Atlas VPN review: Affordable, even offers a free plan, but is it good enough?

Ruheni Mathenge Last updated: May 11, 2022
Disclosure

A quality freemium VPN service that gets the job done.

Atlas VPN boasts of being among the few premium VPN services that offer a free version. It has robust security features, zero ads, a no-logs policy, and unlimited data. On the other hand, the paid packages are reasonably priced, making the VPN a great budget-friendly option.

It is a relatively new provider founded in 2020. The VPN has come a long way within a short time and now competes with more established services. Atlas VPN was initially available as a mobile app but has recently introduced desktop apps.

In this unbiased review of Atlas VPN, we’ll look at its different aspects like the performance, unblocking capability, user interface, and much more in detail.

JurisdictionUnited States
Lowest price$1.39
LogsZero-logs policy
SupportFAQs, email
TorrentingYes
Unblocks sitesYes
Server locations28 countries

Atlas VPN pros and cons

Here are some of the Atlas VPN strengths and weaknesses:

Pros:

  • Robust encryption
  • Automatic kill switch
  • Free version
  • P2P support
  • Unblocks most streaming platforms
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Web filters
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Small server network
  • No live chat support
  • Only a single protocol option
  • Headquartered in the US

Speed and performance: How fast is Atlas VPN?

Almost all VPNs will slow down your connection, but some can mitigate the speed loss. I measured the baseline speeds in different locations and calculated the drop-off percentage to get the most accurate picture.

Baseline: ping – 15m/s, download speed – 83Mbps, Upload speed – 22Mbps

Location Ping (m/s)Download speed (Mbps)Upload speed (Mbps)
UK 196120
US (LA) 898112
US (NY)76789
US (FL) 927211
Spain 102328
Germany177521
Australia 121227
Singapore 1143312
India 1322810
Sweden 245619

As the table above shows, the upload and download speeds you get will mainly depend on where you are. For example, the speed reduction with US and UK servers is less than 10%. However, with remote servers like in India and Australia, the connection slowed by over 70%. On the other hand, the ping rate increases as the distance gets further.

Atlas VPN servers are not the fastest in the industry. Making the matter worse, the provider does not offer a variety of tunneling protocols. This is a significant issue considering other services such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN give you more protocol options and better speed. Nonetheless, Atlas VPN is relatively new, so it will take some time to catch up.

Streaming: Does Atlas VPN unblocks Netflix?

The most significant selling point of most VPNs is the ability to bypass streaming sites’ restrictions. Therefore, this is one of the crucial things for a VPN service to get right.

We started by testing geographically restricted videos on YouTube when doing this Atlas VPN review. For example, some NBA and MLB highlights are only accessible in the United States. Connecting to US servers enabled us to stream blocked content and much more. Next, I tried the UK servers and accessed sites such as BBC iPlayer, Channel 4, and a few others.

Our subsequent test was Netflix. It is currently the biggest streaming platform and has very tough VPN blocks. Fortunately, Atlas VPN unblocks several libraries, so you can install it and access your favorite Netflix content in different regions.

The last test we did on this Atlas Pro service was DAZN. Unfortunately, this site is also notorious for blocking VPNs, including Atlas VPN. We weren’t able to unblock DAZN with it. So, if you like watching sporting events, you can check out these best VPNs for DAZN.

Does Atlas VPN support P2P sharing?

AtlasVPN P2P sharing

Most VPNs will brag about how they allow torrenting, but they don’t. However, although Atlas VPN does not have dedicated P2P servers like NordVPN, we can confirm that torrenting actually works.

While the download speed will be a bit slower than its competitors, you’ll still be able to download whatever you want. For example, it took around 30 minutes to download a 1.1 GB torrent file. However, many variables can affect the speed on your end, such as your base ISP connection. So, you need to install the VPN yourself to see how it performs realistically.

During our review, we found out that Atlas VPN’s free version also supports torrenting even though the company does not advertise it. The disadvantage is that the speeds are that great.

Atlas VPN unique features

AtlasVPN features

Besides bypassing geo-restrictions and allowing torrenting, Atlas VPN provides some other notable features. They include:

1. SafeBrowse

SafeBrowse or SafeBrowse Plus on iOS and macOS is found under the security options button. It’s an optional security feature that stops malicious websites. In fact, you’ll be denied access if you try to open a blacklisted web page.

This feature is pretty standard in the industry, and you will find it with different names on other services. For instance, NordVPN calls it a CyberSec feature.

2. SafeSwap

This is a unique feature, and you won’t probably see it on other providers. When using the SafeSwap servers, you can switch your IP address while still connected. Many VPN services will require you to disconnect from the server to connect to another one. However, SafeSwap allows you to do so while online.

What’s more, the provider offers a multitude of IP addresses, giving you many options to choose from. Remarkably, they are shared among users, and the rotation is unpredictable. This makes it difficult to trace your traffic or location.

These servers are located in the United States, the Netherlands, and Singapore. There are rumors that the company is planning to add more locations. Unfortunately, the feature isn’t available on the macOS platform.

3. Data hack detection

While this may sound like a complicated high-end technology, it’s a simple feature that checks whether your data has been compromised. Sadly, it is only available on the premium package, so free users won’t access it.

If your data has been breached, you’ll receive a detailed report of the kind of data that was exposed. This will help you know where the problem is and address it.

