TunnelBear is as simple as a VPN gets. An email address is all you need to start using the service, and for free at that. There are native clients (and a few browser extensions) for all major platforms that focus on simplicity, although there isn’t much you can change settings-wise.
If you're looking for power and performance from your VPN, while still enjoying privacy at the highest levels, is just the ticket. This service ticks all the right boxes – it offers fast performance, configurable mobile and desktop clients, tight security, and a clear and commendable ‘no logs’ policy.
The native clients are crammed with features and they’re highly configurable too, with a mode for VPN novices who aren’t keen on messing around with fancy settings. One small downside is that in our testing, we found that the Windows client can be prone to the odd network issue in certain situations – mainly when other VPNs are installed. But your mileage may well vary.
There are three paid plans – the Pro plan with monthly, annual or biennial billing, and this gives you access to the full range of servers. The biennial plan offers the best overall value proposition. The packages available are:
Regarding the free plan, the bad news is that the default 500MB per month limit is very restrictive – that’s only enough to test the service for a very short amount of time. That said, if you tweet about TunnelBear you get an extra 1GB of data.
For millions of users, privacy is one of the most desirable aspects of a VPN, if not the most prized benefit of all. And given that, the amount of logs – details recorded on the user and their online activity – kept by a VPN provider is a crucial consideration. And not all VPNs are equal in this respect – far from it.
You can even sign up without providing an email address (but your monthly limit drops to 2GB on the free plan, in that case), and the small elements the service does record – OpenVPN username, VPN server connected to, time of connection, and amount of data transferred during the session – expire and are discarded within three minutes of the session being terminated.
Privacy-wise, things are crystal-clear and detailed: there is no logging of VPN usage, IPs, historical session logs, and no records of incoming or anonymous vpn providers outgoing IP addresses or your individual activities. All good news.
Another great feature is the free plan with a hefty 10GB monthly data allowance, providing you register with your email address. As expected, the free plan restricts the number of servers available, but it’s still far more generous and usable than the freebie offerings you’ll find elsewhere.
With a premium service comes a premium price, in this case. ExpressVPN is somewhat more expensive than the rest of the competition, and there is no free trial to test the provider. However, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee for reassurance, and of the three price plans on offer, the 12-month subscription (with three months extra thrown in) is the best choice in the long run. The packages available are:
Privacy-wise, things are crystal-clear and detailed: there is no logging of VPN usage, IPs, historical session logs, and no records of incoming or outgoing IP addresses or your individual activities. All good news.
Usage or activity logs, on the other hand, are deemed much more important and more invasive in privacy terms, as they essentially cover all of the data beyond those basic connection logs. So we’re talking about information on the exact websites you visited online, the files you downloaded, and so forth.