TunnelBear Review

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.
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Review of: Tunnelbear

Reviewed by:
On October 12, 2014
Last modified:October 14, 2016


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.



We liked

  • 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

We hated

  • Nothing

Video Review

We have previously made a video review of TunnelBear. We have updated the review since then so make sure you read it, in order to find out about some of the great changes they have made.


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.

They have servers in 9 well located countries all of which provide goods speeds. Though they are aim for the everyday user their security isn’t lacking. They provide OpenVPN connections, very minimal logging and possibly the most thorough Privacy Policy we have seen! Unfortunately, to be able to do this, they have had to compromise and no P2P is allowed.

Visit TunnelBear »

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 website

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.


The Process

Signing Up

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.

TunnelBear_NoVPN_Speed TunnelBear_OpenVPN_Speed
No VPN Speed OpenVPN Speed

Other Platforms

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 erroars.


Free Services

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.


We liked

  • 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

We hated

  • Nothing

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.

Visit TunnelBear »

Peter Selmeczy I am an engineer by trade and tech geek by night, who's passionate about sharing his knowledge with the people. Find me on Google+.

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66 responses to “TunnelBear Review

  1. @Art Thompson: It is grossly unfair and inaccurate to rate Customer Services 1 star when you have never had the need to talk to them!

  2. I am in need of something to help stop my ISP from sending threatening emails about file sharing, does this service help with that? Or am I misunderstanding the concept? Ty for your help!

      1. I appreciate your reply so very much! Truly mean a lot that you took the time to add some ideas for me. So Thank-You kindly.. I am very glad I decided to ask a question here! May you and yours have a great day!

  3. Hi Chris I’m trying to get into a site that tracks my server and IP …… Is there anything I can do to hide it completely? I don’t want them to kno it’s me logging In?

    1. Hi Cate,

      Tunnelbear (or any decent VPN service) will hide your real IP from any website you visit.

  4. I was thinking about getting ur service I’m going to be ask a few qutions do u guys kept logs and looking at this for a few rEason but have a question for u hypothetical ifsomeone was to say download movies or torrents with ur servers hiw would u protect that hypothetical or is that a no no

    1. Hi Chris,

      TunnelBear is not “our” service – this is just a review. that said, TunnelBear does keep logs and does not permit P2P downloading (this is clearly stated in the review!).

    1. Hi Shato,

      It will indeed! You can always signup for a free “Little Bear” account if you want to test for yourslef (signup details are asked, but fake details work).

    1. Hi dave,

      TB is a program, so it does require a little processing power when running. If your laptop is running that hot, however, then something is very wrong with it (maybe the fan has failed, or your cooling vents are blocked?

      1. The vents are clear and the fans operational. I have turned TB off and temps seem to be normal again so it must be using a lot of processor.

        1. Hi dave,

          Hmm. You are using Windows? If so, then with TB running, right-click on the Task bar -> Task Manager. You should be able to see if TB is using up a lot of processing power. That said, even if it is (which is bad of course), you laptop should never get that hot, no matter how much a program hammers the processor..

  5. Probably the easiest VPN that you can use if you are not tech savvy.

    If you are unsure if it will work for you, use the free trial version first and go from there.

    Of all the VPN’s I’ve tried TunnelBear has been the most stable for me. The other’s I’ve tried constantly disconnect after a period of time.

    As mentioned in the above article. If your ISP or the Wi-Fi you are connecting to has facilities in place to detect and block VPN’s then applications like the above will not work very well (or at all). Some hotels I’ve stayed in I’ve tried using VPN’s but they simply fail after about 5 minutes (something somewhere must detect the change).

    I’ve used TunnelBear to watch sports in the US with no issue but as mentioned in other comments, some providers have become “clever” and are increasingly blocking VPN access.

    So if it doesn’t work don’t immediately criticise the product, try different ones and if you’re willing to pay their monthly fees that’s fine. Not all have free trials unfortunately.

  6. TunnelBear is really the worst VPN service i have ever tried. I cannot connect to FaceBook on my college wi-fi, and i could do that with cheaper options and even with free VPN’s. It is blocked by Netflix, it can not secure me access to FaceBook on college wifi and other sites… I really don’t want to even try torrenting over this thing if it cannot Protect me from my college restrictions… This i just a waste of money… Don’t even bother trying… LinusTechTips should better choose their sponsors.

  7. I purchased Tunnel Bear and have had issues connecting to country on my list. I sent Tech Support a couple of emails two weeks ago and have yet to hear from them. When I can connect to the web, I’m actually blocked from using the internet by Google etc. I would not purchase this program again being that you can use for free and the wait time to connect is the same.

  8. #1 NetNanny on the web. If you don’t want anyone connecting to any sites (even if your internet does work), just activate this and it’ll stop them. App is a joke and so is the development.100% internet blocker. Configured exactly how their tutorial is setup and it doesn’t let you go anywhere on the web.

