Surfing the internet seems to get less private every year. Between websites tracking visitor activity, increasingly smart ad targeting, and apps that pull data from our mobile phones, there is a growing list of reasons to invest in a secure internet connection. Otherwise, intrusive 3rd parties can wreak havoc on your personal information.
Virtual private networks are an easy way to browse securely. These programs reroute your connection to a private server, which shields your data from surveillance and masks your IP address. A VPN can access restricted content like streaming services that certain countries block. It can appear as a browser extension or even on a mobile phone.
Not all VPNs are created equally, and they only work if they’re keeping your data encrypted. In a market saturated with options, it can be difficult for users to determine which provider is trustworthy. Comparing user reviews, 3rd party audits, and advanced features is essential to finding out whether a VPN is worth the investment.
Two popular options, Windscribe and TunnelBear, may appear to offer virtually the same services at a similar price point. With a closer look, it’s possible to find contrasts in the privacy of each VPN, as well as their capacity for simultaneous connections. If you’re deciding between TunnelBear vs Windscribe, study these differences to find out which service suits your lifestyle best.
Windscribe vs TunnelBear: comparison table
|3rd party audit||No||Yes, by Cure53|
Amazon Fire TV
(custom ads blocker)
|Servers network||63 countries||1800 servers in|
|Streaming and P2P||Yes,|
|Free trial||10GB Free|
ask support team
ask support team
|invpn.com rating||4.2 / 5.0||3.8 / 5.0|
|Full review||Windscribe Review||TunnelBear Review|
|Get Windscribe||Get TunnelBear|
What is Windscribe?
Founded in 2016, Windscribe is a Canada-based VPN that offers advanced features at a reliable speed. In its short time on the market, Windscribe has become known for providing a robust free option where users enjoy many of the same benefits as paid subscribers.
Windscribe boasts a large domain with servers in over 63 countries. Positive reviewers comment on its strong encryption and unlimited simultaneous connections. The VPN’s R.O.B.E.R.T. feature allows for accessible domain and IP blocking. It’s a popular platform for streaming, as well as a favorite for users who want extensive customization options for the different VPN features.
What is TunnelBear?
TunnelBear was founded in Toronto, Canada in 2011. The service was recently acquired by McAfee, a US-based provider of antivirus software. Since its creation, TunnelBear has offered a freemium model, capping out monthly data at 500 MB for users who don’t pay for the service. It offers P2P torrenting and streaming, but not many options for overcoming geoblocks.
TunnelBear offers unique features like VigilantBear, a killswitch that prevents data leaks, and GhostBear, which protects the VPN status from internet service providers (ISPs). Paid users can access it on up to 5 devices simultaneously.
It’s critical to understand the laws that govern VPNs to ensure your connection is secure. Providers are subject to the jurisdiction of the country where they are based. A company’s location significantly impacts the level of privacy it can guarantee users.
If you’re wondering how Windscribe vs TunnelBear will protect your privacy, consider that both companies were both founded in Canada. VPNs are legal under Canadian law, and users of this software are covered by 28 privacy statutes that protect all personal information in the public, private, and health sectors.
To protect user data, Canadian VPNs strive to keep zero logs or make the information stored as irrelevant as possible.
Neither Windscribe nor TunnelBear says they store a significant amount of user data beyond the personal details provided at registration. TunnelBear reports that it keeps no logs of user activity; however, since its 2018 acquisition by McAfee, its user data is subject to US subpoenas.
Windscribe keeps a log of the number of connections and MBs used by each account within the past month. Windscribe reports that it collects this data from users’ bandwidth to monitor and prevent multiple people from sharing one account.
VPNs advertise high levels of security, and many providers claim to log no user information. But if a VPN is not transparent, how can you tell if this is the case? For this reason, customers trust 3rd party audits to test the privacy standards that different providers offer. These reviewers inspect codebase, infrastructure, websites and apps for leaks in security.
TunnelBear was the first VPN in the industry to publish an audit of their service. In 2016, the company hired reputable 3rd party auditor Cure53 to review their servers and infrastructure, then made the results public to be fully transparent.
In January 2020, the company published its latest review by Cure53. The report concluded, “After spending 37 days on the scope in November 2019, 10 members of the Cure53 team can conclude that the security posture of the tested TunnelBear components is sound.”
Windscribe has never had a 3rd party audit. Instead, the company published a brief transparency report.
When comparing Windscribe vs TunnelBear, it’s essential to find out whether you can use these VPNs freely across all of your devices.
