Atlas VPN Review 2023
- Rahul Manchanda
- Mar 13, 2023
- 19 min read
Atlas VPN is a relatively new virtual private network provider that launched in 2019. In 2021, the service became part of Nord Security, which also owns our current top-rated VPNs, Surfshark and NordVPN. As a result, we expect great things, so we decided to write up a detailed Atlas VPN review to see just how good it is.
We tested both the free and premium Atlas VPN apps on key aspects like speed, security, privacy, and more. Keep reading to see how the free Atlas VPN service holds up against competitors. Our research should help you determine if Atlas VPN is for you.
Atlas VPN is a completely free VPN that also offers an incredibly affordable premium plan with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You’ll find apps for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV. Premium users can have unlimited simultaneous connections, too.
Both the Atlas VPN free version and the premium version offer good speeds and security to help you browse safely. However, Atlas VPN free recently dropped its data cap from 10 GB to 5 GB.
The Atlas VPN free version also cannot unblock geographically restricted streaming services. The paid version, on the other hand, unblocks Netflix and other services like Amazon Prime Video. It also supports P2P file-sharing for safe and anonymous torrenting.
The best part is that Atlas VPN does not keep logs of personally identifiable user data. So, although it’s based in the United States, which does not have privacy-friendly laws, it’s a safe VPN. This service will not track your online activities.
Keep reading our full Atlas VPN review below for a more detailed look under the hood.
Nobody wants to sit and wait while a show buffers, a webpage loads, or a download completes. You want greater privacy, not slower connection speeds. That’s why every VPN we review is extensively tested for its speed. Atlas VPN scores 7.5 out of 10 in our speed tests. Here are our main conclusions:
The table below summarizes our Atlas VPN speed test results on varied servers. We tested the premium version of Atlas VPN using speedtest.net, running the tests multiple times for each server and then working out the average speed.
As you can see, speeds were pretty good and remained reasonably consistent across the board. We got the best results on the Netherlands and Japan servers, while Atlas VPN’s France server was the slowest one that we tested.
Remember that VPN speeds can be influenced by various factors like your location and the time of day. Our results just give a general idea of what to expect, but you may well see variations when doing your own testing.
Atlas VPN is not the fastest VPN, but it’s good enough for most use cases. We didn’t notice any delays when browsing, streaming, and even gaming. Webpages loaded smoothly, and videos played without interruption. We could also download and upload files on our Atlas VPN connection without encountering any issues.
However, there were some kinks with internet connectivity when the Atlas VPN kill switch was activated. This was a bit frustrating. We discuss this issue in more detail in the kill switch section further down in our Atlas VPN review.
The most important aspect of a VPN is its safety. Secure protocols and strong encryption will keep your data traffic hidden from onlookers. Atlas VPN scores 8.5 out of 10 for safety. Here are our key takeaways from testing the service:
Atlas VPN protects your data with industry-standard 256-bit encryption. At the same time, it offers highly secure IKEv2 and WireGuard protocols. WireGuard is typically the best choice here and will give you the most optimal speeds. You can select this protocol when you download Atlas VPN by going into the “Settings” section of the Atlas VPN app.
A VPN aims to bolster your online security and privacy. So, the best providers don’t collect any personally identifiable data. We were pleased to find that Atlas VPN honors this and does not keep any sensitive data logs. Data including your IP address, location, and internet usage will not be tracked.
Furthermore, Atlas VPN is based in the US, a 5 Eyes country. This means that they may share your information with authorities if asked to.
The good news is that the provider will not have much data about you to share, due to the no-logs policy. However, it’s still preferable for VPN providers to be based in more privacy-friendly regions, such as Panama, where NordVPN is based. So, bear this in mind if you decide to download Atlas VPN for yourself.
A kill switch is a vital security feature for VPNs. This feature automatically “kills” your internet connection if the VPN connection drops. By doing so, the software makes sure you remain anonymous and ensures your data can’t “leak” through an unsecured connection.
Atlas VPN has a kill switch across all of its apps, but we noticed a strange technical issue. Sometimes, when the connection dropped, the kill switch would activate but not try to reinitiate a secure connection. This means that we had to manually reconnect to the VPN to establish the internet connection. This was somewhat annoying and time-consuming.
With the Atlas VPN premium version, you get access to the Data Breach Monitor. This feature does exactly as the name suggests. Data breach monitoring will track any online breaches containing your personal information. It automatically scans any leaked databases and lets you know if your data was exposed.
VPNs work by cloaking your IP address (and data), which stops websites and other services from being able to see your location. But if a VPN doesn’t work correctly, your real IP and thus location can be leaked.
