TunnelBear is based in Canada and was recently acquired by McAfee. It is a major VPN provider with software available on all platforms. The company has earned a reputation for offering reliable access to geo-blocked content. While you can use this VPN to stream content from other regions, can you use it for torrenting with safety?
You can technically use this VPN to download torrent files, but there are a few concerns. After the Canadian government forbade illegal downloads, TunnelBear started blocking P2P connections.
Several years later, it appears that users can now download torrents while using TunnelBear VPN services. However, there are still several issues that keep it from providing a safe option.
TunnelBear VPN Service
Before getting into the analysis of TunnelBear and BitTorrent, there are some features we would like to point out, including:
- Free and paid plans
- Latest encryption
- No malware
- Available on every device
This VPN offers a free plan and paid one. The free plan has a very small limit of 500 MB per month. It's a sample that lets you test out the service before committing to the paid plan. Obviously, we won't be considering the free version for torrents because of the small download limit.
TunnelBear uses the latest encryption methods, also used by most VPN providers. The company encrypts all traffic with AES 256-bit encryption and supports both OpenVPN and IKEv2.
It's is also a trusted company that performs frequent audits and security scans. There is no additional risk of infecting your computer with malware or adware while using this VPN service.
The TunnelBear VPN software is also available on every major platform. You can install it in Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS devices.
Based on this information, it appears that TunnelBear does not log any details that may uncover your torrenting activity. However, the company does keep personal data.
- Total bandwidth
- Operating system and device details
- Payment information
- Email addresses
- Dates and times of VPN activity
TunnelBear Has Slow Speeds
TunnelBear does not offer the fastest VPN speeds. When you connect to a VPN, you already experience slower speeds due to the encryption process. With TunnelBear, you get significantly slower speeds compared to the competition.
During speed tests, users reported a 50% drop from their normal Internet speeds. It becomes even slower when connecting to a P2P network. If you are trying to download a large torrent such as an HD movie, you may find yourself waiting several days.
TunnelBear Vs A Good Torrent VPN
TunnelBear offers a decent VPN service. Unfortunately, it is not the right service for torrenting. A secure solution has clearer terms and offers different conditions.
The logging policy should explicitly state that the company does not log your activity. It should also provide a list of the information that the company does collect, such as your email address and used bandwidth.
For additional protection, a VPN should be based in a country with no data retention laws. That's why some VPN providers left Canada after such strict laws were approved. TunnelBear stayed and will have to obey the local law. If a government agency requests user logs, VPN providers in these countries will have to comply.
Besides the location, also pay attention to server numbers. And especially, if BitTorrent traffic is allowed on every server. This is another area that is a bit confusing with this provider. They seem to recommend seven server locations for P2P, but it's not clear if torrenting is permitted on the other servers as well.
Keep in mind that some of the best VPN services even have servers optimized for torrenting and P2P connections.
As we saw, a good speed is one of the main features to download files. With Tunnelbear, you are more likely to have a slower connection speed, especially when torrenting.
It's also very important if the VPN provider allows torrenting. TunnelBear seems to allow it, but there are details that cannot be ignored. There is no mention of P2P or Torrenting on their website. That means that the purpose of this VPN is clearly not that.
Find an Alternative to TunnelBear
If your primary reason for getting a VPN is to safely download torrents, you should find an alternative to TunnelBear.
This provider has some of the features that you want in a VPN. It uses the best encryption methods, masks your IP address, and offers DNS leak protection. Unfortunately, it is hard to trust a company to protect your privacy when they operate in a country with strict regulations against torrents.
Look for a VPN provider that offers the features that TunnelBear lacks, including a clear no-logging policy and servers dedicated to torrenting.