Are you one of the millions of people who will stream entertainment content from Kodi today? If so, have you taken steps to secure your streams from external surveillance? In this article, we’ll try to find out if using TunnelBear for Kodi is a good idea.
Installing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) like TunnelBear for use with Kodi is essential. VPNs and Kodi are a good fit, providing extra protection where it is really needed. And they offer much more than that, too.
This review will assess the merits of TunnelBear, one of the world’s leading VPNs. And we’ll see whether TunnelBear is the answer to your Kodi needs. But first, let’s look at why VPNs matter to the Kodi community.
What makes a great Kodi VPN?
Using a VPN with Kodi is absolutely essential. Whether you are intending to stream perfectly legitimate channels, or skirting the borders of legality, a VPN will have numerous benefits.
Encryption protects Kodi streams from snoopers while helping to neutralize ISP throttling. A good VPN also helps to work around geo-blockers imposed by services like Netflix, while anonymizing your identity – another protection against a state or corporate surveillance.
With those aims in mind, here are some things to look for in a great Kodi VPN:
- Compatibility with Kodi – An obvious factor, but easily overlooked. Not all VPNs are designed to work seamlessly with the Kodi front end, and many can’t be installed on devices like Fire Sticks, which are used to access Kodi. So double-check before downloading anything.
- Speed – When streaming movies, sports, or TV shows, speed is everything. A stuttering, laggy VPN won’t make the grade.
- Encryption – Shielding your Kodi streaming is vital. Go for 256-bit AES encryption and RSA-2048 authentication to ensure no one can see what you stream.
- Total leak protection – If your IP address leaks, your identity will too. So look for VPNs with rock-solid IP leak records.
- Jurisdiction – Avoid VPNs in countries that are hostile to torrenting and streaming, such as the USA, Canada, and EU nations. Many good VPNs are based in privacy-friendly countries, so opt for them instead.
- No bandwidth restrictions – Some VPNs are stricter than others when it comes to bandwidth limits. If you intend to stream on a daily basis, go for providers who offer unrestricted traffic.
Is a TunnelBear and Kodi combination worth considering?
So, now we know a bit more about what makes a great Kodi VPN. But in this review, we’re mainly concerned with one provider in particular: TunnelBear.
For those who don’t know, TunnelBear is a Toronto-based VPN that was founded in 2011 by Daniel Kaldor and Ryan Dochuk. Since then, it has grown into one of the largest providers in the world and was taken over by security giant McAfee in 2018.
It’s available in free and paid versions – but Kodi fans will want to concentrate on paid options. The free TunnelBear client is fine for basic browsing, but you only get 2 GB of free bandwidth per month. That’s not going to cover the data needs of many streamers.
Still, if you want to give the VPN a try, the free version is a great place to start. All of the features are there, just with very little data to play with.
TunnelBear: Key features for Kodi fans to think about
Let’s assume you are willing to pay for a genuinely exceptional Kodi VPN. How does the TunnelBear and Kodi combination actually measure up? Here are some key features that Kodi users will appreciate:
- Unlimited data – All paid TunnelBear packages come with unlimited data (unlike the free version), so you’ll be able to watch as many movies or episodes of your shows as you wish.
- Multiple devices – TunnelBear allows for 5 simultaneous devices, so you can use Kodi on your laptop, smartphone, or via special boxes. And you’ll have a bit of capacity left over for other devices, too.
- Vigilant mode – TunnelBear’s kill switch kicks in if your VPN protection drops, ensuring that you won’t expose any personal information.
- No-logs policy – Kodi fans won’t want their activity to be stored by third parties, and TunnelBear has a good record in this regard. You shouldn’t need to worry about activity logs being handed over to investigators.
- Encryption – As explained above, 256-bit AES encryption is the gold standard right now for VPNs, and TunnelBear delivers.
- Many platforms – TunnelBear is available for Android and iOS phones, Windows, macOS, and major browsers. So however you use Kodi, there should be an option.
- GhostBear – this is an extra feature that allows TunnelBear to hide the fact you are using a VPN. In some countries, this can be essential for Kodi streaming, making it impossible to detect your VPN. And it’s a major advantage for people visiting destinations like Saudi Arabia or China.
- Servers across the world – TunnelBear maintains servers in North American, European, South American, and Asia-Pacific countries. So working around geo-blockers should be possible.
What about the negatives? Are there any issues for Kodi users to consider?
As you can see from the list above, TunnelBear offers a range of positive features that Kodi fans will like. But there’s always a downside, even with the world’s elite VPNs.
For starters, TunnelBear is located in Canada, and Canada has a mixed reputation when it comes to torrenting and Kodi. Since the passage of the Copyright Modernization Act, the authorities in Ottawa have had more powers to clamp down on streamers if they are sharing copyrighted materials.
It’s not as widely used as it is in the US, but the law should make Kodi users think twice before relying on a Canadian VPN to protect their traffic.
VPN performance varies depending on your location and the servers you choose
Secondly, TunnelBear isn’t super-fast. It’s not the slowest VPN in the world, but it pales in comparison to options like NordVPN or ExpressVPN. And that’s a huge problem for Kodi users. However, bear in mind that VPN performance varies depending on your location and the servers you choose. So try TunnelBear for size before making a definitive judgment.
Additionally, TunnelBear has had issues with unblocking Netflix in the past. That’s not necessarily a huge issue for Kodi users. After all, Kodi libraries can let you bypass commercial hosts like Netflix. But many users do like to use Kodi to access their Netflix account. TunnelBear may not be the best option for those people.
So the picture isn’t as clear cut as you might think. Although TunnelBear offers a lot of attractive features, there are some downsides to factor in.
Is it easy to create a TunnelBear and Kodi configuration?
What about the actual process of installing TunnelBear on Kodi? If you’re using Kodi on a laptop or desktop computer, the process is extremely simple. You can just install the VPN, fire it up, and then load up Kodi. If the VPN is functioning properly, you’ll be covered from then on.
However, installing TunnelBear on devices like Fire Sticks and Kodi boxes is more complex. Even so, it’s not out of reach for most users. And TunnelBear’s client is designed to be added to Kodi, so there shouldn’t be any conflicts.
If you choose this route, you’ll need to add the Kodi VPN manager to your setup. Zomboided is usually recommended as the version to choose, and you can find it here.
You can then transfer Zomboided to your Kodi device via a USB stick or cable, and use the “Add-Ons” function on Kodi to install the repository. When that’s done, the VPN manager will let you add your TunnelBear login credentials, and should automatically log on when you start Kodi.
Unfortunately, TunnelBear isn’t available for router installation, which is a shame. This doesn’t necessarily make it less suitable for Kodi users, but it would be handy for some situations.
The verdict: is TunnelBear good for Kodi?
Having weighed the pros and cons, it’s clear that TunnelBear is a strong option for Kodi users to think about. It’s optimized for Kodi, has great encryption and IP protection is simple to install, and doesn’t place any traffic limits on your activity.
However, before buying a subscription, make sure you test the free version to ensure that decent speeds are available. You will also have to make a judgment call about the Canadian jurisdiction. Not everyone will be happy to take the (small) risk of prosecution, and there are always VPN options in safer jurisdictions.
Despite this, TunnelBear is a Kodi VPN that gets a lot right. So it’s well worth trying.
Tech writer and privacy advocate
Julie is a firm believer in equal rights for everyone. She is a traveler and blogger, focusing her efforts on exposing censorship and discrimination around the world. She wants to hold corrupt governments and shady companies accountable by writing investigative articles and helpful guides.