If you've never heard of Atlas VPN, it's probably because it was established in 2019, which is much more recent than some of the bigger names out there. But less exposure doesn't always mean less quality, and that's mostly true with this VPN.
It's a US-based provider that advertises itself as a VPN with "enhanced privacy and safety." It runs on computers and phones in a clean design that's easy to instantly understand. I've used it off and on since it came out, and overall, it's very usable and easy to understand even if you're not familiar with how VPNs work.
How's it different from other VPNs? There's no limit to how many devices can use your account at once, and there's a completely free version. All you need is an email address to use the free app; you're not asked for payment information.
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- One of the cheapest VPNs available
- Includes a free version
- Doesn't limit data usage if you pay
- Works with torrents, Netflix, and other sites
- One account serves unlimited devices
- No need to remember a password
- Extremely easy to use and understand
- Servers are spread through several countries
- Desktop app updates in-place
- Extra security features
- Logs your general location
- Based in the Five Eyes
- Fewer server choices than other VPNs
- Windows app requires at least Windows 10
- No dedicated IP addresses
- Doesn't work with Hulu from a computer
- Inconsistent pricing across platforms
- Only the mobile app supports split tunneling
- Doesn't confirm IP address change
- Other VPNs are easier to cancel
Short Answer: Anywhere from $2.05-$10.99 /month depending on the device you sign up from and the plan length. There's also a free version.
Atlas VPN is extremely inexpensive compared to most other providers (ExpressVPN is $8 /month).
Here are your options if you're a new user and you pay from their website without a discount code:
- $10.99 /month (if you pay for one month)
- $7.69 /month (if you pay $92.32 for one year)
- $5.50 /month (if you pay $131.88 for two years)
Here are discounted prices that the website defaults to if you don't remove the atlaswelcome coupon code that's pre-entered for new users, or if you use our link:
- $10.99 /month (if you pay for one month)
- $3.29 /month (if you pay $39.42 for one year)
- $2.05 /month (if you pay $49.19 for two years)
There's also a student discount you can grab for an extra 10% off if you're in the US or the UK.
So why is it so much cheaper than some VPNs? We'll get deep into it further on down the page, but a few reasons are that they don't offer as many servers, apps, or features as some of the more expensive VPNs. Another big one is because of the two-year or three-year option (both are seen at different times of the year) that significantly reduces the per-month cost.
However, there's a strange exception if you buy directly from the mobile app instead. When we first started using the service in 2021, the price we paid from the mobile app was one number, and then if we signed out and pretended to be a new user, the per-month cost was slightly higher. We're not sure why, but we do know there isn't a standard price across all the apps and they're not forthcoming on whether pricing is for first-time users only or everyone. Fortunately, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee you can take advantage of if you end up deciding that you paid too much.
One thing to be aware of is that paying doesn't require a user account, so be sure to sign up with a real email address you'll always have access to. To log in on other devices, you'll get a code emailed to the account on file, which needs to be entered into each app. We'll look at this more in the app reviews below.
Since your only real connection to premium is an email address instead of a user account like most VPNs offer, there isn't an area of their site where you can log in to adjust payment information or cancel your plan. If you bought Atlas VPN from their site, you have to email support to make changes. You can use your phone's app store to manage the plan if it was purchased that way.
To buy from their website, enter a credit card number or choose the Google Pay, PayPal, or (e.g., cryptocurrency options. Your phone's built-in app store is another way to order. If you're looking for more flexible payment options, like gift cards or cash, check out PIA and Mullvad.
Short Answer: Yes, but compared to the premium version, you're limited to just a few locations, and monthly traffic caps out at 5 GB.
It's no surprise that since you can pay for this VPN, there are some advantages to doing so. What we've gathered after using the mobile and desktop apps is that the most important differences between the free and paid app are speed, server choices, and data limit. The same site unblocking (including Netflix) are allowed in the free version.
The clearest perk to paying for this service is unlimited monthly traffic. Free users cap out at 5 GB. This does refill every month, so it can still be useful for some situations if you use it wisely.
We tested the speed of the desktop app in its free state (we weren't logged in to our premium account) and then ran another test after logging in. You'll see in our speed tests below that the free app had a slightly slower ping response but the download speed was actually a bit faster than the premium version. So, it's hard to say that the free app is significantly different than premium when it comes to speed.
Another obvious benefit to subscribing is the additional servers. Instead of having just three locations to choose from in the free app, you get access to all 42 countries. However, since the free servers are in the US and Netherlands, you still get to cloak your IP address and unlock Netflix titles and other services from those locations. If you need a free VPN with more than just a few country selections, check out TunnelBear.
