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Tunnelbear Review 2022 — It’s Free, but Is It Good (and Safe)?

Rating: 8.6/10
Ranked 16th out of VPNs
Author Image Andreea Juganaru'
Andreea Juganaru | Updated on 2nd February 2022 Cybersecurity Researcher

TunnelBear’s team does an excellent job in branding the VPN but is that all it takes to create a great service? With over 300 VPNs out there, the competition is fierce so I had to take it for a test and see if there’s more to it.

I looked into its privacy policy and security features to see if it’s really safe. I ran many tests on its servers, checked the speeds, how many streaming platforms it can unblock, and the mandatory IP and DNS leak tests to see if my data was truly secure.

TunnelBear is good enough to hide your regular traffic, but not if you want to stream international movies and shows or download torrents. You can use it to bypass the Great Wall of China and it’s incredibly easy to use. Its clients are carefully branded, and it can be a good choice if you’re looking for a free, lightweight VPN and you don’t care too much about streaming.

Try TunnelBear for Free Today!

Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings

Try TunnelBear VPN Today!

TunnelBear VPN Features — Updated in February 2022

💸 Price 3.33USD/month
📝 Does VPN keep logs? No
🖥 Number of servers 2600
💻 Number of devices per license 5
🛡 Kill switch No
🗺 Based in country Canada
🛠 Support Via Email
📥 Supports torrenting Yes

Streaming – TunnelBear Unblocks Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and Kodi

TunnelBear is not a good VPN for streaming. Even though I could unblock most streaming platforms, the connection was very slow. It doesn’t have specialized streaming servers, and watching any show was almost impossible due to the long loading times. There aren’t any city-level server locations either, which means backup options aren’t available.

Unblocked: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and Kodi

TunnelBear unblocked Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and Kodi, but only with GhostBear. GhostBear is TunnelBear’s stealth mode which makes the VPN hard to detect. However, it slows down your connection, because it needs to add an extra layer of encryption. Because of this, streaming was out of the question. I ran two series of tests to see if the VPN would successfully bypass geoblocks.

On my first test, I connected to its US, Canada, and UK servers. The only streaming services I could unblock were HBO Max and Kodi. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime identified the VPN and blocked my access, while ESPN, ESPN+, and Disney+ wouldn’t even allow me to view the library.

For the second test, I activated GhostBear – TunnelBear’s stealth feature designed to mask the VPN. I could immediately unblock Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, but the speeds were terrible. It’s normal to experience a slight drop in speed when you connect to an international server, and if you also activate a feature like GhostBear the connection will be even slower. However, the speed decreased too much with TunnelBear.

Screenshot showing TunnelBear VPN unblocking Netflix US

TunnelBear unblocked Netflix US, but the quality wasn’t great

GhostBear slows down your connection, as the VPN needs to conceal your traffic so streaming platforms don’t detect it. Because of this, I couldn’t watch anything without heavy buffering.

Blocked By: BBC iPlayer, Disney+, ESPN, and ESPN+

TunnelBear was blocked by BBC iPlayer, Disney+, ESPN, and ESPN+. After successfully unblocking a handful of streaming services, I tried my luck and connected to its US, UK, and Canada servers again. Unfortunately, I was still blocked with and without GhostBear.

Disney+ didn’t even allow me to view its library, so it was impossible to watch something. ESPN and ESPN+ took me back to the login screen every time I tried watching a show.

The BBC iPlayer knew I wasn’t in the UK and blocked my access with the classic message:

“BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues. In the UK? Here’s some advice."

I don’t recommend TunnelBear as a streaming VPN. On its website, it’s clearly stated that this VPN was not made to unblock online content, but to keep its users private on the internet. On top of that, it doesn’t have any specialized streaming servers and once you establish a long-distance connection, your speed will drop considerably making it impossible to stream any movie or show.

Try TunnelBear Today!

Speeds – Good Speeds, but Only on Local Servers

TunnelBear has great speeds on local servers, but it’s almost impossible to work with the international ones. I performed several speed tests on its network to see if distance makes a difference. I used Ookla’s speed test tool and measured my:

  • Ping/latency – measures how fast you get a response from the website or app you’re connecting to. This metric is very important in gaming – a high ping means lag.
  • Download speed – this measures the time you need to download files and information from the internet and it’s important for streaming.
  • Upload speed – measures the time needed to send files from your device – from messages to images and video files.

