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TunnelBear VS Private Internet Access (PIA)

TunnelBear VS Private Internet Access (PIA)

The internet is, without a doubt, one of the most valuable modern-day inventions. It is an unregulated network that allows freedom of information.

While this is a good thing, it should also cause you to be wary. The openness of the internet means there are security risks as you’re browsing. You should be especially careful if your work is sensitive, for example, if you are a government employee. The best solution for you if you are looking for anonymity and security while browsing is a VPN.

VPN means Virtual Private Network, and it offers you anonymity and security. When you are using a VPN, you won’t have to worry about people accessing your information illegally. VPNs also offer you faster-browsing experience and sometimes free internet access.

Among the two most prominent VPN solutions are TunnelBear and Private Internet Access. We will look at these two VPNs in more detail. You need this information before choosing which among them to use.

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access will appeal to you if you are looking for a bargain option. You won’t pay much, and you’ll have surprisingly fast internet access. Additionally, you will get other services, such as file sharing.

Connection Speeds

You can look at connection speeds locally and internationally. With Private Internet Access, you get some of the highest connection speeds in the market. Independent tests have managed to record speeds of up to 170 MBps locally and 50 MBps internationally.

Part of the reason why Private Internet Access can offer such speeds is the infrastructure it has in place. There are over 3000 servers scattered in over 30 countries worldwide. Additionally, you have other connections facilitating tools to ensure that you have the fastest internet of all.

While connection speed usually isn’t what you’d look at first when choosing a VPN, it is nevertheless an essential factor.


Private Internet Access uses encryption as its primary means of protection. All your connections and data undergo encryption. Therefore, any eavesdropper or hacker cannot use the data even if they get access to it.

Private Internet Access uses AES 256 encryption. AES 256 is the gold standard in modern encryption. Lesser robust systems provide excellent security, so the levels here are sky-high. You can be sure that your data is safe.

Another aspect of security while you are browsing is your online identity and location. It is not very hard for a hacker to get your site and identification if you are in a public and unprotected network. Private Internet Access hides your IP address. Your IP address is the primary means to identify you on the internet. In addition to protecting your IP address, they change your location for even more security. It will be almost impossible for someone to track you online.


The security you get from VPNs is vital, but you also need to evaluate the privacy you get before making a choice. The primary indicator of privacy levels is the location of the company. If a company is in a country that doesn’t respect online privacy, then that VPN can’t assure you of confidentiality. You also need to know whether the provider keeps logs of your online activity.

Private Internet Access is an American company. The U.S government may compel internet companies to provide online activity logs. However, the company doesn’t keep a record of your internet activity. You are, therefore, safe from prying eyes.

The company accepts payments in terms of cryptocurrencies. You, therefore, get another level of security as traditional payment methods are not the most secure.

Platform Support

It is crucial that you get a VPN that offers you support on multiple platforms. Most of us have several devices that connect to the internet. It wouldn’t work to have one device with security and another without any. Private Internet Access gives you apps for all the major platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux.

You can use it if your device runs on any of these platforms. For other platforms, however, you won’t get native apps. Such a move isn’t that unfortunate as a majority of us have devices that are on these platforms.

For these other platforms, what you get is router support. You also get browser extensions for Opera, Chrome, and Firefox browsers. These three browsers are among the most popular. Private Internet Access, therefore, offers you protection on almost all platforms. It will be tough for you to find a platform for which Private Internet Access hasn’t made a safety solution.

Customer Support

Private Internet Access doesn’t have live chat support. It is disappointing that this is the case, as live chat support can be useful.

There’s a trouble ticket system for reporting problems. To use this system, you get to the website and fill in your ticket with the relevant details. A help staff will then get to your ticket and formulate a solution.

If the ticketing system doesn’t suit you, you could go for the knowledge base. The knowledgebase is a collection of articles. These articles are full of information on procedures and other help topics. You could use the knowledge base to find help at your own pace. With the knowledgebase, you won’t need any interaction to find solutions. Everything you can possibly want to find out is in these articles.

There are also help guides to help you with the essential process of setting up. You’ll get guidance on setting up and customizing a connection.


TunnelBear is a decent VPN solution. You get decent internet connection speeds and top-notch security.


TunnelBear isn’t as fast as Private Internet Access. You can explain this by its infrastructure framework. Having a robust and expansive infrastructure means you can handle large amounts of traffic and still provide fast internet. TunnelBear has servers in 20 countries around the world.

It is important to note that with premium VPNs, you’ll barely notice the slump in internet speeds. The same will also be true if your internet usage isn’t heavy.

Independent tests provide speeds of up to 12 MBps for downloads. Download speed applies to you getting downloads from a server. Typically, this is the speed metric most of us will have an interest in. 12MBps is decent, though not the highest speed in the market. However, as we’ve already seen, if your internet usage is light to moderate, then you won’t notice any lag.

The top upload speed in tests was 0.91 MBps. Upload speeds are essential for users who host files and provide downloads. 0.91 MBps is a moderate speed, not the fastest, but it will still serve you well.

Another aspect of speed is the ping time. Ping time refers to the time it takes for you to get a response once you’ve sent a request for a connection. Ideally, the lower the ping time, the faster your internet connection is. TunnelBear has a topping speed of 54 milliseconds. Such a rate is also average.


