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NordVPN vs TunnelBear Review

A VPN, or virtual private network, is a tool that protects your online privacy by concealing your browsing activity and location. A VPN can also help you bypass censorship, depending on the provider. However, it may include censorship, which prevents you from accessing certain websites. 

VPNs also get around regional restrictions that might prevent you from watching video content outside your home country. While the concept of a VPN is appealing, numerous VPN providers are available today. 

Unfortunately, many of them make claims that they cannot fulfill, making it difficult for people to find the best VPN providers for their needs. As a result, we've taken the time to write thorough reviews of these VPN providers to help you decide which one to use. 

With thousands of servers located worldwide, NordVPN is one of the most well-known VPN providers. 

TunnelBear is a relatively unknown company. In comparison to NordVPN, how does it fare? Both of these providers have decent features that set them apart in terms of basic web browsing. However, if you're curious about better, read this review to find out for yourself.


NordVPN is one of the many businesses that Nord Security owns and operates. Nord Security is a Panama-based company that owns the secure cloud storage and encryption tools Nord Pass and NordLocker.

The company has about 15 million users across all of its products, with NordVPN accounting for most of them. This company is based in the United States is a massive plus for NordVPN. 

Panama has no mandatory data retention policy because the country is not a member of any significant international spying or data collection alliances. Therefore, NordVPN can function as a true no-logs VPN service without government interference. 

NordVPN has one of the fastest VPN speeds in the industry in terms of functionality. The VPN also offers several appealing features to its customers, including excellent security and over 5000 dedicated servers in over 59 countries worldwide. 

The servers are organized on a map for easy access, and you can choose your server from there. It has two layers of encryption. It supports peer-to-peer (P2P) and allows you to access Netflix and other streaming websites. You can read our review on NordVPN.


TunnelBear is owned and operated by McAfee, a cybersecurity firm based in the United States. However, the US has poor privacy policies, so it's not all good news. In addition, the US is well-known for its various surveillance operations, which target foreigners and civilians. 

In addition, the United States chairs the Five Eyes surveillance alliance. The members of this alliance have a history of spying on each other's citizens and sharing the data they collect, despite national privacy laws. 

Despite being owned by a US corporation, TunnelBear is based in Canada. Canada, unfortunately, is a member of the Five Eyes. The VPN service provider offers average speeds, smooth performance, and no DNS leaks in terms of performance. 

It has some useful security features and keeps no logs of your activity, ensuring anonymity. In addition, they offer strong encryption and unrestricted bandwidth, among other benefits.

Because of the free version and the fact that they accept cryptocurrency payments, the provider is at the top of the list. Click to read our TunnelBear review!

NordVPN vs TunnelBear - Can the Bear Compete with NordVPN?

At first glance, the comparison between NordVPN and TunnelBear may not appear to be a fair one to you. 

For example, according to the company, TunnelBear only has servers in 20 countries, whereas NordVPN users can choose from more than 5000 servers in over 59 countries. TunnelBear, on the other hand, is a legitimate contender, contrary to popular belief. 

The VPN provider is well established with a large user base and a free VPN that attracts millions of users. Furthermore, it is functional in China, where only a few other VPNs are functional. 

While NordVPN has established itself as the VPN with the greatest number of VPN servers, you will be surprised to learn that it has some limitations where TunnelBear outperforms it. So, let's get down to business with the comparison.

Speed Test

No matter what you're doing, your Internet connection speed is critical. VPNs, on the other hand, can slow down your connection. This is because VPNs provide server hopping and industrial-strength encryption in exchange for a slower connection speed. 

You must choose a service that can either increase your browsing speed or assist you in maintaining your current speed without compromising consistency. It'll come in handy if you're using the VPN for streaming or other online tasks that require a lot of data transfer. 

We'll begin our comparison with speed tests with these considerations in mind. To compare NordVPN and TunnelBear, our team ran speed tests on both VPNs using home-based servers (US servers) and UK servers. 

TunnelBear had an average download speed of 54.35 Mbps and an upload speed of 0.83 Mbps after our test. In contrast, NordVPN had a download speed of 498 Mbps and an upload speed of 17.61 Mbps. 

NordVPN had an average speed of 537mbps and an upload speed of 28.4mbps when using an international server in the United Kingdom. On the other hand, TunnelBear could only manage 91.2 MBps downloads and 30.5 MBps uploads.

Speed Test Winner: NordVPN


Let's start with both services' apps. NordVPN and TunnelBear both allow users to use their apps on various platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, and others. You can usually download the app from their websites and install it on your preferred device. However, while NordVPN can be found in various app stores, the same cannot be said for TunnelBear. 

For example, to use TunnelBear on Linux, you must manually install it. TunnelBear is also limited to the Fedora Workstation 25 and Ubuntu 16 Linux distributions. On the plus side for Tunnelbear, the VPN providers have an Opera browser extension, which NordVPN lacks. 

However, because Opera is used by such a small percentage of internet users, it cannot be included in the comparison. On the other hand, VPN extensions can only secure traffic from the web browser in which they are installed. 

