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Getting Started

Getting Started

  • How do I create a TunnelBear account?

    To create a TunnelBear account, you'll need an email address that you have access to. You can create the account through one of our TunnelBear apps, or on our website

    After you've created the account, you'll be sent an email to verify your email address. Once the account has been verified, you'll be able to log into TunnelBear and get connected.

    If you don't receive the email verification, or have issues getting your account confirmed, reach out to our support bears for assistance.

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  • How do I install TunnelBear?

    To install TunnelBear on a macOS or Windows computer, head to our website to download the app. Then, follow the prompts to get your new Bear installed.

    On iOS or Android devices, you can download and install TunnelBear from the respective app stores on your device. For iOS, you can download it here. For Android, grab the app here.

    If you're using TunnelBear on iOS, there's one more step. You'll have to install a VPN profile. Don't worry, your Bear will handle the technical stuff. Simply attempt to connect by pressing the ON switch and follow the prompts to install the profile.

    We also have browser extensions available for Chrome, Firefox and Opera. You can download them from our website and add them to your browser.

    That's it! Once installed, your Bear will be all setup and ready to tunnel.

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  • How do I use TunnelBear?

    We've kept TunnelBear as simple to use as possible!

    When you're logged into the TunnelBear app, you should see a toggle switch. This is your ON and OFF button. You should also see either Auto, Fastest, or a country name. Click this to expand the list of countries you can tunnel to. 

    Once you've chosen the country you'd like to tunnel to, move the toggle switch to the ON position and watch your Bear dig a tunnel. You'll know you're connected when the map turns green and your Bear appears in the tunnel you've selected.

    That's it! You can continue browsing as you normally would knowing that your device traffic is being protected by a ferocious Bear!

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  • How do I know TunnelBear is working?

    There are a couple of ways to confirm that TunnelBear is working.

    If you're using the TunnelBear app on macOS, Windows, iOS or Android, you'll know TunnelBear is connected and working when the map is green and your Bear is sitting happily in the tunnel you've chosen.

    The browser extensions will also have a green map and a Bear in the tunnel when connected. If you minimize the extension, you'll know you're connected when you see your Bear sitting in the tunnel icon.

    If you'd like to confirm your connection, or see the IP address you're connected to, check out BearsMyIP. If the tunnel displayed on the website matches the one you're connected to in TunnelBear, then you're good to go!

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FAQ

  • What is TunnelBear and how does it work?

    TunnelBear is the world’s easiest to use VPN (virtual private network) for both consumers and teams. It secures your internet connection through an encrypted tunnel to locations around the world. TunnelBear can be used to protect you and your privacy, hide your real IP address, bypass internet censorship, and to experience the internet as people in other countries experience it. For more information, see here

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  • What devices will TunnelBear work on?

    You can use TunnelBear to secure your internet connection on Windows macOSAndroid and iOS devices. We also have a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers. We do provide instructions for using TunnelBear on Linux, however, we only provide limited support for that platform. For more information on operating system versions required to start tunneling securely with your VPN, check out our downloads page.

    TunnelBear is not supported for Kindle/eReaders, Windows mobile devices, Apple/Android TV, gaming systems. TunnelBear does not provide configurations to be used on modems/routers. 

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  • Where can I tunnel to and from?

    You can tunnel with your private TunnelBear VPN from just about anywhere in the world, as long as you are connected to the internet. You can tunnel to any of our 20+ server locations (the countries chosen in the app), listed here. If you're not sure where to connect to, try our Canadian tunnel!

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  • How many connections can I make?

    Each TunnelBear account allows one person five connections to the TunnelBear network at any time. This means that you can be actively connected to TunnelBear on up to five devices at any given time. This can be a combination of computers, mobile devices, and browser extensions.

    Need to purchase multiple accounts so that each person in your office or on your team can easily connect to TunnelBear? Take a look at TunnelBear for Teams, our VPN for businesses and teams. Centralized billing and simple administration make it simple to get an easy to use VPN for everyone. Each person will be able to make five connections to the TunnelBear network at any one time.

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  • How much data do free users get?

    TunnelBear has a great free VPN option that allows unpaid users to use 500MB per month. Your data will renew monthly on the same day you last signed in or signed up. Data that is not used in the previous month does not roll over to the next month. You can see how much data you’ve used within the TunnelBear application, or when you log into your account. If you would like unlimited tunneling for you Bear, check out our pricing here.

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  • What's the difference between the browser extension and the desktop applications?

    TunnelBear for Chrome, Firefox and Opera are light-weight browser extensions/add-ons that secure your browser traffic and help you browse privately as if you're in another location. The browser extensions only encrypt your traffic for that particular browser, unlike the TunnelBear desktop and mobile apps, which encrypt all traffic from the device (including apps and services outside of the web browser).

    For maximum privacy, we recommend using the TunnelBear application for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. However, if you spend all of your time in the browser, and ease-of-use is your priority, then the TunnelBear browser extension or add-on should more than meet your needs. 

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Privacy and Security

  • Why should I trust TunnelBear?

