TunnelBear VPN Review

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Introduction

Operating for over three years now, TunnelBear is a pretty neat VPN service. With impressive offerings like extensive server coverage, throwaway prices, free trial and fair customer support, Tunnelbear appears to be an awesome fit for a VPN newbie.

TunnelBear VPN is headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Its official mailing address, bearing a ‘Bear Cave’ nameplate on TunnelBear’s website, is 174 Spadina, Avenue, Suite 206, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 2C2.

Let’s explore the core features and turnoffs of TunnelBear VPN in this comprehensive review. 

VPN’s Packages and Pricing

I have seen a heck of VPN packages of different providers. But TunnelBear cute bearish theme on its pricing page is simply compelling.

The first package is labeled Little TunnelBear. This one is TunnelBear’s free limited service trial which can get you a happy 500MBs of VPN usage every month.

And you can compound the excitement of the freebie with another 1GB of free data by simply tweeting about the offer from your VPN app.

tunnelbear vpn review

The second package is named Giant Tunnelbear and gets you an unlimited VPN bandwidth for 1 month for just $4.99. If you’re one of the heavy users but need VPN for just one month, think no more.

The third package, called the Grizzly Tunnellbear gets you the unlimited VPN for $49.99 for 12 months. I am no good in math, so my calculator just told me it saves an incredible 17% in relation to the monthly package. But do devour the free trial package before going for this big one.

A single package for desktop, PC or Mac VPN can also get you free tunneling or VPN for 2 additional mobile devices. 

Servers

USA and UK are two important VPN server locations. Almost every provider takes off business from here because they are relatively less prone to internet censorship, one of the main reasons for which users get a VPN service.

TunnelBear VPN also set off its VPN from US and UK.

But TunnelBear VPN is no longer a beginner, and I am at a loss to understand why TunnelBear hasn’t expanded as much as other providers.

Even though its UK/US servers may be well covering its subscribers, TunnelBear is got to understand that it’s never wise to keep all eggs under a single basket.

Protocols and Encryption

Most big VPN providers are offering a basket of VPN protocol choices for their VPN users. While pro-privacy and security freaks might favor it, a fresh user might just want a basic protocol to get started.

Tunnelbear client currently uses just OpenVPN protocol, applying the standard 128-bit AES encryption.

So if haven’t have heard of other protocols (PPTP, SSTP etc) or their use, you shouldn’t be worrying at this moment.

TunnelBear VPN Package

Device Compatibility

Multi-device/multi-OS compatibility rests as the central offering of a reliable VPN service, and Tunnebear appears to have adopted a moderate approach towards this.

Tunnelbear VPN works fine on Windows, iPad and iPhone. However, you would need to have Android 4.01or above to get Tunnelbear running.

I was surprised to note that does not support Linux OS and routers. But I am pretty much anticipating a fix in near future.

The mobile version is reported known to use a simpler VPN technology. Particularly, iPhone users have been reported to experience more internet speed loss in comparison to Tunnelbear’s desktop versions.

TunnelBear VPN Speed

After I connected to the UK Server, I had a successful IP change and the most surprising part was the speed test. I have tested quite a lot of Free VPN Services, which completely fail in Speed and Download test but it was not the case Tunnel Bear as I had the same speed while I connected to their UK Server. Now, it was time to connect to their USA server, I had successful IP Change and the speed again was good as I had 10 to 20% drop of speed on US Servers, but that’s quite understandable.

Customer Support

Let’s put it straight – Tunnelbear does not have a large crew of support teams on their premises. There are no options for live chat and I am not sure when my sample query at support@tunnelbear.com will get answered.

But yes, there are tens of starter guides, FAQs and knowledge base articles on Tunnelbears website.

TunnelBear appears to cover up for this customer support lacking by providing in-depth starter guides, how to articles, and FAQs. Additionally, we found an impressive end-to-end engagement with customers on TunnelBear’s social channels, including Facebook and Twitter.

Unique Selling Proposition

Tunnelbear’s unique selling proposition is one of simplicity. It gives you a quick-hassle free VPN from an instant 500MB trial straight. Get it, test it. That’s it.

