Tunnel Bear Vpn Review
On the Cyberspace, nobody knows y’all’re a domestic dog—or a bear. That used to be the case, anyhow. These days, advertisers, corporations, and governments probably know a lot about you. A VPN helps you retake some of that privacy by routing all your web traffic through an encrypted tunnel to a remote server, making it harder for spies, snoops, and salespeople to runway you online. Amongst the best VPNs we’ve tested is TunnelBear VPN, an Editors’ Choice-winning VPN that protects your privacy with a cadre of online ursine protectors. Information technology bursts with amuse, information technology maintains an outstanding position on transparency and consumer privacy, and its adoption of WireGuard and unlimited simultaneous connections make it fifty-fifty more bonny.
How Much DoesTunnelBear VPN Price?
TunnelBear VPN is 1 of the few providers we’ve reviewed that offers a truly free VPN service. The Costless subscription tier restricts y’all to a mere 500MB of data per month, however. You lot tin earn more data by Tweeting about the company, which raises your limit to i.5GB for one calendar month. You can repeat this procedure each month to receive the bonus. Yous tin skip paying altogether, however, and use whatsoever of TunnelBear VPN’s server locations as a gratis subscriber—a do good nearly VPNs reserve for paying customers—but only at the country level. Paying customers tin select specific cities in some regions.
Notably, TunnelBear VPN kicked off an increased focus on anti-censorship efforts(Opens in a new window). Information technology now offers additional free bandwidth(Opens in a new window)
for users in countries with repressive net policies.
Overall, nosotros prefer Proton VPN’south free offering because it places no restrictions on data. All the same, that service does limit y’all to just a few server locations. Customers who need more flexibility in locations should still accept a wait at TunnelBear VPN.
If you lot determine to pay for TunnelBear VPN, it won’t pause the bank. An Unlimited plan costs $9.99 per month—just 2 dimes and a penny above the $nine.78 per calendar month average for a VPN nosotros’ve tested. TunnelBear VPN also has longer-term subscriptions: an annual plan that costs $59.88 and a three-year plan that runs $120. Both are significantly less than the average $65.57 per yr among VPNs we’ve tested. You can still get an excellent VPN for less than TunnelBear VPN. Mullvad VPN, for example, costs simply 5 euros per month ($5.01 as of writing).
Although the savings of a long-term subscription are enticing, we highly recommend starting with the company’southward free or monthly plans, so you can test out TunnelBear VPN in your own home to make sure it works for you.
You can buy a TunnelBear VPN subscription with a major credit card. A few other VPN services offer more anonymous payment options. Mullvad VPN and IVPN, both Editors’ Choice winners, accept payments in cash. TunnelBear VPN
information technology will take jars of honey, merely using this payment method may prove to be a challenge in practice.
What Do Y’all Get for Your Coin?
TunnelBear VPN recently made a major modify to its subscription construction that dramatically alters its value proposition. Previously, the company allowed subscribers to connect up to five devices simultaneously, which is the average across all the VPNs we’ve reviewed. At present, TunnelBear VPN places no limit on simultaneous connections. This means families or people with numerous devices can protect everything with a single account. It joins a growing cadre of VPNs that have also abandoned connectedness limits, including Avira Phantom VPN, IPVanish VPN, and Surfshark VPN.
(Editors’ Notation: IPVanish VPN is owned by Ziff Davis, PCMag’due south parent company.)
How a VPN Works
Despite that improvement, TunnelBear VPN’s biggest drawback hasn’t changed—the service doesn’t offering much beyond VPN protection. Editors’ Option winners IVPN, Mullvad VPN, NordVPN, and Proton VPN are among the few VPNs that offer multi-hop connections, which use a second VPN server for extra security. A few grant button-button access to the free Tor anonymization network. TunnelBear VPN has neither of these.
The service also includes split tunneling, which lets you designate what traffic should pass through the VPN or bypass the VPN. This is currently only supported in iOS and Android.
One characteristic TunnelBear VPN does offer is obfuscated connections, which the company calls GhostBear. When activated, this disguises VPN traffic as HTTPS traffic, making information technology more than likely to sneak past restrictive censorship. A TunnelBear representative told u.s.a. that the company advises that users switch on GhostBear only when necessary, as it can further reduce functioning (VPNs ever reduce performance to some extent). A few other VPN services provide similar obfuscation but make it differently.