    Poorly made – my rating: (-infinity)

    I use it to play online games, since my South African ISP blocks some ports, and it works way better than other VPNs I tried, the latency is low and the packet loss seems to be about zero, because I never have any disconnects or sudden increase in lag.
    The only problem is every time I connect something starts to download in background(I can see it using software for traffic control) and I can’t find out what it is because it is all hidden VPN traffic, but I’m just gonna blame it on Windows update and not let it affect my ratings. However I just hope that tunnelbear team is not pulling some Hola stuff, wouldn’t want my PC to become a part of botnet.

    1. Oh, I also forgot to mention that on connecting tunnelbear changes the DNS settings for some reason, I mean I prefer to use Google DNS and really don’t care for changing it manually every time.

      1. Hi Stanislav,

        A good VPN service should change your DNS settings so that its severs resolve DNS requests, rather than your ISP’s (or Google if you have manually configured your computer for this). This is in order to prevent DNS leaks, as using Google DNS can give away your real location (and tells Google who you are).

    Simply does not connect on ANY public wifi networks near me (Edinburgh, Scotland) thus rendering TB’s claim that “TunnelBear VPN shields your personal information from prying third-parties and hackers on public WiFi, ISPs and other local networks” entirely mislaeding and spurious

    I use Tunnelbear on both a PC and an iPhone. Very user friendly, and it seems to work as advertised. Of course I probably wouldn’t know if my security has been compromised, but I’ve no reason to suspect any issues. Overall a great service at a great price for the non-tech masses. (PS I rated their customer service a 3 only because I’ve never asked anything of them, so I’ve no basis to say)

    I’ve just downloaded the tunnelbear free version. as a test, I selected the location to France. Opened a French site and tried viewing a video only available in France. What I got was “your geographic location does not allowing viewing”.
    I thought that one of the advantages of VPN is to be able to watch such material from anywhere in the world !!!?

    1. Hi Adley,

      The ability to geo-spoof is an advantage of VPN, but a number of streaming services (such as Hulu Plus, Netflix and BBC iPlayer) are now blocking VPN users’ from accessing their services. It seems the French site you wish to access may be doing this too.

    2. You probably did not have your Tunnelbear turn on. Same happened to me until I saw it was not probably connected. It fixes it when I hit the ON button.

    I am new to Tunnel Bear and can’t give a rating as I have not used it that long.

    How do I tell if I am connected? I am connecting from India to US.

    I am an ExPAt Brit living in the USA. Trying to watch some British TV but seem to be having issues downloading the requisite apps from iTunes. They say that since my account is USA based I cannot do so. Tried tunneling to the UK and still an issue. Is there a workaround or an alternative method, other than opening up an iTunes account in the UK?
    BTW I do believe that only being able to submit this with a rating definitely weakens the truth of the brand quality.

    1. Hi Tim,

      As far as I know, the only way to access region-restricted apps in the App Store is to a create new account (for which you will need a Uk debit/credit card). If you are trying to access something like BBC iPlayer, however, this will likely use methods such as checking your mobile carrier information to verify that you are in the UK, and will therefore likely not work anyway…

    Hello there..
    I am looking for a VPN product like tunnelbear to use on my Openelec Raspberi pi media
    systems running Kodi .. Does your product work with this ?

    1. Hi Geaorge,

      Please note that BestVPN is a review website, and TunnelBear is not our product. TunnelBear does not support Linux, but many VPN services do. I would suggest taking advantage of free trial or money back guarantee offered by one of these to see whether you can successfully setup the VPN on your OpenELEC Raspberry Pi.

    I have a question: if I send an email while I am signed in to tunnel ear can the recipient track my IP?

    1. Hi KC,

      Most web based email services (such as Gmail) do not send your IP with emails for security reasons. If you use a mail client (such as the “Mail” app on the iPhone or Thunderbird on a PC) your IP will be exposed. Using a VPN (such as TunnelBear) won’t stop this, as the email client attaches the IP of your computer, not that of the VPN server you are using. TL:DR – use webmail to hide your IP.

    This is someone’s MOTHER. My thirteen year old downloaded the free version of tunnel bear into his Android without my consent. I’ve tried to delete the account but the delete option doesn’t appear on the bottom of the account options as indicated in the instructions on how to delete. The delete option is completely missing. I need to delete his account. Also, how can I be sure the installation is completely gone from the Android itself? If I can’t be sure then the whole phone is getting tossed. But I still need to delete the account. Thank you in advance for help.

    1. Hi Mary,

      Android apps such as Tunnelbear are easily uninstalled:

      1. Go to your device’s Settings app .
      2. Select Apps or Application manager.
      3. Touch the app you want to uninstall. You may need to swipe right or left to find the app.
      4. Touch Uninstall .

      Details vary a little depending on the exact flavor of Android the phone runs, but it is always very simple. You can also uninstall apps through the Play Store (My apps & games -> select app -> uninstall).

      TunnelBear accounts are only created for paid users, so there is no account for you to delete. May I ask why your son’s use of TunnelBear alarms you so much? IMO a 13 year old is entitled to some privacy.