Payment Methods

TunnelBear accepts payment for paid-VPN packages ‘Giant TunnelBear’ and ‘Grizzly TunnelBear’ via a variety of methods. Specifically, you can check out via Visa or Mastercard, American Express, PayPal and Jars of Journey.

As representative of its little regard for complete privacy, anonymous payment solutions like Bitcoin are not on TunnelBear’s payment gateway.

TunnelBear Billing Information

Software and Tutorials Provided

Software downloads are available for all supported devices on TunnelBear’s website. Every software set and client has built in help guides, tutorials and instructions for easy configuration and setup.

TunnelBear Compatibility

TunnelBear’s simple software also makes up greatly for its inadequate customer support.

I haven’t read all help and manuals, but you’d get answers to the most common queries in an eloquent manner if you use Tunnelbear’s ‘Help’ effectively.

Setup Process

 Because of a simpler client, setting and using TunnelBear VPN is relatively easy. What you have to do is directly visit their website and download their app for your PC or Mac.

After downloading it, start the installation. When you have installed and started the application it will ask you, whether you are registered with TunnelBear or you are a new customer, if you are not registered, TunnelBear gives you in-app sign up form.

Log and Privacy Policy

Anonymity and privacy rest at the centre of a good VPN service. And a provider’s log and privacy policy is the single most important area telling how anonymous and private a VPN service is.

TunnelBears have developed a moderate data logging policy. It claims to keep zero data about a user’s online activities. However, a minimum set of user Meta data is kept by TunnelBear to deliver the best service.

This set includes log durations, true IPs as well as geo-location of customers.  Nothing to worry for that… All others do so.

But yes, a lower basket of encryption protocols can lead data snoopers to sniff into your private communications on a really rainy day. 

Free Trial

I have said this before, and I would say it again. TunnelBear’s free trial is simply awesome. With 500MB of VPN straight away, and a bonus 1GB on a easy Twitter promo, I can’t expect a better free offering from a VPN provider.

Conclusion

TunnelBear has stuck itself as a simple yet effective VPN brand. Even though it is not the safest VPN for a pro, an average user can still get all the basic benefits on anonymity, free web surfing and privacy at a fairly economized package.

What’s more? The limited VPN trial can get you an exciting 1.5GB of VPN! Not many providers do that without bombing your internet session with irritating ads.

Few areas need to be particularly improved to make TunnelBear the choicest VPN for everyone. These include addition of servers and locations, live customer support, and improvement in compatibility for Linux and Router VPN users.

That said, TunnelBear VPN review gets 8 of 10 ratings from me. Share your experience in the comments below.

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Faisal is a professional blogger at BestVPNService. A close observer of the digital world, Faisal critically monitors and reviews service providers of IT industry, particularly VPNs.

  • Davor

    500 MB of traffic a month for free LOL, why did they bother giving anything for free? I mean in today’s world 500MB is nothing when people stream HD video on demand and stuff. If I wanted to pay to use a VPN, I would surely go with some other more popular provider, and for everything else we have Hotspot and Expat Shield which are 100% free VPN no small prints.

  • DAM

    I pay $5 per month, and am very happy with TunnelBear. I have to say, I hope it does not get to popular, then speeds may decrease. I am happy to have a safer connection for 5 bucks without speed and connection issues.

    Davor: Stop crying. Your like everyone else crying for everything free. Test it with the free bandwidth, if u like it, buy it………. Why don’t you build a free one everyone can use?????????

  • DAM

    Oh and your FREE Providers are selling you and your information…stick with it bro, you are exactly the person they built the free VPN for. Unreal how stupid people are these days….NOTHING IS FREE.

  • Shaz

    just downloaded, and started with it on free, works well, i live in australia, and now have access too google music :)

  • EnonEmouse

    I feel if they use paypal you shouldn’t have to have a credit card as not everyone believes in them. I am a firm believer in not owning a credit card and using paypal for my on line buying and this has now stopped me from being able to use this service which stinks!!! And NO don’t say get a credit card as I WILL NOT.

  • Sander

    I have the tunnelbear free option and while i don’t need it often it had proven extremely useful in the past. like on holiday in Dubai where my internet was severely blocked. Or at home when quickly checking certain things out. only twice have i used the 1gb extra data tweet. fantastic app!

