TunnelBear VPN Review
For many internet users, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) seem to be a complex technology even today. But, there are VPN services that are designed specially to cater to the needs of beginners, and TunnelBear is known to be one such VPN provider.
Based in Ontario, Canada, TunnelBear VPN, similar to many other VPN services, was started with the intent of making internet browsing private, just the way it should be. The company states that it wants to “bring the benefits of privacy to everyone with our incredibly simple apps”. How simple are their apps really? Let’s find out.
Is My Privacy Protected with TunnelBear VPN?
When it comes to providing online privacy, TunnelBear VPN is as good as they come. The company gives utmost importance to its users’ privacy, as a result of which it “does NOT log any activity of customers connected to our service. Period.”.
When you create your own TunnelBear account, the company collects and stores what they call “Account Data”, and this usually includes: your email ID, email confirmation, paid user, paid user expiry date, and your Twitter ID (optional, for their Twitter promotion).
In addition to this information, TunnelBear VPN also collects “Operational Data”, which includes: OS version, Active this month (e.g. 1 or 0, they use it to analyze customer satisfaction), TunnelBear App version, and total data consumed this month.
As you can see, all these are basic details that almost all VPN service providers collect from their users.
When it comes to your payment information, TunnelBear doesn’t store your complete credit card number, and always follows different authentication processes to keep your details secure.
The company also mentions that it DOES NOT collect, log, or store the following information:
- The IP address from which you visit their website.
- DNS queries.
- IP address upon connecting to the service.
- Details of the websites, services or applications you use when connected to the VPN service.
Though there is no mention of a kill switch on the website, the VPN service does offer something called the Vigilant Mode, which is designed to block all unsecure traffic when your connection gets disrupted, until it is safe to reconnect.
Overall, the level of privacy offered by TunnelBear is quite high, which makes this VPN service an amazing choice for those of you looking for maximum online anonymity.
How Much is TunnelBear VPN? Is There a Free Trial?
TunnelBear is one of the most charming VPN services you can find today. In keeping up with its great animation and sense of humor, the company has incorporated the same in its pricing plans as well. The three pricing plans they offer for home users are named Little, Giant, and Grizzly.
The first one is a free plan where you get 500MB of data each month for free. The second is a monthly plan which will cost you $9.99 per month, with unlimited data. The third plan is a yearly plan, calculated at $4.99 per month ($59.88 per year), and this includes unlimited data as well.
TunnelBear VPN doesn’t offer a money back guarantee because it allows users to test its services for free. However, we have seen VPN providers that offer both. This is just a minute drawback of the service’s pricing.
For business users, on the other hand, the VPN offers TunnelBear for Teams, which you can try free for 7 days. TunnelBear’s business services are priced at $69 per person, billed annually.
As always, TunnelBear VPN accepts all major credit cards and also supports Bitcoin.
TunnelBear VPN Speed Test
What TunnelBear VPN promises in terms of speed is “lightning fast speeds”. While most VPN service providers claim to be amazing on that front, they often end up delivering less than average speeds. However, with TunnelBear, we have to say that they exceeded expectations.
The VPN service manages to deliver great upload and download speeds, especially with its international servers. As a matter of fact, there are times when the service surpasses the results of its competitors. Though TunnelBear has its servers located in just 20 countries, the speed of the service, nevertheless, is exceptional, and hence, you will have no problem streaming videos or sharing files.
How is Customer Service at TunnelBear VPN?
TunnelBear VPN has a dedicated Help page which can be accessed by clicking on the link available at the bottom of the website’s main page. This section has questions and answers on various categories, such as Getting Started, Status Updates, Current Issues, Accounts & Payments, Technical Support, and TunnelBear for Teams.
The Help Center doesn’t have setup or installation guides, which is a disappointment, especially because this VPN service is otherwise perfect for first-time users.
When it comes to customer support, the company doesn’t provide 24/7 support; there is no live chat feature either. You can contact the support team only via their online contact form, and what’s even more disappointing is the fact that you can use this service only when you have a TunnelBear account. With many other VPN services going out of their way with their customer support, we would’ve liked if TunnelBear at least allowed non-subscribers to contact them with their queries.
Sadly, customer support is not a strong point with TunnelBear VPN.
The moment you visit their website, you will find yourself smiling at the sight of TunnelBear’s cute, charming, and humorous look. The site is well-designed and easy to navigate. Even if you are new to the VPN scenario, you won’t have any problem going through the different pages, and finding what you need.
Signing up and installation is also made easy, as it is focused on newbies. And, though not much, TunnelBear has servers located in 20 countries around the world, and they are known to deliver great performances.
When it comes to features, TunnelBear keeps it simple yet efficient. There are no luxurious or exclusive features offered by the service, but the ones that it does offer are perfect for occasional and constant VPN users alike. Some of the features offered by the VPN service are:
- Closest Tunnel: Also known as Auto Tunnel, this feature automatically determines which tunnel is best for your connection.
- Vigilant Mode: As mentioned before, this feature is designed to block all unsecured traffic when your connection gets disrupted and until it is safe to reconnect.
- Multiple Devices: TunnelBear VPN allows up to 5 simultaneous connections.
- GhostBear: Helps defeat VPN blocking by making your VPN data less detectable to authorities and ISPs.
With TunnelBear for Teams, you get features like:
- Easy administration.
- Multiple device security.
- Priority email support.
- Painless team billing.
- Unlimited data.
Is TunnelBear VPN Safe?
TunnelBear supports two different VPN protocols and these differ according to the device you use. If you use Android, Mac OS X, or Windows, your protocol will be OpenVPN – an industry standard. On the other hand, if you use iOS devices, IPSec/IKEv2 will be your protocol. Obviously, the set of VPN protocols used by TunnelBear is not as extensive or comprehensive as that of other VPN service providers.
However, the level of encryption used for all the protocols and devices is high – AES 256, known to be an extremely strong encryption standard.
In addition, TunnelBear offers another security feature called GhostBear. This feature makes all your encrypted data less detectable to governments, ISPs, and other third parties, and is now available on Android, Mac, and Windows versions of the TunnelBear apps. Also, the company has made recent updates to prevent DNS and IP leaks, so you shouldn’t have issues with those.
Without a doubt, TunnelBear is an excellent choice of VPN service for first-time VPN users. Its easy-to-use interface, simple yet efficient features, amazing privacy, and great security make it ideal for beginners, and the same set of features makes it a preferred option for experienced users as well. If not for its limited customer support, this would most certainly be among the top VPN services we have reviewed so far.