    2. Sorry, but I couldn’t hold back: How stupid is this, giving tunneler service a one star rating, because the lovely son installed a software which the retired person is unable to uninstall!!! Just wondering how we got so far as humans!!!

    can I use this service to access XfinityGo from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?

    Garbage ‘customer service.’ Will definitely be disputing charge with my credit card company. Don’t waste your time or money if you want to access things like Netflix JP, it won’t work.

    1. I use it quite a lot of Netflix as its quite surprising just how much programme content changes from country to country and have no problems whatsoever. Sometimes it struggles a little with Popcorn but I have no complaints because in itself Popcorn is not too energetic or stable

      If someone arrived with a sack of writs and started to demand names and addresses I am not sure what the results would be, I would like to think they would say can´t help you we have no way of know who they are.

      As far as I am concerned, I agree with the aritcle, its a good service and a good product.

    Been using for about a year, love tunnelbear 🙂

    well priced, easy to use, speed doesnt seem to drop when connected, keep up the good work

    Based in Canada, so you’d think it would be blatant somewhere on their site or FAQs as to whether the prices are quoted in CDN $ (-: or US $ )-: . . . duh on that one TunnelBear.

    1. Hey Matt,
      Sorry about that! We indicate on our pricing page that pricing is shown in USD. We’ll work on making it more clear to our users going forward 🙂

    I agree with the comment above. You people who are complaining, are you using Tunnelbear?? I have had this for 2 years and NEVER talked to customer service (which is why I gave that 1 star). This is a dream product and I do NOT work for Tunnelbear or any of its subsidiaries. Do they even have subsidiaries. Best 50 bucks/ year I spend. I give myself a xmas present every year. Love it on PC and my daughter uses it on her mac (incessantly)

    On my android tunnelbear tends to drop out, disconnectedness, but the secure key icon is still on my taskbar giving the illusion of security. It’s only when I open up the app that I can tell if I’m still connected. Otherwise it woul hid be a grrrrr8 VPN.

    I work with a platform of sports trade that have a stream included to see the games and most of the time i have small interruptions during the games!!And a few times the great bear just blocks everything!!But im just in the beginning i William tr to communicate that to the support:-)

    One day their system has just forgot my e-mail and the account. I have lost my yearly subscription. Support claimed that they did not have any records, though I sent them proof of purchase.

    I have used Tunnelbear since it started and have now had 2 annual subscriptions. I think it’s brilliant and owning a chromebook the chrome plugin is so fantastic it does hide your IP address but does not slow you down. The VPN client on my mac does not either although I only have 80/20 FTTC

    Just to be clear I don’t work for the as I live in the UK I am just a regular customer.

    I’ve used this VPN service for 8 months and I’m satisfied. Everything works perfectly except for the fact that it P2P is not allowed. That’s why I’m gonna switch to another service, but if you don’t care about then go ahead and get it

    Maybe the negative reviews are looking at a different product – this app is frickin’ brilliant! I use it mainly to get UK TV streamed on my iMac and then use AppleTV to stream it to my TV – it has never failed, I have never had to talk to Customer Support and at the price, its cheap as chips! Highly recommend this product.

    This was once a great product. But now is a piece of junk. I signed up for the upgrade and was happy – but my usage did not justify the cost. Now – I try to use and it fails consistently!!!

    BlowFish has holes… An 128bit Camellia or AES is much better than a BlowFish encrypted at the same strength.

    Tunnelbear is the cutest VPN l have ever seen. Located in Canada, no logs are collected! Best for US people and who wants to watch BBC country-restrained videos.Unfortunately, there are usual server location issues of Tunnelbear- choosing Japan servers but seccussfully connecting to US IPs.

    I do a lot of travelling and was lead to belive Tunnel Bear would work more or less any where.was in the USA two weeks ago, worked fine.Dubai last week did not work,now in HONG KONG again not working,very dissapointed with the service.As i am away from home a lot,it would have been good to relax and catch up on a few programs from home but apparently not.

    Dude, how can you make a review about a VPN service and NOT MENTION IT HAS TORRENTS BLOCKED.
    Otherwise I love the whole freaking concept of this company.

    I tried the free tunnel bear app for my iPad and was very happy
    Trouble started when I upgraded to the grizzly bear at first it worked ok then my account was cancelled.
    After talking to support I was told my credit card payment was cancelled because of it might have been illegally used.
    They suggested that I use another credit card or use PayPal and my previous payment would be refunded.
    Well after 5 weeks there has been no refund and I am still waiting to see this problem fixed.
    I suggest you don’t use credit cards. And be very careful of paying tunnelbear.
    The free tunnel ear account is really good but once it’s upgraded everything turns to rubbish.

    1. Hi Peter,

      I live in Belgium.
      I totally agree with your review.
      Very fast, easy to use, inexpensive (especially Cyber Monday), funny, so practical.
      Now I can watch Netflix from US and many more…
      I love this Bear !

      Bye and you are doing a good job !

      Thank you.

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