This means that p2p clients and other apps are not protected. Furthermore, they both have advanced security features. 

Both provide automatic Wi-Fi protection, ensuring your safety when using public Wi-Fi networks. NordVPN, on the other hand, goes a step further by including an ad blocker and malware scanner, which can enhance your browsing experience. 

Unfortunately, TunnelBear lacks this crucial feature. TunnelBear, on the other hand, has a split tunnel feature that is only available on its Android app. You can use this feature to limit your VPN to only certain programs.

Features Winner: NordVPN

NordVPN logo in white color
Overall Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
Visit NordVPN


You expect to use a VPN service without restrictions if you pay for it. As a result, we'll contrast NordVPN and TunnelBear. In any case, NordVPN and TunnelBear don't limit bandwidth on their paid plans. Using TunnelBear's free VPN service, on the other hand, limits your monthly bandwidth to 500MB. The IP address for both services is the same. 

For all connections, their servers use a single IP address. As a result, if someone noticed unusual behavior, they wouldn't be able to track you down using your IP address. However, for an additional $70 per year, NordVPN can provide you with a personal IP address. 

Neither of these companies will suggest a particular anti-DDoS server. NordVPN previously provided this service, but it has since been discontinued. However, even if you don't have a DDoS server, both should keep you safe. Because these VPN services have such a large network, they can absorb and distribute the impact, so you don't feel it. 

In addition, unlike TunnelBear, NordVPN has a NAT Firewall. The purpose of this NAT Firewall is to reroute your device's traffic and prevent any unwanted or suspicious activity. Finally, we'll talk about Chinese censorship. In China, which is the most dependable? China, in particular, has some of the most stringent internet restrictions in the world. 

As a result, most VPN services will not work in China. The good news is that when properly installed, NordVPN and TunnelBear work well in China. This is because NordVPN has dedicated servers in countries where the internet is heavily censored, such as China. Before using these servers, make sure the settings are correct. Go to Advanced > Obfuscated Servers to do so. 

A list of suitable servers can be found on the left side of the main screen. Go to Settings > Security > GhostBear. After that, you can use data cloaking on any server. In China, the Great Firewall blocks the websites of these VPNs. So, if you're planning on visiting China, you'll need first to set up your VPN.

Reliability Winner: NordVPN


When looking for the best VPN, security is extremely important. These days, the internet can be dangerous. As a result, you'll need a VPN to protect your online traffic and keep you safe while you're surfing. It is essential for those who frequently use Wi-Fi in public places or play online games. NordVPN and TunnelBear both use server obfuscation for security. 

When combined with obfsproxy, both of them allow you to mask your traffic so that your ISP or other prying eyes don't realize you're using a VPN. Both services also have their own DNS servers, which protect your activities from third parties. 

While both uses kill switches, TunnelBear has a slight advantage because it has the kill switch option in all apps. Furthermore, these VPN providers encrypt your internet traffic using the OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols. 

The only difference is that NordVPN lets you select which protocols to use at any given time. This option allows you to be more flexible, especially if you know how things work. However, TunnelBear connects you to both protocols first, then chooses the fastest.

On iOS devices, TunnelBear also includes an IPSec connection. Finally, NordVPN uses 4096-bit RSA keys to protect you, whereas TunnelBear uses 2048-bit keys. As a result, both of them are technically difficult to crack. Cracking NordVPN RSA keys, on the other hand, would theoretically take longer.

Security Winner: NordVPN

Logging Policies

The logging policy of a VPN provider refers to how it keeps track of its users' activities. When choosing a VPN to use, the logging policy is a vital feature to consider. To begin with, one of the reasons you need a VPN service is to keep your online activities hidden from prying eyes. 

While most VPN providers keep your activities hidden, they keep some information. Some claim to do so for marketing and improvement. 

Someone could have access to such information if it exists somewhere. As a result, logging policies are essential to consider when selecting a VPN. 

Comparing NordVPN and TunnelBear, we discovered that NordVPN kept more of their customer data. For example, NordVPN collects information such as session timestamps, device models, and an anonymous record of in-app events, among other things. 

The good news is that none of these companies store web traffic or IP address data. As a result, your privacy will be protected to a large extent.

Winner for Logging Policies: TunnelBear

NordVPN logo in white color
Overall Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
Visit NordVPN


Another essential factor to consider when choosing a VPN provider is jurisdiction linked to logging policies. You should look for a VPN owned by a company based in a country where companies are not required to report customer data to the government. 

Certain alliance members are well-known, such as the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and others. One of those countries is the United States, coordinating the Five Eyes alliance. Because NordVPN is based in Panama, you can trust it regarding jurisdiction. 

Panama's government is not a member of any of the alliances above. As a result, NordVPN cannot be forced by law to release information about you. TunnelBear, on the other hand, is owned by an American corporation. 

It makes no difference that the VPN provider is based in Canada because Canada is a member of the above alliances. The company may be forced to release your information by the Canadian government at some point. 

The fact that TunnelBear doesn't keep as much information about you is a consolation. So, even if they're forced to, they're not going to say much about you.

