TunnelBear is a Canada-based VPN provider that was founded in 2011. For a free service, they offer a lot, but the paid service isn’t something to go wild over.
What users will find entertaining, though, is the bear theme throughout the entire site.
TunnelBear has applications for almost all platforms, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. In addition, they also offer their users Chrome and Opera extensions.
We tried out both the Windows application and the Chrome extension. Once you sign up and download the application or add the extension, you can connect to up to five devices simultaneously.
Unfortunately, we faced a few glitches with the Windows app. For starters, it took more than one attempt to connect to a server.
The second issue: The application froze once and required a full Windows restart to be able to get back online. When we tried contacting customer support about the issue, there was only one channel available – the support ticket system.
There is no live chat support, and even though TunnelBear is on social media, you can only follow them and not make contact or ask queries. Once you submit a ticket, you’re informed that it can take up to 24 hours for the reply to come through. In our case, it took only six hours, and the response was very helpful.
TunnelBear only operates 20 server locations around the world, which isn’t very impressive. This is considered a small number compared to some of its competitors, such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN, which operate hundreds and thousands of servers. However, when we tested the performance of this network, we were intrigued that such a small network had almost unnoticeable lags.
The TunnelBear network is secured with an AES 256-bit encryption, which is one of the highest levels of encryption available among VPNs today. While the security protocols supported are limited to OpenVPN, IKEv2, and IPSec, these are actually considered the most reliable.
There are two additional security features: VigilantBear and GhostBear. VigilantBear is a built-in kill switch and GhostBear is a Double VPN that adds an extra layer of security to all the data traffic, making the already encrypted data even less detectable by ISPs.
One of the great things about TunnelBear is that you’re able to unlock most of the popular streaming websites such as Netflix and Hulu most of the time. However, it’s not a guarantee, and – while TunnelBear is happy to assist you to connect – you might not succeed. TunnelBear is also unable to unblock UK services such as BBC iPlayer. Another drawback is that Tunnelbear can’t be used with P2P services like torrents.
However, Tunnelbear does work in China, as long as you download and install it before arriving.
The cost of acquiring a TunnelBear subscription is considered average compared to its competitors, though you can get more features with some other providers at a similar price. TunnelBear doesn’t have a refund policy or a money back guarantee period. However, this shouldn’t be an issue since they already offer a monthly free VPN package.
If you don't love Tunnelbear, there are other free VPNs out there.