Local Speeds

TunnelBear’s local speeds are fast and consistent. What surprised me was that the free and paid versions had similar speeds (although you only get 500MB of data per month with the free version). I started with a 29.73 Mbps download speed, 28.81 Mbps upload, and a ping of 4 ms. Then, I used TunnelBear’s Fastest Tunnel feature to connect to the best server for my location – this provides me with the fastest connection.

My ping increased to 8 ms, which is very good – a ping under 25 is great for gaming, the download speed went down 7%, and the upload decreased by 9%. It’s normal to see a decrease of up to 20% when you connect to a VPN because your data needs to go through TunnelBear’s servers first. These results are amazing and I didn’t notice any difference compared to my initial speed – I could play video games, stream movies, and load any website within seconds.

Download speed Upload speed Ping
Speeds without a VPN (Bucharest, Romania) 29.73 Mbps 28.82 Mbps 4 ms
Speeds connected to TunnelBear’s fastest server 27.67 Mbps(7% decrease) 26.17 Mbps (9% decrease) 8 ms

screenshot of TunnelBear's local speed tests

TunnelBear’s local servers provided me with a good connection

It’s not unusual for your speed to drop when using a VPN – your connection is being routed through the servers and encrypted. However, a 7% decrease is almost unnoticeable, so TunnelBear did a good job. I could continue all my regular activities while also staying anonymous.

Long-Distance Speeds

TunnelBear’s long-distance speeds are very slow, making it almost impossible to stream movies or play online games. The first test I ran was on a US server. My ping increased to 112 ms, while the download speed decreased to 4.44 Mbps – which is 96% slower than my original speed. The upload was 19.02 Mbps, which was a 44% decrease.

Download speed Upload speed Ping
Speeds without a VPN (Bucharest, Romania) 29.73 Mbps 28.82 Mbps 4 ms
Speeds connected to TunnelBear’s US server 4.44 Mbps (96% decrease) 19.02 Mbps (44% decrease) 112 ms

This situation is not what I was hoping for – the drop in speed was incredible, and distance really made a difference. 4.44 Mbps is not enough to stream any movie in HD, and torrenting would be very slow.

I also tested TunnelBear’s TCP Override feature. This mode forces the VPN to only use a TCP protocol instead of UDP – TCP is slower, but it checks the files’ integrity, while UDP is faster, but the transmitted data packets may not be complete.

According to TunnelBear’s website, TCP Override is supposed to improve the connection – and it does, but not how you’d imagine. The protocol doesn’t make your connection faster; it makes your connection more reliable so that the information reaches your computer correctly. On the other hand, UDP gives you a faster connection, but you may not receive all the data.

With TCP Override, the download speed dropped to under 0.91 Mbps, which is way too slow to even load a complex website – streaming was completely out of the question.

Screenshot of TunnelBear's international speed tests

TunnelBear’s long-distance speeds really slowed me down.

The second TunnelBear server I tested was in the UK, and it’s closer to my location. The ping was 50 ms, download speed around 9.67 Mbps, and upload was 13.06 Mbps. Even though these speeds were slow too, I could still stream movies. However, a multiplayer game would be terrible to play.

Download speed Upload speed Ping
Speeds without a VPN (Bucharest, Romania) 29.73 Mbps 28.82 Mbps 4 ms
Speeds connected to TunnelBear’s UK server 9.67 Mbps (68% decrease) 13.06 Mbps (55% decrease) 50 ms

TunnelBear’s local servers are fast and consistent, but the international ones don’t provide good enough speeds for streaming or even regular web browsing. Any drop in speed bigger than 30% is a red flag, so if you’re looking for a fast overall VPN, TunnelBear is not it. However, it's worth mentioning that things like the time of day, your ISP, and your distance from the server can have different effects on speed, so your results could differ from my results.

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Are TunnelBear’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? Yes, but Only on Local Servers

TunnelBear’s local servers are good for gaming, but it’s impossible to play something on a long-distance one. I tested this aspect using Nvidia GeForce Now to see if I could stream and play both single and multiplayer games.

The network test analyzes 3 metrics:

  • Bandwidth – measures the maximum amount of transferred data in a given amount of time
  • Packet loss – measures the percentage of data lost during file transfer
  • Latency/ping – measures the time between the user’s action and the network’s response

Naturally, I need different speeds to play single and multiplayer games. To successfully stream a single-player game from Nvidia’s servers, I need 25 Mbps, while a multiplayer game takes up to 30 Mbps.

