TunnelBear Review (2019)

TunnelBear Highlights

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  • Country: Canada
  • Logging: No (Traffic), Yes (Connection), No (IP address)
  • Bypass VPN Block (DPI): GhostBear
  • Pricing: $4.99 (per month)
  • Allows P2P/ Torrent: N/A
  • Simultaneous connections: 5 
  • Live Chat Support: No
  • Custom clients/apps: Yes
  • Alternative website: N/A
  • Trustpilot rating: 2 out of 5 (34 users)

My First Impression

TunnelBear is another VPN service, that I have come across a lot of times, but have never used. The VPN service is backed by TunnelBear LLC with over 30 employees, which is based in Canada and active since 2011.

The amazing design of the website was the first thing that caught my eyes. The website and the apps, both have very attractive “Bearly” design. The website includes all the information about the provider. There are no detailed manuals, since TunnelBear offers its services only via its custom apps. The website lacks live chat support, and is only available only in English.

Does TunnelBear keep logs?

In general, there are two types VPN providers, some explain in detail which logs they keep and which they do not, whereas other providers, state that they do not keep logs, but do not give detailed information. TunnelBear, belongs to the first group, and gives very detailed information about what is logged and what is not.

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TunnelBear Logging Policy

To sum up, we can conclude that TunnleBear does not keep:

  • traffic logs (i.e user activity)
  • IP address
In addition, DNS queries are not logged, however, other connection logs like bandwidth usage and device information are stored. Here is a detailed information on what is logged and why.
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TunnelBear Logging Policy

Does TunnelBear bypass Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) and similar firewalls?

Countries like China, Turkey, Russia implement firewalls that block access to VPN services. As an example, China uses the Great Wall of China (GFW) system to block most VPNs and proxies. Some VPN providers offer extra protocols, often called StealthVPN or anti-DPI protocols, that help users to bypass VPN block and access free internet.

TunnelBear offers an unidentified stealth protocol named GhostBear. The protocol is available in the custom apps of TunnelBear, except for the iOS app.

TunnelBear - GhostBear anti-DPI protocol

Testing TunnelBear

As usual, I test the VPN on a Windows 7 PC, and an Android phone running Android 6.0.1. I am testing on an ADSL internet provided by the local telecom company, and cellular internet provided by our local mobile operator. 

TunnelBear test were relatively very easy, I only had to test the TunnelBear apps. The Windows app is very nicely designed and user-friendly. The software was able to bypass the VPN blocking firewall. Though not every server was quick to connect, some of the servers connected easily. The only possible downside is that, TunnelBear offers only a few servers, which could be problematic if you have a problem connecting to the available servers. The app also has VigilanteBear, or in other words a kill-switch feature.

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TunnelBear Windows test

Similar tests were performed on an Android device. TunnelBear has a feature-rich app, which includes GhostBear (StealthVPN), VigilantBear (kill-switch) and SplitBear (per app VPN). As expected, standard TunnelBear failed to bypass the VPN blocking firewall. Next, I tested GhostBear, which had no problems bypassing the DPI, but as on Windows not all of the servers were successful.

As for the iOS app, since GhostBear protocol is not present in the app, it is very unlikely that the iOS app will be able evading the VPN block.

TunnelBear Android test

To sum up, in the tests TunnelBear managed to bypass the deep packet inspection in my country on Windows (GhostBear) and Android platforms (GhostBear). 

If you are not sure whether TunnelBear VPN will work in your country or not, you can try TunnelBear for free. The VPN provider offers free 500 MB per month, which can be increased up to 2.5 GB by installing on Windows and tweeting about the VPN.

Is TunnelBear affordable?

TunnelBear offers one simple plan, available for monthly and annual subscription. When subscribed for a year, a user will be paying $4.99 per month and about $1 per device a month. The pricing is reasonable when compared to other VPN services. 

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TunnelBear Pricing

TunnelBear accepts only major credit/debit cards and BitCoin.

TunnelBear does not offer refunds, because they offers a free plan with 500 MB of data a month.

 

What features are offered by TunnelBear?

– Supported Platforms

TunnelBear supports Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, with standalone softwares for the platforms and Chrome/Firefox extensions. The extensions and the iOS app lack the ant-DPI protocol GhostBear. The VPN provider also offers kill switch feature, and a free ad-blocking extension.

– Supported Protocols

TunnelBear VPN offers OpenVPN and GhostBear protocols.

– Number of Servers

TunnelBear provides VPN services with 22 servers in 22 countries.

Conclusion

What I liked:

  • No logs kept (traffic and IP address)
  • GhostBear (anti-DPI)
  • Pricing, $1 per device a month
  • Bitcoin accepted
  • Kill switch, Free Plan

What I didn’t like:

  • Connection logs stored
  • No anti-DPI protocol on iOS
  • Only credit cards and bitcoin accepted
  • Only 22 servers available
  • No info about P2P/torrenting
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