Atlas VPN offers an affordable VPN service, and a free version with limited features. It claims to be at the same level as premium VPNs, but with a small server network and incorrect technical descriptions on its website, making them seem less professional, can they really compete?
After reading multiple reviews, some stellar and others full of complaints, I set out to get a complete picture by conducting extensive tests. Amongst other things, I checked if Atlas VPN works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer and how fast, secure, and private it is.
Atlas VPN is undoubtedly a strong contender. Even though it doesn't offer many servers or extra security features like other top premium VPNs, and its Windows app is buggy, it excels in many other areas — especially streaming and speed.
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Atlas VPN Features — 2024 Update
Money Back Guarantee
Does VPN keep logs?
Number of servers
Based in country
Streaming — The Premium Tier Works With Most Popular Streaming Services9.0
Atlas VPN’s free version offers streaming-optimized servers, but they only work with HBO Max. You also only get 5GB per month with the free subscription, which might not even last to the end of the movie you’re watching. Still, many free VPNs don’t work with streaming services at all, so this is still impressive.
Both free US streaming servers (Los Angeles and New York) unblocked HBO Max
On the other hand, Atlas VPN’s premium servers worked with every streaming platform I tested. The only problem was with Netflix Germany, where I couldn’t log in after connecting to Atlas VPN’s German server.
Unblocked: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, ESPN+, Peacock, and ITV
Atlas VPN works with Netflix, but not on every server. All the streaming-optimized servers in the US worked well and unblocked the US library. Although I could access Netflix with the UK servers, it didn’t show the UK library. German servers didn’t work at all — I couldn’t even log in.
I had zero issues unblocking BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, and ITV. I had the same experience with regular and streaming-optimized servers. There were no drops in video quality.
I didn’t expect to unblock BBC iPlayer, as it didn’t work in the past
Overall, Atlas VPN is a great choice for streaming. The only concern I have is that the server network is quite small, with many countries offering only one server location. So, if a server gets blocked, you can’t try a different one in the same country.
Speed — Impressive Speeds, Regardless of the Server Distance10.0
Atlas VPN is fast on both its free and premium servers. To ensure fair results, we test all our VPNs from the same location, using the same connection. While testing Atlas VPN’s speeds, I paid attention to the following:
On average, I lost 5% of my speed on nearby servers and 15% on distant ones
- Download speed is the time it takes for information to reach your device. Low download speeds make it impossible to stream without buffering or download files quickly. It’s measured in Megabytes per second (Mbps).
- Upload speed is also measured in Mbps and refers to the time required for sending data, such as uploading a video or sending an email.
- Ping is crucial for online gaming. It’s measured in milliseconds (ms) and shows you how fast a system can respond to an action.
Recently, Atlas VPN has started upgrading its infrastructure with 10Gbps servers. This is currently only available in Amsterdam, Netherlands. However, there’s hardly any difference in speeds between the regular and 10Gbps servers.
I was impressed that Atlas VPN also maintained fast upload and ping rates
The VPN also has a Quick Connect feature that automatically connects you to the fastest location. This option worked well in my case, as it reduced my download speeds by only 5%. Lastly, there was very little speed difference between free and premium servers, which is rare. Most VPNs throttle their free locations or deal with overcrowding issues that reduce their speeds.
Gaming — No Lag, but can’t Protect Consoles8.0
Atlas VPN is great for gaming. It has excellent speeds and ping rates, especially on nearby servers. I played CS: GO without issues while connected to my Quick Connect server. I had the same experience on every server in Europe I tested. However, the servers in the US had much higher ping — my ping rate went from 8ms to 142ms on a Los Angeles server.
My ping rate was 14ms, which is very impressive for a distant server
So, if you stick to local servers, you won’t even notice you have a VPN on. However, with a ping over 100 on faraway servers, you won’t be able to play most fast-paced games. Additionally, the VPN can’t be installed on gaming consoles or routers, so you can only use it if you’re gaming on your PC.
Server Network — Relatively Small Network8.0
The VPN only offers 3 servers with its free plan. Premium plans come with 750 servers in 38 countries, with city-level locations available only for the UK and the US. There are currently no African servers, but the VPN plans to expand its network in the near future. In terms of server coverage, Atlas VPN has a long way to go to catch up with the best premium VPNs with thousands of global servers.
With the premium plan, you get access to multiple streaming servers, as well as 10Gbps servers for even better speeds. The VPN also offers SafeSwap and MultiHop+ servers. SafeSwap periodically changes your IP address as you browse, while MultiHop+ connects you via multiple VPN servers. This is supposed to add another layer of security, so your real IP address is even more difficult to discover.