On the local server I connected to, all these metrics were within the required intervals. Bandwidth was at 32 Mbps, I had no packet loss, and the latency stood at 29 ms. I could stream and play both single and multiplayer games without any issues. The overall experience wasn’t as smooth as I was hoping for but the speed was good.

When I switched to an international server, the situation took a turn for the worst. I connected to one of TunnelBear’s Netherlands servers, and it was impossible to play any game. The bandwidth was low at 12 Mbps, I had a packet loss of 13.3%, and the ping was 46 ms. I couldn’t stream and play any games.

TunnelBear’s international servers couldn’t provide me with a good connection for gaming

A packet loss this big translates into a lot of lag and the inability to load all the maps and objects correctly. The information wouldn’t successfully reach my computer, and I’d definitely lose an online shooter – the map and textures wouldn’t load correctly.

I can’t recommend TunnelBear as a gaming VPN. Even though the local speeds were good, I couldn’t even load a game on its international servers. If I wanted to play LoL with my friends from a US server, it would’ve been impossible – my character would always be a few seconds behind.

Try TunnelBear Now!

Server Network — Small but Secure and Well Distributed

TunnelBear has over 2,600 servers in 40 countries, which includes servers in the US, UK, Western Europe, and Asia. It doesn’t have dedicated servers for streaming and torrenting, though. While the server network is small, it’s very secure and has more physical servers than virtual. The entire server infrastructure is owned by TunnelBear, too.

The company has committed to run an audit every year since 2017, and it keeps that promise. This is good to know because this means any security breaches are found and solved before much damage can be done.

Closest Tunnel

The Closest Tunnel feature finds you the fastest server — which is usually the closest to your location. When you open TunnelBear’s server list, it pops up at the beginning. All you need to do is select it and connect. Make sure you keep the VPN open until you see the “Connection Secured" prompt. Sometimes the connection fails, leaving you exposed.

It’s easy to use the Closest Tunnel feature

This feature goes hand-in-hand with TunnelBear’s Trusted Networks. As long as you only want to have a fast and secure connection, it’s ideal.

TunnelBear’s Servers Are Secure

TunnelBear is a secure VPN and independently audited by Cure57 every year since 2017. The audit team analyzes TunnelBear’s codebase, websites, apps, and infrastructure, looking for security flaws and data breaches. This makes it easy to find and solve potential problems, thus keeping the VPN secure. However, TunnelBear has been caught leaking WebRTC information in the past, which is a bit suspicious.

All the data is public, meaning that TunnelBear is transparent about it. The audits are posted on its website – all the problems and fixes are highlighted. This is a level of transparency not many VPNs have. It’s also worth mentioning that every TunnelBear server is protected by malware scans, full disk encryption, and intrusion protection software.

Security – Strong Security Features, and Perfectly Safe to Use

TunnelBear comes packed with some great security features that guarantee your online security. I tested its IP and DNS protection, analyzed its encryption and authentication protocols, and tried its kill switch and stealth mode.

Even though it doesn’t have as many security features as other VPNs I tested, TunnelBear is safe and easy to use, making it perfect for a first-time VPN user or a business person looking for a secure connection during travels.


TunnelBear’s kill switch is called VigilantBear. It’s available on Windows, macOS, and Android, but not iOS. You can activate it from the Preferences menu, and it will stop your connection in case the server’s connection fails. This feature is very useful when you’re connected to public networks – in case of a connection problem, your information will be protected.

VigilantBear will protect you in case the VPN fails.

Even the best VPNs can fail, and without a kill switch, you’d be exposing your data to whoever else is connected on that network — we can talk about hackers or certain types of malware. As long as VigilantBear is active, you’ll be protected even on public and unmonitored networks.

Encryption and Protocols

TunnelBear uses military-grade AES-256 encryption along with SHA-256 for authentication. This encryption level is used on both its free and paid versions. It uses DH key exchange to send cryptographic keys over public networks. It’s the same technology the governments use to encrypt their files, making the VPN very secure.

This technology was created to safely transfer files and information between two parties – either networks or devices. Each party has a code, and it can be public or private. In order for two parties to meet securely, they perform a key exchange. This can be translated in your computer’s connection to the VPN. The VPN has a key, your computer has a different key. When these two meet, a new key is generated, and the newly established connection is secured.

