Atlas VPN is a relatively new provider founded in 2019 that claims to have more than 6 million users. In 2021, it became part of Nord Security, which also makes our current top-rated VPN, NordVPN.
Given that pedigree, I had high expectations going into this review. Some of the questions I sought to answer include:
- How fast is Atlas VPN?
- Is Atlas VPN secure and private?
- Does Atlas VPN work with streaming services like Netflix and iPlayer?
- Can Atlas VPN bypass censorship in places like China?
- Is Atlas VPN good value for money?
Unlike NordVPN, Atlas VPN has a free tier. You only get access to three locations (Los Angeles, New York, and Amsterdam) with the free tier, and data is capped at 2GB on mobile and 10GB on desktop.
For this review, however, I’ll be testing Atlas VPN’s premium subscription, which grants access to faster servers optimized for streaming and privacy.
I summarized my review of Atlas VPN below. Keep reading for more detailed answers to the questions above.
Atlas VPN key data
|OVERALL RANK: #9 of 53|
|Average Speed*:||247 Mbps|
|Video Streaming Support:||4K UHD|
|Other Streaming Services:||Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer|
|Log Policy:||No logs, but could be more explicit|
|Value for Money||
|Lowest Monthly Cost:||$1.99 (3-year term)|
How does Atlas VPN compare to other popular VPNs?
The table below gives a side-by-side summary of the major features found in competing VPNs:
|No value||Atlas VPN||NordVPN||Surfshark|
|Average Speed||247 Mbps||369 Mbps||324 Mbps|
|Encryption type||AES-256-bit||256-bit AES||256-bit AES|
|Kill Switch Windows only|
|Records identifying logs|
|Unblocks Netflix US|
|Unblocks Amazon Prime|
|Unblocks BBC iPlayer|
|Lowest monthly cost||$1.99 per month||$3.29||$2.49|
|Money back guarantee||30 days||30 days||30 days|
Atlas VPN pros and cons
- Works great with streaming services
- Strong security
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- No identifying logs
- Fast speeds
- Poor customer service
- Doesn’t work in China
- Doesn’t accept cryptocurrency
- No support for routers, Linux, or Fire TV
- Missing some useful features like split tunneling
Speed: Is Atlas VPN fast?
In total, Atlas VPN operates 750 servers across 31 countries.
Atlas VPN averaged 247 Mbps download speed across all the servers and locations we tested. Here are the results broken down by region:
- North America: 349 Mbps
- Europe: 180 Mbps
- Asia: 212 Mbps
Those are very good speeds indeed, placing it among the fastest VPNs we’ve reviewed, behind NordVPN and IPVanish.
Our tests were run on the Wireguard protocol. We measure download speeds to servers located in North America (nearest), Europe, and Asia at various times of the day to get an average result. All tests are performed using the provider’s Windows app from the USA on a 1Gbps connection.
Our tests aren’t definitive, and only offer a general indication of the performance you might see in practice. The internet is inherently volatile, which adds a randomness factor to speed test results. Depending on your base internet speed, you may see larger discrepancies in speeds when connected to the VPN.
I was able to live stream video in HD without buffering and play online games on nearby servers without too much lag. I experienced occasional timeouts when loading websites and video streams, but connections were stable once established.
VoIP connections were less stable. Video calls frequently dropped out or were delivered in poor quality. If you need a VPN for VoIP apps like Zoom and Skype, you may want to look elsewhere.
Apps: what devices work with Atlas VPN?
Atlas VPN allows you to connect an unlimited number of devices on a single account, which makes it a great option for a family or group or housemates with a lot of devices.
Apps are available for the following operating systems:
- Windows 10 or newer
- iOS 13 or newer
- Android 6 or newer
- macOS 10.15 or newer
At the moment, there are no apps or support for Linux, Fire TV, or routers. There are also no browser extensions (sorry, Chromebook users).
The apps work similarly across desktop and mobile interfaces, with all of the same features available in both. I found the apps to be simple and intuitive—a solid option for VPN novices.
