Surfshark and Atlas VPN are well-known players in the VPN market, but are they worth subscribing to? Just because a VPN is popular doesn’t guarantee that it offers superior quality. The only way to find out for sure is to test both VPNs thoroughly — which is what I’ve done for you in this article!
I tried both VPNs with various streaming platforms, torrent sites, and online games. They offer global server networks, unlimited simultaneous connections, and robust security features to protect your data. I also compared their pricing and subscription plans to determine which provides better value for money.
In my opinion, Surfshark is the better option as it has a more dependable server network and faster speeds that allow you to access your favorite sites and services without interruptions. While Atlas VPN isn’t a bad option, it has a significantly smaller server network and slower speeds, despite similar prices to Surfshark. Find out more below.
Best alternative to Surfshark
ExpressVPN’s impressively fast speeds consistently outperform Surfshark, making it an alternative that’s definitely worth considering. It’s also generally more reliable at bypassing geoblocks and works in restrictive locations like China.
Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings
|⭐ Overall Rating
|Our Score: 9.3/10
|Our Score: 8.8/10
|💲Lowest Monthly Price
|$2.89/month for the 2-year plan
|$1.64/month for the 2-year plan
|🗓️Price on Renewal
|$59.76 per year
(subject to change)
|$39.42 per year
(subject to change)
|Surfshark 82% Off (24-month plan)
|Atlas VPN 87% Off (36-month plan)
|💸Money Back Guarantee
|📺Streaming & Unblocking
|Can access Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, and more
|Works with many streaming platforms, but some websites remained blocked
|100 countries with 3,200 servers
|38 countries with 750 servers
|Max 20% speed drop, ideal for 4K streaming
|Max 57% speed drop
|Low ping for lag-free gaming, even on long-distance servers
|Decent ping on nearby locations, but faraway servers are unsuitable for fast-paced online games
|Yes, on all servers
|Yes, on all servers, but no SOCKS5 proxy support
|IKEv2, OpenVPN, and WireGuard
|WireGuard and IKEv2/IPSec
|✅ IP/DNS Leak Protection
|🏢Based in Country
|⚠️ Does VPN Keep Logs
|Works in China
|#️⃣ Number of Device Connections
|Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Chromebook, Amazon Fire Devices, Android TV, Chrome, Firefox, Brave, Edge, routers, and more
Also offers SmartDNS, allowing you to easily stream geo-restricted content on Smart TVs and game consoles
|Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, and more
|24/7 live chat, knowledge base, FAQs, and email
|24/7 live chat, knowledge base, FAQs, web form, and email
See More Surfshark Features >>
Streaming and Netflix Access — Surfshark Unblocks More Streaming Platforms
Surfshark is an excellent pick for unblocking streaming platforms. I had no problems watching my favorite shows in high quality. When testing Atlas VPN, I encountered buffering on Netflix and HBO Max and couldn’t access some streaming platforms — issues Surfshark sidestepped completely.
|✅ Yes, including popular Netflix libraries like the US, Canada, the UK, Japan, and Germany
|☑️ Yes, but some servers fail to unblock certain libraries and I experienced buffering
|☑️ Yes, but there was buffering
|Amazon Prime Video
For example, I could watch 4K videos without interruptions using Surfshark. There were no delays or stutters on both nearby and faraway servers. Unlike Atlas VPN, Surfshark had no problems accessing BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix US.
I had no issues, such as long loading times or buffering, when using Surfshark
Surfshark can also be installed on your router to cover your entire home network. This allowed me to bypass geo-restrictions and stream content on my Smart TVs and gaming consoles. It’s also worth noting that both Surfshark and Atlas VPN come with unlimited bandwidth, letting you stream without data caps.
Atlas VPN’s streaming capabilities aren’t as good. I experienced frequent buffering, especially when watching UHD videos. Switching to full HD prevented delays, but location errors still occurred. Atlas VPN also couldn’t unblock some streaming platforms, like ABC. Unfortunately, Atlas VPN lacks support for routers, too.