In addition, TunnelBear supports perfect forwards secrecy, which changes keys frequently to ensure greater protection from hackers.

In terms of protocols, TunnelBear implemented:

  • OpenVPN – this is the industry-standard, open-source VPN protocol. It’s continuously improved by developers and assures the safest online browsing. Compared to other protocols, OpenVPN is almost impossible to detect because it hides in plain sight. Hackers and government agencies have a hard time identifying it, and with TunnelBear’s obfuscation, it bypasses almost any firewall.
  • IKEv2 – when you need to switch between mobile data and WiFi, this protocol is ideal. It was built to continuously reconnect you to the VPN in case of network failures. This protocol is only available for Windows and iOS users.

The popular WireGuard protocol isn’t supported by TunnelBear, which I found disappointing. When you connect to a server, TunnelBear chooses the protocol automatically – there’s no way to switch between them manually. However, on Android and macOS, only OpenVPN is available.

Try TunnelBear Now!

TCP Override

The TCP Override mode is useful if your connection is unstable after connecting the VPN. The feature is only available for Windows and macOS, and it works by forcing TunnelBear to use the TCP protocol instead of UDP. The TCP protocol is a little slower but more reliable – it checks every piece of data for consistency before passing it through. The UDP protocol is faster, but it doesn’t perform these checks.

It’s important to remember that TCP Override won’t make your connection faster – it will make it more reliable. When I activated it, my speed was actually slower, but the overall connection was stable.

You can activate TCP Override from the General tab.

This feature is useful if your connection is slow and unreliable – for example when you try to load a webpage but you receive a connection error. TCP Override will assure that the data reaches your computer, even if it’s a little slower.


GhostBear is TunnelBear’s stealth mode, which conceals OpenVPN traffic and makes it easy to bypass VPN firewalls – including the Great Firewall of China. When I turned GhostBear on, my whole connection slowed down but this is perfectly normal. Obfuscation needs to hide the fact that you’re using a VPN, and this process takes time and resources.

This feature is available on Windows, macOS, and Android apps, and you can turn it on under TunnelBear’s security settings. IOS users can only use the IKEv2 protocol, so GhostBear is not supported.

GhostBear bypasses most firewalls.

You can use GhostBear to bypass network restrictions. If certain websites are blocked on your school or work network, or you travel in a country with high censorship, it’s ideal. You’ll browse the internet freely, and the VPN won’t be recognized.


SplitBear is TunnelBear’s tunneling feature, and it’s only available on Android devices. Split tunneling is a very important feature for a VPN, as it gives you more control over your traffic. However, it’s only available for Android devices. Because of that, on Windows, macOS, and iOS all your apps and websites will be routed through its servers. But, I discovered a trick if you only want to tunnel your browser. TunnelBear has browser extensions, and they will only affect your browser traffic.

I activated it from the “options" menu on my phone and selected the apps I wanted to be routed through the VPN. Unless you turn it on, all your apps are automatically tunneled through TunnelBear’s servers.

IP and DNS Leak Tests

TunnelBear offers IP and DNS leak protection in its apps and browser extensions. In general, DNS requests and IPv6 traffic can expose your IP address and activity. TunnelBear has its own DNS servers and blocks IPv6 traffic, thus keeping you anonymous. These options are switched on by default, so your identity will be protected at all times.

I tested TunnelBear’s Netherlands, US, UK, Denmark, Germany, and Spain servers for IP and DNS leaks using IPLeak.net. I didn’t encounter any errors at all, and my connection was fully encrypted.

TunnelBear has strong DNS and IP leak protection.

If the VPN you use doesn’t have DNS and IP leak protection, your IP, location, and network may be visible to your ISP and authorities. Since this is exactly what you want to avoid, the VPN you choose needs to be completely secure from this perspective.

Trusted Networks

With TunnelBear’s Trusted Networks feature, you can instruct the VPN to automatically connect while using certain networks. If you whitelist your home network when this feature is on, TunnelBear will automatically connect on any unknown networks – like coffee shops and libraries. No network is 100% secure — not even your home network. Your ISP can see your internet history, and if your password is not strong enough, there’s no guarantee that no one else is connected to it.

To test this feature, I simply activated it from the settings and then set up a couple of hotspots from my phone and tablet. Whenever I connected to a different WiFi, TunnelBear started up and connected me to the fastest server.

You can turn this feature on from its settings, in the “Trusted Networks" tab.

