When it's time for a VPN Connection

When is it time to get a VPN connection? BEFORE you get your information stolen while using a public wi-fi.

At least, that's what I decided to do. My smart, gaming son recommended TunnelBear, so today I installed TunnelBear on my phone.

They give you 500 MB of free data each month. That just means if you're an occasional user of public wi-fi like I am, such as at Starbucks or on the Bolt Bus, your TunnelBear connection will always be free. And if you tweet once a month, they'll give you 1000 MB extra, for a total of 1500 MB.

Here's my summary of what you get by using TunnelBear

  1. Hides your IP address and location
  2. Secures your personal information by encrypting it
  3. Keeps your activity secure when you're overseas
  4. Limits advertisers from tracking you
  5. Prevents the internet service provider from monitoring your activity
Five devices is 9.99 per month. Just phone is 4.99 per month or 39.99 per year. I ended up wanting to have the service on all the time, so I paid for the app to run on my phone.

Here are some notes:
  1. Autoconnect should be on, in case TunnelBear app crashes.
  2. GhostBear is the stealth-mode for TunnelBear VPN connections. It is used to conceal your VPN traffic from those who might want to throttle or censor it.Tunnelbear company advises against using the GhostBear option, so we have that off. The company says this "If you’re already able to connect to TunnelBear without enabling GhostBear, we recommend that you leave this feature disabled as it can make your connection a little slower. You’ll still be protected by the latest and greatest encryption technologies and leaving it off doesn’t make you less secure!"
  3. VigiliantBear is a kill switch that will temporarily stop Internet access if the VPN connection drops until it is restored. VigilantBear should be on, in case the VPN connection drops.
  4. We have SplitBear off.
  5. Tunnelbear should be running connected all the time, and it does reconnect when you reboot the phone
  6. The extension for the chromebook is not a vpn. It's a proxy server, and it has no options. The company says this "While TunnelBear for Chrome has “VPN-like” capabilities, it’s actually an encrypted proxy. For a full-featured VPN you can download our apps for macOS and Windows." 
  7. We have Trusted Networks off (you can either use autoconnect or Trusted Networks but not both).
  8. Chromecasting does not work while TunnelBear is on, so just shut it off while casting, and then remember to turn it back on. (Chromecasting does not work with any VPN.)
  9. I haven't gotten tunnelbear to work with wi-fi calling. I have now whitelisted my wifi but only on my phone. 

Three ways to know that TunnelBear is running on your phone

  1. Pulldown shows a key from the phone's software that says network may be monitored
  2. Also in the pulldown tunnelbear shows United States and shows you are now browing privately
  3. Go into running apps, look for tunnelbear, it should show that it's connected

Here's how we have our TunnelBear phone app configured. However, I discovered that I can't use wi-fi calling, so I currently have trusted networks turned on. I haven't decided yet what to do about that.


  1. I switched my account to "Grizzly" which covers up to 5 devices, regardless of platform. 
  2. I couldn't do network printing, and found from some googling that it can be hard to fix. It's a typical problem with a VPN. So I connected by USB cable, and updated the settings for print and scan.

Windows KB4038788 update continually fails to install


Security Update for Windows (KB4038788) wouldn't install. It's a cumulative update.


Manually install it from the catalog


Some users have reported worse problems from downloading the patch. It seems to be an HP problem. 

However, mine is an HP, and the manual install was successful.