Atlas VPN doesn’t use passwords. Instead, when you sign in to any of the apps, a one-time code is sent to your email address that you must enter into the app. Although one-time codes are more secure than passwords in most cases, some users might find the process a pain.
Annoyingly, every time I went through the sign-in procedure, I had to uncheck a box asking me if I wanted to receive news and promotions about Atlas VPN—something that is usually only done once when I first sign up for a VPN. I inevitably forgot once or twice during the review process, resulting in unwanted emails from the company.
The Home menu includes a list of servers to connect to. I’ll go into more details about Atlas VPN’s servers further down.
The Assistant tab only has one feature for now: the Tracker Blocker. It stops persistent cookies from being stored on your browser, thereby preventing tech companies from monitoring your web activity. I’ve seen tracker blockers in other VPN apps before, but Atlas VPN actually shows you live stats on how many trackers are blocked and from which domains. With it enabled, the tracker blocking extension I have installed on my web browser didn’t detect any tracking cookies, indicating Atlas VPN blocked them before they reached my browser. It’s a nice touch, but also something you can get for free elsewhere.
The same tab on the mobile app additionally has a Data Breach Monitor, which alerts you if your email was exposed in a data breach. Again, it’s a nice bonus, but you can do the same thing for free over at HaveIBeenPwned.
The Settings tab is where you’ll toggle the kill switch, change protocols, and enable automatic startup. But that’s the extent of how much you can tailor your experience.
Customization is not Atlas VPN’s strong suit. One absent option I would like to see is a toggle to allow local networking. As it stands, you might not be able to access printers, smart home devices, or other devices on your home network while the VPN is connected.
Furthermore, there is no way to set custom DNS servers, forward ports, or split tunnel traffic. These aren’t vital but would be welcome additions.
Streaming, Netflix, and Kodi
Does Atlas VPN unblock Netflix?
Yes, I was able to access both Netflix US and UK through Atlas VPN’s streaming-optimized servers.
In fact, during my testing, there was nothing that Atlas VPN couldn’t access. At a time when streaming services do their best to block VPN users, this is an impressive feat.
Kodi users can install the Android version of Atlas VPN on devices that have access to Google Play, but there’s no dedicated Android TV or Fire TV apps yet, nor apps for Linux distros like OpenELEC. On compatible devices, however, Atlas VPN works well with any Kodi add-on.
Does Atlas VPN allow torrenting?
Yes. Atlas VPN maintains a zero-logs policy, so that all of your downloads are private. This means Atlas VPN cannot link what you do on the VPN to your identity even if it wanted to do so.
All of Atlas VPN’s apps come with a kill switch. If the VPN connection should drop out at any point, the kill switch will kick in, halting all internet traffic to and from your device until the VPN connection is restored. This safeguard prevents you from exposing your real IP address and downloads should the VPN unexpectedly disconnect for any reason, making it a good VPN for torrenting.
Security and logging
As mentioned above, Atlas VPN has a no-logs policy. Specifically, it does not record your online activity or your real IP address.
Atlas does admit to collecting the following:
- Coarse location (city scale)
- App events, such as when you change app settings, open the settings screen, or start a trial
- A random identifier generated by Atlas VPN and a signed token on your device
- Basic device data such as device type, model, brand, OS version, device ID, language, and time zone.
- Attribution analytics to track install source and traffic source
- Advertising IDs
Atlas VPN has two protocols to choose from: Wireguard and IKEv2. Both are solid, secure protocols, but you’ll probably get better speeds out of Wireguard.
The encryption specs are as follows:
- AES-256-bit or ChaCha20 channel encryption
- SHA-384 or Poly1305 authentication
- Perfect forward secrecy
- BLAKE2s is used for hashing
- Noise framework forward secrecy (Wireguard only)
If that doesn’t mean anything to you, don’t worry. Atlas VPN’s encryption meets all of our standards and should be sufficient for any user.
AtlasVPN uses its own private DNS servers. The apps didn’t suffer from any IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks during my tests.