This feature is incredibly useful if you want to make sure that your connection is safe anywhere you go. TunnelBear will encrypt your traffic on every unknown network you connect to, thus keeping all your data secure.

TunnelBear’s Optional Extras — Password Manager to Keep Your Logins Secure

TunnelBear has a carefully branded password manager called RememBear. Just like the VPN, it has a free plan usable on 1 device only. However, you can upgrade to the Premium plan for $6 USD per month.

The problem is that I couldn’t download the desktop app – the download links for macOS and Windows are broken. The Android and iOS apps worked just fine, though. I managed to save my passwords, as well as credit cards.

RememBear also has a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, but since you also need the app – which couldn’t be downloaded, I couldn’t test it.

This is a feature you can definitely go without. It’s not mandatory, but can be useful at times.

Try TunnelBear Now!

Privacy — Enough Features to Keep Your Traffic Private

Tunnelbear’s no-logs policy and security features will keep you safe. It doesn’t store your IP address when you connect to its servers, and the Always-On and ad blocker features are very effective. After looking at its privacy policy, I’m confident that TunnelBear doesn’t store sensitive information about you or the websites you access.


TunnelBear’s headquarters are located in Canada, which is part of the Five Eyes Alliance. This is not good because the government may require the company to keep some data about its users. On top of that, McAfee bought it in 2018, so the VPN is also under US jurisdiction. If the US or Canadian government demands data from TunnelBear, it will be required to send it.

The good side of all this is that it only keeps basic info about its customers, so there’s not much TunnelBear could share with the authorities. Even if it sends your email address to the government, they won’t be able to see what you did online.

TunnelBear Doesn’t Keep Unnecessary Logs

TunnelBear keeps some information about its users, but nothing unusual. I analyzed its privacy policy to see what kind of data it keeps and what it does with it. TunnelBear stores:

  • Account user data – it stores your email address, which is used for the account confirmation, sending promotional materials, news, product receipts. It also keeps paid user status and date in order to provide you with unlimited traffic until your subscription ends. It’s perfectly normal to keep this data and most VPNs do it.
  • Operational data – this data is only saved while you're connected to TunnelBear’s network. It consists of your OS version, client version, total data used, and your activity status – but not your IP. This information is used to improve its customer support and products and to determine the network demand. It also keeps data about operational events (such as referrals, account creations, and payments) to identify any problems with the system and to track sales. This kind of information is pretty standard for VPNs, so it's nothing to worry about.
  • Payment data – all of TunnelBear’s transactions go through Stripe and PayPal, and it only keeps the name on your card, the date it was used, and the last 4 digits of the credit card. This data is used to prevent fraud and, again, is not unusual to keep.

There’s nothing wrong with TunnelBear keeping this data, and it’s standard practice for VPNs. Besides, it has a strong non-disclosure policy — TunnelBear won’t disclose any personal data to third parties but will send it to its service providers to improve its email support, hosting, payment processing, and analytics. This means that TunnelBear’s hosting platforms and email providers will get to see which pages of the website you visited and how they can send you tailored ads.

Something essential is that TunnelBear doesn’t store your IP address when you connect to its servers, so there’s no way of knowing who did what. But keep in mind that TunnelBear will hand over user data to authorities if they are presented with a warrant.

Always On

The Always On feature allows you to set TunnelBear to launch and connect when you turn your device on. I simply activated it from the general settings and every time I restarted my computer I was connected to the VPN. This feature is very useful if you’re constantly browsing from public networks or have many files you need to download – the VPN will connect automatically, making file transfers safer.

Even though this feature is mostly reliable, I recommend checking the connection – if it fails, you’ll be exposed.

You can check the box in the General tab and keep TunnelBear on all the time.

A problem I noticed with this feature is that TunnelBear sometimes fails to establish a connection. If you don’t check it, you have no guarantee that your data is encrypted.

Ad Blocker

TunnelBear’s ad blocker is one of the toughest I have tried so far. I downloaded the Chrome extension and tested it on Forbes.com, as I know it has many ads. It successfully blocked all of them, and I wasn’t bothered by pop-ups – it even blocked the redirects I needed.

TunnelBear’s ad blocker is very efficient.

This is quite impressive. Many VPNs have ad blockers that either don’t work, or just block a part of the ads. TunnelBear does a great job at keeping you away from all the ads and malware you may encounter online.

