Atlas VPN Review (2021) – New Free VPN That’s Still Evolving
Atlas VPN is a relatively new VPN service that launched in January 2020. They offer a VPN that is, and will remain, free of charge. On top of that, they offer a premium version. The difference between these versions is that Premium gives you access to faster servers and servers that have been optimized for streaming. With the Premium version you can also choose from 32 locations instead of 3 and benefit from more security features.
Atlas VPN has quite a lot of competition since there are many other free VPNs out there. Even so, their service looks promising. They offer software for smartphones, tablets and desktop devices supporting Android, iOS, macOS and Windows.
At first, Atlas VPN logged a lot of personal user information, including your IP address. Although they no longer save your IP address, they do still log other bits of information. This is basic user data required for the application to function properly. Atlas VPN is not able to identify the user or what he does while connected to the servers.
- Torrenting allowed
- Works with Netflix
- Credit card
Speed – How fast is Atlas VPN?
The speed of a VPN is very important. It can be frustrating to work with a VPN that slows down your internet connection. Nobody wants to sit and wait for a buffering Netflix show, slow downloads, and browsers that take ages to load a web page. That is why every VPN we review is extensively tested for its speed. Atlas VPN was put to the test as well.
Speed test results Atlas VPN
We have tested our internet speed using various Atlas VPN servers. These tests were done with Atlas VPN Premium on a desktop in Western Europe. Firstly, we measured our internet speed without a VPN, so we can use that as a benchmark to compare the other results to.
Speed without a VPN (speedtest.net)
The results above show our internet speed without using a VPN.
Speed using a local Atlas VPN-server (speedtest.net)
These are the results we got when we connected to the Atlas VPN-server that was the closest to our physical location. The ping has increased slightly, as you can see, although this increase is minimal. The up- and download speeds have decreased a little.
Speed using a long-distance American Atlas VPN-server (speedtest.net)
The speed test results from speedtest.net when we used an Atlas VPN-server that was far away from our physical location (in this case a server in the USA) were surprising to us. Although the ping has increased massively, the up- and download speeds are similar to the speeds achieved by a more local server.
Speed during daily use
We decided to try out this VPN for a couple of weeks to check its performance. We used Atlas VPN during browsing, streaming, downloading, and online gaming.
The VPN performed well when we used various online apps. There was barely any lag while we went about our daily internet use. Streaming went very well too, which was surprising. YouTube videos would play without buffering. Streaming on Netflix was no trouble either, although any content that’s dependent on your geographical location can only be watched with Atlas VPN Premium. We’ll talk about this more later.
We decided to look at the download speed. Downloading torrents was no problem with Atlas VPN. Within 20 minutes we had gotten reasonably large files in.
Even when gaming, the speed was pretty good.
Overall, the results of Atlas VPN during daily use are surprisingly good.
Conclusion speed Atlas VPN
- Atlas VPN barely decreased our internet speed during daily use.
- Both local and faraway servers showed similar speeds.
- Browsing and streaming went well with Atlas VPN.
Safety – How secure is Atlas VPN?
The most important aspect of every VPN is its safety. Your data traffic will only remain hidden from onlookers as long as you’re using the right encryption and protocols. Without a proper logging policy, a provider can see everything you do online. In such cases, you don’t have guaranteed anonymity and online protection. That’s why this section of our review will focus on the safety of Atlas VPN. We take a closer look at the protocols it uses, as well as their logging policy, the option to activate a kill switch, and the data the company asks you to share with them.
In the FAQ we found out that Atlas VPN uses AES-256 bit encryption, which is protection at military level and is used by many other VPN providers. They also use SSL/TLS encryption for data transfers.
At this point in time Atlas VPN only uses IKEv2 as its VPN-protocol. This protocol is relatively fast and safe, but still, Atlas VPN is planning on using other protocols in the future as well. For example, AtlasVPN is currently implementing WireGuard.
Logging and privacy
Atlas VPN does not log the internet usage of individual users. They have a ‘no logging’ policy. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t log anything at all. Some of the data is used to improve their service and to make their Premium service available to you. They also log communication data, like your email address, when you contact their customer service.
- Data about the app’s use: including the changes you make to your settings and the date and time at which you connect and disconnect.
- Data on your device: they register what type of device you use, including information about its make, model, language, operating system, time zone, and location (city scale).
Atlas VPN adheres to US law, which means they’re subject to a “5 Eyes” country. Due to their logging policy, they claim not to have any browsing data to hand over to governments or law enforcement.
Atlas VPN offers a kill switch for iOS, macOS, Android and Windows applications. This is an extra security element to prevent data leaks.
When a VPN connection is temporarily lost, the kill switch will block all internet access, until the VPN connection is restored. The kill switch will guarantee a leak-free experience. You turn on the kill switch via Atlas VPN app settings.
