Tech note – StrongVPN vs TunnelBear vs my native connection – speed tests
I was demonstrating something at my Sunday volunteer class. To make it work, iOS and Android users needed to temporarily use a VPN so it seemed they were in the U.S.
I myself use StrongVPN, but I needed something drop dead simple for these users. Somebody recommended TunnelBear. It is incredibly simple to use with iOS or Android. Unlike StrongVPN you don’t have to install certs and go into the VPN settings. It “just works.” And the students found the animation of the bear tunneling from Japan to the U.S. very amusing.
Also, there is a free level – 500 MB per month (with an extra 1 GB per month if you press the “tweet” button and promote them).
For a beginner it is a very simple system to use, and I would recommend it for those users.
When I got back from class, I was curious – how does TunnelBear stack up against StrongVPN which I’ve been using for several years. I quite like StrongVPN and the service has always been outstanding.
Well, there is no comparison. StrongVPN speeds blow TunnelBear out of the water with speed.
TunnelBear speed: 7.36 Mb/s down and 3.9 Mb/s up. Certainly not a problem speed.
StrongVPN speed: 60.64 Mb/s down and 109.28 Mb/s up. That’s 8~28 times faster than TunnelBear!
Native speed: 277.66 Mb/s down and 85.44 Mb/s up. Nothing to complain about for sure.
Anyway, if you need something super-simple to quickly install on iOS or Android you might be satisfied with TunnelBear. For consistently high performance and outstanding support service I’m sticking with StrongVPN though.
One suggestion for StrongVPN – it would be great for beginners to have a very easy to install iOS and Android app. I didn’t have problems doing it, but I knew what it meant to install the certs and then go into the VPN settings. A less experienced user might not. The beginners in the class I taught had no problem with the TunnelBear mobile apps though – and found it amusing and cute.
Both are good systems. I will stick with StrongVPN. But if I need to explain VPN to an iOS or Android user quickly I will point them to TunnelBear.
I’ve been please with Private Network Access, but it’s also kind of a pain to set up. It’s easier now than it used to be, but probably not a good choice for the novice user. One aspect of it that I particularly like is that they have many access points all over the world, and you can either let the app chose (which gives you the currently fastest one from your location) or choose a particular access point. Sometimes the allegedly fastest one is not actually the best choice, so I like having options. I presume that feature is also handy for getting around some of the silly location-based controls for movies and whatnot.
For yesterday’s class the purpose was to let it appear the students were in the U.S. for the purpose of setting up the new Google Photos app.
If you are in the U.S. when setting it up the “group people” feature is available in settings, and is even set by default.
But if you are out of the U.S. the feature isn’t available at all.
Once you’ve set up you can turn the VPN off and you can make use of the automatic people recognition feature on all your devices, and the web, without using VPN again. It’s a trick people are talking about the help forums.
For myself, I usually use StrongVPN so I can watch U.S. Hulu and Netflix.