When we review a VPN, we check to see whether the software suffers from IP/IPv6, DNS, or WebRTC leaks, all of which can risk your privacy.
The good news is that Atlas VPN doesn’t suffer from any leaks that could expose your real location. When connected to a Japanese VPN server, each test showed that our IP was being cloaked. Here, you can see that we suffered no IP or DNS leaks while connected to the VPN server:
Our IP address tool agreed with this outcome, showing us that our location “was in Tokyo,” even though we were visiting from the Netherlands.
What does all of this mean? Atlas VPN won’t leak your Data, meaning that you won’t be potentially exposing your location without knowing about it.
To create an Atlas VPN account, you need to provide:
The provider also accepts cryptocurrencies as payment, meaning it’s possible to buy a VPN more anonymously. We recommend paying for your VPN using crypto instead of credit cards or PayPal, as VPN services will have access to some of your sensitive information otherwise.
A VPN needs to be easy to use so that even beginners can make the most of it. We were somewhat disappointed with Atlas VPN because it seems to have several technical kinks. Due to this, we’ve awarded a score of 6 out of 10 in user-friendliness to our Atlas VPN review.
The Atlas VPN website is simple and easy to use. At the top of the homepage is a menu with links to various pages like “Features” and “Pricing.” Opportunities to download Atlas VPN are highlighted with noticeable, big red buttons.
Additionally, you can scroll down to see more information and comparisons between Atlas VPN and various competitors, like ExpressVPN.
We found that the information provided on the website is somewhat minimal, lacking the clarity that we needed for this Atlas VPN review. For instance, the information about Atlas VPN features like SafeSwap, Tracker Blocker, and MultiHop+ doesn’t specify which platforms these are available on. This can be confusing when trying to find features within the apps.
It used to be that you could use Atlas VPN without an account; sadly, that’s no longer true. So, to download Atlas VPN and create an account directly within the software, follow the steps below to install Atlas VPN on your desktop:
Note: Each new device you sign in to will require a separate verification code as you cannot set a password to sign in.
Atlas VPN’s app is very easy to navigate and is available for Android, macOS, iOS, Windows, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV. The home screen features the server list and a large “on” button. Click the button to initiate a connection to the nearest server. Alternatively, scroll through the list of servers and select the location you wish to connect to.
The server list has three tabs: All, Streaming, and SafeSwap. Streaming servers are optimized for streaming video content, while SafeSwap servers are the most privacy-friendly Atlas VPN servers we found during our testing. They allow you to have multiple rotating IP addresses without having to switch between different VPN servers.
So, unlike regular VPN servers that only assign you a single IP address, the SafeSwap servers use a pool of different IP addresses. When you connect to a SafeSwap server, your outgoing traffic gets routed via multiple IP addresses. These will randomly switch during your online sessions without affecting your speed, but enhancing your anonymity online.
On the left side of the Atlas VPN app home screen is a minimalist menu from which you can access the “Settings.” Here, you can customize various options like the kill switch and the protocol.
Unfortunately, we experienced some issues with the Atlas VPN Windows app at first. At first, it was blocked by our antivirus software.
On the second attempt, we were finally able to connect after we removed some drivers, restarted the computer (twice), and turned off the firewall for the initial connection. We were then able to turn the firewall back on and continue using Atlas VPN as normal.
Atlas VPN offers both a free and a premium version of its service. You get 5 GB of monthly daily traffic and access to three server locations with the free Atlas VPN. This is, unfortunately, less than you used to get. Atlas VPN’s free version offered 10 GB of data in the past.
Premium, however, has no data cap. It also gives you access to 44 locations instead of three and has more security features, unlimited simultaneous connections, faster servers, and specialized servers for streaming.
Atlas VPN Premium offers three different subscription plans:
The monthly fee is considerably lower when you subscribe to Atlas VPN Premium for a longer period. That’s why the two-year subscription is the cheapest option: it gives a massive 85% discount on the full price, and that’s just for the readers who visit Atlas VPN directly from our website.
Do keep in mind that prices may vary slightly between countries due to App Store taxes.
When you opt for Atlas VPN Premium, you can pay via Google Pay, credit card, PayPal, or crypto. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try out the service to see whether it’s to your liking.
Atlas VPN’s customer service can be contacted via email. The average response time for support queries is 24 hours, so it’s not ideal if you have a pressing issue.
If you go to the “Help” section on their site, you’ll find some frequently asked questions and several support articles. That said, we found this section to be somewhat limited, and there’s scope for improving it with more detailed information. Below the support articles, there’s a button to contact the Atlas VPN customer support team.
Premium users can access live chat support by logging into the Atlas VPN website. We tested this feature and found that it’s not really a “live chat,” but rather a contact form you have to submit. We definitely think they could improve here by introducing a proper live chat feature on the homepage itself.