Depending on the location of MultiHop+ servers, this can significantly impact your speeds
There are no virtual servers — all servers are physically located in their respective countries. Additionally, all of the VPN servers are rented.
For improved security, it would be nice if it owned its infrastructure, but I understand that’s not easy for a smaller company to do. However, I hope it moves to RAM-based servers in the future. These delete your data with each server reboot for added privacy.
Security — Decent Security Features9.2
Atlas VPN provides good security features. Like most premium VPNs, it encrypts your data using the virtually unbreakable AES 256-bit encryption. It also has a kill switch and DNS/IP leak protection. However, its choice of protocols is limited, with the VPN only offering IPSec/IKEv2 and WireGuard. Most premium VPNs use OpenVPN as their default choice since it’s regarded as the safest VPN tunnel.
A premium subscription gets you additional options, like SafeSwap and MultiHop+ servers, as well as SafeBrowse and Breach Scanner. At the moment, split tunneling is only available on Android devices. Tor over VPN isn’t supported yet either. So, Atlas VPN has some room to improve in this area.
The VPN has a kill switch for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. A kill switch works by blocking your internet traffic if your VPN connection suddenly drops, thus preventing data leaks.
It makes this otherwise solid VPN look unprofessional when several of its descriptions are inaccurate
There are complaints about Atlas VPN’s kill switch not working well. In our previous Atlas VPN tests, it really was faulty. However, it seems that the company had taken steps to fix this issue, as the kill switch worked perfectly during my tests.
This feature protects you from malware, data brokers, and advertisers. If you attempt to visit a webpage that contains a malware threat, Atlas VPN will block the page from loading. It also prevents advertisers from collecting information about you. Finally, it tells you who’s tracking you.
This feature is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. Although the description in the app says it “Stop(s) 3rd-party tracking, ads, and malware,” it is not an ad-blocker. It only stops advertisers from collecting your data. So for example, you’ll still see ads on YouTube. So it’s a nice feature, but it would be nice if Atlas VPN added a full ad-blocker in the future.
Atlas VPN’s Breach Scanner notifies you if your email address has appeared in any data breaches. I receive more spam in one of my email accounts, so I tested that one, and it shows my data was indeed intercepted. While Breach Scanner used to be mobile-exclusive, it’s now available for all platforms. After confirming that it truly works, I really appreciate this feature.
Privacy — Doesn’t Log or Share Any Sensitive Data9.0
You can also ask to receive a copy of the anonymized data Atlas VPN has stored
The VPN regularly updates its Warrant Canary. This report lets you know if there have been any government requests for user data or data breaches. So far, there have been zero of either, so I still need to see what Atlas would do in that case. However, it was recently bought by Nord Security, the company behind NordVPN. NordVPN is one of the most trusted VPN providers on the market, so this makes Atlas VPN more trustworthy in my eyes.
Does Atlas VPN Keep Logs? No
This means it’s possible for people to find out you’re using Atlas VPN, but they still can’t see what you’re doing online. Still, if you’re really concerned about your privacy, you can create an anonymous email account and pay with cryptocurrency to hide your VPN use.
Was Atlas VPN Audited? Yes
Atlas VPN has had two independent audits. The first one was completed by VerSprite and focused on the VPN’s iOS app. The second audit put the security of the Windows app to the test and was performed by MDSec. Both times, the auditors didn’t find any serious vulnerabilities that could lead to privacy issues.
The VPN has also had a retest of its Windows app, and it confirms that all the recommendations made by the auditor have since been implemented.
Based in the US
Based in Delaware in the US, Atlas VPN is subject to the 5 Eyes Agreement. The 5 Eyes Alliance is an intelligence-sharing agreement between Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and the US. This means that if Atlas VPN receives a data request from law enforcement or courts, it would be obliged to comply. Your data would then be accessible to all of the 5 Eyes nations.
Fortunately, the VPN has a strict policy of retaining only minimal logs and refrains from storing any data associated with your traffic or browsing history. As a result, there will never be any personally identifiable information available for the VPN to disclose.
Does Atlas VPN Work in China? Not Guaranteed
I reached out to Atlas VPN’s customer support, and they said the VPN might not work in China at the moment. However, you can try using the IKEv2 protocol while connected to Finland, a method support staff recommended to me. The premium version also offers servers in Hong Kong that you can use to access Chinese content while outside the country.
