How do NordVPN and Tunnelbear VPNs compare?
Even though NordVPN and Tunnelbear are both popular VPNs in 2021, these two VPNs are completely different when it comes to their performance and features.
So if you are torn in between either NordVPN or Tunnelbear then this Tunnelbear vs NordVPN comparison is for you.
In this NordVPN vs Tunnelbear comparison we are going to look at the pros and cons of these two VPNs.
We’ll compare them in terms of their connection speeds, streaming capabilities as well as torrenting support among other important features.
I hope that by the end of this comparison, you’ll be able to decide which the best VPN for your needs between the two.
So let’s get started.
NordVPN is a VPN service provider located in Panama that provides you with the ability to access the internet security and anonymously.
It was founded in the year 2012 and currently has more than 12 million customers. Here is a detailed NordVPN review.
Tunnelbear, on the other hand, is based in Canada and enables you to access the internet securely and at rather great speeds. Want a detailed Tunnelbear review?
Usually the more servers a VPN has the better you should expect their services to be.
It also means that you’ll have a ton of options when choosing a server to connect to in the apps… this increases the chances that you’ll find a server in almost any country that you’d like to connect to.
That being said, it is also important to note that there are some VPNs with a lot of servers but still deliver substandard services.
NordVPN has a collection of more than 5,200 VPN servers that are spread out in 59 different countries across the globe.
Tunnelbear, on the other hand, has only 900 servers in total and they are only based in 22 countries. So as you can see, NordVPN has a larger arsenal of servers as compared to Tunnelbear…
In addition to that, their servers are more evenly spread out to cover more countries, hence a larger geographical region than Tunnelbear.
So if you are looking for a VPN with a huge server collection then I recommend NordVPN over Tunnelbear.
When it comes to streaming, most VPNs will lie to you.
Most will claim on their websites that they are able to unblock all the major video streaming platforms when in essence their IPs are blocked by these platforms.
It has become kind of a norm for most VPNs to lie about the capabilities of their servers.
Before writing this NordVPN vs Tunnelbear review I tested their abilities to unblock the most popular streaming platforms like Netflix.
Here is what I found out.
NordVPN is able to unblock Netflix libraries for different countries. I was able to stream Netflix using their servers based in the US, UK, Canada, Brazil and Japan.
In addition to Netflix, NordVPN servers are also able to unblock content on other streaming platforms like Hulu and Amazon using their US based servers.
If you want to stream video content on BBC iPlayer, you just need to connect to any NordVPN server that is based in the United Kingdom.
What about Tunnelbear?
Tunnelbear was really a disappointment when it comes to unblocking streaming platforms.
In short, Tunnelbear VPN servers cannot unblock any of the popular streaming platforms that most people would be interested in. I was not able to stream Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or even iPlayer.
As you can see, NordVPN is a better VPN for streaming as compared to Tunnelbear.
If you’re looking for a VPN that unblocks the most streaming platforms then I definitely recommend NordVPN over Tunnelbear.
Which is the faster VPN between NordVPN and Tunnelbear?
In order to test the speeds of these two VPNs, I connected to their servers based in three different countries. I then used the website speedtest.net to measure the download and upload speeds before and after connecting to their servers… and this is what I established.
NordVPN gave me an average download speed that was 83% of my initial connection speeds.
This gives NordVPN a speed rating of 4.1 stars out of 5.0.
Tunnelbear on the other hand had an average download speed of 87% of my original download speeds before connecting to their servers… leading to a speed rating of 4.4 stars out of 5.0.
As you can see, it turns out that Tunnelbear is a faster VPN compared to NordVPN.
That was a surprise because I expected that NordVPN being a larger company should be able to deploy better and faster servers that Tunnelbear.
All other factors remaining constant, if you are looking for a fast VPN then I recommend Tunnelbear instead of NordVPN. In fact, it is for this reason that Tunnelbear made it to the list of the best VPNs for speed in 2021.
Will you be able to torrent with either Tunnelbear or NordVPN?
Torrenting is another very popular activity online among VPN users.
In fact, according to VPN usage stats, downloading torrent files is the second most popular reason why people purchase VPNs. Most torrent enthusiasts turn to a VPN in order to hide their real IP addresses.
NordVPN supports torrenting on their special P2P servers.
So if you want to download torrent files using NordVPN, you first need to connect to their dedicated torrenting servers by clicking on the P2P option in the app menu
You are then presented with a list of servers dedicated for downloading torrent files. All you then need to do is connect to the server of your choice and start torrenting.
Tunnelbear on the other does not support torrenting on their servers.
In fact, since you cannot select a server to connect to in Tunnelbear, choosing an appropriate server is not an option.
When it comes to Tunnelbear, all you need to do is select the country that you’d like to connect to and then Tunnelbear will automatically find and connect you to the most appropriate server.
They also do not mention any support for torrenting activities on their website.
So if you’re looking for a VPN that is great for torrenting the NordVPN is a better VPN for that matter.
Initially, people would run to VPNs in order to keep them invisible to their government and ISPs.