Many VPNs are available across primary platforms like desktop computers, laptops and mobile phones. However, devices like televisions, cars, and household appliances are increasingly popular means of accessing the internet, and your connection should be secure no matter how you browse.
Choosing between TunnelBear vs Windscribe depends on how the types of browsers and devices you own. Both VPNs can run on Windows, Mac, and Linux, as well as offering apps for iOS and Android users.
For smart TV users, Windscribe also has a native app for Amazon FireTV, Nvidia Shield, and KODI. TunnelBear’s scope is slightly more limited, although it will run on up to 5 simultaneous devices.
Many VPNs offer a lightweight version of their service in the form of a browser extension. The extension allows users to surf the web while hiding their IP address, location, and other sensitive information from 3rd party audiences and intruders. Browser extensions are popular because they’re quick and convenient, allowing users to surf the web securely without opening up the VPN app.
Both TunnelBear and Windscribe offer browser extensions for Firefox, Opera, and Chrome. Windscribe’s free Chrome extension has mostly positive user reviews for its ease and effectiveness.
Tunnelbear goes further, offering its paid users a tracking blocker for Chrome. The chrome extension functions as a standard ad-blocker, but also prevents websites from tracking a user’s activity across the web. TunnelBear’s Chrome blocker allows plenty of customization options so that users can modify where they want to block ads and tracking.
Browser extensions protect your activity online, but because they are just a proxy for the VPN, they do not cover the software and personal information stored in your actual device. When considering TunnelBear vs Windscribe, ensure that you’re investing in the full VPN app to maximize security.
TunnelBear, like most VPNs, offers its paid users up to 5 simultaneous connections on one account. Simultaneous connections mean that one user can have the network installed over several different devices. For the free version of TunnelBear, users can only install the VPN on one device.
Windscribe differs from many of its competitors because it supports unlimited simultaneous connections through both its free and paid service. Users can access Windscribe on as many devices as they want, as long as they aren’t sharing their account with other users.
Advanced VPN Features
Some of the most noticeable differences between Windscribe vs TunnelBear appear in their advanced features. Some are similar, like ad blocking and kill switch alternatives, while others are unique to the VPN. Overall, Windscribe seems to offer more customizable options, while TunnelBear is more streamlined and user-friendly.
Tunnelbear users enjoy VigilantBear, which is their version of a Kill Switch. Instead of shutting down traffic during interruptions, Windscribe uses a firewall to block all connectivity outside the tunnel.
As far as ad blockers, TunnelBear offers a free browser extension to block ads and IP tracking. Windscribe’s ad blocker, R.O.B.E.R.T., is more complex, allowing users to customize which IP addresses they block. Because the VPN created R.O.B.E.R.T. for users who want precise control over their browsing options, it may be less intuitive for new subscribers.
Windscribe’s secure.link feature can also scan a website before the user visits, testing its security and spotting potential trackers. TunnelBear doesn’t offer a service like this, but it does advertise GhostBear, which is an “incognito mode” that hides your VPN status from an ISP. It also offers RememBear, a password manager.
On the pro version of Windscribe, users can generate configs for OpenVPN IKEv2 and SOCKS for unlimited connected devices. TunnelBear uses OpenVPN as its default protocol on most devices. Although reviewers regard OpenVPN as a secure protocol, it doesn’t offer users many customization options.
Streaming and Torrenting
Many users seek out VPNs to stream content, especially for options that are geoblocked. As streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu increasingly replace cable TV, users need a VPN that allows access to the full range of internet entertainment. VPNs are also commonly used to torrent content that isn’t readily available online.
Windscribe supports streaming for both paid and free subscribers; however, only paid users can use unlimited bandwidth for optimal streaming quality. Paid subscribers can also access Windflix, a dedicated server for Netflix, Hulu and Amazon streaming. While Windscribe also offers P2P torrenting, this action may require more bandwidth than a free subscription can support.
Users hoping to unlock geoblocked content should not opt for a TunnelBear subscription. Due to strict Canadian privacy laws, the VPN explicitly forbids using this practice on its streaming services. For the same reason, TunnelBear disallowed torrenting until very recently. The company has relaxed its policy and now offers P2P and Tor access, however, its upper limit of 500 MB per month reduces the capacity for free users to stream and torrent.
Affordability is an important question when choosing between Windscribe vs TunnelBear. Luckily, both VPNs offer free versions. While the highest security VPN options come at a monthly or yearly price point, a free subscription is an excellent way to boost privacy without breaking the bank. Open editions are also a convenient way to test a VPN before deciding to upgrade to a paid subscription.
