You might not have heard of TunnelBear, but you’ve probably heard of their parent company, McAfee. The service is
known for its user-friendly interface, low pricing, and bear puns. How does TunnelBear stack up to the competition?
Let’s see what others have to say.
TunnelBear is one of the only VPN providers that offer a completely free version.
It’s not a free trial, it’s a free monthly plan. But, as you might expect, the free version is very limited with
only a 500MB/month bandwidth. You can add to your bandwidth allotment though if you tweet something about
If you want faster service, you’ll need to pay. But their monthly prices are reasonable. They also offer a discount
when you opt for yearly service.
TunnelBear supports Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices. You can use browser plug-ins for Chrome and Opera as
well. Unfortunately, there’s no support for Firefox, Safari, or other browsers.
Ease of Use
If you’re looking for something simple, you’ve come to the right place.
Reviewers found TunnelBear incredibly easy to set up and start using thanks to the software available. All they
needed to do was start the app and choose their location.
There aren’t a lot of settings. If you’re a power user, this might not be the service for you. But TechRadar states,
“... The few [features] you get are very useful.”
Each account allows for up to 5 simultaneous connections on either the free or paid plans. This is par for the
course with popular VPN options. If you need to connect more devices you might be better off with something like
NordVPN or VPN Unlimited.
Despite its simplicity, TunnelBear offers useful features such as:
- Load on start
- Auto-activation on non-trusted networks
- VigilantBear -- a kill switch to prevent identity leaks
- GhostBear -- a service makes your activities look like standard internet traffic
- P2P support
Privacy and Logging
While you might not be able to change your protocol, critics note you probably won’t need to as the client uses
OpenVPN, offering government-grade encryption. Unfortunately, iOS users cannot access this protocol and can only
use IKEv2. But most experts consider IKEv2 good enough.
For added flexibility, you can use TCP or UDP connections. However, reviewers noticed that they could not get online
using the Windows client unless they enabled TCP connections.
Overall, while they collect information, they do not store IP addresses, DNS queries, or information regarding other
activities how you use TunnelBear.
More importantly, the company promises they will not disclose, sell, or trade personal information with third-party
If that’s not enough, TunnelBear also completed two independent code audits to find potential security issues with
their service. They also explained every aspect of the company’s operation in a recent transparency project.
While all of this is voluntary, PC Mag notes, “Both of these efforts go along way to establishing TunnelBear as a
company that takes its role as a security company very seriously…”
While limited to only 20 countries, TunnelBear offers more than 1,500 servers to route your traffic through.
Reviewers had no problems connecting to a server. While their ping times varied depending on which server they used,
reviewers made no mention of significant slowdowns using the standard service.
But performance dropped noticeably when using GhostBear. The company itself suggests using this mode only when
necessary as it can reduce performance up to 50 percent.
TunnelBear’s help site is the first line of support.
While it appears user-friendly and clear, reviewers found the documentation offered lacking. However, most reviews
found that the information available was well presented.
For other questions, TunnelBear has a contact page to message the support team. Though TunnelBear states that
support requests may take up to 48 hours, most reviewers received responses to their questions in around an hour.
Better still, the replies they received generally provided helpful information and even some documentation.
TunnelBear doesn’t offer a ton of features but reviewers enjoyed using it with many recommending it for most users
as a basic level of protection.
Tom’s Guide notes, “It’s moderately priced, has user-friendly software, and offers decent network performance.”