Honest review – Tunnelbear vpn review
You might be wondering, what is a VPN review doing in a hosting review site, well now a days, you need to use VPN to get some sweet hosting deals which gets limited to some country (Godaddy wink). So lets get into the review.
A private network is a type of network that uses a private IP address space in the Internet addressing architecture. Such addresses are commonly used for enterprise LANs, home, offices etc, since these private addresses are not allocated to any specific organization, hence anyone may use these addresses without any approval from a regional Internet registry.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN), extends such a private network across a public network and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. We can also securely access a corporate Intranet while being outside the office. A virtual point-to-point connection is established through the use of dedicated connections, traffic encryptions or virtual tunneling protocols. Some benefits of the Wide Area network (WAN) are there for a VPN available for the public internet.
The VPN systems are classified based on 6 different criteria; 1. the Protocols, 2. the tunnel’s termination point location, 3. the type of topology of connections, 4. the level of security, 5. the type of OSI layer, and 6. the no of simultaneous connections. The VPNs only can use increased privacy and security, they cannot make the online connections completely anonymous. We should never trust any free public WI-Fi; it might not be as safe as it seems, and not just snooping, the whole WI-fi might be created by bad people. If you join it, they will most likely intercept your whole web traffic, not to forget the government spies, and the advertisers. Hence, to avoid such situations, a VPN is a must. when you activate your VPN software, the web traffic is routed through an encrypted tunnel to a server managed by the VPN service, which keeps your info safe from data thieves; also helping prevent your ISP selling anonymous data about your web habits. When the traffic exits to the web through the VPN server, the ip of your computer gets masked by that locations server ip.. This protects your real identity as you browse the Web.
For the layman to start and continue using a VPN easily, there are so many VPN client software s available today. some of them are free, some of them are premium paid, some of them are completely paid with added features. A majority of Journalists use VPNs. Since the last 3 years, i occasionally used/tried the free VPN clients to browse some sites which were blocked in my home country India, especially the torrent sites; and also the online video-on-demand sites like Netflix and Hulu. I always feared anyone tracking my web traffic data, esp the advertisers, government people etc, hence I opted to use a VPN. A couple I remember are, AceVPN and CyberGhost. I wasn’t so impressed with them. So I kept trying more, and then I came across TunnelBear. Although now that Netflix is in India, still there are some TV series which are not available here, which I want to see. Besides, Hulu is still not launched in India. Regarding Netflix, one big advantage that I find is that even if Netflix has got smart and has banned VPNs in it, still it has to yet ban TunnelBear.
The TunnelBear VPN is developed by the TunnelBear Inc. It is based in Toronto, Canada. It was founded in 2011 by Ryan Dochuk and Daniel Kaldor. The TunnelBear app is currently available in the Mac OS X, iOS, Android, MS Windows; even a Google chrome extension is available. It has the ability to bypass content blocking in almost all the countries. TunnelBear lets you appear in one of the 20 different countries, as follows..
- UK, 2. Germany, 3. Spain, 4. Netherlands, 5. Australia(paid), 6. Hong Kong, 7. Mexico, 8. USA, 9. Japan, 10. France, 11. Sweden, 12. Singapore, 13. Denmark, 14. India, 15. Ireland, 16. Canada, 17. Italy, 18. Switzerland, 19. Brazil, and 20. Norway.
TunnelBear offers 3 plans for its users. The one which I use is the Little plan, it is fully free, we get 500MB data free every month. But I increase it up to 1 GB, we can do that by associating our twitter account with them and tweeting about TunnelBear. Then there is the Giant plan, we get unlimited data, and we pay monthly $9.99. The third plan is the most popular among the paid users, called the Grizzly plan, here also we get unlimited data, the monthly rate comes down to $4.99/month which we have to pay yearly as $59.88/year. TunnelBear accepts Visa Card, MasterCard, American Express and even the Bit-coin payments, if you want to be completely anonymous. We can use up to 5 devices including both, mobile and Desktop, with a single TunnelBear account, which sounds okay for me. TunnelBear offers around 900 servers at a time, that’s a good number, because The number of servers matters since you’ll get better performance if the VPN server you’re using isn’t already stuffed to capacity with other subscribers.
I would refer TunnelBear as a full-featured VPN ; but has sufficient features to satisfy all the needs of a technical user. Indeed simplification is the defining characteristic of TunnelBear’s offering, while this may frustrate hard-core tweakers, it will be a blessing to average users. The truth is that; VPNs are a complex technology, so simplicity is a real advantage. Security in TunnelBear is excellent with the OpenVPN protocol encrypted with AES 256 bit used by default across all platforms except iOS. In iOS it is IPSec with AES 256 bit encryption. TunnelBear people are very honest, as they say that they don’t exactly promote their service as zero logging, but they try their level best to collect the minimum amount of information required to operate the service. And they definitely do not collect at all, the following 3 types of data: IP addresses visiting our websites, if any, and upon service connections; and any info about the apps, services or websites we use with their service.
TunnelBear does not include integrated ad-blocking, but they have a stand-alone browser plugin called Blocker. It is really good for a Chrome plugin. An advanced feature called the Vigilante Mode is there in the TunnelBear app, it prevents data from slipping through your internet connection during the seconds it takes TunnelBear to reconnect, should you become disconnected. Basically, its a kill switch; by activating it, your whole Internet connection itself turns off. TunnelBear also fared well in the Speed tests for a VPN. With the exception of 1-2 VPNs, the usage of most others will slow down your Internet connection. In this, the TunnelBear VPN slowed down very less, especially on the International connections. TunnelBear uses the Google DNS servers, since they have a very good reputation for performance and security. I could Install the TunnelBear VPN so very easily, they pride themselves in that. TunnelBear is one of the few VPNs which you can install without first creating an account at the VPN website. That’s because you can create an account from within the program once it has been installed.
The Support system of the TunnelBear VPN is fairly good. They have a good collection of online resources and a 24×7 email support. On the couple of occasions that I mailed them the issues, I got adequate and understandable responses within a day. TunnelBear has a special feature called the GhostBear. It makes your encrypted data less detectable to the ISPs, businesses, Governments. It scrambles your VPN connections which makes it harder for them to detect and block. Its not a necessary feature, but useful when the ISP can detect the VPN connection and then goes on to throttle or block the Internet connection. Although GhostBear noticeably slows down the Internet, still I feel it is better than not to be encrypted at all. I liked the website of TunnelBear, its so charming, nicely designed, simple to use, and with a heavy usage of bears.
Besides all the above plus points of this VPN, there also will be some minus points, as nothing is perfect, just no VPN. They are as follows..
Supports fewer locations than many other VPNs
Cannot select protocols.
No P2P or BitTorrent supported, no specialized servers.
Support is limited, no chat or phone number support.
Sure they maybe big for some people, but TunnelBear can always eliminate them in the future. For me though, TunnelBear has become a favorite, Since I am not that much a geek, tech-savvy person. The one big thing I liked about TunnelBear is that they are fully transparent and honest about their no-logs policy. Using TunnelBear, I truly feel secured from all the Data mongers and malicious people. They really offer a simple product, usable by all, which has a robust backbone and surprisingly good test speed scores. The plans also seem to be value for money. With a 4 out of 5 star ratings from me, I would surely recommend using the TunnelBear VPN to one and all, as I am doing it.