As VPNs go, TunnelNear is one of the most reputable, longest-standing and popular service providers on the entire internet. There’s hundreds to choose from these days, but not all of them have an incredibly friendly animated bear as their mascot!
There are more than 25 million users across the world who trust TunnelBear’s service to protect them as they work, browse and stream the web - but should you become one of them?
Today, we’ll be taking a close look at this privacy giant, analysing the services they provide, costs, customer service and other important points, so you can decide whether it’s worth investing your hard earned cash into using their program or browser extension.
What Exactly Is TunnelBear, anyway?
If you’ve never used a virtual private network - or VPN - before, you might be confused as to what they are, and what they do. With TunnelBear, as soon as you switch on the app or extension, any incoming or outgoing data your device accesses or creates is routed through a protected and secure server.
As a result, if your internet service provider, network owner, boss or even a determined hacker tries to get ahold of your information, they’ll simply be presented with a bunch of jumbled up letters and numbers instead of your deeply private and personal information.
During this process, your IP address (which works like a phone number, as a unique identifier for your phone or computer) is also being changed, which means nobody on the internet is able to determine where you are physically located, nor can they link any of your activities online back to you specifically.
Availability - Where Can You Use TunnelBear?
As of right now (July 2021) there are clients available from TunnelBear to use on Windows, Android, macPS and iOS devices, as well as added extensions for both Google Chrome and Opera. You can also configure certain iterations of Linux to use their VPN services too.
Most contemporary devices are compatible with their simple, easy-to-use applications: all you have to do is open the app, choose your country of choice and hit the switch. Once connected, TunnelBear does all the work for you. The same can be said of the browser extensions, which are controlled with similarly simplistic button pressing.
TunnelBear can be accessed from over forty countries, including:
- United Kingdom
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- Czech Republic
Pricing - How Much Does TunnelBear Cost?
As with most subscription services, TunnelBear offers several different plans to suit a variety of user needs and wants. The following packages are available:
Free: Testing, limited usage of the VPN, 500MB of secure browsing per month
Unlimited, for $3.33 per month*: 24/7 security and full peace of mind, with unlimited secure browsing on up to five connected devices, as well as a priority access to customer services.
Teams, for $5.75/user per month: businesses securing 2 or more users can access unlimited secure browsing for five connected devices per user, as well as a dedicated accounts manager, centralized team billing and management of your services
*$3.33 is the cheapest monthly subscription rate, but this is three years’ worth of TunnelBear bought altogether for a one time payment of $120. If you’d prefer to get just the one year, you’ll be charged the equivalent of $4.99 per month, which equates to $59.88 billed every year.
The least affordable plan is the monthly subscription that is actually charged on a monthly rate, billing users $9.99 for four weeks of protection.
TunnelBear does not offer refunds to just anybody, so bear that in mind. They might accept your request but it is judged on a case-by-case basis, so those unsatisfied with their service must contact customer service directly.
Key Features - What Can TunnelBear Do?
- Prevents the theft of data and password protected accounts when connected to an insecure public WiFi network or otherwise breached by hackers
- Allows access to content all over the world, bypassing location censoring so you can be virtually located anywhere on Earth - imagine the fun you could have looking at German Netflix!
- Shields your private browsing and other online interactions from internet providers, network owners and any other nosy snoopers
- Stops the tracking of your IP address by ad services who observe and sell information about your online behavior, by constantly assigning new IP addresses
- Avoids government censorship of popular social media websites or applications by altering your virtual location to get around them
Why TunnelBear? What Makes It Better Than The Competition
As VPNS go, TunnelBear is one of the fastest, with a global server network that is constantly being re-optimized so that you can surf and stream with as much speed as you want, to your heart’s content. There’s no buffering, no throttling and zero bottleneck: just browsing as it should be done.
TunnelBear boasts the accolate of being the only VPN in the whole world to regularly publish public, independent audits of the security their apps and extensions offer. This makes crystal clear absolutely everything that is done to protect your technology, ensuring there’s no funny business or grey legal areas, unlike other providers we could mention.
In addition to this, with TunnelBear you can also review and delete your account data so you’re in control of your online presence, which the majority of other VPN services don’t allow you to do. For those increasingly paranoid about the creepers online and keeping their family safe, this is a huge plus over different providers.
Thanks to its default AES 256-bit encryption, which is some of the strongest shielding against viruses and internet fraudsters there is, you’re always protected from just about any threat when you use TunnelBear, without ever having the option to utilize weaker, less powerful encryption out there.
The TunnelBear developers pride themselves on being respectful of user privacy. Not only will they never monitor, log or sell any of your data or browsing history, they will keep it secure from everybody else trying to access it for nefarious purposes, too.
It’s also worth noting that their dedicated IP checking service (bearsmyIP.com) is designed to check that your IP address is secure at all times. Simply head to the website and see if you appear as being in the country you selected when choosing your server - if it’s correct, you’re properly protected!
TunnelBear also promises that unless you’re using a server from a country on the opposite side of the world, then there’s no limit on your browsing speed or loading time.
As you can imagine, the further away the country is, the further your data has to travel to be rerouted, which means it will require a longer loading time. There’s an option to choose the fastest available server in any country, so if you’re looking for speed then you can get it.
You’ll notice there’s great value for money to be had as well, because up to five different devices can be secured using just one paid account. All you need to do is download the app or extension onto a new device and log in with your credentials - this is great for families or those with multiple gadgets that need safeguarding.
You can even try before you buy, as TunnelBear offer a free 500MB of browsing data every single month - this allows you to road test the VPN services and see if they meet your needs before
Potential Downsides - Could TunnelBear Be Improved?
In terms of other VPNs, TunnelBear mostly blows all competition out of the water with their speedy service, affordable pricing and effective customer service team. However, you might be wondering - is it too good to be true? Are there any bugs, issues or missing services?
Though there are no major downsides, there are definitely a few things worth pointing out before you commit to a monthly subscription:
- It only offers 27 locations: this is about half the amount of countries that other VPN services have to choose from, completely ignoring the Middle East and Africa, as well as a lack of services in Hong Kong. Compared to services like ExpressVPN, which boasts 94 countries, this really isn’t that many.
- No WireGuard protocol or support: lacking this technology means that competitors have TunnelBear beat in terms of high speed streaming and surfing, though that doesn’t necessarily mean that their services are going to be equally as secure!
As you can see, these few limits do absolutely nothing to diminish the amazing qualities that TunnelBear proffers. It’s still a fantastic platform for hosting a virtual private network, and one of the most cost-effective around.
Plus, as it’s owned by McAfee, you can count on the customer service to be top-notch, as well as reputable and always obeying all internet law.
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