- Headquarters: Canada
- Servers: Undisclosed
- Countries: 48
- Supported devices: Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Linux,
- Starting price: $3.33 per month
- Has a free plan
- It offers a good value for the money
- Owns its DNS servers
- Inconsistent speeds
- Doesn’t have good streaming capabilities
- The free plan is dodgy
TunnelBear is a Canadian VPN provider that was founded in 2011 and is currently owned by the popular antivirus software McAfee. Being based in Canada means it’s part of the 14 Eyes Alliance. Still, it offers a good value for money and has a free plan.
It took us some time to find out how many servers TunnelBear has since there isn’t official information listed on the website, which isn’t a piece of good news. It’s expected to have about 2,000 servers across 48 countries, so we’ll use that number.
From what we have seen, TunnelBear does offer good features from browsing and gaming, and an area where the “Canadian bear” does excel in are bypassing censored countries.
This TunnelBear review will show you if the free plan is worth a try and if the premium plans could justify their price tag.
Customer experience matters a lot when picking a reliable VPN provider. That is why our team constantly checks metrics that will show whether or not clients recommend or not a VPN service.
TunnelBear VPN has a poor score – only 2.9 stars out of 5 in Trustpilot, from a small number of reviews – about 70. That’s the least amount of reviews we’ve checked, and it is a sign that not many people are actually using the service.
Most of the reviews are genuine, according to our in-depth analysis, and we have come to the conclusion that not paying attention to platforms like Trustpilot (the page is not even claimed) hurts reputation.
On the bright side, we really love the website design! Documentation is also informative, but the lack of 24/7 live chat support is something that users rely on in 2022.
With its remarkably user-friendly VPN, TunnelBear provides a straightforward suite of apps for Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android devices. You can also install TunnelBear for Linux. Unfortunately, Amazon Fire TV and routers are not supported.
Generally, VPNs offer most of their features on their Windows apps, and TunnelBear makes no exception. But we have to admit that TunnelBear for Mac OS doesn’t suffer. Both versions are pretty capable, and the Linux version works fine but looks, well, mediocre. If Linux experience and great user interface are a priority, then Private Internet Access is your go-to option.
TunnelBear’s Android app does a remarkable job by being a very upmarket and easy-to-use solution that has all the necessary features. The same cannot be said about the iOS version, which is disappointing. Surfshark, NordVPN, and PrivateVPN are all better VPNs for iPhone and iPad devices.
TunnelBear offers a free VPN experience, which is great news at first sight! The speeds are nearly identical with what you could see in the premium plans, which means you can use it full-time…or not. 500MB per month is certainly not enough for monthly browsing traffic, but it’ll give a good taste of what the VPN service could offer.
There are three individual user plans. The monthly plan would cost you $9.99 per month, which is a decent value for money if you don’t fancy long-term commitments. This places TunnelBear higher than ExpressVPN and NordVPN but lower than PrivateVPN.
The annual plan costs $4.99 a month (or $59.88 when billed), which is a relatively good deal, but the most value you get from the 3-year plan would see you pay $120 (or $3.33 a month). This price is higher than the cheapest VPN services like Atlas VPN, PIA, and Surfshark, but it’s much lower than ExpressVPN, for example.
The maximum amount of devices is 5, which is the worst in the industry and although it’s the same as ExpressVPN, it’s much lower than almost all of the competitors.
Last but not least – TunnelBear has a business plan that starts at $5.75 per user per month.
TunnelBear security includes standard AES-256 encryption, which is paired with DNS leak blocking and a kill switch (VigilantBear). There is a strict no-logs policy despite the fact it is based in Canada, a member of the 14 Eyes Alliance.
There are some other good features, like an ad blocker, a VPN mask feature (GhostBear), and split tunneling called SplitBear. Unfortunately, WireGuard protocol is unavailable, and so is IPv6 leak protection.
We have to admit that TunnelBear does really well when browsing in countries with restricted access. It does well with The Great Firewall, and if you are browsing in China, Russia, or the Middle East, then the Canadian VPN is a good option.
TunnelBear does a good job in securing your traffic but if you are looking for a robust provider, look no further than ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
TunnelBear streaming abilities are quite limited. It successfully opens US Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max.
But is it a good VPN for Disney+ and Hulu? Well, not exactly. Hulu is a mixed success but Disney+ turns out to be a nightmare for many VPNs, since it’s a fairly new content platform, and TunnelBear fails to unblock it.
Opening international Netflix libraries isn’t a big success, either, as the IPs often get detected. If you want to watch Netflix via VPN, we’d advise you to select something between NordVPN, ExpressVPN, or PrivateVPN which all open many libraries.
On the bright side, we noticed its speeds are decent and if you manage to unlock a streaming platform, you’d enjoy good speeds and no buffering issues while watching Full HD and 4K content.
All TunnelBear’s servers allow P2P torrenting which is very good news. On the other hand, none of those servers are P2P optimized, meaning there is absolutely no incentive for you to torrent, as the download speeds will be significantly reduced.
There is a lack of port forwarding that is crucial for many torrent users, since it’s a good practice in the torrent world. But this isn’t the biggest problem of torrenting with TunnelBear.
Canada is a place which is part of the 14 Eyes Alliance (and part of the initial Five Eyes), which is important. On top of that, the laws are very strict about copyright infringement. TunnelBear VPN seems to work now for torrenting, but it has a past history of blocking customers that are involved in P2P activities.
We from Time4VPN don’t believe TunnelBear is a reliable VPN for torrenting, and if that’s the main reason why you want to subscribe for a VPN service, we’d guess you’d be better off with something like Private Internet Access and PrivateVPN (if you want port forwarding), or NordVPN and Surfshark.
TunnelBear is a fast VPN provider, without a doubt. When doing local tests, we’ve recorded around 7% speed loss most of the times, with occasional drops to 8-9% which is admirable.
While nobody knows exactly how many servers TunnelBear has (we suppose they are about 2,000), they are located in 48 countries.
The long-distance speeds are more prone to speed loss (which is normal), and we have encountered 40-45% speed loss, which puts it somewhere in the middle of the pack, behind Surfshark and NordVPN, both using WireGuard (NordLynx is based on WireGuard) compared to TunnelBear’s OpenVPN protocols.
In general, the speeds we’ve seen are more than enough for web surfing and having servers across all continents means there is something for everyone which is amazing news. Last but not least – the free version can also boast good speeds, and doesn’t lag behind the premium one.
TunnelBear is one of the very few VPN providers that offer a free plan as well as a paid one. And while we enjoyed good speeds across the board, we were disappointed with TunnelBear’s streaming and torrenting capabilities. Still, for secure web browsing even in restricted countries, it’s an option worth trying, and the free plan – while limited to only 500MB per month, is more than enough if you want a free VPN for checking websites otherwise unavailable in the country you are located.