Expat Tech: A Simple and Easy VPN Client

UPDATE: I’ve had some problems with TunnelBear connecting from my provider in Argentina. I have since started using Private Internet Access for VPN and am much happier with it.

One thing you quickly realize about living in Argentina is that many of the US-based websites either block you or try to tailor the experience for an Argentine Spanish-speaking audience…¬†Google tries to give you their Spanish language version. Ecommerce sites list prices in pesos. You can’t use Hulu or Pandora. There’s no way to sign up for Google Voice or other US-only services. If you need to order a gift online and have it shipped to someone in the States, fraud protection often blocks you because you’re ordering from overseas. It gets annoying quickly.

For these¬†occasions, you need a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to mask your location and make it seem like you’re coming from the US (or UK). Now, there are a lot of pay services out there that do this, but as I only need the service from time to time, I wanted something that would be easy and free to use. Luckily, I found a great solution – TunnelBear.

TunnelBear is an incredibly easy to use VPN solution for both the Mac and PC. Simply install it, log in, select the location (US or the UK) and turn it on. That’s it. You’ll now look like you’re coming from one of those locations. There is no need to make any complicated technical settings and you only have to run the program when you need it.

Little TunnelBear is their free version and gives you up to 500MB of data each month (you can get 1GB of data simply by tweeting every month and asking for more). This has always been more than enough for me, but they also offer Giant TunnelBear for $4.99/mo and Grizzly TunnelBear for $49.99/year if you need more data. The paid plans also give you access to their iPhone and iPad app so you can stream US-content like Pandora on your mobile devices as well.

It’s really a great free service and incredibly simple to use too. I’d recommend checking it out.