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In the past I have made no secret that my favourite VPN by far is Tunnelbear. It works perfectly, it’s easy to use, and it’s cheap. Now they have a brand new feature which makes me love the app even more. It’s called Intellibear, and in a nutshell, it enables you to tunnel some websites, but not others.
We here at MakeUseOf have made no secret of our love for Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). With the NSA spying scandals and a general fear of being snooped upon while browsing, VPN apps are more relevant than ever. They unblock sites in countries that block them, and on an Internet where everything should be free, a VPN is the cornerstone of protecting that freedom.
Sometimes there may be sites that don’t react too well to your tunnelling. Perhaps you have an online banking site that goes a bit wonky with Tunnelbear, but you are reluctant to turn the VPN off while you do your banking?
Or maybe you are in a country where YouTube or Facebook is blocked. Maybe you want Tunnelbear for these sites, but you want to browse normally for everything else – this is where Intellibear makes life easier.
Look upon Intellibear as the VPN equivalent of an email filter. You can set up rules for different websites, to specify which ones get tunnelled and which ones don’t. Tunnelbear says they are the first VPN company to offer such a facility.
There are two ways to use Intellibear. You can either tunnel only the sites on your list, or you can tunnel everything except the websites on your list. The choice is yours. You should realise though that if you go with option two, the sites on the exclusion list will not be encrypted and private. So bear that in mind when browsing.
When you list the websites on one of the two lists, you need to list all possible variations of the site. A domain quite often has several variations of the domain name, and you should get them all to get it to work properly. Some examples are shown below.
I was watching Netflix using Intellibear (I’m hooked after watching House of Cards), and as a test to see how well this works, I used Intellibear to tunnel Netflix and no other sites. I added the three domains (shown in the Netflix section in the table above) and it worked perfectly.
According to Netflix, I was sitting somewhere in New York, and according to MakeUseOf, I was here at home in the south of Germany.
Filter My Tunnels!
So how do you use it? Simple. Just go to Tunnelbear, download the software, and log in. If you are a free user, you are restricted to how much data you can use (500MB), but you can get more if you tweet about the company. I highly recommend you sign up for the paid version which is only a bargain basement price of $5 a month. And for that, you get unlimited use.
Once you have made your account and logged in, fire up the old bear, and in the bottom right hand corner, you will see the gear icon. Click on that and then click on Preferences (Mac OS X) or Settings (Windows).
That will bring up a few options. Next, click on Intellibear.
You can then choose which list you want to use, and begin adding URLs accordingly.
When you’re done, close the window, and your changes take effect immediately.
Using this technology you can stay two steps ahead of those who want to block access based on location. Media companies don’t want us to watch their programmes because we are supposed to wait another 6 months before it appears in our countries. If you don’t think that’s fair, Tunnelbear and similar services allow you to level the playing field a bit, while paying for your media like upstanding citizens.
The same technique applies to music and music videos. Here in Germany, many music YouTube videos are blocked because an association claiming to represent the best interests of the musicians have blocked the videos due to licensing issues. Is that fair? Tunnelbear doesn’t know the meaning of fair!
Technology like Tunnelbear’s Intellibear is absolutely required in today’s day and age. The Internet has found itself bogged down with borders and restrictions. The big grizzly bear at Tunnelbear challenges the status quo for region-locked media, now in an even smarter way than before.
Do you use a VPN? Have you tried Intellibear? Hit the comments and let us know.