TunnelBear Review 2017
|2.5 / 5.0 User Ratings||13 |
TunnelBear is a Canadian based VPN provider that aims at providing internet privacy and offering users to access the same content over the internet from anywhere in the world.
TunnelBear Pricing and Plans Review
TunnelBear offers three different packages to users including a free to use service. The paid versions are reasonable in prices compared to other VPN providers in the industry and we found the service good value for money. The three packages are called Little, Giant, and Grizzly.
- Free to use service
- Easy to use VPN application
- Servers located across 14 different locations
- Offers tight security with secure protocol & encryption
- Good overall performance
- Reasonable prices for paid packages
- Limited compatibility on devices
- Limited customer support options
- No live chat feature
- Could had more payment options
|150+ Countries||13 Countries|
|7-day moneyback guarantee||No moneyback guarantee|
|24/7 live chat support||Email Support Only|
|Does not keep logs||Does not keep logs|
|Multiple simultaneous login||Single login|
TunnelBear’s Little Package
TunnelBear VPN is available as free service with the Little package but has a cap on data that can be used. The cap starts at 500MB of data each month but the Twitter promotional scheme allows you to enhance this cap and attain an additional 1GB of free data by tweeting about their service.
Giant Package of TunnelBear
The other option, Giant package is a paid pricing plan and is available for $4.99 per month. Unlike the free version, this does not have any cap on data that can be used and offers unlimited data transfer.
This package offers greater flexibility and you do not have to plan your internet usage in order to stay within the data usage cap. The Giant package also offers 3 simultaneous logins; meaning you can use the service on any three computer or mobile devices using the same account.
TunnelBear Grizzly Package
The second paid option offered by TunnelBear is its Grizzly package. This is a yearlong package that offers the same features as the Giant package. The price for a Grizzly package is at $49.99 a year. This package offers 17% discount over the monthly package as average cost per month amounts to be $4.17 per month.
In our review of Tunnelbear , we examined the different servers offered by the service. The servers are located across 14 different locations around the world. These include Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, France, Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Singapore, and Australia.
Using these servers you can protect your privacy by connecting to any of these servers and also access different geo restricted websites from various locations.
However, the server in Australia is only available for paid users as TunnelBear highlights the reason that it is very expensive to operate and run servers in this region.
TunnelBear Performance Review
During this Review, we tested the overall performance of the service through speed tests and accessing different Geo restricted websites.
The results of both the tests came back positive and TunnelBear provided good performance on all fronts.
The speeds that you might experience depend on various factors and may vary from location to location. These factors include the distance between your location and the server you wish to connect, your ISP’s throttling internet speeds, the privacy setting on your PC or Mac, and other similar factors.
TunnelBear Speed Tests Review
We conducted the speed test through speedtest.net for TunnelBear. First the test was conducted without any VPN connection switched on and following results were obtained.
Next, the tests were conducted with TunnelBear VPN connected to US server. Following were the results that were obtained.
The results show that there was a slight drop in download and upload speeds. We didn’t expect the ping to shoot up considerably but there was no impact on the browsing or streaming performance.
How to Use TunnelBear on PC
We tested the service on our Windows 7 PC using the Windows VPN client for TunnelBear. After downloading the software, we used the setup wizard to install the client.
The process for installation and usage is easy, as you can see:
- Once open the TunnelBear installation file, you will be presented with the Terms of Service. Go through the clauses and click ‘I Agree’ to continue.
- Next, choose the location where you want to install and then hit ‘Install’.
- After the program has been installed, you will be asked if you have a TunnelBear account or not.
- If you haven’t created an account yet, you can do so by selecting ‘I don’t have a TunnelBear account’ and clicking ‘Next. It will take you to a form where you can easily create a new account.
- After entering the required details and verifying your account through the email, you are ready to use TunnelBear VPN service.
- Now that you have successfully installed the client, you can get started with the Tunnel Bear VPN service using the application. Select the server you want to connect or leave the option to ‘Closest Tunnel’ and turn ‘On’ the switch.
- You can also change the settings of the client by accessing them from the app. Although the settings are limited and brief, we found the IntelliBear feature interesting as it allows you to select specific websites to tunnel (or not to tunnel).
The application for using the TunnelBear VPN service is highly user friendly and easy to use. The software can be downloaded from TunnelBear’s website and following the setup wizard, you can configure the application easily.
Browsing and Streaming Tests
Using TunnelBear VPN, we accessed numerous geo restricted websites including different streaming channels. TunnelBear worked seamlessly in terms of browsing speeds as the websites opened without any increased load time or presented the error of entering geo restricted boundaries.
The streaming performance was good as we accessed Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, BBC iPlayer, Marvel, Pandora, and various other streaming channels using TunnelBear.