Some VPNs have expanded their purview beyond securing spider web traffic. NordVPN and Surfshark VPN at present offering antivirus features (although we were non overly impressed with either). Proton VPN, for its part, offers access to its encrypted email and cloud storage service for all subscribers. At the aforementioned time, established antivirus companies are starting to add their own VPN products to massive product suites.
TunnelBear VPN offers a free, standalone tracker blocker(Opens in a new window)
for the Chrome browser. Previously, it offered a password director cleverly named RememBear, but that service is winding downwardly, and the visitor is encouraging users to migrate to other platforms.
VPNs exercise a bully job of keeping your online activity individual, even from your Internet service provider, but there are many advanced ways to runway your movements online. A VPN will also practice precious niggling to protect you against phishing and malware. We highly recommend that everyone enable multi-factor authentication wherever possible, employ antivirus software, and create unique passwords with a password managing director.
What VPN Protocols Does TunnelBear VPN Offer?
TunnelBear secures your connexion with the OpenVPN protocol on Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows. IKEv2 is also available for iOS and Windows clients. Nosotros take long preferred OpenVPN because information technology’s open-source and can exist scoured for potential vulnerabilities.
TunnelBear VPN recently began adding support for WireGuard—the open up-source heir apparent to OpenVPN. The company’southward Windows and iOS apps currently support WireGuard, and we’re told that macOS and Android will follow arrange shortly.
TunnelBear VPN’s Servers and Server Locations
The more server locations a service has, the more options you have for spoofing your location. A broad variety of locations likewise means you are more likely to find a server nearby when traveling abroad, which volition likely exist faster and more reliable than a distant server.
TunnelBear VPN has servers in 48 countries. That’s always so slightly below the average nosotros’ve seen across the products we review. This drove covers the essentials and has expanded to encompass more of South America and Africa—2 continents frequently ignored past other VPN companies. The company nonetheless has a limited presence in regions with repressive internet policies, lacking servers in Russia, Turkey, or Vietnam, for case. TunnelBear besides moved its servers out of Hong Kong(Opens in a new window)
merely still maintains a presence in Ukraine.
At concluding count, TunnelBear VPN has effectually 4,700 servers across the globe. The largest collection of servers we’re enlightened of is with CyberGhost VPN, which has over eight,000.
in mind that this server count does non necessarily correlate to better performance.
Many VPN companies utilise virtual servers, single hardware servers playing host to multiple virtual servers. Some servers can also be configured to appear as if they are in a different country—what we telephone call virtual locations. Neither is inherently problematic, but nosotros similar to encounter companies be transparent about their use.
TunnelBear VPN tells us that it does not use virtual locations. If you’re using TunnelBear, balance assured that your data is exactly where information technology’s supposed to exist. The company told u.s. it uses a mix of physical and cloud-based servers. It also does not directly own its server infrastructure, but this is non unusual. A visitor representative told us that TunnelBear VPN builds and provisions its servers and that third-party providers practice not have access to server code or data.
TunnelBear VPN says it has taken steps to limit the damage a successful attack on its server infrastructure might cause. The servers contain no identifiable user information, and the drives are encrypted. Some companies, including NordVPN and Surfshark VPN, now run their servers on RAM-just settings, which exercise not write any data to disk.
Your Privacy With TunnelBear VPN
Beyond its powerful bears, TunnelBear VPN’s greatest forcefulness is its stance on privacy. It has one of the best privacy policies(Opens in a new window)
we have seen, explaining in item and with plain linguistic communication exactly what information technology collects and why. Information technology likewise includes discussion sections, where the company explains how it arrived at a particular conclusion. Other VPN companies should take note of this approach.
TunnelBear VPN says it will not disclose, sell, or trade personal information with tertiary-party companies. TunnelBear VPN does utilize third parties for payment processing, but this is not unusual. Additionally, a company representative confirmed that TunnelBear VPN’southward but source of acquirement is subscriptions—non data mining or ad retargeting. The company says it does not collect information near users’ web activity, nor does it store originating IP addresses, timestamps, or DNS queries. The company does rely on an account organisation, and then the data you provide to create an account(Opens in a new window)
is stored by TunnelBear VPN. IVPN and Mullvad VPN have an unusual arrangement that does not employ accounts and requires less user information, which nosotros appreciate.
For free subscribers, TunnelBear VPN does tape the overall bandwidth(Opens in a new window)
to enforce its data cap. This is reset to zero at the end of each month.
The visitor issued a robust transparency report(Opens in a new window)
for 2020 in 2021, which confirmed it had not provided information to law enforcement beyond confirming an private had an business relationship with the company. Nosotros would like to see the company outcome a new report.
