Insights For Success

Strategy, Innovation, Leadership and Security

Honest review of the Tunnelbear VPN service

GeneralEdward KiledjianComment

Similar Articles:

Start

I've written about half a dozen articles over the last couple of weeks reviewing various VPN services. I asked my social media followers what other VPN services they wanted me to review, and many readers requested that I review TunnelBear. So here is my review of the TunnelBear VPN service.

TL;DR - TunnelBear is an excellent service that won't disappoint.

First, it meets the multi platform requirement. It supports MacOS, Windows, IOS and Android (with browser extensions for Opera and Google Chrome). These are the most requested platforms by users and will meet the needs of 95% of their user base. If you are a tinker and want an OpenVPN configuration file or router support, you will be sorely disappointed (see VyprVPN in that case). They have talked about a very manual configuration option for Linux using OpenVPN, but this isn't for the faint of heart.

TunnelBear has about 19 servers worldwide. This is in strong contract to companies like HideMyAss that offer 190+ locations with 720+ servers.  Countries listed during my test included: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Ireland, Spain, Singapore, Norway, Denmark, Hong Kong, Brazil, Mexico, India.

One issue I have with many services is that there is no "auto-connect to the fastest server" option, but TunnelBear has this option. When compared to VyprVPN, UnlimitedVPN (Keepsolid) or HideMyAss, TunnelBear's performance was always a little bit slower. Youtube was always using a lower quality, and downloading files always took a bit longer. 

Many VPN services just provide a plain; we do not collect logs statement. As a more technical user, I expect a little more "meat" with a statement like that. You can read the TunnelBear privacy policy here.  

I appreciate the honesty and clear privacy terms provided by TunnelBear:

By using our services, you authorize TunnelBear to use your information according to Canada’s laws, regardless of which country you are located in
TunnelBear explicitly does NOT collect, store or log the following data:

- IP addresses visiting our website
- IP addresses upon service connection
- DNS Queries while connected
- Any information about the applications, services or websites our users use while connected to our Service

Canada is a member of the five eyes and as a Canadian, I believe my information is collected and shared with the other members of the spying consortium. My preference is to use a VPN service who is headquartered in Switzerland (or another privacy loving locale). 

TunnelBear also offers a free tier (500MB per month) to anyone who wants to test their service or has very limited needs. Free VPN service is a rare offering from a reputable company, and one TunnelBear should be very proud of. 

You can earn one free GB of additional traffic by tweeting about TunnelBear using an in app feature. I tried this twice, and they added 1GB each time within 10 minutes.

I tested Netflix USA with the TunnelBear VPN turned on and Netflix detected the connection as a VPN and refused to show the US catalogue. 

Pricing

The annual TunnelBear subscription is $4.99 a month which is competitive. If you shop around (check out the link in my KeepSolid UnlimitedVPN review) you can get a similar VPN service at $49.99 for an unlimited lifetime subscription. 

Conclusion

TunnelBear offers an easy to use VPN service or the average Joe. It doesn't offer a tonne of client support. It is based in a high-risk country (Canada) and the price is average. 

If your look around on deal sites, you can find an UnlimitedVPN lifetime (5 devices) deal for $49.99 which is a better deal. UnlimitedVPN is based in the USA so they suffer the same headquarter location issue (being based in a Five eyes country) as TunnelBear. The difference is you get a tonne more exit servers than TunnelBear.

For real security, I would say check out Private Internet Access or ProtonVPN.