Torrenting — Allows Torrenting, but Doesn’t Have Specialized P2P Servers

TunnelBear allows torrenting on its network but doesn’t have specialized P2P servers. I allowed the VPN to choose the fastest server for me, and then I proceeded to download my file. The speed was good, and I didn’t encounter any problems.

I could download torrents using TunnelBear’s local server.

I also tried torrenting from its Netherlands and US servers – even though it worked, the connection was very slow. If you want increased privacy when torrenting, then you can use the Tor Network on TunnelBear. Even though this method is more private, it’s much slower.

In short, TunnelBear is good for torrenting, as long as you don’t want to do it from an international server.

Start Torrenting with TunnelBear VPN

Does TunnelBear Work in China? Yes, With GhostBear

TunnelBear works in China, so you can bypass the Great Firewall of China. However, some users have reported that TunnelBear doesn’t work in China and disconnects frequently, so it’s not a guarantee. Its GhostBear feature has an obfuscation technology that masks your VPN traffic, making it look like regular HTTPS – meaning that your ISP won’t even see you’re using a VPN.

China’s Great Firewall analyzes your IP and metadata. This metadata doesn’t store the information you send or receive – it’s more like a skeleton. It only shows information about the type of data you transfer. If you send a document over the internet, your metadata will consist of information about that document’s size, date created, and author, but not the actual text.

To mask your metadata, TunnelBear uses obfuscation. This scrambles your metadata, making it impossible for the firewall to decipher. If there’s no data to read, it has no reason to block you.

If you’re traveling to China, remember to download and install the clients before you get there. TunnelBear doesn’t have mirror websites, so you won’t be able to access its download page once you arrive.

GhostBear is only available on Windows, macOS, and Android, so if you have an iPhone or iPad, you won’t be able to use it.

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Ease of Use


TunnelBear has a great interface, and it’s incredibly easy to use by anyone. It has a small number of options and features, and I could establish a connection in under 5 seconds.

Finding the fastest server is straightforward, and it shows up right on top of the server list as “fastest." You just need to click on it and TunnelBear’s Fastest Tunnel will come in. All the options are divided into its 4 settings tabs, and each of them is explained, so you only activate the ones you really need.

The only problem I encountered with TunnelBear is that sometimes, the connection can’t be established. You need to keep the client open until it shows that it’s connected. Otherwise, you risk browsing the internet without the VPN on.

Simultaneous Connections — Connect up to 5 Devices to TunnelBear’s Servers

TunnelBear allows you to connect 5 devices under one subscription. I downloaded the VPN on my MacBook, iPad, and Android phone to give it a test. My connection was good on all my devices, and I didn’t experience any problems at all.

If you need more subscriptions, you can take a look at TunnelBear for Teams. The plans start at $5.75 USD per month, you get a dedicated account manager, and every account can connect up to 5 devices.

Device Compatibility — Limited Device Compatibility

TunnelBear has apps and clients for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, and browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, but not for Safari or Internet Explorer. You can manually configure TunnelBear on Linux if you use Ubuntu, but there's no native app for it. Unfortunately, Chromium, eReaders, and Windows phone users won’t be able to use it, and since it doesn’t support routers, you can’t connect smart TVs or other devices like Apple TV or Amazon FireStick.

Desktop Apps

TunnelBear’s desktop apps are very easy to use, and packed with a lot of useful features, such as GhostBear, VigilantBear, Closest Tunnel, Always-On, TCP Override, and Trusted Networks. The only feature that’s missing is SplitBear – which is the split tunneling and only available on Android. Because the desktop app doesn’t have SplitBear, once you turn the VPN on it will route all your apps and browser traffic through it.

In order to connect to a server, you need to open the VPN and click on a server. It’s incredibly easy, but you need to wait until it connects – sometimes the connection fails, and the VPN remains disconnected.

TunnelBear has easy-to-use desktop apps.

You can open TunnelBear’s settings and access all the features by clicking on the tiny gear in the top right corner.

There is a small difference between the macOS and Windows clients. The macOS version only works with the OpenVPN protocol, while the Windows one has IKEv2 too. However, the protocol is chosen automatically, and you have no control over it.

iOS and Android Apps

The mobile apps are just as easy to use and as aesthetically pleasing as the desktop ones. All you need to do is click on a jar of honey on the map, and you’ll be connected in a matter of seconds. You can access its features by clicking on the options button.