In fact, Atlas VPN does something pretty special that I’ve not seen in any other VPNs: it assigns me an IPv6 address. Most VPNs protect from IPv6 leaks by cutting off IPv6 connectivity entirely, forcing all requests over the aging IPv4 network. But Atlas VPN’s willingness to give users access to IPv6 while simultaneously protecting from leaks is a forward-thinking detail that I really appreciate.
For added privacy and anonymity, SafeSwap servers let me access the internet from a different IP address that automatically rotates every time I navigate to a new website or app. The IP address issued to me by the SafeSwap server changes continuously, making my online activity more difficult to track.
Atlas VPN is a brand of Peakstar Technologies, which is based in the US. In 2021, Atlas VPN was acquired by Nord Security, the maker of NordVPN incorporated in Panama. Being based in the US might put off some users wary of intrusive surveillance and gag orders, but Panama has no mandatory data retention directives.
In a statement about the acquisition, Nord said: “Going forward, Atlas VPN will become a part of Nord Security’s corporate structure and as a result, it will be required to adhere to the cybersecurity firm’s core principles of transparency and trustworthiness set by other Nord brands. This also means that Atlas VPN will undergo regular third-party audits.”
Does Atlas VPN work in China?
No, there is no guarantee that Atlas VPN works in China, and support staff told me there are no set plans to add such a capability in the near future. China blocks most VPN connections to prevent users from bypassing state-imposed censorship.
If you’d like a VPN that can bypass the Great Firewall, check out our list of the best VPNs for China.
Is Atlas VPN’s customer service any good?
I found Atlas VPN’s customer support lacking. Our top-rated VPNs all offer live-chat support on their website, and many of them run 24-hours per day.
Atlas VPN’s support consists of a barebones knowledge base and a single email address. There’s no live chat or phone number.
I sent two emails to Atlas VPN’s support. I received a response to one question in about eight hours. I never received a response to my other request.
I tried to take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee at the end of my review. Frustratingly, there’s no easy way to cancel the plan on the website.
I emailed the support address with my account ID to get my money back. No one responded, and about a month later, I was charged for two months of service. When I complained, I was only refunded one month.
Suffice to say, the billing issues were enough to put me off of the service and I suggest avoiding Atlas VPN until it has a proper and convenient cancellation process in place.
Atlas VPN pricing
Atlas VPN has a free tier and a paid tier. Although I spotted some outdated mentions of a seven-day free trial, the free tier doesn’t seem to expire. You get access to three server locations and data is capped at 2GB and 10GB per month on mobile and desktop, respectively.
Atlas VPN Premium gives you access to the full range of servers, including those optimized for streaming and the SafeSwap servers, with no limits on bandwidth.
At time of writing, customers can get a discount on Premium if they sign up for a longer term:
- 1 month = $10.99 (GBP £8.26)
- 1 year = $3.29 per month (GBP £2.47)
- 3 years = $1.99 per month (GBP £1.49)
Atlas VPN accepts credit cards, Google Pay, and PayPal. No cryptocurrencies for now. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, although as mentioned above, I struggled to take advantage of it.
Do I recommend Atlas VPN?
Yes, but not for everyone. It’s particularly well suited to streaming. If you frequently travel abroad but want to keep watching your favorite shows online, Atlas VPN is a great option. A single plan allows unlimited simultaneous connections, so it’s also a great choice for a family or group of housemates.
On the downside, Atlas VPN doesn’t work from China. It currently only makes apps for the four major operating systems, so Linux, router, and Fire TV VPN users should look elsewhere for now. The apps it does have are a little light on features. Lastly, I found the customer support to be unresponsive and unfaithful to AtlasVPN’s money-back guarantee.
Atlas VPN coupons
Atlas VPN alternatives
Atlas VPN is a competent provider that’s especially well suited to streaming, but it lacks a few features and capabilities found in its rivals.
NordVPN, whose parent company also owns Atlas VPN, is a perfect example. It’s just as secure and good at streaming, but with faster speeds and a fuller feature set. It also works in China and supports a wider range of devices.
Surfshark is another great option that offers fast servers, strong security, and access to most streaming services. It keeps no logs and works in China. Like Atlas VPN, Surfshark allows me to connect an unlimited number of devices.