If you’d like more information about the benefit of a kill switch, you can read our article “What Is a Kill Switch?”.
A VPN encrypts your internet traffic and protects your online security and privacy. Unfortunately, a VPN does not protect you from trackers. That’s why AtlasVPN has introduced the Tracker Blocker feature. It prevents third-party trackers from tracking your behavior on websites, giving you even more control over your digital privacy. Here are the benefits of the Tracker Blocker:
- Protection of your privacy.
- Blocks annoying ads pop-ups.
- Faster/better internet experience.
- Avoid malware.
The Tracker Blocker is easy to set up on your device. You can find Tracker Blocker under the “Shield” icon in the bottom menu bar of Atlas VPN. Then you can select Tracker Blocker.
What information does Atlas VPN need?
Atlas VPN is currently available for Android, iOS, macOS and Windows. If you opt to use the free version, you don’t have to create an account or submit any extra personal information.
You don’t have to create an account or submit any extra personal information or credit card details if you download the app from the App or Play Store.
If you’d like to use the Premium version, you can simply pay via Google Play or Apple’s Play Store as well. Don’t forget, however, that whenever you download an app for Android, you always use your Google account. Due to this, the app might have access to your email address and be able to link your VPN account to your device and Google account.
If you use the app on Windows, you will need and email address and a method of payment as well.
AtlasVPN has released a Data Breach Monitor that continuously monitors whether there has been a data breach on users’ email addresses.
Conclusion safety Atlas VPN
- Atlas VPN uses AES-256 bit encryption and the IKEv2 protocol.
- Atlas VPN’s logging policy claims to be “no log”, but logs quite a lot of data about your device and app use.
- Atlas VPN has a kill switch.
- Atlas VPN barely requires any personal information for you to be able to use it, but does use your Google or App Store account when paying for a premium version.
Usability – How user friendly is Atlas VPN?
The usability of a VPN plays a large part in determining our score. If a provider’s website is confusing or the software doesn’t function properly, user experience will be negatively affected. On the other hand, a VPN with great live chat support and self-explanatory software will improve user experience. We’ll be testing all of those different aspects to determine the user-friendliness of AtlasVPN in this next section.
The Atlas VPN website
The official Atlas VPN website is simple and easy to use. The homepage mainly shows comparisons between Atlas VPN and other VPN services such as CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, and Hotspot Shield. There are small sections about the different advantages of VPNs in general, although the explanations are short and not very in-depth.
Atlas VPN uses its website to give a short overview of the different features of the VPN without really going into any detail. The “About Us” section doesn’t contain a lot of information, either. A couple of (five star) reviews are shown, after which you’re encouraged to download the app. Most of the information you might want to read is available in their FAQ, which can be found under their ‘Help’ section.
Finally, Atlas VPN has an active blog on which they regularly post news articles and step-to-step guides on installing their VPN, which might be useful for new users.
Installing Atlas VPN
Atlas VPN is available for Android, iOS, macOS and Windows. We tested the software on an Android phone. Downloading the app was very easy and took no time whatsoever. The installation process goes as follows:
- Go to the official Atlas VPN website and click “Get it on Google Play” (or “Download on the App Store” if you want to use it on iPhone or iPad). You can also use the search function in your app store to find “Atlas VPN”.
- Download the app onto your phone by clicking “Install”. The download process might take a minute.
- Open the app by clicking “Open”.
You can get started immediately without having to create an account. The process is almost the same for iOS. Within minutes, you’ll be able to secure your internet connection with Atlas VPN.
Updating to Premium can be done within the app. You’ll merely have to click the button “Get Premium” and follow the steps, which include choosing a payment option and sharing your email address.
Atlas VPN’s appearance and ease of use
Atlas VPN’s app is very easy to navigate. The first screen that pops up when you open the app consists of a nice graphic and a large ‘on’ button. When you press it, you will immediately be connected to the server closest to you. In our case, that was a Dutch server in Amsterdam. The overall appearance of the app is simple and attractive.
The features available for Atlas VPN are somewhat limited. You can choose a server location by swiping up. At the left side of the screen you’ll find four tabs, one of them taking you to the app’s settings. Here you can activate the kill switch.
Aside from these more practical settings, the Atlas VPN-app allows you to view your Premium-subscription. You can also access the “Support” section, where you will find information on their privacy police, terms of service. You can also contact the help center, although this will only give you the same information as the FAQ section on the website. You will also find information on the Android and iOS app.
Pricing and methods of payment
Atlas VPN offers both a free and a premium version of its service. The difference between the two is that Premium gives you access to faster servers as well as specialized servers for streaming. The premium version also gives you access to 20 locations instead of 3 and it has more security features.
