About TunnelBear VPN
2011 saw the founding of TunnelBear, but McAfee acquired the service in 2018. Regardless of ownership, there are many things to love – and be wary of – regarding this Virtual Private Network (VPN) service.
They’ve worked hard at creating a service for digital freedom, going as far as offering free service to Venezuelans during protest periods sometime in 2014. Yet its home base of Canada is a core member of the 5-Eyes alliance, which doesn’t bode well for those wishing ironclad privacy.
|Price||Free / From $3.33/mo|
|Number of Servers||Unknown|
|Device Compatibility||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and more.|
Privacy and Security
TunnelBear claims to be a “no logs” VPN service, and as far as I know, they’ve so far stayed true to that ideology. However, two points stick out like sore thumbs – jurisdiction and ownership. Current owners McAfee aren’t the most renowned for respecting user privacy.
Even worse is the headquarter location in Canada. Lots ride on TunnelBear’s claims of no-logging because if it isn’t true, they’ll hand those logs over the moment a court order comes into view.
Media Streaming with TunnelBear
For those seeking a VPN specifically for streaming, I’d advise steering clear of TunnelBear. Unlike VPN service providers that hedge on the topic, TunnelBear outright says you should respect streaming restrictions put in place by service providers.
As such, if you subscribe to TunnelBear and it doesn’t work with your favorite media streaming service, you’d be entirely out of luck. They won’t even entertain a request for assistance in this area – even if you paid for the VPN service.
TunnelBear provides users with extensive first-line support via a comprehensive knowledge base. This database is supplemented with a live chat service, although the name Rawr2-D2 indicates it is a chatbot, not an actual customer support agent.
There’s also a ticketing system in place, and you can access that by logging in to your user account once you’ve signed up for the service.
Free plan users get 500MB of free bandwidth per month, which is honestly barely enough to test the service. It’ll run dry after a few speed tests, and you can forget streaming any kind of media long-term, even if it works.
Paid plan users get much better access, and the starting price of $3.33/mo is pretty good. However, it doesn’t compare well with top-tier VPNs like NordVPN and Surfshark, which offer far better networks, quality of service, and privacy.
TunnelBear Pros & Cons
Pros of TunnelBear VPN
- Free plan available
- Business plans available
- GhostBear makes VPN detection harder
- Student discounts available
- Comprehensive knowledgebase
Cons of TunnelBear VPN
- Service under 5-Eyes jurisdiction
- No Wireguard protocol
Conclusion: Is TunnelBear Worth a Try?
No matter what they promise, I wouldn’t sign up for any VPN service based in a 5-Eyes country. That said, there haven’t been any complaints about any violations on TunnelBear’s part to date. Since they offer a free plan, there’s no harm in using them for occasional connections. However, the lack of streaming support will be a major deal-breaker for most users.