Tunnelr is a fairly new company with only three years of operation. Despite this, though not perfect, they have developed well and with a major upgrade just last month they have substantially stepped up their game.
Tunnelr is a US based VPN provider. Though it is fairly young in the game it has a few inventive features which makes it absolutely fantastic. Their VPN service is pretty decent but their SSH system is absolutely superb. Being run by the same people who run cloudsy.com and devio.us gives them plenty of experience in running these kind of systems (their VPN service has an OpenBSD back-end). They are also eager to keep developing and have improved support, software and even more protocols in their development plans.
Pricing & Plans
Surprisingly unlike most providers Tunnelr doesn’t display it’s prices on anywhere (or at least we couldn’t find it). Once you have signed up you are able to select your billing option. Like most providers they provide a one plan fits all, with increased discount if you sign up for a longer period.
Their pricing is nicely placed in the medium range making it neither too expensive or cheap. Also if you are having problems with something or are unhappy for some (legible) reason then they will work their best to change it or provide you with a refund.
Tunnelr currently has 15 servers in 8 countries which isn’t spectacular but they are nicely laid out across Europe and the US. What is spectacular though is that they provide up to 5 simultaneous connections by default – probably the cheapest company to offer this. Though they do not have any of their own software they provide great speeds and fantastic security with clear policies and a nice website.
Security & Privacy
Obviously a clear advantage of using a VPN service is that it keeps your data safe and secure but this doesn’t help if your VPN provider carries out a lot of logging. Thankfully Tunnelr has a clear logging policy where they clearly state that though they do some bare essential logging for troubleshooting they do not keep an PII (personally identifiable information) on any of their infrastructure – they only keep these logs for 24 hours as well! Such clear and dedicated logging policy is great to see from a US company.
Like most providers they provide PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN support. For these they use some of the highest levels of encryption that we have seen.
However, what really sets apart Tunnelr from the other providers is that they also support OpenSSH and SOCKS by default. Though this will mean nothing to the average user those with a little bit more technical experience will know that these can allow a much larger range of configuration and can help improve speeds. Reading our VPN vs SSH post can give you a bit more insight on this.
The Tunnelr website is nice and clearly laid out and very easy to navigate. It is easy to find all the main pieces of information from FAQs to Tutorials and everything is well detailed and presented. They also run a blog to show their latest updates and developments but slightly disappointingly it isn’t possible to view older entries.
Being a very young company means that Tunnelr does not yet have the resources to provide a very large scale support and only operate a ticket system. However, we found this to be very efficient and fast and never had any problems with their replies. They are also looking into providing live chat support in the near future.
Like with most providers it is very easy to sign up – just enter a username, email and password and you’re done. Once you have accessed your dashboard you will be given a few hours in order to trial their service. After that you will have to select a billing plan – Tunnelr doesn’t automatically select recurring payments which is great. Just like the rest of the website the personal Dashboard is clearly arranged and easy to navigate.
The Windows VPN client
Unfortunately, as mentioned Tunnelr doesn’t provide it’s own software (Windows and Mac software in development but no ETA as of yet). However, it does provide clear and detailed set-up guides for all protocols on all platforms. For Windows it recommends the use of OpenVPN Client or Viscosity. We decided to give it a go with the OpenVPN client as this is free and has a larger user base.
Performance (Speed, DNS and IP Test)
We gave Tunnelr the normal performance tests. The DNS leak test and the IP tests all came back clear and positive. We were slightly disappointed with the speed tests as can be seen in the below table but they still remained adequate enough to torrent, stream or just browse.
|No VPN Speed||Tunnelr VPN Speed|
Just like with Windows, Tunnelr doesn’t provide you with any of their software for any other platforms. On the upside though they have clear and concise set up instructions for all major platforms – Android, Windows, Apple & Linux. We gave Android a go and found the speeds to match those that we achieved on our computer so we were happy with this. You can find out more about setting up OpenVPN on Android using our Top 5 list or using Tunnelrs own setup guide.
Since unlike many providers Tunnelr also provides SSH we also gave this a go. It is a bit harder to set up than a VPN connection and each piece of software you use needs configuring to be able to use it. We did our test using Firefox using their recommended set-up procedure. As we can see from the below table there was close to no speed loss and the IP and DNS leak test were all fine.
|No SSH Speed||Tunnelr SSH Speed|
- Plenty of protocols even including OpenSSH – which has absolutely superb speed
- Up to 5 simultaneous connections
- Great website
- Great security
We weren’t so sure about
- Limited support capability
- VPN speeds
- Small number of servers – but well placed
- No dedicated software
Overall Tunnelr is a great service compared to it’s age. If you know a little bit about your computers and software then it is definitely worth the money you are paying. If you are looking for a provider with a lot of servers and easy to use software then you should look elsewhere, but come back to them in a year or two to see how they have progressed.