Security is paramount in internet access. VPNs have to come up with robust security solutions, as this is what will draw customers.

TunnelBear also uses encryption for security. Any data you provide transforms AES 256 encryption. AES 256 encryption is the best there is. AES 128 encryption is in the same class of encryption standards as AES 256. It is, however, an inferior protocol, but still, it provides robust, almost uncrackable encryption. What this means is that AES 256 encryption will give you the highest level of security possible.

Encrypted data looks like random characters with no meaning. If someone were to get hold of your data in this state, it wouldn’t be of any use to them. They would need a unique key to decrypt the data.

TunnelBear also regularly provides security audit reports. These audits give you insight into the security architecture of the company. Through these audits, you get to know the measures the company takes to keep your data secure


You entrust your data to VPNs, so you need to be sure of the privacy standards. If your VPN doesn’t have strict privacy protocols, then a third party, like the government, could access your data.

Depending on the country of the VPN provider, the privacy protocols are different. Some states will not bother much with online activity data and so won’t demand to have it. Other countries require this data for security purposes.

TunnelBear is a Canadian company. Canada requires companies to provide data on online activity by users. You, however, don’t have to worry about this as Tunnelbear doesn’t keep a record of user activity. The government may require data on users, but if the data can’t be found, then there’s little they can do.

Platform Support

The extensions for Opera Mini and Chrome are a nice touch. You can use TunnelBear on these platforms with no issue at all. This is quite useful especially if you access the internet a lot using these two browsers.

You also get support for the four major operating systems: Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS. These four platforms cover a majority of devices connecting to the internet each moment. As much as we’d prefer support for more platforms, the four are a decent number.

User Experience

It will take you less than five minutes to download and install the app on the Windows platform. `You should have Windows 8 and above to operate the app well.

After this, the process is easy. You need no advanced knowledge to make your way around the app. You can also set up your app to connect automatically, depending on the network you are using. If the system is trustworthy, there is no reason why you shouldn’t connect automatically.

Lastly, changing servers is straightforward. You only have to click on the location you want to switch to and connect.

Customer Support

You should receive replies to your emails within hours. Such response time is decent and commendable. Instant Live Support would be better, but this is also quite good.

Another aspect of support on TunnelBear is the knowledge base. The knowledgebase is a collection of resources that you can peruse at your pleasure. Resources in the knowledge base are mostly articles. These articles contain information on most issues you will face as you use TunnelBear.

The knowledgebase is an excellent tool. Though TunnelBear lacks live support, you can still find knowledge and help on the knowledge base.

Pricing and Plans


TunnelBear gives you three plans. The first is a free plan, and that is a considerable upside. On the free plan, you get 500MB of data every month. You also get regular VPN benefits such as IP hiding and security on the internet. You can upgrade any time to higher plans.

The second option is the yearly option. The annual option allows you to connect up to 5 devices to the VPN. You, therefore, can have security for all your devices. You also get advanced customer service. Priority customer service is faster, and you get all your problems solved entirely.

However, the most impressive thing you get on this plan is unlimited data. You can browse the internet without any worries about data restrictions. The cost per month of this plan is $4.99, but because payment is annual, the total comes to $59.88.

The monthly plan gives you the same benefits as the yearly plan. You get free internet and coverage of up to five devices. However, the amount you pay every month is $9.99. The annual option is better if you want to use the VPN for a longer time.


Private Internet Access doesn’t have a free plan. What you get instead is a free trial period.

The cheapest plan you can subscribe to is the monthly plan. You get to pay $6.95 every month. The next plan is the Annual Plan. On the annual plan, you get billed yearly. The total amount you’ll have to pay is $39.95, and this translates to $3.33 every month.

Lastly, you have the 6-month plan, and this is a halfway plan between the yearly plan and the monthly plan. You’ll pay $35.95 after six months, and this translates to $5.99 per month.


Private Internet Access wins this comparison by a wide margin.

The first metric that confirms PIA’s superiority is server coverage. While TunnelBear has servers in only 20 countries, PIA has a server network that extends to 33 countries. Having such a broad coverage gives you the benefit of faster internet speeds.

PIA has faster local speeds and international speeds. It might not be a big difference for the regular user, but for intensive use, these differences in rate are crucial.

Another area where PI wins is in platform support. PIA allows you to work on more platforms than TunnelBear. Moreover, even for those platforms for which it doesn’t provide direct support, you still get router support. TunnelBear restricts itself to the four major platforms, and this locks out many users who are not on these platforms.

On Pricing and plans of usage, TunnelBear has a slight advantage because of the free program. However, on the paid plans, PIA is marginally cheaper and also offers you more value for money.

On connections and security, both platforms rate well. They both use AES 256 encryption, and this means your data is secure. On both platforms, also you can have several connections at the same time without any hitch.

More VPN comparisons: NordVPN VS TunnelBear (Comparison & Review)


Overall, PIA wins. You get faster connection speeds due to the robust infrastructure and several added benefits. If your internet usage isn’t intensive, you will not notice a vast difference between the rate in PIA and TunnelBear. However, more and more users are using the internet intensively and so need fast and reliable internet connections.

PIA should be your choice for a corporate solution where many users need to access the internet safely. TunnelBear can work for personal internet connection, but even then PI should still be your option because of the superior products and features.

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