Using the internet means exposing yourself to it. That includes the safety of your device, but also your data flow, online actions, and a lot of personal and sensitive information.
In this day and age, even the casual user can become a target for hackers, malware, and viruses. And let’s not forget that multiple governments around the world now allow their ISPs to collect and record your data as they see fit. Not only that, but they actually force them to do this.
The data they collect won’t sit in a warehouse somewhere either, but instead, it will be dissected and studied by the government’s analysts. Some ISPs will even sell your data to advertisers in order to make some more money for themselves.
So, as you can tell, it is not exactly safe to browse the web these days. Especially without protection. VPNs are known to be the best form of protection that you can have, and so today we are going to discuss one of them. The VPN in question is called TunnelBear, and this one is quite a charmer. Anyway, stick around, and take a look at what this provider is all about.
TunnelBear is a relatively minimalistic VPN provider. It does its best to provide a good service to those in need, and it specializes in helping those with no VPN experience. This makes it great for the very young, the elderly, as well as for those in the middle who did not have a chance to ‘get into it’ when it comes to computers and modern tech.
It will provide you with a decent protection for a relatively cheap price, especially if you go for an annual package. TunnelBear is also known for its sense of humor, and especially for its love of bears. It does offer some rare features, which are perfect for making up for the smaller server network.
And you don’t have to worry about keeping logs since this provider keeps a minimal amount of data, which only includes connection logs. All in all, it is a great starter if you aren’t sure if you can find your way around a VPN. Now that you know what you are getting into, let’s dig a little deeper, and see what this provider has to offer in detail.
Pricing And Plans
TunnelBear provides you with three different payment plans. This is one of the best examples of just how strong the influence of bears is by this provider. To keep with its image, the plans are called:
The Little Bear is a free plan and provides a somewhat limited use of 500MB of data per month. Also, even with the free plan, you can access every server apart from Australia. This means that you won’t lose the reach just because you are not paying for the service.
The protection is still decent, and if this is good enough for you, then great. If not, at least you can use it as a trial period, and check out the service. Also, there is currently a possibility to mention TunnelBear VPN on your Twitter and get an entire 1GB of free data.
Next is a Giant Bear package. This is a monthly package, and you get unlimited data in return. Its cost is $9.99 per month, so not too expensive. However, the best deal is the annual plan, also known as the Grizzly Bear Plan. This one is only $4.99 per month, which means that it is $59.88 for an entire year.
The choice is yours, but by choosing an annual subscription, you will easily save up half the money that you would pay via monthly subscription.
Also, keep in mind that there is no money back policy that is usually present in good VPN providers. However, this shouldn’t be an issue, especially if you remember that this provider actually offers an entire free package.
You can pay for the service via bank card or your credit card. PayPal was an option, but not anymore, which was a sad news for many users. Still, if you like paying with bitcoin, that will work as well.
TunnelBear Main Features
This is a Toronto-based provider, and it offers a lot of different features. Some of them are pretty rare, while others are relatively common. We will explore them all, and see what TunnelBear has to offer.
Having a large server network is important to many VPN providers, as well as many users. With TunnelBear, you have access to servers in 20 different countries, which is less than most VPNs offer, but still enough. Users need different servers to hide their IP addresses by connecting to them.
When you connect to a server, you get a new IP, and all of your data traffic is now connected to that IP, instead of the real one. However, there is also an interesting side effect, which is the ability to access other countries private online content.
By connecting to their server, you get a local address, which is the perfect way of bypassing geo-restrictions. So, TunnelBear doesn’t offer thousands of servers in hundreds of countries. However, it still has them strategically placed in 20 different locations. This means that you can still access whatever you like, only from a smaller number of location.
The countries that this provider covers include:
But also a lot of the Europe countries. Actually, the majority of TunnelBear’s servers are in Europe, which makes it great for accessing European content.
You can do it from a laptop, tablet, smartphone, desktop, or even a router. And since TunnelBear offers up to five simultaneous connections, you can choose to access it via all of those devices at once.
One of the additional features that most VPNs will offer (but not all of them), is a kill switch. It is a very useful feature, since it monitors your VPN protection, and it has the ability to cut the connection to the internet if your protection drops.
This is done so that you wouldn’t leak information without even knowing about it. TunnelBear’s sense of humor has named this feature VigilantBear. Still, no matter how you call it, you should definitely have it if you wish to remain anonymous and secure.
P2P File Sharing
Unfortunately for torrent users, TunnelBear doesn’t support P2P file sharing. This is because of the fact that it is from Canada, which has a strict policy against this method of file sharing.
Torrenting is not allowed there due to its connection to content piracy, and copyright holders have won that fight in Canada. All in all, if you are looking for the best VPN for torrenting, then you are definitely in a wrong place.
