Signup and installation of TunnelBear is extremely quick and easy. First, you will have to signup for an account. All you need is an email address and create your password. Make sure you go and confirm your account in the email before proceeding. Afterwards, you’ll need to download the installation file.
There are four options for installation. The Windows version is available for Windows 7 and up. There’s also a version for Mac users using OSX 10.10 and up. There are also separate apps for iOS and Android. You need at least iOS 8 or Android 4.01 to use the TunnelBear app.
Once you install and launch the VPN, the program will offer you a quick tutorial on how to use the program. You can either go through it or skip it. After the tutorial, the program will launch and you can click on the dropdown menu to select a server. You can either choose “Closest Tunnel” or a specific country. After doing so, you can then click on the On/Off knob to connect. It’s that simple.
Click on the Privacy button at the bottom to see your connection status or the gear for more advanced features. Some advanced features may only be available to Premium bears.
Features and Specifications
TunnelBear gives you many of the standard features offered by many VPN services. You get the ability to bypass georestricted content and you can connect up to five devices at once. Browser extensions for TunnelBear are available for Chrome and Opera users.
Need additional VPN protection? Try their GhostBear feature. With GhostBear, your VPN connection is further scrambled and this helps prevent your ISP and other servers from detecting that you’re on a VPN. This is important for countries or sites that actively block VPN users.
One special feature offered for Google Chrome users is TunnelBear Blocker. Blocker installs as a Chrome add-on and prevents a myriad of online tracking. It blocks pixel trackers in email, browser fingerprinting, keystroke logging, mouse movement tracking and even ultrasonic tracking that can track mobile devices linked to your computer or home network.
TunnelBear will allow you to do most activities online. It is great for getting around geolocation blocks, such as those in place on international sites. In our testing, we were able to access all major streaming sites and video on Netflix and YouTube played smoothly
One drawback for some will be the lack of support for torrent users. It appears that the service does not support torrent programs. Also, it does not offer dedicated servers like some providers.
While checking out this service, we’ve noticed many customer compliments regarding their mobile app. TunnelBear offers dedicated apps for both iOS and Android and many agree that the app does an excellent job in protecting mobile devices on open Wi-Fi networks.
Most of you will enjoy excellent speeds on TunnelBear. We were able to stream 4K video on Netflix without issue and we saw little slowdown in comparison to a naked ISP connection.
Note, if you use GhostBear mode in TunnelBear, you will experience slow speeds. This is because your connection is scrambled to prevent tracking and this cuts down on your bandwidth. Unless you’re trying to get around VPN blocks, this shouldn’t be an issue.
The TunnelBear network is smaller than some providers but still relatively robust. Presently, they have servers in 19 countries for free users. In addition to the usual suspects like the United States, Canada, Germany and the UK, they have servers in a few atypical locations like Hong Kong, Japan and India.
Premium bears get access to Australia servers as well.
TunnelBear boasts that they offer the “latest and greatest encryption technologies for their bears.” This means AES-256 bit encryption, AKA “military grade” encryption. Your connections will always be secure when connected to TunnelBear.
For those worried about logging, TunnelBear doesn’t actively log your activity but they do keep track of certain data such as the number of times connected to their servers and the total data used during a month.
TunnelBear offers three pricing options. For light users or those wanting to try before they buy, there is a free service with a 500 MB data cap each month. If you’re willing to post to your Twitter account about the service, you will get an additional 1 GB of data each month.
Those of you ready to purchase a premium version, you have two options. The first is their monthly service for $9.99. If you want to save money and are willing to signup for a long-term contract, they offer a year’s service for $49.99 or $4.17 monthly.
The number of payment options with TunnelBear are limited compared to other services. Presently, they only accept payment via credit cards and bitcoin.
Sadly, TunnelBear is lacking in their customer support. Their website offers a somewhat limited Help section and you’ll only get basic help information there. If you need additional help, the only option to contact them is via email.
TunnelBear offers outstanding VPN protection for free and Premium bears alike. It’s inexpensive, user-friendly and is very popular with mobile device owners. This is one service you need to put on your short list.