TunnelBear is a Virtual Private Network that offers both paid and free service which was founded in 2011 and was based in Canada. However, earlier this year, on 8th March, a major announcement regarding TunnelBear VPN states that the antivirus company McAfee acquires the VPN. According to McAfee, they have plans to integrate TunnelBear’s technology into their own VPN product, Safe Connect.
Now, the TunnelBear VPN service is liable to follow the US law, yet the VPN team will keep working on the TunnelBear products under its own brand.
The two providers have a motive to work together and to provide users with best solutions for online security.
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The TunnelBear VPN offers free as well as paid service among which the free version is really good in my opinion. Yet, there is not much with the paid service of TunnelBear. Both the versions have same features with just the data limitation of 500GB in free.
There are total 20 countries in which the TunnelBear servers are present. Also, you can connect 5 devices simultaneously with one account. It supports all the popular platforms including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, as well as it offers the extensions for Chrome and Opera.
The speed performance of the VPN service isn’t so good as well as there were some glitches with the Windows app. The Tunnelbear website is really informative and the service is extremely easy-to-use but they don’t have live chat support. Yet, the email response was received within 6-7 hours and the answer was really helpful and well elaborated.
Is TunnelBear Totally Free?
In the lists of free VPN services, you can easily find TunnelBear somewhere above in the list. No doubt that this VPN provider has very less variation in features of their paid version and the free version. However, the data limit of free plan is just 500 MB which would not allow you to check the video streaming speed and quality perfectly.
But, a good thing about it is that you have access to all the servers except the Australian server which is just present in the premium version. Also, the latter introduced feature of IntelliBear is not included in the free version.
— TunnelBear (@theTunnelBear) March 5, 2014
Luckily, you could increase the free version data limit to 1GB if you post a supportive tweet for them.
On the other hand, they have two more plans which are paid. The monthly plan is at a price of $9.99 per month for which you get all the features along with unlimited data. The other paid plan is for 12 months (1 year) which provide an immense discount of 58% per month. In this plan, you are required to pay a total amount of $49.88 which makes up to $4.16 per month.
Is tunnelBear Safe To use?
The security perspective of TunnelBear VPN also depends a bit on the location and the internet regulations at that place. As mentioned earlier, TunnelBear VPN is a Canadian based provider and according to that, you can be under surveillance. The Canadian government implements laws such as C-51 which have some strict regulations. Also, Canada is a part of five eye surveillance on the basis of which they could share the citizen data to other member countries.
Also, it is necessary to note that, TunnelBear VPN has made it clear that a user should always accept the laws of their country and the one in which provider is located.
TunnelBear provides you two encryption protocols which are, the OpenVPN and IPSec/IKEv2. The users of Windows, Mac OSX, and Android could use the OpenVPN protocol, however, the iOS clients have the options of Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)/Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) or Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2). Therefore, anybody willing to get OpenVPN on iOS will have to use third-party connection software.
Except the iOS 8 and older versions, all the platforms have the ability to use 256-bit AES encryption along with SHA256 authentication. The iOS 8 version has the encryption of AES 128-bit with the authentication of SHA-1.
For providing the better security and privacy authentication, the TunnelBear VPN has conducted the third-party audit. This audit results in positive claims regarding the privacy of the provider and seconds the security promises which are made by the TunnelBear VPN.
In addition to the VigilantBear (kill switch), the TunnelBear has recently released two Beta fixes for solving the issues of IP leak. These additions could help in preventing the IPv6 leaks and IP leaks in case your VPN connection goes down.
You can switch to the beta version if there is a need, otherwise, you should remain stick to the kill switch feature.
Is TunnelBear Good?
TunnelBear has a noticeable list of prominent and some distinctive features for which it could be considered as an adequate VPN service.
The first and the foremost benefit with this VPN is that it provides a free version without feature limitations and therefore, you can get an idea about its services. There is an option of connecting 5 devices simultaneously no matter which plan you are using.
The second main thing which is a great benefit of using TunnelBear VPN is the ease-of-use and the website structure. Their website has almost all the information for which a user could be in search of. The navigation on the website is really simple and an individual could easily find all the information with clear instructions.
The TunnelBear VPN also works in China as long as you download and install it before arriving.
There are some distinct and rare VPN features that are also provided by the TunnelBear. The IntelliBear (VPN tunneling), VigilantBear (Kill Switch), and the anonymous IP features are included in their service.
The IntelliBear feature provides you an opportunity to separate the websites you want to tunnel and which you don’t want to tunnel. The VigilantBear feature helps VPN leaks through automatic internet disconnection when there are sudden VPN drops.
However, there are some drawbacks with TunnelBear VPN which couldn’t be ignored.
TunnelBear VPN doesn’t allow you to torrent. This is because; the VPN provider abides you to follow the Canadian laws and they technically restrict P2P torrenting and file sharing.
Also, there are many VPN services which are blocked by the Netflix. Therefore, it is most probable and tested that the TunnelBear doesn’t work with Netflix unblocking.
Regarding the customer support of TunnelBear VPN, it is necessary to mention that the live chat support is not present. The only way to contact the customer support team is through the email and this means that you have to wait long.
Does TunnelBear Keep Logs?
The company stores your email address, first name, the total amount of monthly data used, and the OS version of your device.
The TunnelBear VPN also mentions the list of data that is not stored by them. They don’t collect the real IP address of a user and the one which is assigned to the user. Also, they don’t keep a record of websites a user visits during the internet browsing.
They also mention that the credit card purchase could result in identity expose as the personal information is shared with the payment processor. Therefore, they recommend an anonymous method of Bitcoin transactions where no information is stored. Yet, it is clearly stated that “TunnelBear never stores your complete credit card number. To keep your payment information secure, we adopt all available security and multi-factor authentication measures available from these providers.”
TunnelBear Reviews on Reddit
There are many positive as well as quite negative reviews regarding the TunnelBear VPN on the social news and discussion website, Reddit. Below are some prominent comments of what the users of TunnelBear think about the features and the service.
This comment about Netflix streaming is a bit confusing as I was unable to connect Netflix with TunnelBear VPN. However, there are some comments which show that some servers could unblock Netflix.
For this comment, I must mention that the torrenting is forbidden in the service of TunnelBear and for clear answer you could contact support team. Also, there is a chance that your torrent traffic is monitored by the VPN and if not blocked then your data could be handed over for DMCA notices.
TunnelBear Review; Common Issues Faced By most user’s
Tunnelbear Keeps Disconnecting
Slow connection of TunnelBear is also equipped with the disconnection issues. This could leave you vulnerable to the cyber threats and identity exposure.
The reason for frequent disconnections of TunnelBear is that it uses only one internet connection to transmit all the data to the VPN server. Even if there is a single drop to your Wi-Fi signal then the TunnelBear VPN connection will drop.
Slow connectivity and browsing internet
Before testing the TunnelBear VPN, I have listened a lot about the lagging speed and slow internet connectivity with their service. When I tested the service, the speed goes down to 50% as compared to my normal internet speed without VPN. Also, there wasn’t a vast difference in speed of different servers, however, the UK servers performed most adequate.
If you compare this speed with other VPNs performance then you might see it above many. Yet, there are some cheap as well as reputable VPN such as PIA. Also, there are VPNs like ExpressVPN that outperforms all in speed and overall features.
Is TunnelBear Worth Using?
The TunnelBear free version is better as compared to the other free VPN services. However, if you just want encryption and security then TunnelBear is a good option but if you intend to perform some other activities like streaming, unblocking and torrenting then you shouldn’t consider it.
This is because the P2P file sharing is not supported by TunnelBear and the VPN speed is also a bit lagging.