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 27 locations instead of three and benefit from more security features.
Atlas VPN Short Review
|Easy to install||Logs information about your device, including your location|
|Simple, user-friendly app||Currently not available for Linux|
|Free VPN option||Fewer features and options on desktop|
|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 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. However, their software currently doesn’t work on Linux, and some of their features and options aren’t available on desktop.
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 claims they aren’t able to identify the user or their activities while connected to the servers.
- Torrenting allowed
- Works with Netflix
- Credit card
Speed – How Fast is Atlas VPN?
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 and these are our main conclusions:
- 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.
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.
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 upload and download speeds have decreased a little.
Speed using a long-distance 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 upload 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 very 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.
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. Here are our main takeaways:
- Atlas VPN uses AES-256 bit encryption, leak protection, and has two strong protocols: IKEv2 and Wireguard.
- 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.
Atlas VPN uses AES-256 bit encryption, which provides protection at military level and is used by many other VPN providers. They also use SSL/TLS encryption for data transfers. Atlas VPN has IP leak protection (for both IPv4 and IPv6 connections), DNS leak protection, and WebRTC leak protection.
Atlas VPN uses Wireguard and IPSec/IKEv2 as its VPN protocols. These are both high-grade encryption protocols, and their adoption also shows a lot of promise from Atlas VPN. A few months ago, they only had IKEv2. To preserve its users’ safety, they also implemented Wireguard.
Recently, AtlasVPN had its first security audit. This revealed two medium-level threats that affected the Atlas VPN backend service, and three low-level threats affecting the iOS app. While it did find these minor loopholes that could be exploited in their security system, the audit was generally positive. Not to mention, the few threats it identified were dealt with swiftly by AtlasVPN.
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 they store is used to improve their service and allow users to use their Premium version, like your interaction with their site. 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: what type of device you use, including information about its make, model, language, operating system, time zone, and location (city scale).
Atlas VPN is based in the US, which means they’re subject to a “5 Eyes” country. However, their logging policy claims they don’t 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 the VPN connection is temporarily lost, the kill switch will block all internet access until the connection is restored. The kill switch will guarantee a leak-free experience. You can turn on the kill switch via Atlas VPN app settings.
If you’d like more information about the benefits 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 parties from tracking your behavior on websites, giving you even more control over your digital privacy. Here are the benefits of the Tracker Blocker:
- It protects your privacy.
- It blocks annoying ads pop-ups.
- It makes for a faster and better internet experience.
- It helps you 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.
Similarly, 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. 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 to share an email address and a method of payment.
As an extra security feature, AtlasVPN has released a Data Breach Monitor that continuously monitors whether there has been a data breach on users’ email addresses.
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, this will create a bad user experience. On the other hand, a VPN with great live chat support and self-explanatory software will improve the user experience. We tested all of those different aspects to determine the user-friendliness of AtlasVPN. This is what we found:
- 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.
The Atlas VPN website
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 goes more in-depth about the company, and the technology they use. Most of the information you might want to read is available in their FAQ, which can be found under the “Help” section.
Atlas VPN also has an active blog where they regularly post news articles and step-by-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 as well as on desktop. Downloading the app was very easy and took no time whatsoever. The installation process for Android 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. On desktop, you’ll simply have to go to the website, click “Download”, and follow the instructions for installation. 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. On 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.
Pricing and methods of payment
Atlas VPN offers both a free and a premium version of its service. 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. With the free version, you get unlimited data and bandwidth, as well as access to three server locations.
Premium gives you access to 27 locations instead of three and has more security features, unlimited simultaneous connections, faster servers, and specialized servers for streaming. The premium version of the app has three different plans:
- Three years for just $1,39 a month (billed every three years at $49,99).
- One year for $2,49 a month (billed yearly at $29,88).
- One month for $9,99 (billed monthly).
The monthly fee is considerably lower when you subscribe to their services for a longer period of time. That’s why the three-year subscription is the cheapest option: it gives a massive 86% discount on the full price. Prices may however vary slightly between countries due to App Store taxes.
When using Atlas VPN Premium, you can pay via Google Pay, credit card, or PayPal. Atlas VPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try out the service to see whether it’s to your liking. If you’d like to ask for your money back, you can contact the support team.
Atlas VPN’s customer service can be contacted via email. If you click on the “Help” section on their site, you’ll find a series of frequently asked questions and support articles. Below that, there’s a button to contact their customer support agents. The average response time for support queries is 24 hours, so it’s not ideal if you have a pressing issue. On top of that, there’s no live chat support.
Server Network Atlas VPN
A new VPN like Atlas VPN won’t immediately have thousands of servers, even if other providers such as NordVPN and CyberGhost do. 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.
These are our main conclusions about Atlas VPN’s server network:
- Atlas VPN has server locations in 27 countries. In total, they have over 750 servers.
- Premium users also have access to specialized servers for streaming.
- Atlas VPN does not offer dedicated IP addresses.
Number of servers and locations
Atlas VPN has over 750 servers in 27 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.
Atlas VPN Premium has special SafeSwap servers in The Netherlands, the USA, and Singapore. These servers constantly rotate user’s IP addresses, providing an additional layer of privacy and security. Unfortunately, SafeSwap isn’t available on macOS.
The free version of Atlas VPN allows access to three different locations:
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.
Atlas VPN currently doesn’t offer dedicated IP addresses. This could change in the future, once 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.
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, the free version of Atlas VPN didn’t allow us to watch Netflix content from other countries, 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.
Atlas VPN and torrents
Atlas VPN allows for P2P traffic and will keep you safe while file-sharing. This means you can torrent anonymously while using the servers from Atlas VPN. On top of that, the downloading speed is pretty decent, so it won’t slow down your downloads too much. Atlas VPN does underline that the use of P2P should happen responsibly.
Conclusion – Our Experience with Atlas VPN
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 drawbacks of this VPN are its logging policy and its customer support. 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. The customer support is also pretty limited.
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 its service. Chances are, it’ll grow to become an (even) better service in the future.
Personal opinions experts VPNOverview.com