Additionally, TunnelBear VPN has the notable distinction of having completed non just one but v independent audits(Opens in a new window)
and publicly released the results of those audits. That’due south excellent, and we’re pleased to see that TunnelBear VPN is committed to an annual public review process. A company representative described these audits to us equally “security audits of our whole stack, which includes our backend servers, our VPN servers, and VPN clients.” More than companies should have this degree of investment in transparency.
Hands On With TunnelBear VPN for Windows
TunnelBear VPN currently offers clients on Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows. TunnelBear VPN too offers browser plug-ins for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera that function equally proxies (singled-out from VPNs) to reroute your traffic through a TunnelBear VPN server. Nosotros tested the Windows client on an Intel NUC eleven (NUC11PHKi7C, ‘Phantom Canyon’) desktop running the latest version of Windows 11.
The app retains its charming, tongue-in-cheek attitude but has been updated slightly. The window is a little slicker and more modern looking merely still beautiful and colorful without ever being overcomporting or cloying. For example, whenever you connect to a VPN server, a notification appears bearing a comport with a hat representative of that country. Exquisite.
The app is built around a central map of the world displaying the visitor’southward server locations, shown every bit Mario-esque pipes. Select your desired location from the menu to a higher place or click on the map to switch protection on, and you lot’re treated to a surprisingly shine animation of a comport tunneling away from your current location. All the TunnelBear VPN apps employ the same design, then you’ll have a familiar experience no matter where you go with TunnelBear VPN.
In our testing, the Windows version looked slightly crisper and was snappier to respond than previous versions. TunnelBear VPN already has a winning design, so these tweaks around the edges help keep it fresh.
Toggling the VPN on will automatically select what the app thinks is the best server location. Clicking the dropdown box to the right reveals the full listing of options. A recent update lets you select cities inside the US and Canada. That’south a good move, but nosotros’d like to see TunnelBear VPN discover a deft and simple way to let customers select specific servers.
The TunnelBear VPN app does include some useful additional features, such as Trusted Networks, which is a whitelist of Wi-Fi networks yous trust. Another important tool is VigilantBear, which works equally a Kill Switch and prevents information from slipping through should yous become asunder from the VPN.
One new addition nosotros are particularly happy to encounter is a Settings option to select a VPN protocol manually. The default is WireGuard, and nigh people will never demand to change that, merely it’southward still good to see and a sign that TunnelBear VPN is trying new ideast.
When we test VPNs, we bank check to confirm that our test IP address changes and the name of our Internet access provider are hidden, and nosotros apply the DNS Leak Test(Opens in a new window)
to see if DNS information is, well, leaking. TunnelBear VPN passed all these tests easily, merely we only checked one server. It’s possible other servers could be misconfigured.
Although we were able to stream Netflix content while connected to a US-based server, nosotros could only access a subset of the total library available to US Netflix subscribers. That was true when
tested the service, only your mileage may vary—as is e’er the case when you try to employ a VPN with Netflix.
Speed Exam Results
No affair the VPN yous choose, you’ll likely see a subtract in download and upload speeds and an increase in latency. To go a sense of that touch on, we run a series of tests with and without each VPN using the Ookla speed test tool(Opens in a new window). Nosotros then compare those figures to notice a percentage alter. Nosotros have a whole characteristic on How We Examination VPNs, so read information technology for more on our methodology and the limits of our tests.
(Editors’ Note: Ookla is owned past Ziff Davis, PCMag’s parent visitor.)
TunnelBear VPN had one of its all-time showings in our most contempo circular of testing. We establish that it reduced download and upload results past 17.3% and 51.5%, respectively. TunnelBear VPN increased latency past l.4% in our testing, which is a smidgen worse than the median latency result beyond all the VPNs nosotros evaluate.
Y’all can see how TunnelBear VPN compares in the chart beneath.
Speeds are a perennial business for consumers, only nosotros discourage anyone from using speed results alone as a criterion for choosing a VPN service. Results depend on fourth dimension and place and are not nearly equally of import as a VPN’southward features or overall value. Call up, likewise, that the performance y’all experience volition likely differ from ours.
Hands On With TunnelBear VPN for macOS
We tested TunnelBear VPN’s macOS VPN client using a MacBook Air (M1, 2020) running Big Sur version 11.ii.ii. The macOS app is available on the TunnelBear VPN’s website only not in the Apple App Store. We noticed the app asked to download a helper tool for the application to work, which is something the other apps we’ve reviewed did non request.