And this works for the very reason that VPNs make your internet activities invisible to your ISP by channelling all your internet traffic through a secure tunnel that the ISP and the government cannot see.
However, it has since turned out that some VPNs actually keep logs of your internet activities… so you know you have to run away from VPNs again.
Or at least find a VPN that does not keep logs of your internet activities.
Let’s now review Tunnelbear vs NordVPN is terms of the abilities to provide with private internet access.
NordVPN, to begin with, is located in Panama which is a privacy friendly country to base a VPN company. This is because Panama does not have mandatory data retention laws that obligate VPNs to keep activity logs of their users.
It means that there are no logs on NordVPN servers that can be used to identify you.
Tunnelbear, on the other hand, is based in Canada.
Canada is a founding member of the 14 eyes countries surveillance alliance. Since these countries spy on their citizens and then share their personal information amongst themselves, it is not a great place to base a VPN company.
That being said, Tunnelbear tries to ensure that your privacy on the internet is not compromised.
But the logs cannot be used to tie you to certain activities on their servers.
Encryption and Data Protection
In order to protect your personal information, it needs to be encrypted in a format that is impossible to decrypt, except by the intended device.
It is for this reason that VPNs employ the use of encryption technologies that are tamper proof.
So what encryption algorithms do NordVPN and Tunnelbear use?
At the time of writing this Tunnelbear vs NordVPN comparison in 2021, I established that both NordVPN and Tunnelbear use an AES 256-bit encryption technology. It is a military-grade encryption technology that is used by governments and militaries to encrypt sensitive classified information.
Since it is impossible to crack, both NordVPN and Tunnelbear provide you with the best kind of encryption ever.
What about the connection protocols?
A VPN uses a connection protocol to ensure that the communication with the server is secure.
Again when it comes to the connection protocols, both NordVPN and Tunnelbear use the best and most secure protocols available in the market. Both use OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec protocols.
The OpenVPN is the default protocol in the desktop and Android apps while IKEv2/IPSec is primarily used in the iOS apps.
Overall, both NordVPN and Tunnelbear have it nailed when it comes to encrypting and protecting your personal information when being transmitted online.
Even if a hacker was able to hijack your network traffic, they’ll never be able to decrypt and see the actual information… it would all be an gobbled unreadable mess, thanks to the 256-bit encryption.
An ad blocker would help you to block ads on most websites that you visit so that you can enjoy an ad free browsing experience.
And it is for good reason that someone might want this because most websites have become too aggressive with their advertising these days… such that it leads to a poor user experience.
So do NordVPN and Tunnelbear have an ad blocker?
NordVPN has an ad blocker in its apps that when turned on can block the ads from displaying on most websites that you’ll visit. In addition to blocking these ads, these ad blockers will also block the tracking scripts that these websites install in your browser.
It is these tracking scripts that they use to build a profile of you and then follow you around the web.
The NordVPN ad blocker is called CyberSec, which also has a malware blocker that will protect your devices from being infected whenever you visit any known malware infected website.
Tunnelbear on the other hand does not have any ad blockers in any of their apps.
However, their Chrome extension has an ad blocker that your can use to turn off ads when browsing on the Chrome browser.
If you are looking for a VPN with an inbuilt adblocker in their apps then I recommend NordVPN over Tunnelbear.
Most VPNs will assign you a shared IP address when you connect to their servers the normal way.
Since these shared IP addresses are used by hundreds of people at any particular time, they are great for anonymity online as it makes it impossible to tie back any particular activities on the servers to one particular individual or user.
However, this creates some problems with some particular apps that are security sensitive.
In fact, because these IP addresses are shared, there are high chances that some could have been abused by others users and therefore gotten themselves blacklisted on most sites that you visit.
So whenever you visit these sites, you’ll be required to fill captcha for to prove that you are not a robot.
In order to remedy this, you need a dedicated IP address that is only used by you. This reduces the chances that you are using an IP address that has already been abused.
So do NordVPN and Tunnelbear have dedicated IP addresses?
NordVPN has both static IP addresses and dedicated IP address at that time of writing this NordVPN vs Tunnelbear comparison.
The static IP addresses come with all the NordVPN subscriptions and are available for free. All you need to do to access these static IP addresses is to click on the dedicated IP tab on the application menu and then you’ll be presented with a list of dedicated IPs that you can choose from.
The IP addresses of these servers do not change and so you can whitelist them in your network in order to use them for secure remote access.
However, you should remember that static IPs could still be used by a couple of other VPNs users at the same time as you.
If you want a dedicated IP address that is only available to you, then you also go for the real dedicated IP addresses that NordVPN provides. But in the case of dedicated IPs, you’ll need to purchase them separately as a premium addon.
With these IPs, you can be sure that you are the only one using them and so this drastically eliminates the bad neighbour effect.
Tunnelbear on the other hand does not have any kind of static or dedicated IPs. So you are looking for a VPN with dedicated IPs, then NordVPN triumphs over Tunnelbear.
This list of the best VPNs for dedicated IPs also gives you a ton or other options to choose from.
In order to always stay protected on the internet, you should ensure that you only access the internet through a secure VPN tunnel.