In order to determine how TunnelBear impacts your internet speed, we have conducted two tests. One of them without this VPN, and the other one after activation of TunnelBear. Let us see the results:
- Without TunnelBear:
- With TunnelBear:
Obviously, a certain impact on the speed exists, which is perfectly normal and expected. However, it is much smaller than what another VPN provider would have done to your connection. Browsing and streaming performance were almost untouched, even though nobody expected ping to go so high.
There have been several VPN providers that offer a feature called ‘stealth mode’. Basically, this feature disguises all of the traffic made through OpenVPN. This is done in order to bypass firewalls, like the one in China.
It is useful since your encryption gets less detectable. When you don’t use it, you are still safe, but known and obvious to anyone monitoring the network. With stealth mode, or the so-called GhostBear, you will blend in, but remain safe and anonymous.
So basically, this is a good, useful feature. The only bad thing about it is the fact that it will additionally slow you down. So, if you need high speed, you shouldn’t use this feature.
Privacy And Security
Let’s start by talking about logging. TunnelBear knows that you aren’t using a VPN just so that they could log your data. Everyone wants privacy online, which is one of the main reasons why people even turn to VPNs for help.
That is why TunnelBear has a no logging policy, and won’t record any of your online actions. However, it will keep your connection logs, but only for a month. That means that, if the Canadian government comes and demands your data, TunnelBear will only have to offer one month of connection data. This includes the time when you connected, as well as the duration of the connection.
Do note that TunnelBear will also have to give the info you provided when you signed up. Apart from that, and the connection logs, they have nothing else about you.
When it comes to protecting your data, TunnelBear will do it with the best protocols a VPN can have. It uses several of them, including OpenVPN, L2TP, and IPsec.
It will also encrypt your data with a strong 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard), which is the best one you can find. No matter what you are planning to use this provider for, you can have one worry less on your mind and know that TunnelBear has got your back.
Now, when it comes to this provider’s web site, you should probably see it for yourself. It is really amusing, and you will have a great time if you love bears all over the place. Bear puns are also seen on regular basis, so be ready to giggle from time to time.
The website is calming, disarming, and friendly, and there’s no other like it. Many other VPNs are too serious and quick to offer their features, explain why you should use them, and alike. Not TunnelBear.
This VPN provides you with a calm and friendly surroundings and lets you explore on your own. Navigating the website is easy and even fun. Also, everything is simple but still very clear, which proves that this provider knows what it is doing, and who is it addressing.
Many other VPNs just drop the details on you presume that you already know everything about everything. TunnelBear takes a more relaxed approach. You can find out pretty much anything on it, either by sending a question to the customer support or by exploring their well-organized FAQ.
As mentioned, on the TunnelBear’s website, it is easy to find a FAQ, as well as a customer support. Simply go to Help on the website’s homepage, and you’re there. It is literally that simple.
In the FAQ, you will find different questions as well as simple answers. They are all specially designed to answer anything that might bother you, and also give you more detail about the service itself.
There is also a customer support, which is only available via email in the future. Adding a live chat would probably be even better, and more appreciated by the users. Still, nobody complains about the current system either.
The answer to any of your questions will arrive within a day, and the response is always friendly and in a positive manner.
How To Set It Up
The process of setting this VPN up is as simple as it could possibly be. Still, we will go step by step with you, so that there is no confusion.
First of all, go to the TunnelBear’s website. Upon entering, find a Signup button, or simply go for ‘Get Started, It’s Free’.
Upon entering your email and password, the download will automatically start.
If it doesn’t, then choose a device that you are using from the offered ones.
Start the Setup once it gets downloaded, and then follow the installation process.
Agree to terms and conditions.
Start the installation.
Wait until the installation is finished. While you wait, enjoy the process which is, once again, a bear-related one.
When complete, you can log into the app.
Of course, you will have to go to your email address and verify the account by clicking on the button in the email from TunnelBear.
Next is the app. After going through (or skipping) a few pro tips, you will be free to use your TunnelBear.
As you can see, there are tunnels as server makers in every country that has one.
The majority of them are in Europe, but there are several in Asia, North America, and even one in Brazil.
On the side, you can also find settings for this VPN which you can see here.
Inside, there are multiple other options for you to explore and set as you see fit.
So, is TunnelBear a good VPN? That depends on what you need. It is good enough and strong enough to protect you, that is for sure. However, it has its limits.
It doesn’t support torrenting, which means that many users are not going to find what they need here. On the other hand, it is cheap, it offers a free package, it has servers in the right places, and also offers some of the rare features like stealth mode and a kill switch.
All in all, how good this VPN will be for you is depending on what you plan to do with it. Most users would find it more than decent, and it is. Basically, it is all up to you.