TunnelBear VPN Review
TunnelBear VPN has certainly come a long way since it was first established as a free VPN provider. The service is popular, but popularity doesn’t always mean quality. There are a few things that this VPN provider does well, and there are some glaring issues. We’re going to take a look at multiple aspects of the company in our TunnelBearVPN Review.
About TunnelBear VPN
TunnelBear was originally created as a free VPN account, and it still offers free service today. Over time, the company began to have its legitimacy questioned. This is common for many free VPN providers. Most people understand that free VPNs are not really free. Someone always pays, and that someone is the user. The free TunnelBear VPN probably existed on marketing revenue from sharing user data.
The company got a shot in the arm when it was purchased by McAfee, the popular antivirus company. A version of TunnelBear has even been bundled with McAfee products. Today this Canadian VPN company offers both paid and free plans. It has improved in some areas and lagged in others.
TunnelBear VPN Privacy & Protection
TunnelBear has also committed to yearly privacy audits by Cure53, and independent security contractor. Cure53 examines the VPN and all of its platforms to look for security issues, DNS leaks, or other problems. At the time of this review the data for 2019 indicated that TunnelBear was able to pass Cure53 tests.
The standard 256-bit AES encryption is used, and users can select from protocols that include OpenVPN. All legitimate VPN providers can claim the same. There are two features that help TunnelBear to stand out where security is concerned. Users can choose the GhostBear mode or VigilantBear mode to customize their own experience.
GhostBear mode uses a feature to disguise VPN traffic as regular traffic. The company claims that this is useful in areas where VPN use is strictly monitored. VigilantBear mode offers a kill-switch feature to protect users in case they lose the VPN connection while surfing.
TunnelBear VPN Servers & Speed
Speed is a consideration for any VPN account user, especially those who are using a VPN to access and unblock services like Netflix. Some VPNs simply do not offer sufficient speed for downloading and streaming media. Recent tests at time of our review showed that TunnelBear had an average of just 12 Mbps download speed, depending upon the server that was chosen and the user’s actual location.
One US server was found to be offering 4.86 Mbps download speed. This is very low compared to other VPN providers. Users can reasonably expect to have problems downloading or streaming media. Of course, most users report that TunnelBear has been ineffective in unblocking Netflix. Maybe those who use the service don’t need the faster speeds that other providers offer.
TunnelBear has just 23 server locations in as many countries. Compare this with other major VPN providers who can offer over 1,000 servers and you will see that TunnelBear is lacking. We normally aren’t too hard on limited server options, but this is way out of range. You’re probably going to need servers that aren’t available with TunnelBear.
TunnelBear VPN Service Pricing
The pricing for TunnelBear is somewhat competitive with other providers.
The TunnelBear VPN rates at the time of writing are:
- $9.99 per month for monthly plan
- $4.99 per month for yearly plan
- $3.33 per month for 3-year plan
TunnelBear VPN Verdict
We think TunnelBear VPN has many limitations that should be considered. Users cannot use it with Netflix and some other services, there are limited servers, and the overall speed of the service is slow. We cannot give TunnelBear our highest recommendation.