This review showed that the service offers few options for customer support. Upon examining the website and evaluating different methods employed by TunnelBear to respond to customer queries, we found a help & FAQ section, an email address, and a built-in diagnostic tool available in the VPN app.
This was not a pleasing sight as the customer support service could have incorporated greater measures and options to ensure that customers could contact TunnelBear if they run into any trouble.
Help & FAQ Section
The help and FAQs can be accessed from the ‘Help’ option available on top of the website. Under this section, you can find different articles, getting started guides, and other material about payment queries and technical support.
You could also use the search bar on the Help page to filter the articles based on the topic/ issue you are looking for. We found this section particularly helpful in retrieving some basic information about the service and its features.
If you cannot find answers or solutions to your problem or question on the Help page then you can email the support staff at TunnelBear.
We inquired about the different security measures, protocols, and encryption provided by the service but had to wait for considerable amount of time to get a response.
TunnelBear offers a built in diagnostic tool with the client software that you download. Before you contact the customer support or look through the help and FAQ page, you can use this tool to diagnose the problem with your TunnelBear VPN.
TunnelBear offers different payment methods to users to choose from. These include credit card and debit card payments (MasterCard and VISA), PayPal, BitCoin and American Express.
The payment options include some of the most commonly used methods but there is room for adding more payment merchants. Compared to other VPN providers in the industry, the list is concise and somewhat subdue; TunnelBear has the room to explore and add additional payment methods.
Upgrade / Sign-up Process
The sign-up process for a paid account is fairly simple. Once you have created your account and have logged into the client area, you can easily upgrade / purchase the paid account.
You would have to select the package you want to purchase and then enter the credit / debit card details, personal details (address, city, state, etc.) and a coupon code (if you have any) to make the purchase.
Alternatively, you can also use PayPal or BitCoin to pay for the package; clicking on either of the options will redirect you to their webpage where payment can be made.
TunnelBear has limited compatibility on different devices and operating systems. We found this as a downside in this review. The service is only compatible on Windows, Mac OSX, iOS and Android run devices.
To use the service, you would have to download the software and use the application as TunnelBear explicitly states that it does not offer manual configuration instructions for using its VPN.
TunnelBear provides partial support / compatibility on Linux devices. There is no application that can be downloaded to use the VPN service but it has started to offer setup instructions for manually configuring the service on Linux network; but Linux compatibility is only available on paid packages.
Currently, TunnelBear VPN is not offered on any router, smart TVs or any gaming consoles such as PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, and any third party clients. The limited compatibility does not offers flexibility to users which are looking to unblock geo restricted channels and secure their network on other devices.
Tutorials & Setup Instructions
TunnelBear does provide setup instructions and tutorials for the devices it is compatible on. These guides can be accessed from the Help page on TunnelBear’s website. The guides provide step by step instructions on how to install the application, creating an account, how to use the application, and uninstalling the client.
There are video guides also available along with the step by step instructions. We were pleased with the detailed instructions provided in each of the guides as users can easily configure TunnelBear on their chosen platform using these tutorials.
Protocols & Encryption
The security levels provided by TunnelBear to protect your data against different cyber-goons, hackers, spammers, and surveillance agencies include secure protocols and encryption levels.
The protocols offered by Tunnel Bear secure VPN include L2TP / IPSec and OpenVPN. If you are using the VPN service on Windows, Mac OSX or Android then TunnelBear protects your data through OpenVPN protocol along with AES 256 bit encryption.
For iOS users, TunnelBear offers L2TP / IPSec protocol to protect the data from various threats. The protocol is suggested to work best with iOS devices by TunnelBear and utilizes 256 bit AES encryption levels.
However, with the latest amendment to the copyright laws in Canada, all ISP and VPN providers are required to keep IP logs of their users. TunnelBear took a firm stance over its users’ privacy and was reported to have said it will not record such logs, even if it means moving its operations outside Canada.
So far, there hasn’t been much development regarding this amendment and only time will tell TunnelBear’s decision.
There is a free version of the service so there is no need for a free trial. Tunnel Bear secures your network with secure protocol and encryption level that is offered in the paid versions; so the free version provides all the benefits and security that paid versions do.
However, with the cap on data usage, you can upgrade to paid versions or use the Twitter promotional scheme to obtain additional 1GB of data usage with your free version.
TunnelBear Review Conclusion
To sum everything up, TunnelBear provides great overall security with the highest protocol and encryption level available in the VPN industry. Combined with good performance with unblocking and allowing fast streaming, it definitely meets our recommendation criteria.
The free to use service provides great option for those of you who are planning to travel aboard or want to use the service to secure your network without heavy data usage. However, there are areas for improvement that TunnelBear should look for such as enhancing its compatibility, adding more customer support options, and payment merchants.
With everything consider, TunnelBear is an easy to use service and provides great value for money to anyone that is new to the VPN industry and looking for unblock and data protection facility.