Why choose TunnelBear VPN
A simple-to-use, super secure, and fast VPN that unblocks Disney+.
iPhone & iPad
Best VPN for
Security and privacy
Torrenting and downloading
- Easy to use
- Audited annually
- Unblocks Disney+
- Good speeds
- Limited locations
- Won't unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or Amazon
The service is an easy-to-handle option that is targeted at new users and those that don't want lots of features to overcomplicate the process of VPN protection. For that reason, this isn't the ideal choice for anyone that wants to dive into deeper controls.
With decent speeds, an annual audit on security, and unblocking of streaming services like Disney+, this has a lot to offer for the decent price point.
The Canadian-based service is now owned by McAfee, the security specialist, so you get all the tight protocols you'd expect from a company with that level of experience in the field.
But it's not without issues. So is this the best VPN for you? Read on in this Tunnelbear VPN review to find out.
Pricing and plans
TunnelBear VPN is offered in three pricing tiers which can each be paid on an annual or monthly basis. There is a free option that limits the number of servers and speed accessible and caps data use to 500MB per month. So more of a limited trial than a free account then.
For the least commitment, there is a rolling monthly option which is charged at $9.99 per month.
If you're willing to commit a little longer you can make a saving. A one-year payment will be billed annually at $59.88 which works out at $4.99 per month.
For the biggest saving, there is a three-year option, charged once at $120, which works out at $3.33 per month.
All paid options get you unlimited data, five device connections, and apps for various devices.
Testing and performance
TunnelBear is limited to just 23 locations worldwide. The company keeps tight-lipped on the specific numbers of servers and the types of protocols used but our testing revealed how it performs in real-world use.
For U.S. testing we used a 600Mb line which achieved average speeds across our tests of 160Mb, although we have seen these average at 200Mb when previously testing this line.
In a UK test, using a UK data center, speeds averaged between 140 and 230Mb.
These tests put TunnelBear ahead of a lot of the competition but don't make it the fastest option out there. That said, for the price of a longer commitment option, you do get a lot of speed for your buck.
TunnelBear gets you access to its VPN service on up to five devices at once and that may be a reality thanks to all the support. This has apps and clients that span iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. For those looking beyond that, to consoles, routers, and OpenVPN, they will be left wanting.
Unblocking streaming services is something this VPN can do but in a very limited way when compared to the competition. Yes, it will unblock DIsney+, but it struggled with the other major services. In our testing, TunnelBear failed to unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.
TunnelBear does support torrenting, although its P2P powers are not something it shouts about. Specific tunnels are recommended for torrenting which are Canada, U.S., UK, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, and Romania.
The clients and apps are minimal with easy setup and use. You have a map-based approach on many of the clients, allowing you to pick your servers based on their global location, using a drop-down menu with the location names. Connection times were fast in testing with a wait of between two and ten seconds to be up and running.
Protocol-wise, there is OpenVPN and IKEv2, but you don't get to pick which you use. This is all automated for you – easy and helpful for those that want it to 'just work' but potentially frustrating for those that want more control.
TunnelBear support is also worth a mention as the website has lots of assistance that should deal with most issues, even more complex ones. While there isn't any live chat support, you can use a contact page to send a direct message to the support team. In our test, we got a helpful reply in three and a half hours.
Privacy and security
No IP address, website address, DNS queries or application, services, or website data is collected. All that means it can't link any user to an IP address.
All that's recorded is operational data, like the OS version of the device being used and when a connection was established.
The great thing about TunnelBear that sets it apart is that all this is actually proven, not just claims on its website. This is thanks to an annual audit which is run by independent specialist Cure53. The results were reassuringly not perfect at the 2019 check. All the vulnerabilities were then fixed – making it more secure than ever.
Should you sign up?
If you want a very secure VPN that is reasonably priced and super easy to use across five devices at once, then TunnelBear is ideal. It has a decent number of locations that cover most places you might want worldwide and the online help is prompt and useful, should you have any queries. There is torrent support and unblocking for streaming services like Disney+ too.
However, if you want to unblock streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or BBC iPlayer then you may be stuck. So if that's a deal-breaker you may want to look elsewhere on our list of the best VPN services.
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