I ran a couple of DNS and IP leak tests after I connected to TunnelBear’s Norway, Sweden, and Italy servers and my connection was secure every time. As a small bonus, the mobile apps have bear sounds for notifications.

TunnelBear’s mobile apps are straightforward.

Browser Extensions

TunnelBear’s browser extensions make the VPN available on any computer with Chrome, Opera, or Firefox. It’s a very simple app, and it only protects your browser traffic. All you need to do is open the extension and select a server to connect to.

I downloaded its Chrome and Firefox extensions and connected to servers in the US, UK, and Sweden to give it a try. After running the DNS and IP leak test, I realized that even the browser extensions are incredibly safe.

Setup & Installation — Install, Set Up, and Go

TunnelBear’s setup and installation is really easy. It took me less than 3 minutes to download, install, and connect to a server.

How to Install TunnelBear in 3 Easy Steps 

  1. Access TunnelBear and create an account. You won’t be able to download the desktop app without an account.
    Graphic showing TunnelBear plans

    TunnelBear offers 3 plans to choose from

  2. Download and install the client. The process is incredibly easy – just like any other software.
    Graphic showing TunnelBear apps

    TunnelBear is compatible with most operating systems

  3. Connect to a server! All you need to do is open the VPN and find a server!
    Graphic showing TunnelBear interface

    TunnelBear has a very intuitive interface

You can click any jar of honey on the map or select the country you need from the list. You’ll be connected in about 5 seconds, and then you’re ready to go.

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3 Years
$ 3.33 / month per month
1 Year
$ 4.99 / month per month
1 Month
$ 9.99 / month per month

TunnelBear accepts payments through credit cards, Bitcoin, and jars of honey — of course, the latter is all about branding. It has a total of 3 plans – the free plan, with 500MB of monthly traffic, the Premium plan with unlimited traffic, and TunnelBear for teams.

TunnelBear allows anonymous payments through Bitcoin, but in reality, they’re not 100% anonymous. Since your login name is the same as your email address, TunnelBear will save that. The only way to stay completely anonymous is to use another email address.

Before paying for the subscription, I tested the free plan. Even though it only has 500MB of monthly traffic, it was enough for me to access the websites I needed. However, it’s not enough for streaming, torrenting, or gaming. I eventually upgraded to the Premium plan.

I paid for my subscription using a credit card, and the entire process took less than 5 minutes. After that, I could freely use the VPN to play games, stream shows, and download torrents.

I was disappointed that it doesn't offer a money-back guarantee, which is very common among top VPNs. It’s stated pretty clearly in its terms of service that “all amounts paid are non-refundable." All refund requests are looked at on a case-by-case basis. Even though it's great that there's a free version to test it out, 500MB of traffic per month doesn't allow you to test its abilities for high bandwidth activities. So, I had to pay for a premium plan knowing that if TunnelBear didn't perform well, I wouldn't be guaranteed a refund.

Reliability & Support


TunnelBear doesn’t have 24/7 live chat support, which was a bit of a let down for me. Instead, you get to chat with a help bot, and depending on your question, you’ll get an article from TunnelBear’s knowledge base. The knowledge base is very extensive and answers a lot of common questions. I tested the bot, but wasn’t very impressed – it couldn’t recommend articles based on my question.

However, TunnelBear’s email support was great. The form is nicely structured, so your question reaches the correct department and you can also add a screenshot of your issue. When I reached out to the support bears, I received an answer within 24 hours and they were very polite and helpful.

Tunnelbear’s email support is fast and efficient.

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Comparison: Is It Better Than the Competition?

Comparing TunnelBear to the top VPNs, we can really see some interesting differences.

TunnelBear ExpressVPN
Our speed rating #16 #1
Server number 2,600 servers 3,000 servers
Obfuscated servers Yes Yes
Specialized servers No No
Jurisdiction Canada The British Virgin Islands
Zero-logging policy No Yes
Encryption 256-bit AES 256-bit AES
Kill switch Yes, for all devices Yes, but not for iOS
Split tunneling Yes, for Android Yes, for mobile and desktop
Allows torrenting Yes, no specialized servers Yes, on all servers
Simultaneous connections 5 5
Unblocks Netflix US Yes Yes
Unblocks BBC iPlayer No Yes
Works in China Yes Yes
Pricing $3.33/month $6.67/month
Money-Back Guarantee None 30 days

Compare TunnelBear VPN With The Top Alternative VPNs

The Bottom Line

Final Verdict: User-Friendly VPN With Many Useful Features

TunnelBear is a good and user-friendly VPN, suitable for beginner users who just want to conceal their traffic and browse undetected.

