IPVanish vs TunnelBear in 2021

Ethan Payne
Ethan Payne | Writer
Last updated: April 29, 2021
IPVanish vs TunnelBear

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US-based IPVanish and Canada-based TunnelBear are two well-known VPN solutions on the market. Both use AES-256 encryption and the OpenVPN tunneling protocol in their software. TunnelBear is known for its free version and love of bear puns. Meanwhile, IPVanish stands out with its online file storage and sync feature.

But a VPN doesn’t need a load of unique gimmicks to make it a viable option. What matters is connection speed, security & privacy features, unblocking capabilities, device compatibility, and much more. I’ll compare IPVanish vs TunnelBear in these categories to see which one is the better choice overall.


Our rating8.8⭐7.2⭐
“Best for” nomineeBest for Linux, Best for Fire Stick, Best for KodiN/A
Price starts from$3.75/month$3.33/month
ReviewIPVanish reviewTunnelBear review


Let’s start with a basic speed test. I’d use our own VPN speed test, but TunnelBear is not on it yet. So instead, I’ll test these two manually using their OpenVPN protocols on the Ookla speed test. Base speeds are 294 Mbps for download and 308 Mbps for upload.

Download85 Mbps268 Mbps
Upload33 Mbps22 Mbps
Download236 Mbps262 Mbps
Upload81 Mbps9 Mbps
Download181 Mbps184 Mbps
Upload10 Mbps6 Mbps
Download174 Mbps288 Mbps
Upload38 Mbps66 Mbps

TunnelBear has performed surprisingly well in this test, maintaining download speeds above 200 Mbps on almost all fronts. Yet upload speeds are quite abysmal.

IPVanish fumbled particularly badly in the US but kept its face in other countries. It’s also worth mentioning that IPVanish not connecting is a common issue among users. And the upload speeds did not dip as low as they did for TunnelBear. Still, TunnelBear maintained download speeds much better than IPVanish and is the clear winner in this category.


All physical serversYesNo
Owns all serversYesNo
RAM-only serversNoNo
P2P serversYesYes

IPVanish has over 1500 servers in more than 75 countries and manages its network without third parties. TunnelBear has 1800+ servers in 34+ countries and has to rely on others for their server infrastructure. Neither VPN has RAM-only servers, but that’s still a pretty rare feature. Both allow P2P traffic on their servers. However, TunnelBear is against torrenting and will throttle your speed if it detects P2P traffic.


Free versionNoYes
Free trialNoYes (for Teams)
One month$10.99/month$9.99/month
One year$3.75/month$4.99/month
Money-back guarantee30-daysNo
Payment optionsCredit card, PayPalCredit card, PayPal, Stripe, Bitcoin, Litecoin, CoinPayments, Paymentwall, gift card

IPVanish pricing plans

IPVanish has two payment plans – a monthly and yearly one. But that’s not it. There are extra costs if you’d like to get the SugarSync online file storage feature. Additionally, after the first month or year, the subscription price will increase depending on your chosen plan.

The regular monthly plan costs $10.99 per month. With SugarSync, it goes up to $12.99/month.

The yearly plan for just the VPN costs $3.75 per month for the first year. After that, it’s $7.49/month, or $89.99 every year.

With SugarSync, the yearly plan is $4.58/month for the first year. Once it’s over, it goes up to $8.33/month or $99.99 per year.

You get a 30-day money-back guarantee, but only for the yearly plans. Plus, no free versions or trials either. But you can find plenty of IPVanish deals online. Furthermore, payment options are credit cards and PayPal only.

TunnelBear pricing plans

TunnelBear offers a free version that’s loaded with 500 MB of monthly browsing data. Besides that, you can choose between the Unlimited and Teams plans.

The unlimited plan is not for unlimited time but unlimited data. It comes in three pricing plans:

  • $9.99/month for a monthly plan
  • $4.99/month for a yearly plan
  • $3.33/month for a three-year plan

The Teams plan is for large companies, and the cost will depend on your team size. The estimated price is about $5.75/user per month. You can also try this plan out for free for 7 days.