    You can trust TunnelBear for a few reasons. The first is that we make 100% of our revenue from paid subscriptions. We do give a little bit of data away for free, but our hope is that you'll fall in love and give your Bear a forever home! Often, free VPN services will collect your personal/usage data and sell it to third parties in order to make money. TunnelBear will NEVER do this. TunnelBear has a fierce no-logging policy. At no point, and under no circumstances will TunnelBear log or sell your personal/usage data.

    In addition to our no-logging commitment, we also have a great privacy policy. Unlike many other VPN's, our privacy policy outlines how we run a trustworthy, free and paid VPN service by collecting the minimum amount of information possible necessary to provide you with a reliable service on our secure private network. We don’t require your name, we offer anonymous payment services, we don't collect your IP address and we avoid collecting other personal information via our analytics tools, all of which allow you to have more control over your personal information.

    Finally, all of our applications are independently code audited to ensure they are consistently in line with the highest standards of security. We’re actually so confident we’re doing everything we can to protect you that we’ve recently published these results here.

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  • Does TunnelBear keep logs?

    No! TunnelBear does not keep logs. This means we do not collect any information regarding what you 'bear'owse while connected to our secure and private VPN. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service for a detailed breakdown of how we go above and beyond to protect your privacy. Also, take a look at our recent (second!) security audit for even more information on how we secure and encrypt your internet connection with our strong VPN.

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  • What kind of encryption does TunnelBear use?

    TunnelBear is a strong and private VPN built using a variety of secure and reliable encryption protocols. See here for up-to-date information on our encryption and security. You can also check out our security audit for a detailed review of our security practices.

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  • Does TunnelBear protect against DNS leaks?

    Yes. A DNS leak is a privacy and anonymity threat that can allow your ISP to see and monitor your online activity even when you have a VPN tunnel established. 

    The TunnelBear's secure VPN service automatically ensures that all traffic from your computer, including DNS, is sent through the VPN tunnel as soon as it is established. Our servers handle all DNS requests. There are no additional steps required to “enable” DNS leak protection - you're already secure when you connect to our encrypted tunnels.

    When you connect to TunnelBear and go on dnsleaktest.com (or a similar service/website), you'll only see one IP address reported back to you in the results. This IP address should match the IP address of the VPN server you're currently connected to. To make sure, head over to bearsmyip.com and compare the results shown there with that of the DNS leak test. If the IPs match, then your DNS is not leaking.

    Also, take a look at our blog post which goes into more detail about DNS and how TunnelBear handles it! 

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Features

  • Auto Tunnel: Have the quickest connection possible

    What is Auto Tunnel?

    Auto Tunnel determines which tunnel is best for you by connecting you to the location with the lowest “ping” (making sure that your data travels the shortest distance possible). This feature is available on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. To use this feature on iOS, select 'Fastest'.

    Troubleshooting issues with Auto Tunnel

    If the Auto Tunnel option is not visible in the country selection list, then your device is likely not able to perform a 'ping'. If pinging is not successful, then the Auto Tunnel feature will not function. Ping is required to determine which of our tunnels is the closest.

    This is usually caused by a router setting called 'block ICMP' (or something similar). Please refer to your router/modem's manual in order to find out how to change this setting.

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  • TCP Override: Triumph over choppy or unstable connections

    What is TCP Override?

    Does your connection appear ‘broken’ a few minutes after enabling TunnelBear, or is streaming slow and choppy? It may be that your ISP (internet service provider) is throttling or even blocking UDP traffic. Alternatively, your ISP might be experiencing some technical difficulties; in which case enabling this feature can help.

    TCP Override is an advanced setting available on our macOS and Windows desktop apps only. TCP Override forces TunnelBear to use a slightly slower, but more reliable protocol (TCP instead of UDP). This might result in better performance on an unreliable connection.

    Troubleshooting issues with TCP Override

    If you find that TCP Override decreases the performance of your Bear, then it’s likely that you don’t need it; in this circumstance we recommend that you disable the feature. We also advise that you check out the following help articles if you are having a connection issue, or if your are having any speed issues.

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  • VigilantBear: Strengthen privacy while connecting and reconnecting

    What is VigilantBear?

    Our VigilantBear feature is designed to keep your location and data private in the brief seconds while TunnelBear is connecting and reconnecting. If TunnelBear loses connection for some reason (ie: you move between WiFi networks, or you’re out of network range briefly), it’s designed to automatically reconnect as soon as it detects the internet again. VigilantBear protects you in these brief seconds while TunnelBear is reconnecting.

    Currently the VigilantBear feature is available on Windows, macOS, and Android. This feature is only available on Android devices running on Lollipop (5.0) or later. For more details on how to use the VigilantBear feature, see our blog post.

    Troubleshooting issues with VigilantBear

    You won't be able to enable VigilantBear if your computer is running a custom proxy. Sometimes software similar to TunnelBear can be responsible for making these types of changes. Please ensure that all other third party security apps or VPN services are disabled before trying again.

    IMPORTANT: On some networks, a custom proxy may be required to access the internet (without TunnelBear), so please check with your network administrator or ISP before disabling or changing any custom proxy settings if you’re not sure where they came from!