  • Rachel Reveley

    I paid for the premium accont as it does exactly what I wanted but had a technical support question as it isn’t very compatible with Windows Vista and they have completely ignored me. There is no way that I am renewing my account as I think their service is shoddy.

  • Claudia George

    Customer service is TERRIBLE! And by that I mean NON-EXISTENT! I paid for the premium account, was billed, it worked for a few days, then it stopped working for no reason. I sent 4 emails + 4 tweets + 1 private message when I downgraded + 1 Facebook message, and what did this equal? ONE WHOLE WEEK LATER, NO ANSWER whatsoever. I cannot say that I would recommend TunnelBear. As I told them in my last few messages,it’s a pity that they have such neat marketing yet completely ignore their PAYING customers.

    • bart

      Experienced the same poor service and I was just about to sign up for a year!

      It seems paying customer or prospective customer doesnt matter – we’re all treated with disdain.

  • http://www.tunnelbear.com QuantumBear

    Hey Claudia,

    Sorry we missed your first few emails. I think you’ll agree that we’ve since fixed up your situation nicely.

    Thanks everyone for the positive reviews and comments!

    -Quantum Bear of TunnelBear.com

  • Beachy

    I’ve been using Tunnel Bear for a few months on Windows 7 and XP with no problems. I have the paid subscription. I loved being able to view the BBC and some sports events in the UK.

    I liked it so much, I recommend Tunnel Bear to a friend. He has Vista, and it would not get a network connection. We spent hours changing firewalls, disabling AVG, everything we could think of.

    I finally found the fix for Vista.

    1. Start Button > Connect To
    2. Set up a Connection or network
    3. Scroll down to “Connect to a workplace” and “Next”
    4. “Use my internet connection (VPN)”
    5. For internet address type “uk1.tunnelbear.com” Name it whatever you like. and click “Next”
    6. You’ll need to type in your username and password

    Now to connect go to Start> Connect To, choose the VPN you created and connect, works great!

    I spent 4-5 hours solving this problem and thought I’d share the fix with others having problems with Tunnel Bear and Vista.

    My only complaint with TB, is the lack of tech support, but for the cost I give it four stars!

  • Beachy

    Update, I have to give Tunnel Bear tech support credit, the contacted with me within 18 hours and my first e-mail was sent on a Sunday.

    So, I have to give them 5 stars!

  • brian.k

    Have to give tunnelbear a try.

    I currently use another service called unotelly. If you have not heard of it yet, it is a DNS service (unlike tunnelbear) so I guess I will try them both and then decide who wins this war !!

  • Laura

    I thought it was an answer to my prayers and being able to get BBC Iplayer so I downloaded the tunnelbear to my tablet and pc. I liked it so much that I paid the subscription price for both and I can sometimes get BBC Iplayer on my tablet and then turn it off and little while later I can’t get on. I am so disappointed and send messages and get no response. What gives? Is there any VPN that I could download as easy as tunnelbear and have a instant success?

    • http://www.bestvpnservice.com Bestvpnservice.com

      Hello Laura,

      Thank you for dropping by and considering our worth taking advise.

      Laura, there are numerous VPN providers that offers their VPN customer to get quick connectivity with their easy “Plug & Play software. However, to resolve your problem, you can check out following VPN providers for the same purpose.

      HideMyAss
      PureVPN
      StrongVPN
      ibVPN

      Hope the above helps.

      Best Regards,
      BVS Support Team!

  • Gear head

    I run the paid IOS mobile version of tunnel bear on my ipad/ iPhone and it has worked flawlessly since purchase. At this point I highly recommend it to anyone as it really works well!

  • MrsManners

    I had the full price Tunnelbear account and cancelled it. Every time I got through to a UK site (BBC iPlayer, ITV, Channel 4oD) it would stop and start and then tell me it had insufficient bandwidth. This was worse in the evenings, but by the end was still happening in the afternoons too. Utterly pointless. I posted to their facebook page and emailed them, my posts were deleted and they never replied to me.

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  • Wally Kerr

    My grizzly account was cancelled due to there error and I was promised a refund and I am still waiting after 7 weeks and numerous emails to support they tell me they have had problems with refunding me.
    They suggest I open up another account and pay with PayPal , this definitely won’t be happening until I recieve my refund.
    I hope other users do not have these problems when upgrading.