However, you should note that you are only secured by a VPN connection as long as you remain connected to the VPN servers. In any event that your VPN app disconnects from the server, your device becomes unprotected and you are exposed.
If you don’t want this to happen, you should ensure that you always have your internet kill switch turned on.
A kill switch will ensure that any time that you are disconnected from the server for any reason, internet access for your entire device is blocked until you successfully reconnect.
So any apps that might try to access the internet during this, thus exposing you real IP address don’t get a chance to do so.
So do NordVPN and tunnelbear have a kill switch?
Luckily, both NordVPN and Tunnelbear have automatic internet kill switches. Though, I wouldn’t term that as lucky because it is kind of a requirement for a VPN to have a kill switch these… anyone who doesn’t should be elbowed out of the negotiation table.
Once turned on, these kill switches with ensure that your device remains protected at all times.
Just like I already mentioned in the kill switch section above, there are some apps that might have a problem working flawlessly with your VPN connection.
This is thanks to the shared IP address that has been abused by others or the slow speeds that result from a VPN connection.
In that case, you want to be able to whitelist certain problems apps so that they have their traffic channeled through your ISP as usual and not through your VPN tunnel.
Take for example your internet banking app that might keep asking for additional verification every time you log in with a new IP address, especially if these IP addresses belong to a different country from where you are located.
So the solution is to whitelist certain apps so that while the rest have their traffic flowing through your VPN tunnel, others are channelled through your ISP.
However, you should remember that the traffic that flows through these whitelisted apps is not encrypted anymore and so does not benefit from the added security that a VPN provides.
That being said, neither NordVPN nor Tunnelbear provides split tunneling of any kind at the time of writing this Tunnelbear vs NordVPN. If you need a VPN with a split tunnel then I recommend you check out this list.
Works in China?
Are you looking for a VPN that will work in China?
In China, internet access is heavily controlled by the government and certain websites are completely blocked.
It means that if you’re travelling to China, then you need a VPN that can bypass the content blocks and restrictions in China so that you can continue having uninterrupted access to sites like YouTube and Facebook.
But it is not that easy.
China has a firewall with a deep packet inspection technology that will detect and block any VPN traffic that tries to flow through it. So a VPN needs to obfuscate its traffic and make it look like normal traffic.
It is the only way to bypass the great firewall of China.
So will NordVPN and Tunnelbear work in Chian?
NordVPN has an obfuscated server mode that, once turned on, is able to make your traffic bypass the DPI technology of China’s firewall.
If you want to access the internet in China using NordVPN, you first have to turn on the obfuscated servers mode in order for the VPN to obfuscate your traffic and make it undetectable by China’s firewall.
Tunnelbear also will work in China.
Tunnelbear has a mode called GhostBear that also works to enable you access to the internet in China.
In order to use the internet in China with Tunnelbear, you need to first turn on this mode in your VPN… once turned on, it will also obfuscate your internet traffic and make it look like normal HTTPS traffic.
This way, you are able to bypass China’s firewall and have access to censored websites like Google, which most travellers need.
As we near the end of this Tunnelbear vs NordVPN comparison in 2021, let’s now look at their various pricing plans to establish the cheaper one between the two.
VPNs order their pricing in such a way that the longer the plan you choose the greater the discount you get… so that you are enticed into a longer plan with them. So always check out for their longest subscription plan if you want to find the best discount available.
That being said, how much does Tunnelbear and NordVPN cost?
NordVPN has their cheapest plan being the 3 years plan that will only cost you 3.49/month, billable upfront.
Tunnelbear on the other hand has 3 years plan that will set you back $ 3.33/month, also billable upfront.
When it comes to pricing, Tunnelbear and NordVPN hold it neck to neck as their pricing is very competitive with each other… in fact both VPNs are very pocket friendly.
Finally, let’s end this NordVPN vs Tunnelbear comparison by looking at the payment options that each one supports.
When looking for a VPN with the best payment options, I am keen on finding one that supports anonymous payment methods like Bitcoin and gift cards.
Since these anonymous payments do not require you to provide your billing address, they are great for when you don’t want to give any personally identifiable information to the VPN company.
In fact, just by using a fake email address and paying with some Bitcoins, you remain completely anonymous.
NordVPN currently accepts payments via all the major credit cards and cryptocurrency payments through Bitcoin… NordVPN does not accept PayPal.
Tunnelbear on the other hand only accepts credit card payments.
It does not accept neither PayPal nor Bitcoins.
So if you are looking for a VPN that supports more payment methods then NordVPN supports more options, that include anonymous Bitcoins.
So that’s the end of this comparison of Tunnelbear or NordVPN.
I hope this NordVPN vs Tunnelbear comparison has helped you learn a thing or two about these two popular VPN services.
Are you now ready to make a choice of the best VPN for you between the two?
NordVPN or Tunnelbear?
If you are looking for a VPN that is great for streaming and torrenting, then I recommend NordVPN. However, if all you want is fast speed and secure access to the internet then Tunnelbear would do much better than NordVPN.
Have you used either Tunnelbear or NordVPN before?
Please share your experience in the comments below.