate keys and passwords. This is done instead of transferring sensitive data in plain text to enhance privacy and security.
256-bit AES with SHA256 offers sufficient security for users to browse the internet without compromising their privacy and security.
Now, let’s talk about internet protocols. The amount of security a VPN can offer is dependent on the protocol it uses. TunnelBear uses KEv2/IPSec on iOS, OpenVPN on Android and Mac, and KEv2/OpenVPN on Windows, indicating highly efficient TunnelBear security.
OpenVPN is an open-source protocol that is utilized to secure the tunnels for internet traffic. It is also often known as the gold standard for VPN protocols, as it offers an outstanding balance of security and speed.
OpenVPN offers 256-bit AES encryption by utilizing OpenSSL library and other features that are configured using different protocols like SSTP, IPSec/IKEv2, L2TP, PPTP, and more.
IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange version 2) is one of the most popular VPN protocols. It helps in re-establishing the connection with the VPN automatically once you get disconnecting. It is useful when you are switching between mobile hotspots and Wi-Fi connection.
IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) is made up of different protocols to send the information securely through the internet. These protocols can encrypt and authenticate the data packets being sent. IPSec is also used in a range of algorithms and ciphers.
TunnelBear Leak Test Results
We wanted to give you the best TunnelBear review in 2021. So a DNS leak test was a must.
DNS (Domain Name Server) is the website’s address that you visit online converted into numbers. In many cases, even when you are connected through a VPN, your system continues using the DNS addresses of your ISP instead of the VPN. This is referred to as DNS leaks, and it can give away your private IP address, making the VPN useless. Fortunately, DNS leak tests showed TunnelBear doesn’t have this problem. Therefore, you can safely use it.
TunnelBear and Streaming Services
One of the major reasons many users use VPN is to use streaming services that they can’t access from their own country. Unfortunately, TunnelBear doesn’t unblock BBCiPlayer, Hulu, or Netflix US. It did manage to unblock HBO Go. If you want to use a VPN mostly for streaming purposes, then TunneBear is not the right choice for you.
How Good Is TunnelBear for Torrenting?
Many of you must be reading this TunnelBear review to determine whether you can use this VPN for torrenting. Torrenting is usually a sensitive area for many VPN providers, mostly due to the fact that P2P sharing is largely used to download pirated or illegal content. You can, however, certainly use TunnelBear for torrenting as it supports P2P connections. While this is not a featured selling point on the website, but TunnelBear p2p is supported in all locations.
Can TunnelBear Bypass Geoblocks?
TunnelBear offers a unique feature called GhostBear. It masks your VPN connection as a normal one. Enable it and you’ll have no issues with geoblocks.
Ease of Use
The software is easy to use and is simple to understand. It doesn’t offer many advanced settings or features that are generally available in high tech VPN services. However, if you are getting started with VPNs or are not very tech-savvy, then TunnelBear is a perfect choice for you.
It clearly shows you all the basic information you would need to know, including where you currently are located, which tunnel is being used, and where you would appear to be browsing from.
The browser extension is also simple and clean. All you have to do is turn the extension on and start your browsing. It’s that easy.
You can access TunnelBear’s self-help knowledge base for beginners and can get in touch with them through email support.
To reach email support, you will have to go to the contact page of the VPN’s website. Generally, the team will get back to you within a few hours and offers accurate, simple responses. However, the primary thing missing from TunnelBear’s website is 24/7 live chat support.
During the test for this TunnelBear review, we determined that there are plenty of details available in the knowledge base. The resources are comprehensive and also offers answers to commonly asked questions, links to the Twitter account of TunnelBear that shares system and maintenance outage information, and also quick-start guides.
One of the most significant benefits of TunnelBear is that it offers a free plan. Unfortunately, you can only avail 500 MB data in it. The amount is not at all sufficient and might only last for a short while, depending on what you want to do. However, it is still enough to get a feel of this VPN and determine if it’s right for you.
You can get an additional 1GB data from TunnelBear if you do some promotional tweets for them.
But let’s discuss the TunnelBear pricing. While it is certainly not a cheap VPN, it is also not too expensive. It lies somewhere in the middle.
You can opt for:
- Free version
- 1 month – $9.99/month
- 1 year – $4.99/month
- 3 years – $3.33/month
You can surely find VPN providers that offer cheaper rates if budget is your top priority.
TunnelBear VPN - Verdict
Is TunnelBear good?
The answer mostly depends on your preference and needs for a VPN. While TunnelBear is not a power VPN, it is still a suitable option for individuals with limited tech knowledge and first-time users. It is simple to use without any technical jargon to confuse the beginners. This VPN is known for its independent security audits and strong security.
However, if you’re on the hunt for a Netflix unblocking VPN, this is not the right choice. When it comes to streaming services, TunnelBear is only good for HBOGo. Also, it’s not the fastest option.
On the bright side, TunnelBear VPN offers a free service, so you just might give it a try.
Is TunnelBear safe?
TunnelBear is indeed safe to use as it offers a strict no-logging policy and strong encryption. For data encryption, it uses AES-256. For data authentication, it uses SHA256. TunnelBear also uses a Diffie-Hellman exchange for handshake encryption.
Is TunnelBear free?
TunnelBear does offer a free version, along with its paid plans. You get around 500 MB data free of charge each month with the free version however, if you are looking for more data than you need to purchase one of their paid plans.
Does TunnelBear work for Netflix?
No. Unfortunately, TunnelBear does not unblock Netflix. During our research for this TunnelBear review, we found that it is not suitable for streaming purposes.
What is TunnelBear used for?
TunnelBear is used to protect the users’ privacy, and encrypt the torrent files and web traffic.
Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.
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