Unfortunately, TunnelBear does not come with a money-back guarantee. Whether you get your money back or not gets decided on a case-by-case basis.

At least TunnelBear has more payment options, such as credit card, PayPal, Stripe, cryptocurrencies, Paymentwall, and gift cards.


ProtocolsOpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, L2TP/IPSec, PPTPOpenVPN, IKEv2, GhostBear
Kill switchYesYes (VigilantBear)
DNS and IP leaksNo leaksNo leaks
Security featuresSplit tunneling, SOCKS5 proxySplit tunneling (Android only)

These two providers are not so different so let’s have a look at some similarities. Unsurprisingly, both are using the standard AES-256 encryption cipher. Both also utilize OpenVPN and IKEv2 tunneling protocols, have kill switches, and no IP or DNS leak issues.

Next, TunnelBear has an additional tunneling protocol called GhostBear. It masks your VPN traffic and makes it look like regular internet traffic. There’s also split tunneling, but only for Android users.

Meanwhile, IPVanish has IPSec, L2TP, and PPTP as extra tunneling protocols. Additionally, they have split tunneling and a SOCKS5 proxy.

An uncommon feature for VPNs is secure online file storage. IPVanish implemented that and called it SugarSync. For an extra cost, you get 500 GB of online file storage and sync across all of your devices.

VPNpro rating: 8.8 / 10


JurisdictionUnited StatesCanada
LoggingNo-logs policyNo-logs policy
Anonymous paymentNoYes, Bitcoin

IPvanish claims to have a strict “zero-logs” policy. However, its reputation in this regard is quite tarnished. It did provide the authorities with logs of personally identifiable information in a criminal case, thereby aiding in the conviction of a suspect. The company that owns IPVanish is registered in the US, which is one of the least privacy-friendly locations for VPN companies.

TunnelBear, on the other hand, is based in Canada, a Five Eyes country just like the US. McAfee acquired it in 2018, but it still operates from Canada. While TunnelBear claims to have a no-logging policy, it keeps some data logs, including your OS version, app version, authentication time, and monthly bandwidth usage.

Device compatibility

Major dedicated appsWindows, Mac, iOS, AndroidWindows, Mac, iOS, Android
Other dedicated appsAmazon Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TVN/A
Browser extensionsNoChrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera
Manual setupRouters, firewall, NAS, LinuxN/A
Simultaneous devicesUnlimited5

When it comes to device compatibility, IPVanish is definitely one step ahead. It has dedicated apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. No apps for Linux though, you’ll have to configure your connection manually.

Additional apps exist for Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick, plus Android TV. There are no browser extensions, but you can manually configure IPVanish routers, firewalls, and NAS (Network Access Storage). All of that with no limitations on simultaneous connections.

TunnelBear has dedicated apps for most mainstream platforms (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android), but nothing else. There are browser extensions for Chrome, Edge, Opera, and Firefox. With the regular plan, you can connect up to five devices simultaneously.


Netflix USYesYes
Other Netflix librariesNoNo
Other platformsYesYes
Smart DNSNoNo

Both of these VPNs are fairly decent for streaming content. Neither service has dedicated servers for streaming and no Smart DNS, but they did manage to unblock Netflix US. YouTube was also a simple obstacle to overcome, but you couldn’t say the same for BBC iPlayer.

If you don’t mind the extra work, Tunnelbear can be configured to work with either Kodi or Amazon Fire Stick.

In essence, if streaming is a priority for you, you may want to look at our top VPNs for streaming.

Torrenting and P2P

Allowed onAll serversAll servers
Free SOCKS5 proxyYesNo
Split tunnelingAndroid, FireOSYes (Android only)
Port forwardingNoNo

This one’s easy. IPVanish is one of the better options for torrenting and P2P file sharing, while TunnelBear simply doesn’t support torrenting. It’s still possible to torrent on TunnelBear servers, but the download speeds will be heavily throttled.

Neither service has port-forwarding, but IPVanish has a SOCKS5 proxy in case you don’t want to use a VPN for anything except torrenting.