Windscribe is a top choice among free VPN users because the free plan is nearly identical to the premium service. Free subscribers have limited bandwidth and a reduced amount of locations, but they are still able to stream, torrent, and enjoy Windscribe’s unlimited simultaneous connections.
TunnelBear operates on a “freemium” model, with no charge for a bare-bones version of its product with a monthly cap on data. From there, users may upgrade to different tiers of paid subscription according to their needs. It also limits users to one connection, rather than the five simultaneous devices allotted to paid subscribers.
While both Windscribe and TunnelBear encourage downloading their free plan rather than advertising a trial version, savvy users may be able to track down a temporary free subscription.
According to a Windscribe support post on Reddit, “You can get a Pro trial and test the full service for a bit before making any payments. Just go to our website and ask Garry (the chat-bot in the bottom right corner) to give you a trial.”
For users hoping to test TunnelBear’s premium service, the company has not publicly offered a free trial. However, staff on Reddit have privately offered individual users a free trial. A TunnelBear representative writes: “When you sign up for a free TB account, inbox me your email address you used to sign up with and I’ll give you premium service for a bit (for free), so you can test the full range of what we can do.”
Windscribe and TunnelBear both charge monthly fees of less than $10.00 per month, which vary depending on the plan. Each company offers discounts to customers who purchase yearly plans.
Windscribe starts at $9.00 per month for a basic subscription, but the monthly fee can drop as low as $4.08 as part of a yearly plan. The VPN also offers a customizable price option, perfect for users who are only interested in one or two features and want to cut costs.
TunnelBear’s monthly subscription starts at $10.00 but drops to around $5.00 monthly for yearly subscribers. Furthermore, the company offers a 2-year subscription option that slashes the monthly price to $3.33. Students who buy a two-year plan are eligible for a 70% discount, amounting to a little over $1.00 a month for a full subscription to TunnelBear.
Reviews From Reddit
Reading each VPN’s website is one way to understand their services. If you’re looking for more critical opinions, checking Reddit discussion boards can give insight into the actual user experience for TunnelBear vs Windscribe.
Reddit users have mixed reviews about TunnelBear. A comment on r/ProgrammerHumor reads: “If you read this comment and happen to be looking for a VPN service: TunnelBear is decent and has a quite alright free trial, but be sure to do a speedtest and a traceroute on every service you try to make sure you’re not routed through some far away country on every request.”
Reddit users are less concerned about the security risks of Windscribe, but express frustration over its streaming capability. A comment on r/Windscribe reads, “if you are only using the free WindScribe then you only have a simple ‘UK’ option which doesn’t give access to the BBC iPlayer. As it is, even as a paid user and using ‘Windflix UK’, I have issues getting iPlayer content half of the time. I just reconnect until it works.”
A satisfied Windscribe reviewer reports, “I’m actually a happy WindScribe customer and get great speeds, even when torrenting. They have plenty of servers and it’s easy to switch.”
Windscribe vs TunnelBear: Summary
Choosing the right VPN means you’ll need to consider your personal preferences for internet browsing. It’s also essential to study the overall security level that each provider can guarantee.
When comparing TunnelBear vs Windscribe, both companies stand out for their popularity among users. Each platform is known for its quality free plan, as well as a range of affordable paid subscriptions. Windscribe and TunnelBear both support P2P and streaming, and they each have native apps that sync across simultaneous platforms.
Because Windscribe offers a range of customization options, as well as an impressive list of advanced features, it’s popular among users who want to tweak their browsing experience with a high level of personalization. Streaming options are more robust on Windscribe because of its dedicated servers. Unlimited simultaneous connections mean that users don’t have to worry about leaving some devices vulnerable.
While TunnelBear users enjoy the perks of VigilantBear, GhostBear, and high transparency through the company’s regular audits, reviewers raise concerns about the security of their information. When McAfee acquired TunnelBear, jurisdiction changed to US-based privacy laws, which are not as ideal for users as its Canadian competitors.
The ban on geoblocking, as well as a lack of dedicated streaming servers, means that TunnelBear users can’t count on accessing all the streaming platforms that Windscribe users can. Overall, Windscribe scores better on matters of privacy, customization, and content accessibility.
Now that you’ve learned the differences between TunnelBear vs Windscribe, consider trying out a free plan to test how the VPN works for you. You’ll take comfort in knowing that your data is secure from 3rd party surveillance, and enjoy the many perks and features that private networks offer their users.