You don’t have to submit any payment details for the free version of the app. The service is and will remain free of charge.
The premium version of the app is available for just $9,99 per month, a one year subscription is $2,49 a month.
The monthly fee is considerably lower when you subscribe to their services for a longer period of time. The three years subscription is available for just $1,39 a month. This is the cheapest subscription.
Prices may however vary slightly between countries due to App Store taxes. When using Atlas VPN Premium, you can pay via credit card or Paypal.
Atlas VPN’s customer service can be contacted via email. It was difficult to find out the email address from the website. In the end, we found the email address through the FAQ page: [email protected]
You can access the FAQ page by going to “Help” via the website or by going to “Support” via the app and then selecting “Help center”.
Can’t find the answer to your question on the FAQ page? Then you can send customer service an email.
Even though the customer service claims to be available 24/7, we didn’t get a rapid response. We didn’t receive a reply until one day after we sent our email.
Conclusion usability Atlas VPN
- Atlas VPN’s website doesn’t contain a lot of information, but looks coherent and user-friendly.
- At the moment, Atlas VPN offers software for Android, macOS, iOS and Windows.
- Installing the Atlas VPN app is simple and the software is easy to use.
- The app offers few features so far.
- Atlas VPN is available for free and the Premium version is very affordable.
- Customer service can be contacted through email.
Server network Atlas VPN
A brand new VPN like Atlas VPN won’t immediately have thousands of servers, even if other providers such as NordVPN and CyberGhost do. Even so, as a VPN user you probably want at least some options. A server close to your location will help you maintain your internet speed. Aside from that, servers in specific countries could be important if you want to unblock certain online content. In the next section we will look at the various server and server locations Atlas VPN provides.
Number of servers and locations
Atlas VPN has over 700 servers in 32 different countries. Some of these servers are specifically optimized for streaming, although those are only available for premium users. This small network is a decent start, but we assume it will grow in the future.
AtlasVPN has added new servers called SafeSwap. These servers constantly rotate user’s IP addresses, providing an additional layer of privacy and security.
Here’s an overview of all Atlas VPN server locations:
|Hong Kong||Hong Kong|
|United States||Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Dallas, New Jersey, Phoenix, Las Vegas|
Every country with an Atlas VPN server only has one server location, except for the US, which has seven. In total there are server locations spread over 32 countries. The free version of the app will give you access to three different servers: New York, Los Angeles, and Amsterdam.
Atlas VPN currently doesn’t offer dedicated IP-addresses. This could change in the future, after they have developed and expanded their software. If you want more information on dedicated IP-addresses or how to use them, you can read this article.
Conclusion server network and locations
- Atlas VPN has server locations in 32 countries. In total they have over 700 servers.
- Premium users also have access to specialized servers for streaming.
- Atlas VPN does not offer dedicated IP addresses.
Atlas VPN’s options
Many people use a VPN to watch Netflix content from another country. The following section will look at Atlas VPN’s abilities to help with unblocking this specific content.
Atlas VPN and Netflix
Unfortunately, we were unable to watch Netflix content from other countries with the help of the free version of Atlas VPN, even though we were able to view all original Netflix productions. Whenever we wanted to watch a show or movie that’s only available for some countries, we were faced with an error message, claiming we were using a proxy and were therefore denied access. In short, Atlas VPN Free doesn’t seem able to unblock Netflix content.
Atlas VPN Premium did allow us to watch the American version of Netflix. The paid version of this VPN allowed us to enjoy series such as Legacies and Supernatural with an LA server. While the free servers aren’t suitable for unblocking, the premium servers are. Both kinds of servers allow you to watch Netflix films and series that are available worldwide.
Conclusion – Our experience with Atlas VPN
|Easy to install||Logs information about your device, including your location|
|Simple, user-friendly app||Currently not available for Linux|
|Free VPN option||Few features and options|
|Little personal information required to create an account||No dedicated IP-addresses|
|Decent speeds during daily use||Small server network|
|Premium version works with Netflix|
Atlas VPN is a new VPN on the market and has a unique selling point as they claim to offer a service that’s completely free of charge. On top of that, they have a Premium service. The software is easy to install and very user-friendly. You’re only one click away from being protected. The service is quite fast during daily use, as well. Finally, the Premium version of this service will give you access to the American version of Netflix.
The biggest drawback of this VPN is its logging policy. They claim they don’t log any information about you, but at the same time they state that they save data about your device (including your approximated location and time zone) as well as communication logs. Therefore, this VPN isn’t a perfect choice if you value your privacy.
On top of that, it has a limited server network. Atlas VPN only has a few features available and the website doesn’t give much information about the technology behind the VPN. Atlas VPN is a new VPN provider that is constantly working on improving their service. Chances are, it’ll grow to become an (even) better service in the future.
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