|Price||$3.33/mo. (Unlimited Plan)|
|Servers||Possibly 1,000+ Servers in 20+ Countries|
|Logs||Keeps Connections Logs|
|Works in China||Yes|
|Compatibility||Windows, Android, Apple, Chrome, Firefox|
TunnelBear once enjoyed a highly positive reputation thanks to its wide array of features and complete transparency with its customers. However, this reputation has slowly decayed over the past few years leaving the service a shadow of its former self.
While TunnelBear offers users access to and from China as well as complete support for P2P sharing via split tunneling, it cannot deliver any other services stably.
For instance, it cannot unblock Netflix and it does not indicate exactly how many servers does it have around the world. The fact that it does not have any refund policy left me disappointed considering all other major VPNs provide some kind of money-back guarantee.
In the end, I would advise users to opt instead for a service like Surfshark that has an excellent record in terms of keeping users safe and anonymous online.
- Jurisdiction: Where Does TunnelBear Operate From?
- Security: Can TunnelBear VPN Keep You Safe Online?
- Leaks: Does TunnelBear VPN Leak Your IP/DNS/WebRTC?
- Servers: How Many Servers Does TunnelBear Have?
- Streaming: Does TunnelBear Unblock Netflix and Other VoDs?
- Speed: How Fast are TunnelBear VPN Servers?
- Compatibility: Can I Use TunnelBear On All My Devices?
- Pricing: How Much Does TunnelBear VPN Cost Exactly?
- Trustworthiness: What Do Users Say About TunnelBear VPN?
Jurisdiction: Where Does TunnelBear Operate From?
TunnelBear operates out of Canada. Considering Canada’s active participation in the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance, this is a less than ideal place for the service to be based out of.
Canada’s past record in terms of cooperating with other members of the alliance, as well as its own set of laws that make data retention make Canada a severely contentious location for a VPN to be operating from.
Security: Can TunnelBear VPN Keep You Safe Online?
No, TunnelBear is not a safe VPN option at all. Despite having a decent set of encryptions and protocols, I was put off by what I can only describe as an attempt to be deceptive about its logging practices. What really tipped the scale for me was the unsafe jurisdiction, making TunnelBear a service to avoid if safety if of primary concern to users.
However, the service had an independent audit of its services done by a third party to alleviate some of the users’ concerns. It should help users that want to see whether the report really addresses their core issues with security or not.
TunnelBear VPN Logging Policy
Here’s just some of the information that is included in these connection logs:
- OS Version
- TunnelBear app version
- Data used
- User activity
Information like this is a clear and unforgivable infringement on users’ privacy and becomes an even graver crime considering how TunnelBear tries to evade transparency regarding this.
Encryption & Protocols
I found TunnelBear to be fairly standard service when it comes to the encryption & corresponding protocols being used by the service. The service utilizes the standard 256-bit encryption that is more than capable of properly obfuscating users’ activities online.
Additionally, the service also offers a host of different tunneling protocols such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, and IPsec making it an extremely flexible option to opt for in terms of the different options it makes available for users.
TunnelBear VPN Virus Test
I conducted a virus test on the service in order to be completely sure that the service itself is free from any malicious files that may end up putting users in greater danger. Here’s the result of that test:
As users can see, there are no dangerous files that should be a cause for concern.
Leaks: Does TunnelBear VPN Leak Your IP/DNS/WebRTC?
The primary purpose of a VPN is to ensure that users’ IP, DNS, and WebRTC are safe and not left expose at any time. Hence, I conducted a series of tests to see if there were any leaks that would leave users’ connections vulnerable.
Here’s the result of those tests:
As users can see, there are no major leaks to be worried about.
Servers: How Many Servers Does TunnelBear VPN Have?
Curiously, TunnelBear makes no mention of the exact number of servers it has. The only info listed on its site states that users will be able to use servers spread across 23 different countries. Upon doing more research, it is likely that the service has 1000+ servers. Why the service is seemingly unwilling to disclose this information is unclear to me.
Does TunnelBear VPN Support Torrents?
However, I should state that though torrenting is supported, the overall experience may not leave users overly impressed. I found it to be quite sluggish and the download speeds were visibly lower than some of the other VPNs I’ve reviewed.
Does TunnelBear VPN Work in China?
Yes, users located inside China will be able to use this VPN to evade the restrictive internet policies in their country.
Over the past few years, users in the country have had to deal with growing censorship and regular rounds of crackdowns on VPNs that do unblock all the restricted content in the country. In such a scenario, working VPNs are of the utmost importance to users.
Similarly, Chinese expats also use these VPNs in order to retain their access to some of the popular but geo-restricted Chinese content.
Streaming: Does TunnelBear Unblock Netflix and Other VoDs?
