TunnelBear claims to be a simple and effective VPN solution for internet users. But that's not the reason this service is making headlines - instead, it was the acquisition in 2018, when internet security giant McAfee purchased the VPN provider from its Canadian founders.
Other TunnelBear reviews provide mixed reactions to this popular VPN service. I decided to test TunnelBear myself to determine if it was indeed one of the top VPNs in the industry.
So, can you trust TunnelBear to keep your information secure online?
My TunnelBear review will explore every aspect of the service.
Is TunnelBear Safe?
If you're using a VPN for online privacy, it's essential to take a more in-depth look at TunnelBear's privacy features. All VPNs claim to provide high-end online safety capabilities, but this isn't always the reality.
TunnelBear company headquarters started in Canada, but US-based McAfee now owns the company. Unfortunately, both of these locations are bad jurisdictions for VPN companies.
The United States and Canada are part of the Five Eyes Jurisdiction.
This means they have agreements in place to share information and data with other Western superpowers. If you want to keep your information safe from prying governments, it's not a good idea to work with a VPN company located in either of these countries.
A VPN's logging policy is also a critical safety component. If a company logs your information, there's a chance it can be passed on to third parties or governments.
Fortunately, TunnelBear has a strong logging policy that prevents the collection of your data or information.
What About TunnelBear's Encryption?
You can have the best logging policy and jurisdiction in the world, but if your VPN doesn't have solid encryption, you'll still be vulnerable. It's encryption that provides a secure 'tunnel' for your web traffic when you connect to a VPN.
Fortunately, TunnelBear uses an industry leading encryption standard to keep your data secure. TunnelBear's AES 256-bit encryption was previously used by the US Government to keep US Military data secure - it's now considered the gold standard in the VPN industry.
TunnelBear also has a secretive feature named GhostBear that helps prevent ISPs from detecting your VPN traffic.
While TunnelBear doesn't provide a lot of information on how its GhostBear service works, I tested it and it certainly reduces performance - this may be an indication that the system is working harder to prevent VPN detection.
You can't have your cake an eat it - if you want more security, you'll have to sacrifice performance, and TunnelBear offers you an option.
So, is TunnelBear safe? While its logging policy is solid, its connection to Canada and the United States prevents it from being an ideal VPN service. I tend to prefer working with companies located in offshore jurisdictions.
Fortunately, its encryption standard will go a long way in keeping your data secure, regardless of TunnelBear's jurisdiction.
TunnelBear Speed Test
All VPNs claim their servers provide perfect internet performance. Unfortunately, most VPNs slow down your internet speeds substantially. My TunnelBear speed test sought to take a look at some of the server speeds available at TunnelBear.
My speed tests found that TunnelBear provides an average download speed of about 32.8Mbps and an average upload speed of 28.1Mbps.
My typical download speed is around 75Mbps - TunnelBear provides a speed retention rate of around 44%.
While this isn't as fast as some of the top competitors in the industry, it still provides you with plenty of performance if your typical internet speed is similar to mine.
TunnelBear Netflix Capabilities
TunnelBear Netflix capabilities don't live up to the hype.
I ran tests on various servers and found that Netflix detected my TunnelBear VPN.
If you want a VPN service that consistently accesses Netflix abroad, you need to look at a different company.
Does TunnelBear Support Torrenting?
TunnelBear torrents are not supported. The company's location in Canada makes it hard for TunnelBear to support P2P networks on its platform openly.
As ISPs continue to block torrents from their users, using a VPN can help you access popular P2P networks - you just need to find the right one.
If you plan on using torrents, find another VPN service that supports torrenting.
TunnelBear Server Locations
Unfortunately, TunnelBear is relatively limited in terms of server locations. TunnelBear currently offers around 20 different countries – this is much less than some of the other VPN services on the market.
While these server locations cover most major areas, you can definitely find a VPN that has better options.
TunnelBear Customer Support
TunnelBear offers a number of easy-to-find resources if you need help with your VPN service. You can search for different topics and problems on its website.
In terms of contacting customer support, you need to log into your account to access a support ticket. Unlike other VPN services, TunnelBear doesn't offer an easily accessible live chat option.
Overall, TunnelBear customer service is reliable – though it could use some improving.
TunnelBear offers subscriptions in three different forms: Little (free), Giant ($9.99/month), and Grizzly (same plan as Giant, only $59.99/year) - purchasing a year at a time will save you significant money.
Looking at things as monthly subscriptions - prices range from $9.99 a month to $5.00 a month.
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Compared to the competition, the prices are a little bit steep. Many VPN providers offer you plans for less than 6 dollars a month - so while not expensive, the premium plans are a bit on the expensive side.
TunnelBear Free Option
TunnelBear has a free option that gives you access to 500mb of monthly data. That's not much, but you know - no money, no honey.
But it's a good way to try the service before you upgrade.
Of course, you can stay on the free plan if you don't need more than 500mb a month!
It's good when VPN providers give users a free option with their service – it means they trust their product. And you can always give it a spin.
My TunnelBear Review Round-Up
There are a lot of components to consider when evaluating a new VPN. Make sure to assess which features are important to you before you purchase a VPN.
TunnelBear has an excellent no-log policy and provides users with relatively fast internet. On the other hand, lack of support for Netflix and torrenting make this service unusable by media lovers.
Also, you won't have as many server options as with other VPN services.
So, is TunnelBear good? It's not perfect. But if you're looking for an easy-to-use VPN company backed by a major security firm, it's a solid option.