ABC and some other streaming websites immediately detected Atlas VPN
However, Atlas VPN’s streaming-optimized servers do a better job. I had no problems unblocking my Netflix account and several other popular streaming platforms with them. The quality was consistent, and I had no disconnects. That said, there are only 12 locations available (so the access is limited to just a few libraries).
Surfshark is a more reliable choice for unblocking streaming sites on vacation. It has impressive speeds for watching 4K videos buffer-free and has no trouble accessing popular streaming platforms.
Server Network — Surfshark Has More Servers and Better Worldwide Coverage
|Total Countries With Servers
|Number of Servers
Surfshark’s server network is significantly bigger than Atlas VPN’s. Not only are there more servers, but it also covers more locations across the world (especially across Asia, South America, Africa, and the Middle East). It also has better coverage in Australia and Oceania. A larger network means that you’re less likely to run into overloaded servers, which causes speed slowdowns.
Plus, Surfshark has specialized servers that offer you a static IP. This is an IP address dedicated solely to you — you won’t have to share it with other users (which is the case with regular VPN IP addresses). This allows you to bypass constant CAPTCHA checks and access websites that are sensitive to IP changes with ease. Atlas VPN doesn’t offer dedicated IP addresses whatsoever.
Surfshark's extensive server network provides reliable access to streaming platforms and geoblocked websites across the globe. Atlas VPN’s relatively low number of servers don’t cover as many countries and are at risk of overcrowding.
Speed — Surfshark Has Faster Speeds Than Atlas VPN
Both VPNs demonstrated fast speeds on nearby servers but experienced some slowdowns when connected to servers farther away. For reference, my base connection speed is 100Mbps download and 90Mbps upload.
Every VPN reduces your speeds due to the encryption, but I measured only a 20% drop on Surfshark’s US servers, for a final speed of 80Mbps. This was impressive as the US is several thousand kilometers away from my location.
My download speed remained high even when connected to a remote Seattle server
Atlas VPN’s nearby locations provided decent results. However, long-distance connections aren’t as fast as Surfshark’s. I measured a whopping 57% drop, almost 3 times more than Surfshark.
Atlas VPN’s Los Angeles and New York servers cut my speeds in half
|Surfshark Average Download Speed
|Atlas VPN Average Download Speed
|Surfshark Average Upload Speed
|Atlas VPN Average Upload Speed
|Connected to a US server
|Connected to a UK server
|Connected to a Netherlands server
Both VPNs performed well on nearby servers, showing only slight speed drops. However, Atlas VPN delivered poor results on long-distance connections, whereas Surfshark still managed to deliver fast speeds.
Torrenting — Surfshark Lets You Optimize for Faster Torrenting Speeds
Surfshark is an excellent VPN for torrenting as its entire server network is P2P-friendly and works seamlessly with apps like BitTorrent, uTorrent, and Transmission. The VPN also provides access to a SOCKS5 proxy and port forwarding for faster downloads.
Atlas VPN is suitable for light torrenting. I had no problems using the service with popular torrent clients, such as BitTorrent, Deluge, and qBittorrent. However, it doesn’t provide access to a SOCKS5 proxy or port forwarding, so there’s no way to improve your torrent speeds.
Surfshark has the advantage of port forwarding capability and a SOCKS5 proxy, making it the better option for fast torrenting.
Gaming — Surfshark Offers Better Ping on Long-Distance Servers
Surfshark has some advantages when it comes to online gaming, thanks to its more extensive server network — I always had plenty of nearby low-latency servers to choose from. During tests, I got impressively low ping with Surfshark, just 12ms when using the Quick Connect button. This is great for fast-paced eSports games like Rocket League and CS:GO.
