Cord Cutting Guides, News, and Reviews
NordVPN vs TunnelBear
February 5, 2021
Installing a VPN is one of the best ways to ensure the security and privacy of your internet activities. With only a small number of high-quality VPNs available amongst the several dozen VPN providers, though, picking the right one can feel like an overwhelming task.
When it comes to NordVPN vs. TunnelBear, both are excellent options. Which option is better will depend on your specific needs. In this article, we’ll go through all the most important differences together. With that information in hand, you’ll be prepared to make an informed decision and continue your cord cutting lifestyle, confident in the security of your internet connection.
NordVPN has 5000+ servers in 59 countries. TunnelBear has servers in 23 countries. Although we don’t have the exact server count for TunnelBear, it’s likely that it is substantially lower than that of NordVPN. More servers are always better. Have you ever been stuck in a long grocery checkout line, wishing they would just open a new lane? The effect of adding servers is exactly the same as adding new grocer lanes: As your fellow shoppers (VPN users) spread out to more lanes (servers), everyone experiences faster service. For cord cutters, there is the added advantage that streaming providers have a harder time blocking access to a VPN that has more servers spread out across more countries.
NordVPN works with Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video. It has even shown success at allowing region-locked content from some providers. In our TunnelBear review, we found that TunnelBear works with Netflix and DIsney+, but it was unable to unlock any international content and did not work at all with Amazon Prime Video.
NordVPN allows the use of three VPN protocols — OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard — whereas TunnelBear uses only OpenVPN. All of these are excellent security protocols, but advanced users may appreciate having multiple options to choose between.
NordVPN is located in Panama, a country with no real data oversight laws. TunnelBear is located in Canada, a Five-Eyes Alliance member. This is important because companies in Five-Eyes countries are required to hand over user data to their government on request.
NordVPN has a strict no-logging policy that went through a third-party audit in the summer of 2020. TunnelBear has a similar no-logging policy that is put through an annual third-party audit. These audits are not standard in the industry, so both of these companies deserve a high level of praise for taking this initiative. A verified, quality no-logging policy is the best way to ensure that user data is never stored — and thus cannot be handed over to anyone or acquired in a data breach.
Both VPNs have built-in kill switches, which allow you to prevent data from leaking through if the VPN service suffers an interruption. NordVPN’s kill switch works on all of its apps, and TunnelBear’s works on all but its iOS app.
TunnelBear has GhostBear, a stealth VPN option. The point of these stealth VPNs is to mimic a standard internet connection, allowing you to continue to use your VPN even if your country or ISP blocks all VPN access. NordVPN doesn’t have a stealth VPN, although they do have obfuscated servers which are more complicated to use but serve a similar purpose. Advanced users can likely use either of these options, but beginner users will find TunnelBear’s stealth VPN a much easier option.
NordVPN caused some slowdown in the internet speed tests that we ran as a part of our NordVPN review, but it wasn’t significant. TunnelBear showed a significant amount of slowdown on all their servers. It wasn’t enough to prevent browsing or general use, but it was noticeable during streaming. Overall, NordVPN has a definite edge when it comes to speed.
NordVPN allows up to six simultaneous devices on all of their plans, whereas TunnelBear allows up to five simultaneous devices.
Both work on Windows and Mac desktops and laptops as well as iOS and Android mobile devices. NordVPN is fully usable on Linux, while TunnelBear has only limited Linux compatibility. NordVPN also works on Android TV and some routers. If you need to cover other devices such as Smart TVs, streaming devices, or video game systems, there is no way to do so with TunnelBear. It is possible with NordVPN, but only if your router is compatible — and you won’t get device-level control.
NordVPN has browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome. TunnelBear has one for Firefox, Chrome, and Opera. These extensions allow you to run your browser through a VPN while still allowing other apps to use your standard internet connection.
TunnelBear allows P2P on all servers. NordVPN allows it on select servers — you can find out which ones through the advanced options in the server list. This is another case where, although both services allow a feature, we have to give TunnelBear props for simplifying the process.
Both NordVPN and TunnelBear are very easy to use, but TunnelBear has an edge in overall usability. They tend to get that advantage by sacrificing the extra customizability that NordVPN offers, so you will have to decide which of those aspects is most important to you.
NordVPN and TunnelBear are both great VPN providers. Picking the right one is largely going to come down to speed, customizability, ease of use, and price. We can’t tell you which one is best for you, but we can offer the following parting words to guide your decision.
TunnelBear is slightly cheaper ($9.99 per month instead of $11.95 per month). If you purchase an annual or multi-year plan, that difference largely goes away. Aside from that, the main reason that people should pick TunnelBear over NordVPN is simplicity. If you want a VPN that just works and you don’t care about having extra customization options, TunnelBear may be the VPN you are looking for.
NordVPN is faster. If you are looking to stream content, this is a huge plus. They have more servers in more locations, which contributes to the speed and ability to bypass streaming service VPN blocks. NordVPN is the only one of the two that works on Android TV. If your router is compatible with their service, NordVPN is the only one of the two options that can cover your other streaming devices, smart TVs, or gaming systems. Lastly, NordVPN is more customizable. If you are a power user, you will likely miss those extra options if you go with TunnelBear instead.
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