• TunnelBear

  • Our Score 7.5
  • User Rating

TunnelBear VPN Review

TunnelBear offers a no-frills, no-nonsense VPN ideal for beginners. A server network in just 49 countries, without city locations, a lack of customer support, and poor unblocking capabilities place TunnelBear behind most competitors. However, the Canadian-based VPN does have its plus points, which include a free version, a genuine transparency policy involving frequent external audits, and fast, reliable speeds. But is that enough to satisfy users?

The following guide will run through the product’s features and explore whether TunnelBear VPN has what it takes to make up for its shortcomings.

TunnelBear VPN Figures
  • Unknown number of servers, 49 countries
  • Five simultaneous connections
  • Free plan with 500MB per month
  • Paid packages start at approx. €3.10 per month


TunnelBear Plans
1 Monthapprox. €9.31/mo
1 Yearapprox. €4.65/mo
3 Yearsapprox. €3.10/mo
Available on

  • Introducing TunnelBear

Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Toronto, Canada, TunnelBear launched with the mission to protect digital privacy and fight censorship on a global scale. Yet they wanted to be accessible too, and so they created a privacy app that was simple, easy to use, and reliable. These values remain intact, making the VPN an excellent option for first-timers.

Antivirus giant McAfee acquired TunnelBear in 2018. Although the team still works independently, the company now falls under the data laws of both Canada and the US. As founding members of the Five Eyes alliance, this combines two of the worst locations for safeguarding privacy, as the coalition not only collects intelligence but also shares it with participating members. Having said that, the TunnelBear VPN employs a strict no-logs policy backed up by independent audits. So customers never have to worry about their information being recorded or turned over to the authorities.

Is TunnelBear VPN Accessible and Easy to Use?

In terms of usability, absolutely! In fact, TunnelBear is arguably the easiest VPN on the market to get to grips with. Even the company’s website is jargon-free, with an appealing design, uncluttered interface, and super-simple guides. The apps are equally user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing, each adopting the same design, a consistency that makes navigation on multiple devices much more straightforward.

While the lack of advanced features improves the VPN’s ease of use, tech experts may feel a little underwhelmed, with many rivals offering more customization options for a similar price. Next, let’s take a look at which platforms support the TunnelBear VPN:

  • Apps: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux
  • Browser extensions: Chrome, Firefox

Such a limited range of devices makes TunnelBear far less accessible than the majority of VPN providers. The fact that routers, smart TVs, and game consoles are excluded from the list of compatible devices is somewhat disappointing, especially for a company intent on bringing simple digital security to the masses.

    Can TunnelBear at Least Offer Fast Speeds?

Yes, speed test results for the TunnelBear VPN are consistently impressive. On local connections, in particular, the product outstrips even some of the biggest names in the business. And long-distance performance is surprisingly good, too, despite the absence of the WireGuard protocol. Customers can enjoy their favorite video content when abroad without suffering from considerable speed drops. Interestingly, TunnelBear’s free VPN version is just as fast as the paid product, which puts it far above free VPN alternatives.

How Secure is TunnelBear VPN?

TunnelBear is committed to safeguarding customer privacy and to making its practices as transparent as possible. While this has become a standard claim among digital security brands, TunnelBear actually delivers on its promise. First off, they are one of the few companies to commission annual independent audits and release the findings to the public. So far, four such reviews have taken place by German cybersecurity firm Cure53. TunnelBear also publishes a report detailing governmental requests for data. And finally, the VPN’s privacy policy is uncharacteristically easy to understand! Aside from the above steps to guarantee privacy, the TunnelBear VPN adds the following features to strengthen data protection for users:

  • 1. Encryption: Industry standard AES-256 encryption
  • 2. Protocols: IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN
  • 3. Kill switch (Vigilant Bear): Blocks all traffic if the connection is suddenly disrupted (not available on iOS)
  • 4. Private DNS servers: Ensures protection from third-parties
  • 5. DNS and IP leak blocking: Keeps IP addresses hidden at all times
  • 6. Perfect forward secrecy: Prevents session keys from decryption
  • 7. Diffie-Hellman exchange: Enables connection to a verified TunnelBear server
  • 8. Obfuscation (Ghost Bear): Disguises use of the VPN
  • 9. Password manager (RememBear): Auto-fills passwords through a secure app (add-on)
  • 10. Split tunneling (Split Bear): Allows certain applications to bypass the VPN tunnel (only available on Android and iOS)

  • Streaming, Torrenting and Round-the-Clock Support

Can TunnelBear VPN Unblock Netflix?

Sometimes it can, sometimes it can’t. At any rate, TunnelBear doesn’t seem to prioritize unblocking content from geo-restricted sites. And that goes for the majority of streaming platforms, with the VPN failing to grant access to BBC iPlayer, Hulu, or Disney+. Unfortunately, the lack of a money-back guarantee removes the option of trialing the VPN’s streaming capabilities. The free version may provide a solution, although the 500MB monthly allowance will be used up in no time when watching movies or TV series. So in the streaming stakes, TunnelBear VPN remains far behind competitors.

Does TunnelBear VPN Allow Torrenting?

Unlike a few years ago, TunnelBear now allows the practice of downloading and uploading files. The kill switch tool and no-logs policy offer peace of mind when sharing files. However, the VPN is by no means geared up for P2P activity, with no dedicated servers and slower than average speeds. Once again, torrenting is still supported on the free version, so customers can find out how capable TunnelBear VPN is in this department without committing to a paid plan. Still, those intent on frequent torrenting would be advised to seek a more friendly P2P VPN alternative.

Is There a 24/7 Live Chat Available?

Unfortunately not. Another area where TunnelBear falls short of its rivals is in the field of customer service. While the majority of premium providers offer live chat support around-the-clock, TunnelBear customers have to make do with an email ticketing system and a cute but relatively ineffective chatbot. Perhaps the team feels that their easy-to-read guides and troubleshooting pages will adequately answer any queries.

  • How Much Does TunnelBear VPN Cost?

As a so-called freemium service, the VPN is available on a free plan or as a premium package. Let’s check out the current options for the paid version:

  • One month: approx. €9.31 per month
  • One years: approx. €4.65 per month
  • Three years: approx. €3.10 per month

Each price is pretty standard within the industry, with the three-year plan naturally providing the best value. Still, there are more affordable options on the market, and customers may be reluctant to sign up for such a long period considering the VPN’s focus on simplicity. After a year’s use, for example, customers may be looking to upgrade to more advanced features. As mentioned earlier, the absence of a money-back guarantee is disappointing but understandable with the availability of the free service. The website states that refunds are considered on a case-by-case basis. Payment methods are more limited than most, although cryptocurrencies are included.

  • TunnelBear Pros & Cons

  • Extremely easy to use, highly-rated apps
  • Consistently fast speeds
  • External security audits and no-logging policy
  • Free version available with up to 500MB per month
  • Located in Canada and owned by a US company
  • Poor unblocking abilities
  • Lack of live chat support
  • No WireGuard protocol and limited advanced features
  • Only compatible with a handful of devices

Our Verdict

With the cons list longer than the pros, it’s fair to say that TunnelBear fails to match the best VPNs in the business. While we love the fact that the VPN is exceptionally easy to use and appealing in terms of design, there are plenty of other options that offer more features, better streaming and torrenting, and enhanced customer service. Some even for a lower price. But despite its shortcomings, user reviews are generally positive, meaning TunnelBear VPN could still make a practical choice, particularly for VPN newbies.