Surfshark offered smooth gameplay, even on long-distance servers
Atlas VPN can be used for gaming; however, it may not be as reliable as Surfshark due to its smaller server network. This raises the risk of the closest servers being both further away and overloaded, which can impact ping considerably. However, using the Quick Connect button, my ping still hovered around 25ms, suitable for both slower-paced online games like Hearthstone or Minecraft, and more competitive games like Call of Duty: Warzone.
|Atlas VPN (WireGuard)
|Connected to a US server
|Connected to a UK server
|Connected to a Netherlands server
That being said, Surfshark offered consistently lower ping on long-distance connections. On US servers, I got a ping of 51ms, allowing me to game in American lobbies with only minimal lag. With Atlas VPN, my ping was in the hundreds — while games were playable, my experience was soured with significant lag.
Surfshark offers lower latency servers overall, especially on long-distance servers. Plus, thanks to its more extensive server network, you can count on multiple low-latency servers being closeby regardless of where you are.
Security — Surfshark Has More Security Options and Features
Surfshark and Atlas VPN provide robust web data protection. They use AES 256-bit encryption, which is the most secure standard available. Each service also offers a kill switch that cuts your internet if you accidentally lose your VPN connection.
|AES-256-GCM with ChaCha20-Poly1305 key, SHA512 HMAC authentication
|AES-256-GCM with ChaCha20-Poly1305 key, SHA2-384 HMAC authentication
|All operating systems
|All operating systems
|DNS/IP Leak Protection
|IKEv2, OpenVPN, WireGuard, and Shadowsocks
|IPSec/IKEv2 and WireGuard
|Yes, for Android and Windows
|Yes, for Android
|Private DNS servers
|Tor Over VPN servers
|RAM-only servers wipe data
|Ad & malware blocker
|Double hop servers
|Dedicated IP addresses
However, Surfshark provides additional features to enhance your privacy and security. For instance, it uses RAM-only servers that ensures your browsing data is inaccessible and automatically erased upon server reboot. If you opt for the more advanced Surfshark One bundle, you’ll also get extra features such as an antivirus, data breach monitoring, and a private web browser.
Plus, the VPN comes with a dedicated ad/malware blocker that safeguards you against malicious websites. There’s also a CleanWeb 2.0 feature that blocks annoying ads and pop-ups, along with providing malware protection on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers. Further security features include IP/DNS leak protection, MultiHop (double VPN) servers, and obfuscation (Camouflage Mode) that makes a VPN connection look like standard HTTPS traffic.
Surfshark also prevented WebRTC leaks
Atlas VPN provides SafeSwap servers that automatically rotate your IP address, making it more difficult for hackers to trace your real IP address. But this feature isn’t currently available on macOS, and there are only 3 locations to choose from — the Netherlands, Singapore, and the US.
The service also offers MultiHop+ servers that route your connection through multiple rotating VPN locations for enhanced security and privacy. But as with SafeSwap servers, you can only connect to one of two special locations. The service also lets you adjust some security settings, but the amount of customization is pretty limited.
For extra security, you need to use specialized servers
However, Atlas VPN also has an ad/tracker blocker called SafeBrowse. It uses Atlas VPN's DNS servers to block malicious websites and filter out unwanted content from your browsing experience. There’s also a Data Breach Monitor feature (similar to Surfshark’s) that lets you check if your email address has been mentioned in any known data breaches.
Both services offer robust security features and malware blockers that protect your online data. However, Surfshark lets you tweak more settings for better security. It also comes with obfuscation tech and the open-source OpenVPN protocol, which is one of the most secure available.
Privacy — Surfshark is More Trustworthy
Surfshark is based in the Netherlands, whereas Atlas VPN is located in the United States. This means that both services are based within members of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances. It’s a group of countries that may gather and share information about their citizens’ online activity.
However, Surfshark has an audited no-logs policy (by the independently-operated firm Deloitte), meaning it has been proven to not store your sensitive data. The VPN also has a “Warrant Canary” webpage that details any legal requests it has received to share user data. None of these requests have ever been fulfilled, as the no-logs policy ensures there is no data to give.
