The internet was supposed to be a democratizing medium, providing the same level of access to information to everyone no matter where they are in the world. But regionalization has gradually crept in over the years and you’ve undoubtedly stumbled across content you’re not able to access simply because of the country you live in.
If you think this is unfair, there are various steps you can take to re-route your internet connection to make it appear as though you are located somewhere else, but for many people the majority of solutions are just too complicated to be of practical use – this is not the case with TunnelBear VPN.
TunnelBear is a free app that can be used to trick web sites into believing that you are located in a different country. Put simply, this means that if you live outside the UK you can route your web traffic through TunnelBear VPN to access sites and services such as BBC iPlayer, while anyone outside the States can use the app to again access to the likes of Pandora and Hulu.
Tired of being blocked from accessing certain web sites? TunnelBear VPN can help.
The app has gained quite a following on other platforms such as OS X, Windows and iOS, and the Android version of the software brings the same level of access to mobile users. The first time you launch the app you’ll be invited to sign into your account or sign up for a free one – all you need to do is provide your name and email address.
Sign up for a free TunnelBear VPN account to take advantage of the app.
Before you can get started, you’ll need to verify your account by clicking a link in the confirmation email that’s sent out to you – so remember to use a real email address – and once this has been done you can log in and get started.
Tunnelling Your Traffic
Anything connected to computers that involves an acronym — like VPN — causes many people to switch off, taking that as an indication of complexity. Throw networking into the equation and most people will run a mile. This is certainly not the case with TunnelBear VPN which could hardly be any easier to use.
Things are so simple that there are only two settings to concern yourself with, namely turning the web tunnelling feature on or off, and then choosing your virtual country as the UK or the US. Both of these settings can be changed with a switch, and the whole this is so simple that anyone should be able to cope with it.
Two simple switches are all that are needed to control TunnelBear.
The first time you turn on tunnelling, you have to agree to your web traffic being ‘intercepted’. This is a requirement for your traffic to be routed through the appropriate servers, so you have little choice but to agree.
Agree to TunnelBear intercepting your web traffic or you can’t use the tool.
Once this has been done, there’s little left to do. You’ll always know when tunnelling is enabled as you’ll see a small key icon in the menu bar, and you can keep an eye on how much data you have remaining in your cycle by looking at the fuel gauge to the upper right of the app screen.
You can monitor how much data you have left each month using the fuel gauge in TunnerBear VPN.
If you’re not too demanding, TunnelBear VPN won’t cost you a penny. The app itself is available completely free of charge, and you are able to transfer 500MB monthly without the need to pay for a subscription – there’s also a special Twitter-based offer that can gain you an extra 1GB of data transfer for one month only.
If you need a little extra data during one specific month, take part in the Twitter promo to gain an extra gigabyte.
For most people, 500MB of data is likely to be enough, but if you’re looking to stream hours of music and movies to your Android device, one of the paid-for subscription packages is worth looking at. You can buy unlimited tunnelling for $4.99 per month, but you can make a saving by opting for the Grizzly package which will set you back $49.99 for a year’s worth of unlimited data.
For the more demanding user willing to part with money, unlimited data packages are also available.
It’s worth pointing out that a single TunnelBear account can be used to tunnel web traffic on one computer and two mobile devices – so you might want to set up multiple email addresses to have a separate account on each device if you decide to stick with the free account.
It is very hard to find fault with TunnelBear – the app is free, does what it sets out to, and is very easy to use. The cutesy look may not be to everyone’s taste, but this is a minor quibble with an app which solves a problem that confounds many Android users. It could be argued that the lack of options is a negative point, but in reality it works in TunnelBear’s favour.
At the moment, you can only chose between ‘pretending’ to be in the UK or the US. This may seem limited but in fact, this is where the vast majority of location based content restrictions exist. In future updates to the app, there will no doubt be support for additional countries – there could be occasions when you need to make it appear as though you’re accessing the internet from Spain, for instance – but the major players are covered for the time being.