TunnelBear is a very slick and minimalist VPN provider, who aims to provide a great quality service to those with very little knowledge. Since their last review they have also implemented some more advanced functions, to help those with a few more needs. Overall TunnelBear is a great value for money service with the most attractive & funny attitude we have ever seen.
Pricing & Plans
Like many other providers TunnelBear offers the same package, with increasing price discounts the longer you sign up for – though only two variations – monthly and yearly. They also have a ‘Little Bear’ version which is completely free, and works just like the Giant and Grizzly plans but with a 500MB download limit. With regards to price, TunnelBear definitely offers a very competitive service with very little compromise. If you are using the free version you can also get an extra 1GB download limit by tweeting about them.
They also state you can pay with Jars of Honey, while we knew it was a joke, we’d see if they’d follow through – and they did! To find out more about this, you will need to contact them to get the current ‘Jar of Honey’ to USD exchange rate. While if implemented correctly, this is more secure then BitCoin, it doesn’t come out very cost effective, so we wouldn’t recommend using it.
Canada based TunnelBear, with its creative media and simple to use approach, is definitely aimed at everyday consumers. Their puns and designs definitely make for a friendly approach, and luckily hidden behind it, is a good quality service.
Security & Privacy
TunnelBear primarily provides a 128bit OpenVPN connection, while not as good as 256bit, the chance of it being broken are close to none, and it helps optimise connection speeds. For iOS devices they use IPSec, which is more compatible on Apple devices. They also use shared IPs to help protect your identity.
While they aren’t a true ‘no-logs’ service, they are as close as you could pawsibly get. Looking through their PP you can see everything they collect, their reasoning behind it, and how they use it. From this you can clearly see, that they can’t use any of information they collect to personally identify you – in any possible way.
The TunnelBear website is very well laid out, with a clean and approachable interface, and “bearly” any puns… Roar. They are keen to highlight the ease of use and Twitter promos, all major information is easily found and their social networking is kept well up to date, with important information about their developments clearly displayed.
TunnelBear has a basic but very good help forum, which helped answer some of our more basic questions. We also tested the Ticket Support and found the team to be very koala-fied and while the speed wasn’t ultra fast, it was definitely acceptable and we always received a reply with 24 hours.
Signing up with Tunnelbear is the bees knees and only requires a username and password. If you sign up for their larger plans, you will of course need to provide information more, so that they can process your payment.
The Windows VPN client
The TunnelBear Client, in it’s default state, is very simple to use; chose the location and click On. However, they do provide you with some advanced settings:
Maul Trackers: Aims to remove any web tracking, personally we found AdBlock to be more helpful, but it’s a nice ad on.
Vigilant Bear:If your internet disappears it will fully block your traffic until TunnelBear reconnects.
IntelliBear: Allows tunnelling of some websites and not others.
While these advanced settings are limited (in number) they are definitely great, and we can imagine plenty of useful scenarios for them.
Performance (Speed, DNS and IP Test)
While their speeds weren’t breaking the sound bearier, and slightly lower than other top end providers, they definitely remained adequate enough for an extensive day to day use. As usual we had no problems with either the IP tests or DNS leak test.
While their support range isn’t extensive, it covers all of the important platforms on PC and mobile.
We gave the TunnelBear Android app a test and it didn’t disappoint. While the connection was stable and the speeds matched those achieved through our computer, it did seem a bit excessive (though fantastically fitting in with their theme). A zoom function would also be appreciated, but overall no errors.
As mentioned there is a free version of TunnelBear with a data cap of 500MB (+1GB if you promote them on Twitter) we also gave this a test and found it to perform just as well, though IntelliBear and Australia will require an upgrade. We would recommend an upgrade either way as if you’re serious about privacy (which we really hope you are), then you should have a VPN running all the time.
- The impawsible amount of puns
- Simple clients
- Great security
- Good speeds
- Free service
- Great value for money
We weren’t so sure about
- Limited advanced settings
- No P2P: but this is a good compromise for better security
TunnelBear has a clear user market in mind and they work fantastically at targeting it. For most customers they are a fantastic value for money service that we would happily recommend without hesitation.