TunnelBear VPN’southward macOS app looks and performs similarly to the Windows version, with an interface that is extremely cute and whimsical. When you lot connect to a VPN server, an animated deport tunnels his way through a colorful globe map to get to your destination.
We tested it with the DNS Leak Test site using a connexion in Finland, and our information was kept private. This is just ane server of the thousands in TunnelBear VPN’southward service, so in that location could be leaks with different servers.
As for the speed and functioning, TunnelBear VPN’s macOS app performed beautifully. Using a server based in Republic of finland, nosotros were able to browse quickly on Google, lookout videos on YouTube without interruptions, and even view streams on Twitch without sacrificing quick loading times.
Easily On With TunnelBear VPN for iPhone
We tested TunnelBear VPN iPhone VPN app using an iPhone XS running iOS fourteen.4. The iOS version of the service only allows you lot to choose the state, and then TunnelBear VPN will find the server inside that country for you. The app’southward world map is grayness and black when you first sign in, and when yous connect with their VPN, the world map image comes to life with bright colors and an aggressive animated bear tunneling toward the server’s location. We like that y’all tin can change the icon to reflect BLM, Pride, or TransPride sentiments.
We tested the iOS TunnelBear VPN app by navigating to DNSLeakTest.com and running an extended test. We institute no leaks during my testing period, but we merely tested one server in Kingdom of denmark. Note that nosotros only tested one server.
With TunnelBear VPN connected, we were able to watch Twitch streams without interruptions and load and watch YouTube videos without much lagging or buffering while connected to our preferred server in Denmark
Hands on With TunnelBear VPN for Android
Tunnelbear VPN’s Android app is cute, with its bright, happy graphics and animated squad of bears. The app’s world map features a bear continuing in your location when disconnected from the VPN, and when you connect, the bear roars and takes off on the world map in the direction of your VPN server. It’due south cute, it’s fun, and it’s a far cry from the stripped-down two-color layouts of competitors like NordVPN.
We tested the app using a Samsung A71 5G running Android version x. Tunnelbear VPN for Android has a few more features than the iPhone version of the app. Information technology includes GhostBear for use when cyberspace providers block encrypted traffic, a kill switch chosen VigilantBear, and SplitBear, which allows you to select apps that will non be tunneled through your VPN server. You can choose your server from a list of countries at the lesser of the screen.
We tested Tunnelbear VPN past visiting DNSLeakTest.com and running an extended test on a server based in Milan, Italy. Our DNS data did not leak through, and the app successfully changed our public IP address, but it was just 1 test on one server. Other servers could be improperly configured.
The VPN’south speed and reliability were both very adept in testing. Using a server in Italy, we were able to scan online without incident and view YouTube videos and Twitch streams without lagging or delays.
Hands On With TunnelBear VPN on Chrome Bone
Nosotros downloaded the Android app onto a Dell Chrome 3100 with an Intel Celeron Processor. TunnelBear VPN is probably the nearly whimsical VPN application we’ve reviewed, with its beautiful, blithe bears and the selection to toggle deport sounds on and off in the app. The VPN awarding on Chrome OS doesn’t have as many features as its competitors, just the app remains piece of cake to navigate and functions as expected.
The few features TunnelBear VPN includes are helpful. There’s GhostBear, which allows you to apply the app wherever ISPs cake encrypted traffic. Another feature is chosen VigilantBear, which is a Kill Switch. SplitBear is the app’s split tunneling function.
This VPN Is Merely Right
TunnelBear VPN succeeds because it dares to be lighthearted, yellow, and cute. The company has e’er put a premium on design and user feel, which is sorely needed in all digital security. Just its excellence is not only skin-deep: TunnelBear VPN offers a robust service and strong transparency principles.
We’d begun to worry that TunnelBear VPN had stalled out and ceased improving its service. That’s a problem, equally the fast-moving earth of VPNs is constantly churning out new features. The release of WireGuard back up and rolling out unlimited simultaneous connections proves that’s not the instance. We’re likewise heartened past hints from the company about forthcoming features.
Other excellent VPNs have more than bells and whistles than TunnelBear, but this genial VPN fits perfectly into your life and remains a PCMag Editors’ Choice winner.
The Bottom Line
Forget complicated apps and edgy graphics, and permit the cute-yet-powerful bears of TunnelBear VPN defend your web traffic. Easy to utilise, with a growing roster of features, it’s an Editors’ Choice winner.
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Tunnel Bear Vpn Review