I was disappointed to see that TunnelBear cannot unblock Netflix at all. I tried connecting to Netflix using almost all the servers, including the US, but to no avail.
However, I was a little taken aback when I realized that it can unblock all the other major Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, Hotstar, and BBC iPlayer. One probable reason is Netflix’s ever-evolving techniques that ban access to the service using a VPN.
Speed: How Fast are TunnelBear VPN Servers?
Despite unclarity about the extent of TunnelBear’s servers, I wanted to see how fast are these servers. Hence, using a 100Mbps connection, I connected to 5 random servers in Australia, UK, Brazil, France, and Hong Kong to conduct a speed test.
Here are the results:
Compatibility: Can I Use TunnelBear VPN On All My Devices?
Users will TunnelBear incredibly easy to use on their traditional platforms and devices such as Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, and iOS. Additionally, there are browser extensions available for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.
However, the lack of support for Kindle, Android TV, Apple TV, as well as Windows Phones means that it is a service designed to be used on mainstream platforms and devices only.
Pricing: How Much Does TunnelBear VPN Cost Exactly?
The pricing for TunnelBear is fairly straightforward. There are three options meant to cater to different needs. The service is available for free, but with a cap of only 500MB data bandwidth. There is an unlimited option that can be used on 5 devices simultaneously available at just $3.33 per month. Lastly, there is a “teams” option meant for corporations. Available at just $5.75 per month, users will be able to use it across multiple devices with centralized team billing.
TunnelBear VPN Refund Policy
This is TunnelBear’s official policy as the service does not provide any money-back guarantee at all. TunnelBear states on its website that it may give away a refund in special cases without mentioning what these “special” cases are.
TunnelBear VPN Payment Methods
In terms of payment methods, users will be able to buy the service using VISA, Mastercard, American Express. I was a little disappointed to see that PayPal is not supported. However, it makes up for that shortcoming by providing support for Bitcoin.
As of yet, Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency supported. It would help if TunnelBear extended its compatibility to all major cryptocurrencies.
Trustworthiness: What Do Users Say About TunnelBear VPN?
Like all my reviews, I want to be as objective as possible in how trustable I find a service. Hence, it important that I factor in what other users have felt about service and not just rely on my own experience. I looked at the service’s reputation on Trustpilot and Reddit to see how most other users feel about a service. Additionally, I also looked over the service’s customer support. This is what I learned:
TunnelBear VPN Trustpilot Rating
In one word, horrible.
TunnelBear has probably one of the worst Trustpilot ratings I’ve seen from a VPN. With just a 2.5 rating and more than half the reviews categorizing the service as “Bad”, I have to doubts that this service fails to meet the expectations that most of its users had from it.
Upon taking a closer look at the reviews, it becomes clear that the service promised a lot but ultimately, it fails to deliver on these promises. Other issues include horrible customer service, sketchy practices like charging more than they advertise, and frequent disconnections.
TunnelBear VPN Reddit Review
Reddit left me a little confused. I saw a lot of reviews that mentioned services and offers that the service does not provide currently. Eventually, I realized that there was a time when the service was far better and offered exceedingly impressive features.
However, there were constant complaints regarding issues such as frequent disconnections. For a service that guarantees a seamless internet experience, this should not be occurring at all.
TunnelBear VPN Customer Support
I found its customer support to be outdated and incapable of properly aiding all its users. First off, there’s no 24/7 live chat support function meaning that users will not be able to have their problems resolved as quickly as possible.
If there are any questions on the users’ minds, they’ll have to rely on the “Help” section to help them through and hopefully address their issues. There are other dedicated sub-sections devoted to billing, announcements, and terms of service. In the end, there is a contact us page that makes it easy for users to communicate their concerns and issues with the service in greater detail.
TunnelBear VPN Alternatives
TunnelBear left me with the impression that it aims high but fails to properly meet those promises. I found a severe lack of transparency about its logging policies, its exact server count, and its no refund policy.
The best features of this service are undoubtedly its Chinese server as well as its support for P2P sharing. However, these features are not completely unique to TunnelBear only. Surfshark offers users access into and from China, has one of the most affordable plans on the market, and enjoys a reputation as a robust pro-privacy service thanks to its safe jurisdiction in Hong Kong.
Do I Recommend TunnelBear?
No, I do not recommend TunnelBear at all. There are multiple reasons why I would highly advise users to steer clear of this service. The fact that it operates out of Canada and has such an ambiguous logging policy would be my most pressing concern.
Additionally, the service fails to come across as completely transparent about their servers list while also enjoying a less than stellar reputation among its existing users. To make matters worse, the service cannot unblock Netflix and has a lousy customer support system.
My advice would be to only use this service if you’re extremely desperate in terms of accessing China or torrenting support. And even in those categories, a VPN like Surfshark offers better and wider support for all users.