Choosing a quality VPN client is difficult. There are many VPN clients on the market, all claiming to be the best in one way or another.
Some VPNs are simple to use, while others are more complex. Some, but not all, allow access beyond firewalls or blocked content which in turn allows users to stream Netflix or to torrent. Most work with all the major operating systems, but some only operate with a limited amount of web browsers.
The price of VPN services varies from free to paying subscriptions of two to three years. A VPN safeguards your private data across the internet; however, some less reputable VPN providers do not value their customer’s privacy, compromising users by using third-party tracking services, offering poor security and even embedding malware in their products.
At first glance, TunnelBear seems to be simplistic, with its cartoonish website. However, over 20 million users use TunnelBear, and it has twice passed an independent security audit. Its simple interface is quite impressive, plus it offers a user-enabled kill switch, meaning if the tunnel goes down, your data is still anonymous. Other features of TunnelBear VPN include robust security and double encryption of data. TunnelBear offers a free version but limits you to 500 MB per month on servers located in over 20 countries around the world.
CyberGhost’s web presence projects a serious, down-to-business image. It showcases their 256-bit AES encryption and security protocols, live chat and email customer service, and 45-day money-back guarantee. CyberGhost also advertises their services as a multi-platform, complete privacy solution, including wifi. They are available in 60 countries and have 3,000 servers, so finding a server near your location is not hard to do.
We ran a speed test on both VPNs and although you can expect to receive slow upload and download speeds if you are shopping around for a budget VPN, you should never have to deal with the slow speeds of CyberGhost. The upload and download speeds are about average, but the latency on some servers slowed to a point where high-quality streaming would not be possible without some major glitches.
TunnelBear might also not have the fastest speeds compared to other VPNs but the numbers measured up to the bigger VPNs like Nord and Express without too big of a discrepancy. While TunnelBear did achieve “lightning fast” speeds, as promised on their website, it was decent on both free and paid versions. In this aspect, TunnelBear offers a much better service than CyberGhost.
Security and privacy
Privacy is the main reason for using VPNs, which is why it is important to pick a VPN based in a privacy-friendly location. CyberGhost, registered in Romania, is outside the 14 Eyes jurisdiction. Tunnelbear is based in Canada, which means that they fall under the 5 Eyes surveillance alliance, so privacy might be a concern with this service provider.
Both VPNs claim that they don’t log their user’s personal information and we can confirm that they are both true to their word. Both TunnelBear and CyberGhost boast AES 256 encryption. Both use IKEv2 and IPSec protocols for iOS and OpenVPN protocol for Mac and Windows systems.
The security features of TunnelBear include GhostBear, a double encryption program for added security while both services have a built-in kill switch that gives users a second layer of protection. When we ran our tests, no DNS leaks or viruses were detected in either.
Ease of use
Both VPNs offer a user-friendly application and while Tunnelbear claims that they specialize in ease-of-use, we were equally impressed by CyberGhost’s installation process.
It took us around 5 minutes to install and launch CyberGhost and once we were in, the usability got even better. Tunnelbear on the other hand, is jam packed with animations that make it an entertaining experience, at least for the first few times.
CyberGhost is known to support torrenting activities. It has a good security protocol and does not put any limits on P2P activities, but it does only allow torrenting on specific servers. The only disadvantage with using CyberGhost for torrenting might be the quality of speed.
Tunnelbear unfortunately does not support torrenting. Its limited servers cannot support a high volume of data exchange, which is why it isn’t great for online gaming either. Overall, if you need a VPN service for torrenting, Tunnelbear is not the one for you.
Restricted country access
Both TunnelBear and CyberGhost can bypass government censorship in restricted countries such as China. CyberGhost uses random ports in the VPN to avoid blocks or restrictions in the service. Both provide the option to use TCP and CyberGhost DNS servers to mask your true location.
DPI is still a problem, however, and CyberGhost has no good solution yet, so although it is possible to stream blocked content in China, you should be cautious.
Tunnelbear is able to access restricted sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from inside China. Tunnelbear promises complete privacy and security if you are using it for basic browsing, to access censored or banned content, or for video streaming. But again, we need to remind you to use it in a responsible manner when streaming in China.
CyberGhost allows you to access Netflix on about 30% of their servers, streaming in HD but not in UltraHD, due to bandwidth limitations. Our test revealed that CyberGhost was able to access Netflix in the US and in Canada but not in the UK or the Netherlands.
TunnelBear does not allow you to access Netflix at all, so if Netflix is the deal-breaker, it will be better to opt for CyberGhost.
Apps and extensions
Both of the VPN programs are compatible with the four most popular platforms. TunnelBear offers apps for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android operating systems. It also has extensions for several web browsers such as Firefox, Opera, and Chrome.
Unfortunately, it cannot run on gaming consoles, Amazon Firestick or routers, but TunnelBear is accessible on up to 5 devices concurrently.
CyberGhost is also compatible with Mac, Windows iOS and Android systems. In addition, it has full support for Linux operating systems, routers, NAS devices and Chromebook.
Other devices that rely on OpenVPN, IPSec, PPTP, or L2TP/IPSec protocols (such as Raspberry PI, Vu+ Solo 2 or the Chrome OS) can also run on CyberGhost and it is accessible on up to 7 devices.
Pricing for TunnelBear starts with the free service, Little Bear. The next step up is the Giant Bear, for USD $9.99 per month and then the Grizzly Bear that is $4.99 for 12 months.
CyberGhost’s prices start at USD $12.99 per month, then 1 year for $5.25/month per month and 2 years for $3.69/month per month. If you are an occasional user, go for TunnelBear’s free Little Bear option, but if you are a regular user, CyberGhost is much better priced.
TunnelBear’s customer support has one big drawback and that is no live chat support. There are Help pages and a FAQ section for you to search for the answers to your issues. Failing that, you can fill out a support ticket, which can take anywhere between a few hours and up to 24 hours for a response.
CyberGhost fares much better in this area, not only offering FAQs and troubleshooting tips but also guides and a 24/7 live chat option. These options put it on the same level as the top tier level VPNs.
Verdict: TunnelBear or Cyberghost?
Choosing between TunnelBear and CyberGhost comes down to personal preferences and use. CyberGhost has more servers, meaning less latency in streaming but TunnelBear’s speeds are competitive, considering they have fewer servers. If you want to use a VPN for torrenting or P2P file sharing, CyberGhost offers several servers for the purpose. On the flip side, TunnelBear doesn’t really support P2P at all.
Long term subscribers save more when they go with CyberGhost, and it’s worth it if you are a frequent user and torrenter. For those who want to browse casually, the free Little Bear plan by TunnelBear is great, but you might find that your needs may increase the longer you are on the VPN service.
CyberGhost beats TunnelBear in their outstanding customer support, with their 24/7 live chat option. It also has much better compatibility with a wider range of operating systems and devices, making it easier for advanced VPN users.
And finally, because CyberGhost is based in Romania, as opposed to TunnelBear’s base in Canada, we feel that CyberGhost will be more assuring in not handing over your information to any government’s prying eyes.
Overall, in this comparison, CyberGhost has the edge.