Jurisdiction Winner: NordVPN

Streaming Capabilities (Netflix, Hulu, etc.)

If you have multiple Netflix, Hulu, HBO, EPIX, Amazon Prime Video, or other streaming service subscriptions, you've probably noticed something. Most of these platforms have different libraries for their users in various locations. 

They do this because they are required to sign contracts with movie producers that restrict access to their films in certain countries, which can be inconvenient. As a result, you'll need a good VPN. 

With the right VPN, you'll be able to access the geo-restricted content on multiple platforms with ease. Unfortunately, TunnelBear does not provide consistent access to streaming services such as Netflix in this regard. Surprisingly, the firm makes no such guarantees upfront. 

On the other hand, NordVPN is capable of unblocking a wide range of streaming services. Moreover, it covers both domestic and international streaming platforms. 

Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Disney+, Showtime, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and a slew of other services are among the platforms NordVPN supports.

Streaming capabilities Winner: NordVPN

Torrenting & File Sharing

File-sharing via peer-to-peer (P2P) is one of the most popular internet activities today. It is, however, a contentious issue. Even though file sharing is legal, many people use it illegally to share movies, apps, and games. 

Regardless of the reason for using the technology, many movie studios and television producers pressure internet service providers to block P2P activity on their networks. In addition, Torrenting is illegal in many countries around the world. However, it is still a useful method for peer-to-peer file sharing. Fortunately, you can use a VPN to get around an ISP's restrictions. 

As a result, if you frequently use torrents, you should consider this when choosing a VPN. Given the importance of torrenting and peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing, NordVPN provides a dedicated server for many users who prefer to download files via torrent. 

That way, you won't have to worry about legal issues while torrenting. TunnelBear, on the other hand, doesn't have much to offer torrent users, but it does work well for sharing small P2P files. Tunnels in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, and Romania have all been successful. 

NordVPN, on the other hand, allows torrenting on servers in 42 countries. As a result, you can easily engage in P2P file-sharing no matter where you are. Of course, it's also in Panama, where the government doesn't require the service provider to keep logs.

Torrent Support Winner: NordVPN

Pricing & Plans

The cost is an essential factor to consider for obvious reasons when selecting a VPN. You can only use a VPN service if you can afford it, regardless of its offers. So which is more cost-effective, NordVPN or TunnelBear? 

TunnelBear costs $3.33 per month for a monthly subscription, while NordVPN costs $11.95. Because we're afraid of commitment, this is a much better option. TunnelBear even outperforms NordVPN by offering a free version for those who can't afford to pay for a subscription.

However, the free version only allows you to access 500 MB of data per month, no matter how appealing it may be. 

That's enough data to watch half of a Netflix series, after which your bandwidth will be limited. However, you can continue to use it for everyday browsing.

Pricing and Plans Winner: TunnelBear

Refunds Policy

In the case of TunnelBear, there is no defined refund policy in place. So if you were to receive a refund from the VPN provider, it would be entirely at their discretion. It's a little surprising, but it's their company's policy. 

The NordVPN service, on the other hand, offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. That means that if you decide to cancel your subscription for any reason, you will receive a refund at the end of the month.

Refunds Policy Winner: NordVPN

Value for Money

Our final comparison is value for money. To do that, we compare both VPN providers in terms of what they deliver.

Devices per subscription:

NordVPN and TunnelBear do not allow unlimited connections. Instead, NordVPN limited us to six devices and TunnelBear to five.

Simultaneous connections per subscription:

In terms of simultaneous connections, NordVPN edged out TunnelBear. While TunnelBear only allows five simultaneous connections, NordVPN allows up to 6. 

Proxy, router, and NAS support:

NordVPN supports NAS (network-attached storage).

Browser extension for Opera:

TunnelBear has an Opera browser extension that NordVPN does not.

Customer service:

NordVPN has a live chat, email, and support library. TunnelBear lacks 24/7 support chat, which is a major flaw. However, it does provide an email support form and a simple help search function.

Conclusion (Overall Winner)

TunnelBear is a good VPN service for browsing the web or transferring files. Its kill switch and fast servers outperform many other VPNs currently available. However, NordVPN appears to be a better option. 

As shown in the table above, we compared both services based on 11 essential criteria. Finally, NordVPN won 9 out of 11 comparisons. In this comparison, NordVPN outperforms TunnelBear in terms of features. 

You will find that NordVPN has more server locations for streaming and other purposes. In addition, the service provider offers Onion over VPN technology, CyberSec, DoubleVPN, and other unique features. These features make it ideal for advanced users. 

However, TunnelBear outperforms NordVPN on price. So if you're on a budget, you should consider it. Several articles, like the one you just read, compare VPN providers.

Here is an example of a similar article comparing NordVPN and ExpressVPN. You might want to check that out as well before making your decision on which VPN to buy.

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By: Michael Miller
Michael is the CEO of VPN Online, one of the fastest-growing media companies in the cyber-security space. VPN Online was started in 2019 after Michael consulted with many Fortune 500 companies and saw the lack of understanding about cybersecurity many of their employees had.