It has solid security and privacy features, can bypass the Great Firewall of China, and its speeds on local servers are great.

However, it doesn’t compare with the top VPNs. It has a small server network, its long-distance speeds are slow, and I couldn’t unblock all the major streaming platforms with it.

  • Military-grade encryption and an automatic kill switch to keep you safe
  • A decent network with 2,600 servers in 40 countries
  • Good speeds on local servers and can unblock Netflix US
  • Offers a free plan with 500MB of monthly data
  • Easy-to-use apps great for VPN beginners

Try TunnelBear VPN Now!

FAQs on TunnelBear

Is TunnelBear free?

Yes, TunnelBear has a free plan. You get all its features and 500MB of monthly traffic, but it’s not enough if you want to play online games or download torrents. If you share a message on Twitter about it and tag TunnelBear, you can get a one-time bonus of 1GB of data.

The 500MB of data resets every month, so you may need to upgrade to a paid plan for unlimited browsing.

Can I use TunnelBear VPN on Android and iOS (and can I download a modded APK for it)?

Yes, TunnelBear has Android and iOS clients, and you can download them from the specialized stores. I don’t recommend downloading a modded APK for two reasons. Firstly, a modded APK doesn’t give you access to the VPN, as you need an account to use it. Secondly, you have no control over files you download from the internet – you can get a lot of malware, and compromise the integrity of your files and devices.

TunnelBear has a free plan and you can use it with its Android or iOS app instead of downloading modded APK files.

Where are TunnelBear’s servers located? Does it work in China?

TunnelBear has servers in 40 countries, including the UK, US, Germany, Spain, Australia, and Japan. Its server network is rather small, but it comes with a lot of useful features.

Even though it doesn’t have servers in China, TunnelBear can bypass the Great Firewall of China using the GhostBear feature, which conceals your VPN traffic and makes it look like regular HTTPS traffic.

Is TunnelBear VPN safe — does it keep logs?

Yes, TunnelBear is safe, and it only keeps necessary logs about its customers, such as email addresses and data about how you use the VPN. It also uses AES-256 bit encryption and has its own kill switch. I ran multiple tests and analyzed its privacy policy and the results really impressed me. Your IP address is not recorded when you connect to its servers, so whatever you do remains unknown.

Does TunnelBear have a browser extension?

Yes, TunnelBear has browser extensions for Opera, Chrome, and Firefox. Since its clients are only available for Windows and macOS, the browser extensions allow you to use the VPN on any operating system with the supported browsers.

Try TunnelBear VPN for FREE for Days!

Money Back Guarantee (Days) : 0
Mobile app :
Number of devices per license : 5

Watch the short video review and tutorial below of TunnelBear VPN


TunnelBear VPN User Reviews

Based on 291 reviews in 8 languages

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Please rate VPN.

OK for PC & Android, no firesticks

The PC and tablet versions of the paid version differ. Ghost Bear is on all versions, but Vigilant bear is PC only. Tried on an older Samsung tablet running kit kat, and a slightly newer one using marshmellow. I Will NOT install it on any of my android phones (they are for work), but I'm confident about them working on 7.1.1 up. Why no fire tv stick version? Have to use a different VPN or cast to it from a tablet that will run it. Their devs should look harder at the noob market they are aimed at, so get cracking develop one soon. In Canada, where TB is based, it's not for Netflix, but fine for IPTV and related stuff. The principal ISP's here (Bell, Rogers, Telus, Shaw) have become more aggressive blocking things lately, so a VPN is a must now. Throughput isn't horrible on a cheap 15/1 line, (the average is around 12/.9 using an in Canada server out of Vancouver) so it's mid-pack.

David Ross
David Ross

I live in the GTA, everything was fine "until" I installed TunnelBear on one of my 7 devices, now I can no longer watch any USA TV stations on line on any of my other 6 devices, this company is scum, they hid something in there that disabled all my other devices unless I buy their VPN, well, not going to buy their garbage, can't believe how much it slowed my device, I would rather wipe all my drives than give TunnelBear one cent!

It is great

The speeds are great if you do not use ghostbear. It also has a transparency report and audit if not sure,so really great and trustworthy. I really recommend it. Four stars from me maybe 5 stars it depends what you need a vpn for.

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