Works in ChinaNoYes
Stealth VPNNoYes (Ghostbear)
Tor over VPNNoNo

As for usage in China, TunnelBear is the favorite pick among users as the GhostBear feature works well there. It masks your VPN traffic and makes it seem like a regular internet connection, making it impossible to block. This feature is available on the free version as well, though the 500 MB/month data cap won’t be enough for most users.

Meanwhile, IPVanish does not have raving reviews about working in China. It doesn’t have any specific features for getting around the Great Firewall of China and cannot be recommended.

For other options to circumvent such censorship, check out our list of best VPNs for China.

VPNpro rating: 7.2 / 10

Customer support

Live chatYesNo
Phone LineYesNo
Email YesYes

IPVanish ticks all the boxes in the customer support area. They have 24/7 live chat, communication through email, an extensive knowledge base, and even the option to call via phone. Users can call American, British, Mexican, Spanish, Australian, Brazilian, and German phone numbers.

TunnelBear, on the other hand, offers no 24/7 live chat support. You only get access to a help database, an FAQ section, and support tickets. The response time for those tickets can range from just a few hours up to one day.

Best VPN by category

Speed and serversLoses❌Wins✔️
Customer supportWins✔️Loses❌
Total wins4 out of 93 out of 9

IPVanish vs TunnelBear – which is better?

It was an exciting back and forth between these two, but in the end, IPVanish stands victorious. Let’s recap how we got here.

TunnelBear started off strongly with faster download speeds and a better long-term pricing plan. But IPVanish recovered by having a stronger arsenal of security features.

Neither stood out with exceptional privacy practices, thus reaching a tie in this category. After that, IPVanish scored another point with wider compatibility among devices.

Both providers are OK for streaming, reaching a tie once again. Subsequently, IPVanish wins more points in the torrenting and customer support categories. Meanwhile, TunnelBear proves to be better at tunneling around the Great Firewall of China.

Overall, these VPNs are good choices, but only IPVanish is considered one of the best VPN services that the industry has to offer.

Which VPN will you choose? Voice your opinion by leaving a comment!

You may also like to read:
NordVPN vs TunnelBear
Hotspot Shield vs TunnelBear
NordVPN vs IPVanish
IPVanish vs Private Internet Access


Is IPVanish worth the price?

That depends on your priorities. IPVanish does not have the fast WireGuard tunneling protocol that other VPN providers have. However, it does have the option to include secure online storage, something that other VPNs normally don’t have.

Does IPVanish have a free plan?

Unfortunately, IPVanish does not have a free plan. Additionally, it does not even have a free trial.

Is TunnelBear a good VPN?

TunnelBear is an average VPN. It does not have a lot of security features or tunneling protocols to choose from. But if you’re considering this VPN, you can try out the free version and see if it has what you need.

Can TunnelBear hide your IP address?

Yes, like any other VPN, connecting to TunnelBear hides your real IP address.

Which is the best VPN?

According to our extensive research, NordVPN is currently the best VPN. It has a wide array of security and privacy features, plenty of servers to choose from, great device compatibility, and an affordable price.

Top VPN providers
9.6 / 10
30-day money-back guarantee
Military grade encryption
Friendly support
Surfshark VPN
9.4 / 10
Strong encryption
Excellent performance
Unlimited simultaneous connections

Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.

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  1. Thierry J

    I feel that both are decent but none really stands out or even compare to better VPNs like ExpressVPN. I’m not sure I will even try these two out to see if they’re worth it or not. I’ll go with NordVPN or ExpressVPN. Thanks for the article.

  2. VB

    From your well done comparison, it seems to me that neither deserve our money. Today if you can’t unblock Netflix, work in China (although this is not as important to most people) and offer a high level of encryption of data then you shouldn’t be operating as a VPN.

  3. thumper234

    IP Vanish definitely seems to be winning the race here. Kudos for the excellent comparo!

  4. Roxanna

    Between IPVanish and TunnelBear, IPVanish definitely takes the lead because of the services they offer. Their live chat support feature is the best when it comes to creating brand loyalty.

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