Many VPN websites are blocked in China, so download your VPN before entering the country
Before using a VPN in China, make sure to read up on the local rules and regulations regarding VPN use. While many VPNs are blocked by the Great Firewall, the Chinese government mainly goes after the technology, rather than individual users.
Torrenting — Fast, Secure, and Supported on All Servers10.0
All the VPN’s servers support P2P file-sharing, even free ones. The VPN has excellent speeds, so downloading Captain Kidd with Atlas VPN only took 4 additional minutes compared to my base connection. It also has a strict no-logs policy, so your privacy is protected while torrenting. It would be nice if the VPN offered port forwarding to increase download speeds, but it’s already very fast, so I don’t consider it a flaw.
Finally, while torrenting is generally legal in the majority of countries, acquiring copyrighted files is not. Neither my team nor I endorse any unlawful activities, so I advise exercising extreme caution to ensure you never download unauthorized files.
Installation & Apps
Atlas VPN’s free app is easy to install and use, and looks the same as the premium version. There’s an option to translate the apps into several languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Polish, and Russian.
My internet connection was also blocked during this time, which made troubleshooting frustrating
The interface looks better on mobile, but the desktop app is decent too. However, the apps are not stable. It crashed multiple times on my Windows laptop, and I’ve seen complaints about the mobile versions too. If Windows is your preferred way to access the internet, you might want to review this list of best VPNs for Windows, instead.
While I didn't encounter any issues with the mobile application, I'm hopeful that any existing bugs have been fixed. It's worth mentioning, however, that although all features are readily available, some of them come with descriptions that aren't entirely precise.
Setup & Installation
Atlas VPN is easy to install. When I accessed the site, it automatically detected I was using a Windows device and sent me to a landing page with download links for the Windows app. There you can choose to pay for a premium version or get the VPN for free.
You can also download Atlas VPN by using the Mac App Store
Setting up the VPN for Linux is a bit different than on other platforms. However, that’s not uncommon, so I don’t hold it against Atlas. You can find detailed instructions for setting up your Linux device on Atlas VPN’s website.
Atlas VPN is compatible with the most popular operating systems — Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, and Linux. It also has apps for Android TV and Amazon Fire TV. Unfortunately, unlike other premium VPNs, routers are not supported. There are no browser extensions either.
Desktop — Apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux
There’s almost no difference in the functionality of the Windows and Mac apps. While the SafeBrowse and the Breach Scanner features were missing from the Mac apps before, you can now use them on Mac too. Windows apps have an additional option to pause your VPN for 5, 15, or 60 minutes, or to set any time you like. Auto-Connect and Quick Connect options are also available for both Windows and MacOS.
Regrettably, during my testing, the Windows application crashed on several occasions. Each time I attempted to switch between a few servers within a short span of time, it resulted in being unable to establish a connection to both the VPN and the internet.
There’s also no split tunneling for desktop, which would be very useful considering the 5GB data cap on the free tier. I’d also like to see the 10Gbps servers listed separately, as they’re difficult to find right now.
Android and iPhone (iOS)
Almost all the options included on the desktop apps are also available for phones. You also get split tunneling on Android, which conveniently lists all the apps you have on your phone. You simply tick off the ones you want to use without the VPN. I was also surprised to see the kill switch included for iOS, as not many VPNs offer that.
Other Devices — Android TV and Amazon FireStick
In addition to desktop and mobile devices, Atlas VPN can also be installed on an Android TV and on Amazon Fire TVs. There are no browser extensions, but I don’t see that as a huge issue, since they’re not as safe as system-wide apps anyways.
Quick Guide: How to Set Up Atlas VPN on a FireStick in 3 Easy Steps
- Download Atlas VPN from the Amazon App Store. Make sure your device is running Fire OS 6, or a newer version.
- Log into your account and connect to a server. I recommend picking one close to your location for the best speeds.
- Start streaming. That’s it, you can now safely watch movies and shows on your FireStick.
Gaming consoles and routers are also not supported. Most premium VPN providers at least allow manual installation for routers, so you can protect all devices connected to your home network. That would be the number change I’d like to see with Atlas VPN’s compatibility.
Simultaneous Device Connections: Unlimited
Atlas VPN allows unlimited device connections on free and premium subscriptions. Many free VPNs only allow one device, and premium providers usually limit you to 5. While you won’t be able to make real use of this feature with the free version, as it has a 5GB data cap, the premium option provides great value.
I connected to the same server on 4 devices (2 Windows laptops and 2 Android phones) to see if there was any drop in performance. I could use all devices as usual, and there weren’t any noticeable speed drops, so you shouldn’t have any issues.
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