While Atlas VPN supposedly follows a no-logs policy, it has never actually been verified by an independent body. Atlas VPN also fails to be as transparent as Surfshark when it comes to detailing requests for user data.
It’s worth noting that both VPNs allow you to buy subscriptions privately with cryptocurrency (supported currencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple).
Surfshark wins this round due to its verified no-logs policy and overall commitment to transparency.
Works in China — None of the VPNs Guarantee to Be Working in China
Surfshark officially states it doesn’t work in China. Even though it offers server obfuscation and NoBorders Mode, it’s not enough to bypass the strict Chinese firewall with its advanced methods of VPN detection (including deep-packet inspection).
Altas VPN doesn’t guarantee to work in China either. The service doesn’t offer any specific features designed to bypass China's VPN blocks, so it’s overwhelmingly likely that Atlas VPN simply doesn’t work within the country.
Winner - draw
Sadly, neither VPN is reliable for accessing blocked content in China.
Installation & Ease of Use — Surfshark Can Be Installed on Routers
Atlas VPN is relatively easy to install and use, but it doesn’t support routers. This means you cannot use the VPN with most Smart TVs and game consoles. That said, it supports most major OSs, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. The apps have a user-friendly interface, making navigating and adjusting settings easy. But unlike Surfshark, it doesn’t have Smart DNS functionality.
If you want to find a specific location, Atlas VPN’s servers are conveniently grouped into two categories: privacy and streaming.
You can also easily connect to a fast server using the Quick Connect button
Surfshark apps are neat and user-friendly. The entire interface has a clean and intuitive design, making it simple to navigate. It’s also easy and quick to install — the entire process took me just a few minutes thanks to its streamlined automatic setup wizard. In addition to popular operating systems, you can install Surfshark on your router to secure all WiFi-enabled devices on your network.
You can also easily change the app’s theme and language
Both VPN providers offer the advantage of unlimited simultaneous connections, allowing you to protect all your devices using a single subscription. Additionally, their respective apps provide a range of configurable general settings related to appearance, language, and startup behaviors, all of which can be easily adjusted to suit your preferences.
Both VPNs are user-friendly, quick to set up on multiple OSs, and offer unlimited simultaneous connections. However, Atlas has no router support nor does it offer SmartDNS — meaning only Surfshark works with your Smart TVs and game consoles.
Reliability & Support — Both Offer Helpful Customer Support
|Customer Support Features
|24/7 Live chat
|Yes, but limited to paying customers only
|Step-by-step setup guides
|Yes, with video tutorials
|Searchable knowledge base
|Exhaustive FAQ section
Both VPNs provide extensive knowledge bases containing comprehensive FAQs, guides, and blogs. While Atlas VPN offers detailed screenshots, Surfshark provides additional support via video tutorials. The two services also have 24/7 live chat ready to assist you anytime.
Winner - draw
Overall, both VPNs have great customer service and offer multiple ways to get assistance.
Tips on Choosing Between Surfshark and Atlas VPN
At first glance, Atlas VPN and Surfshark appear strikingly similar, complicating the choice between them. If you're inclined to conduct your own evaluations, here's my checklist for reference:
- Extensive server network — Opt for a VPN with a large server network to reliably overcome geographic restrictions. This also ensures better speed by lessening the risk of server overcrowding.
- Fast speeds. A quality VPN shouldn’t noticeably reduce your speeds and let you stream in the highest quality with no buffering.
- Privacy and security features. Essential features include multiple secure VPN protocols, AES 256-bit encryption, IP/DNS leak protection, a kill switch, RAM-based servers, and a strict no-logs policy.
- User-friendly apps. Choose a VPN with intuitive apps compatible with major operating systems and popular devices.
- Reliable refund policy. Picking a VPN that provides a trustworthy money-back guarantee is essential in the case that you don’t like the service.