Is Atlas VPN safe? Security and privacy

AtlasVPN security and privacy

Atlas VPN is in the middle when it comes to security. Although it has basic features like kill switch and encryption, the tunneling protocols are minimal.

Encryption and tunneling protocols

The VPN will encrypt your connection immediately you connect to a server. Apart from changing your actual IP address, it will also scramble your data. In case your traffic leaks accidentally, no one will be able to read your information.

Particularly, Atlas VPN uses AES 256-bit encryption, which is the standard security level in the industry. In addition, it rearranges your data into random numbers, letters, and characters, making it almost impossible to crack.

Unfortunately, Atlas VPN only offers IPSec/IKEv2 option. Although this is still functional and safe, it is becoming outdated, and the company should upgrade. In addition, many services are increasingly embracing WiredGurad protocol, which is hailed for improving security and speed. 

Logging

According to its privacy policy, Atlas VPN does not store any private information. While it doesn’t mention it explicitly, the zero-logging policy also applies to the free version. So, this may be a better option than entirely free services caught stealing data and selling data to third parties without the user’s consent.

One privacy feature that is gaining ground in the VPN industry is the warrant canary. It is a document that shows whether the company has received orders to submit data to authorities. However, Atlas VPN does not have it. On the brighter side, you can get in touch with customer support to terminate your account permanently. In addition, you can ask the company to provide you with a copy of the data they have on you if you are in California.

Kill switch

Recently, the provider has added a feature that prevents leakage. It is known as a kill switch and is intended to cut the internet connection if the VPN is compromised. We tested it by blocking the router’s connection. The kill switch was swift at blocking the traffic when we interrupted the connection to the server. Thankfully, the traffic flow resumes automatically if the VPN reconnects.

Servers and locations

AtlasVPN servers

An extensive server network provides adequate global coverage, regardless of where you are. Also, it is easier to get a faster server since the traffic load is distributed evenly. Regrettably, Atlas VPN does not have too many servers. It only operates around 700 servers in 28 countries. This is a drop in the ocean compared to ExpressVPN and Surfshark, with thousands of servers.

Atlas VPN started as a free mobile-only VPN service, so the small network is understandable. However, it seems like the fleet size has remained the same even after improving its services like adding desktop clients.

Plans and pricing

AtlasVPN pricing

The provider offers a pricing structure similar to other VPN services, where longer subscriptions come with more significant discounts. For example, its 3-year package is one of the cheapest in the industry, making it a good option if you are on a tight budget.

Similar to Surfshark, it doesn’t limit the number of connections on a single subscription. In addition, the plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free. At the end of the period, you can ask for a refund if you feel the service isn’t exemplary for you. Fortunately, it supports various payment methods, including PayPal, Google Pay, and credit cards.

Free version

Atlas VPN is among the few providers that offer a free version. It stands out from the rest as there is no data cap and has a no-logs policy. Unfortunately, you can only use three server locations in the US, Australia, and Japan. In addition, you won’t be able to use features such as 24/7 support, streaming-optimized servers, SafeBrowse, and unlimited simultaneous connections.

User interface: Is Atlas VPN easy to use?

In this section, we’ll look at the interface’s layout on both mobile and desktop devices.

Android

This was the first app that Atlas VPN introduced. It has a minimalist interface, giving you a smooth user experience. In terms of features, it has a system-wide kill switch and SafeBrowse. Also, the Data hack detection feature will enable you to check if your email appears in any data breaches. Generally, this is a robust app that you can use every day.

iOS

It isn’t easy to differentiate between the Android and iOS apps because they look and feel similar. The only difference is the name assigned to the SafeBrowse feature. For example, it is called SafeBrowse on Android and SafeBrowse Plus on iOS. However, this is not something that will change the user experience.

Windows

The desktop app copies the design of the mobile apps as they came much earlier. Regardless, it is easy to use and navigate to find what you want. The only issues we experienced were display connection errors and occasional freezes.

Since the server network is modest, a quick search function may not be necessary. Instead, it is straightforward to browse through the server list to choose the one you want.

One of the most outstanding features is the in-built two-factor authentication. This means you’ll receive a code in your mail every time you try to log in with a new device. Although it may seem like a tedious process, this adds an extra security layer.

macOS

The user experience on the macOS app is also seamless. Overall, the text is readable, although the image and text scaling may require some polishing. I noticed that the VPN would connect to the nearest server if you don’t explicitly choose the one you want. Also, there is an option to switch between dark and light modes.

Customer support

Atlas VPN customer support isn’t reliable compared to its competitors. However, the FAQ section provides workarounds and explanations to address various technical issues. Sadly, there aren’t 24/7 live chat or phone options. So, the only way to contact the customer agent is through email.

Bottom line

Atlas VPN is worth trying if you are looking for an affordable service to protect your data and encrypt your connections. It has native apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android, which are effortless to install and use. In addition, as you have seen in this Atlas VPN extensive review, this VPN can unblock several streaming services such as Netflix.

But, it does not have clients for routers, Smart TVs, Roku, Fire Sticks, and other devices, unlike top market players. Also, the provider only offers one VPN protocol and is not among the fastest VPNs available today. So, Atlas VPN needs to lift its game to become a top VPN. Nevertheless, being a new kid in the town, it’s evolving impressively and is a good choice for users who prefer simple-to-use use.

FAQs