TunnelBear VPN Review

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Canadian based Tunnel Bear was established in 2011 in Toronto, it can be accessed anywhere in the world except the Peoples Republic of China, they would rather have Tunnel Pandas than bears. Apart from being reviewed as one of the best VPN services in the world, Tunnel Bear emphasize on high quality service and customer support. Again, something the Chinese might not believe and thus restricting its use.

Subscription TypeFree + PremiumPremium SolutionPremium Solution
VPN ProvidersVPN Providers
Data Limit500 MBUnlimitedUnlimited
Moneyback GuaranteeNoYes, 7 daysYes, 7 days
$4.16per month
$4.87per month
$4.54per month
 Visit Website >>Visit Website >>Visit Website >>

TunnelBear does present a decent offering which is a brilliant match for mobile devices, but compared to premium providers there are significant features missing in their service. As you can observe TunnelBear lacks a widespread global network, offers limited bandwidth and does not offer live support.

We will now take an in depth look at the complete service offering and analyze the service for its best features and lacking aspects.

Operating System Compatibility

Compatible on all major OS namely Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux. The best part of their operating system compatibility is the easy to setup desktop client. Although there were issues with iOS 7 & iOS 8 the bugs have been fixed, returning the app to its growling brilliance. Can’t say the same about iOS though.

Device Compatibility

Tunnel Bear is compatible with any devices running Windows, iOS, Android and Linux. It is not only compatible with Windows computers but also with phones running the 8.1 version of the OS. All Apple devices including the iPad and iMac are compatible to work with the Tunnel Bear app.

tunnelbear ios

Tunnel Bear ripped a new one for Apple Inc. as the service fixed all authentication bugs for iOS 8.

Having a desktop client for Linux makes Tunnel Bear an automatic choice for basic Linux OS users, since most VPN have to be manually configured on the Linux framework. Tunnel Bear also allows simultaneous connection on 3 devices with their Giant and Grizzly subscription plans.

Tunnel Bear Desktop Client

The Tunnel Bear client is uniform throughout all operating systems and devices. That means you don’t have to spend an hour learning and remembering functions with every new device, phew! Easy to install and similarly easier to use with a one click connect button and simple server selection menu. The ‘maul trackers’ option allows you to completely eliminate tracking scripts and cookies from practically all malicious websites.

tunnelbear desktop app

Screenshots from my Tunnel Bear Android app shows the main window (left), the menu (middle) and the server selection (right).

tunnelbear app


Tunnel Bear has servers located in 13 countries, except for furrow-brows-China, you can access all servers through the servers option in the desktop or mobile client. These 13 server locations are listed below.

tunnelbear countries

  • Canada
  • United States of America
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • France
  • Netherlands
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Spain
  • Australia
  • Censor King China
  • Encryption & Protocols

Currently Tunnel Bear offers two protocols, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec. For users with Windows, Mac and Android the service offers the speedy OpenVPN protocol. For users with iOS devices the chosen protocol is IPSec.

Encryption allows you to code all your communication and file transfers in binary ciphers. This protects you online activity from being noticed, snooped on or your data being used against you. Encryption is usually required for three processes data encryption, data authentication and handshake encryption.

Data encryption is how the Tunnel Bear service encrypts your communications and files so snoops cannot steal or trace anything back to you, all they will get is a series of numbers to read. Data encryption is done using Blowfish 128bit CBC mode.

tunnelbear encryption and protocols

During data authentication any data sent to you can only be received after the VPN authenticated that it is actually you who is receiving the data and not a hacker. Using SHA1 – 160bit encryption Tunnel Bear protects all your transfers of data. Using 2048bit handshake encryption the Tunnel Bear protects you from inadvertently being connected to a hacker instead of a Tunnel bear server.

So the next time cybercriminals and snoops want to infiltrate your connection Tunnel Bear will kung-fu their bums out like Neo from the Matrix movie !

Customer Support

Tunnel Bear has a detailed FAQ section but there is no live customer support provided; I assume the bears wouldn’t have much to say. All major issues are detailed in their FAQ section, if there is a serious issue you can always send feedback on the website to inform them. They also have a Facebook page and Twitter feed where customers can send feedback and questions.

tunnelbear customer support

Ensure its not hibernation season when you contact Mr. Tunnel Bear and Co. !

Free Service

The free service allows you to use the full features of Tunnel Bear VPN but with a monthly limit of 500 MB. The brilliant thing here is that you can simply tweet about Tunnel Bear and they will allocate additional 1 GB of bandwidth to enjoy.

The fun part of the free service is that you get access to all their service features with the exception of the IntelliBear feature.

Paid Subscription

Tunnel Bear offer 3 subscription plans namely Little (Free), Giant and Grizzly.  While little is the free subscription Giant Bear costs $4.99 per month and Grizzly Bear costs $49.99 annually or $4.17 per month.

tunnelbear subscription packages

Payment Methods Accepted
Tunnel Bear VPN service accept payment from the following providers

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • American Express, and
  • PayPal

In addition to the above, Mr. Tunnel Bear also accepts big jars of honey as payment !


Closing Remarks

Tunnel Bear VPN’s brilliant offering has been seconded by reviews from PC World, MacWorld, Life hacker, The Wall Street Journal, myself *takes a bow* and many more reviews. Tunnel Bear might look like the innocent teddy bear mascot to us, so just to illustrate the stealth of the service we made this to ensure your trust on one of the top VPN providers today.

tunnelbear vs cyber criminals

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.

Latest posts by Faisal Arshad (Posts)

  • 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.


      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.