We submitted several queries, including one about changing the protocol on the Atlas VPN Mac app, and we received an email response within a few minutes. The customer support agent was friendly and helpful. Unfortunately, they could not help us with the issue we faced when trying to install the VPN client on Windows. Atlas VPN got blocked by our antivirus software and customer support was stumped.
We didn’t expect a relatively new VPN like Atlas VPN to have thousands of servers, unlike established providers such as Surfshark and CyberGhost. However, it still provides users with sufficient options that offer decent speeds, and there’s plenty for users on the Atlas VPN free version. This earns it a 7 out of 10 in our evaluation.
Here are our key conclusions about Atlas VPN’s server network:
As above, Atlas VPN has over 750 servers in 44 locations across 37 countries. This small network is a decent start, but we assume it will grow in the future.
The Atlas VPN free version allows access to just two locations:
Here’s an overview of all Atlas VPN server locations:
Atlas VPN Premium offers specialized servers for premium members. Moreover, it has those SafeSwap server we discussed earlier, which are aimed at maximizing privacy. These servers are located in the Netherlands, the USA, and Singapore.
Furthermore, the Atlas VPN mobile apps have MultiHop+ servers in Europe and North America. According to the Atlas VPN website, “MultiHop+ is an advanced network topology with carefully selected locations for optimal latency and speed designed to randomly rotate between various gateways.” As a result, your online activity is hidden behind several Atlas VPN locations and encryption layers to boost your security and anonymity.
The MultiHop+ servers are great for when you want to bypass censorship & surveillance. They offer robust online protection for those who want to escape government surveillance in highly restricted countries.
Atlas VPN can unblock many streaming services, listed below.
Atlas VPN Premium allowed us to watch the American version of Netflix and enjoy series such as Legacies and Supernatural with an LA server. Aside from Netflix, Atlas VPN is also compatible with other streaming services, including Prime, Disney Plus, Hulu, HBO Max, Peacock, BBC iPlayer, and Crackle.
Unfortunately, the Atlas VPN free version didn’t allow us to watch Netflix content from other countries, even though we were able to view all original Netflix productions. Whenever we wanted to watch a show or movie that was only available for some countries, we were faced with an error message. It claimed we were using a proxy and were therefore denied access.
Atlas VPN allows for P2P traffic and will keep you safe while file-sharing. You can torrent anonymously at fairly good speeds while using the Atlas VPN servers. Atlas VPN does underline that the use of P2P should happen responsibly.
Atlas VPN currently doesn’t offer dedicated IP addresses. If you want more information on dedicated IP addresses or how to use them, you can read this article.
The Atlas VPN mobile apps have a Tracker Blocker. This is a feature that stops third-party trackers from gathering insights about your online activities. The Tracker Blocker can be enabled in the “Assistant” section of the Android or iOS app.
Split tunneling is another mobile-only feature of Atlas VPN. With split tunneling, you can channel part of your internet traffic through the encrypted VPN tunnel while the remaining traffic is routed outside the VPN. This is especially useful when you want to access local content without disconnecting from the VPN or when you’re facing difficulties using certain apps with a VPN on.
You can enable this feature from the “Settings” section in the mobile apps. Here, you can select which apps can access the internet regularly through your ISP. The rest of your data will continue to be shielded by the VPN. It would be great to see this feature added to Atlas VPN’s desktop apps, too.
Atlas VPN is a relatively new VPN on the market and offers a great free VPN plus an affordable premium VPN service. We were satisfied with the speeds and security it offers but found a few technical issues that should be dealt with. For instance, the Windows app got blocked by our antivirus software. Customer support was unable to help us with this issue.
Nonetheless, the macOS and mobile apps worked well to unblock streaming services and browse the net safely. We also appreciate that it does not keep logs of sensitive information like IP addresses and browsing activity. In other words, you can trust this service to protect your privacy. Keep in mind that Atlas VPN does collect information like device identifiers to help improve its services.
Of course, the Atlas VPN free version is quite limited, but that’s true of all free VPN services. We recommend you try the premium version as it’s incredibly affordable at just a couple of dollars per month for a three-year plan. You can also take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee to get a refund if you aren’t satisfied.
Otherwise, if you’re curious what Atlas VPN is up against in terms of competition, we’ve tested the top truly free VPNs too. Atlas VPN wasn’t our top choice. You can also consider:
Right now, Atlas VPN is our 5th most-favorite free VPN. Can the service ever rise to beat the competition? We hope to see Atlas VPN improve and get rid of the current kinks, like the problems we faced installing it on Windows and the kill switch issues.
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