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  • GhostBear: Fight censorship on restrictive networks

    What is GhostBear?

    GhostBear makes your encrypted data less detectable to governments, businesses, and ISPs. It does this by making VPN traffic less detectable on your network, making it harder to block. GhostBear is currently available on our Windows, macOS, and Android apps. GhostBear is not available for iOS due to restrictions in the way iOS is designed.


    Should I use GhostBear?

    If you’re already able to connect to TunnelBear without enabling GhostBear, you should NOT enable GhostBear. Using GhostBear when it's not needed can make your connection slower cause it to not work at all. Leaving GhostBear off doesn’t make you less secure. You’ll still be protected by the latest and greatest encryption technologies

    If you’re not able to connect to TunnelBear or find that your bear can’t maintain a connection normally, we recommend that you try enabling GhostBear. If you don't notice any improvement, please make sure to turn GhostBear back off before reaching out to our friendly Support Bears.


    How do I use GhostBear?

    If you're using GhostBear on Windows or macOS, enter your TunnelBear preferences by selecting the Gear icon within the app (located on the left side of the app for Windows, and the top right corner for Mac). Select "Settings" and then check off "GhostBear."

    If you want to use GhostBear on Android, click on the "Menu" icon in the top left corner (the three horizontal stripes). Then select "Options" and check off the "GhostBear" box.


    Troubleshooting issues with GhostBear

    Slower connections:

    Some speed loss is expected when GhostBear is enabled. This is caused by the extra ‘scrambling’ needed to further obscure your encrypted connection. If you don't need GhostBear to connect, turn it off for higher speeds.

    GhostBear option greyed out:

    1. If TunnelBear is already connected, you won't be able to enable GhostBear. Turn TunnelBear off and try again.

    2. TunnelBear will not allow you to enable GhostBear if your computer is running a custom proxy. Sometimes third-party security programs, or alternate VPNs can be responsible for making these kinds of changes. Disable these and try connecting again.

    NOTE: On some networks, a custom proxy is required to access the internet without TunnelBear, so please double check with your network administrator or ISP before disabling or changing any custom proxy settings if you’re not sure where they came from! For more information on how to check your current proxy settings on macOS, head here.

     

    Issues with GhostBear on Windows:

    Some Windows computers may be running a program that is known to interfere with GhostBear. If you have Killer Network Services installed, you'll need to disable it in order to use GhostBear. If you're unsure whether you have the program installed, simply open your Start menu and search for Killer Control Centre.

    If you have the app installed, launch Killer Control Center and head into the Settings (gear icon on the left side). There, you'll see a toggle switch for Advanced Stream Detect. Make sure the toggle switch is in the OFF position. Then, try enabling GhostBear and connecting to TunnelBear again.

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  • Trusted Networks: Let your Bear relax on chosen WiFi networks

    What is Trusted Networks?

    While it is a good idea to keep your Bear connected at all times to maintain continuous privacy and security, you may decide that there are some networks, such as your home network, that are secure enough to give your furry friend a well-deserved coffee break.

    The Trusted Networks feature essentially creates a list of networks that you consider "safe." When you leave one of these networks, your Bear will automatically connect in order to ensure that your 'bear'owsing is completely private and secure. This feature is currently available on Windows, macOS, iOS, and some Android devices (not available on Android 8.1+). Trusted Networks can only be used with WiFi connections.


    How It Works:

    1. Your Bear will automatically connect when leaving a Trusted Network and it will disconnect when you re-enter the Trusted Network. 
    2. On Windows, Mac and Android, you can still turn TunnelBear ON while on a network that is trusted, without turning off the Trusted Networks feature. This allows you maximum control over your connection. On iOS, you'll be prompted to remove the network in order to connect.
    3. Your Bear will not disconnect automatically as soon as you add a network to the Trusted Networks list. After you enable the setting, you can choose to turn the VPN off manually.
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  • SplitBear: Choose which apps to Tunnel on Android

    What is SplitBear?

    SplitBear is a new feature that gives you complete control over which apps are tunneled through TunnelBear's secure and encrypted connection. This feature is only available on Android devices running on Lollipop (5.0) or later.

    Why should I use SplitBear?

    SplitBear is mostly useful if you are looking to use a specific app or service that you do not want to have protected by your Bear. Any apps that may restrict VPN access, you trust with your location/IP address, or anything that requires your local IP address to be detected, may be a service you wish to have TunnelBear bypass. 

    How do I use SplitBear?

    To enable SplitBear, open the sidebar menu by tapping the three horizontal lines in the top left corner of the app. Select Options > SplitBear to open the feature settings. Turn on the toggle at the top of the screen in order to enable SplitBear. Below, you should see a list of all applications that you can exclude from the tunnel. From the list, select the app(s) you wish to have TunnelBear bypass and exit out of the settings. If you're already connected, TunnelBear will prompt you to apply the changes by disconnecting and reconnecting the app. This is necessary for the settings to take effect.

    Please be aware: Any applications that SplitBear excludes from the tunnel will NOT be encrypted/tunnelled by TunnelBear. 

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