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We are all different with different needs and preferences, right? Otherwise, we wouldn’t even put these two competitors in the same sentence, let alone do a comparison piece on TunnelBear vs ExpressVPN.
Any VPN fan would know that nobody can really mess with the overall numero uno, ExpressVPN. Of course, you can challenge this statement and say that ExpressVPN may not be the best overall due to its pricing or other factors. And, we would even agree.
So, no matter how great ExpressVPN may be in most areas, if your main criterion is the price, you may right away go for its competitor, TunnelBear, in this case. This is why we believe it could be helpful for you to follow along as we discover the most important areas where a VPN should excel to claim the Best VPN title.
Are you ready? So let’s dive into our TunnelBear vs ExpressVPN discussion below.
Security and privacy
If you are the kind of user (journalist, political or environmental activist, or ethical hacker) who needs the best possible online security and privacy, the winner of this round may already determine your choice. Yet, we’re going to ask you to bear with us and wait until the end since you may change your mind after seeing the whole picture.
As for security and privacy, we must say that ExpressVPN is one of the best-equipped VPN services in the world. First of all, it’s based in the British Virgin Islands, which means it has a true no-logs policy. This VPN has already proven their worth when they couldn’t share any useful user data in connection with a Turkish criminal investigation.
Express offers DNS/IPv6 leak protection, a kill switch, and split tunneling, to mention some of its best security features. So, how does TunnelBear perform in this vital area?
Not that great. For starters, TunnelBear is originally based in Canada, which is an eager 5 Eyes country. In other words, it’s not the most ideal place for a VPN provider to have their base. Since this service was acquired by the US-based cybersecurity giant McAfee earlier this year, it’s also possible that TunnelBear will soon fall under US jurisdiction. This could be worrisome for someone looking for the best possible anonymity on the internet.
Fortunately, TunnelBear comes with a relatively good variety of VPN protocols and awesome security features like VigilantBear (kill switch) and the GhostBear (obfuscation). This service also claims to have a “fierce no-logging policy,” which is a must when it is based in a surveillance-friendly country.
Summarizing this round, we can say that while ExpressVPN certainly offers a higher level of online anonymity and security, TunnelBear also provides you with just enough privacy you may need to get around geo-blocking and other general VPN use. Hardcore VPN users may need to think twice though.
Connection speed is a tricky thing; it’s dependent on a number of things. One of these is the number of VPN servers a service maintains globally. In this respect, Express is the absolute winner of this round since it has over 3000 speed-optimized servers in 90+ countries while TunnelBear can only boast a few servers in 20 or so countries. Imagine how overcrowded those can become with 20+ million users, most of whom are free users.
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest services today with its great global coverage. However, TunnelBear also claims to have “lightning-fast speeds,” but we beg to differ. We would rather call these “relatively okay speeds” when considering its rather small server fleet.
If we add that the connection times to a server can be above 15 seconds in the case of TunnelBear VPN (while the average is below 10 seconds for other leading services), we will definitely give this round to its opponent in our TunnelBear vs ExpressVPN comparison.
Ease of use
Although this may not be the most critical factor when choosing a VPN solution over others, if you are a novice user, you may find it better to go for a more user-friendly VPN software. But, in general, you also want an intuitive interface, right?
Our TunnelBear vs ExpressVPN comparison may have its first draw. To be frank, both of these services provide very easy-to-use clients for all major platforms. The only reason why we would consider giving an extra point for the TunnelBear team on this one is that they stick to their bear theme consistently and thus create a fun experience for not-so-serious VPN users.
So, if your only or main concern is that you want to use an intuitive VPN app, you’ll be satisfied with both.
Torrenting and P2P
This will be a very short and simple round. TunnelBear does not support P2P file-sharing; therefore, you cannot use it for torrenting.
On the other hand, you can easily use ExpressVPN for torrenting supported by its great speeds and ultra-high level of security.
If you want a VPN solely for torrenting, we advise you to choose Express over its opponent, which failed in this round big time.
Netflix and China
You might get lucky and get good speeds on a server, as well as bypass the strict Netflix detection, when using TunnelBear VPN. However, it’s quite likely that you won’t be able to stream from any other major media centers like Hulu and BBC iPlayer.
If you’re looking for a stable and reliable service for Netflix, though, Express is without a doubt the better option.
When it comes to China, you need to know that in February 2018, the country started blocking all VPN solutions unless approved by the government. This obviously puts increased heat on providers and, as a result, many of them tend to back off. But, not TunnelBear and ExpressVPN.
Nevertheless, if we compare the two competitors in this aspect, we have to conclude that ExpressVPN is again the better choice. As a matter of fact, even if you manage to install and configure TunnelBear properly to work in China, you may experience frequent connection drops and slow speeds. You do the math.
While both competitors in our TunnelBear vs ExpressVPN comparison provide easy-to-use clients for the main platforms, including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android, Express goes the extra mile by supporting Linux, routers, BlackBerry, PlayStation, Xbox, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Firefox, and Safari. Bang! What a lineup!
In general, both VPNs offer a good variety of clients; however, if you have special needs like privacy protection for your console or getting around geo-blocking for your Firestick TV, well, you know now which one to go for.
If you want seamless online protection, streaming, and access to geo-blocked websites, you need to make sure that you’re using a VPN service with helpful 24/7 online support. Without it, you might pull out all your hairs before solving a technical issue, if you can solve it at all.
Let’s start with the cold shower: TunnelBear has no live chat support.
You can try to find a solution to your specific problem by browsing the Help page, the FAQ, or by sending a Support Ticket. However, these options are far from ideal, and you are likely to end up with no solution at all, just a few more grey hairs.
The winner of this round is definitely ExpressVPN. This provider has world-class live chat support around the clock, extensive troubleshooting guides, a blog, and a Support Ticket system, but you can also contact the friendly support team via email.
When you may think this ExpressVPN vs TunnelBear comparison can’t surprise you, well, here we go. Even though Express is ultra-safe with lots of features, great speeds, and versatility, it is one of the most expensive VPN solutions out there. Yes, quality does come at a price. Surprised?
TunnelBear, on the other hand, has a free version – which ExpressVPN lacks – and its pricing is one of the lowest on the market. You do get relatively good value for the lower price too.
It’s really up to you whether you need all Mr. Numero Uno has to offer, or, if your needs are not that high, to pay that much for a VPN service.
ExpressVPN vs TunnelBear – which is better?
There’s no doubt that our TunnelBear vs ExpressVPN comparison concludes that the winner of this theoretical battle is ExpressVPN. There was no doubt from the beginning either.
However, you can’t just ignore the opponent before seeing how it performs against a top-notch leader of the VPN market. Since we are all different with different drives for a VPN service, it’s just as possible that someone would rather choose TunnelBear over ExpressVPN for their own right reasons.
We hope to have given you enough of a basis to be able to make up your mind. But, if you need further information and details regarding any of these two competitors, we invite you to read our full reviews linked below.
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