Aside from the clear advantage of the premium app being able to use a server from all of those places, you might land on one that isn't being used by very many users and can provide faster speeds than a free server that the non-paying users are bogging down.
According to the app, non-paying users don't get support and the free app might show ads, but we didn't find either to be true. In fact, their support team responded to us within 30 minutes the first time we contacted them, and we emailed back and forth several times without ever being told that we couldn't because we hadn't paid. So it's hard to believe that they're actually serious about it being a pay-only feature.
On the other end of it, after being a subscriber for several days, it took up to 48 hours to get a response. The bottom line here is that it seems like they're not prioritizing anybody, even if you're a paying user.
As for the free app not being ad-free...we never actually saw anything but promotions. They told us that free users might receive ads within the app itself, but not on web pages they visit. The only things we've noticed that can be considered advertisements are pop-ups prompting you to buy the full version.
Lastly, free users don't get the email breach finder in the mobile app. It's not really a VPN function anyway, though, so it's really just a privacy perk for paying customers.
If you use the mobile app, you can grab a free trial of the premium service.
Short Answer: The websites you visit aren't logged and so it doesn't know what you're doing on the VPN, but it does collect a handful of data on you (like location details) and it's part of the Five Eyes surveillance coalition.
Being a relatively new company, privacy should absolutely be a concern. Unlike some VPNs that have a long history you can look back on to see how user data has been dealt, you have to simply rely on their word for this one.
We know they were absorbed by Nord Security in 2021 (the makers of the popular NordVPN service), and are headquartered in the US state of Delaware. Being in the US means, of course, that the US has jurisdiction over them, something that could be of concern due to the Five Eyes.
However, they're super clear in their terms of service that they're a no-log VPN:
Atlas VPN adheres to a strict no-logs policy. It means that when you are connected to our VPN no information, which could identify what you browse, view or do online, is stored. We do not collect information that would allow us to trace Internet usage on Atlas VPN back to individual users. Only very limited data is processed in order to comply with applicable laws and provide Services to you.
This is important. If you could leave a trail of who you are when using their VPN, then privacy goes right out the window. The "limited data" part, however, isn't super clear. What's limited to them might be too much for you.
Here's a rundown of everything Atlas VPN collects from you if you're a paying customer:
- Your email address
- Basic app usage (e.g., if you change any app settings)
- Device data (model, OS version, time zone)
- The city your device is in
- Your real IP address
- The sites you go to
- Data you send or receive over the VPN
One area of their ToS that raised a red flag at first is where they say that they have the right to terminate your account if they find that you're infringing on someone's copyright. This is completely understandable in normal circumstances, but since they claim not to know what you're doing on the VPN, also claiming to shut down your access if you do something specific doesn't make much sense.
When we asked them about that, it turns out they're relying on the honor system:
Atlas VPN condemns the use of any illegal activities, thus every user is required to agree to the terms mentioned in our TOS section. Nonetheless, due to our no-logs policy, we would not be able to identify any infringements, and the result of account termination can only occur if such circumstances are revealed through the users' end.
As for data retention, any information they have on you is kept as long as you have an account, but they might save it longer according to their own data retention rules (but they don't specify exactly how long). If you want to delete your information from Atlas VPN, you can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Atlas VPN's Warrant Canary page updates each day with three numbers that can help inform your opinion about the company's overall dedication to your privacy: National Security letters, gag orders, and warrants from government organizations.
Seeing a number listed on the warrant canary page doesn't really mean a whole lot, though, because they don't collect your real IP address or the sites you visit. This means even if they received a warrant for a user's information, there's not a lot that could be revealed about you.
Short Answer: They've never been hacked and our tests show that there are no DNS leaks when using the desktop or mobile app.
The company hasn't publicly detailed any hacks or breaches, but that doesn't mean much. Here's how they responded when we asked:
There were no hacks nor any of the governmental institutions ever requested our users' data. Even if any particular entity requests it, there's no identifiable information to provide on our end - we do not collect information that would allow us to trace Internet usage on our VPN back to individual users.
To be clear, again, the company has only been around since 2019. There haven't been that many opportunities (compared to older VPNs) to have its servers compromised. Their track record so far is still good news, but only time will tell how secure it really is.
Another way to check the security of Atlas VPN is to see if DNS leaks are detected. If they are, then it's possible that other companies could see what you're doing online even while we're on the VPN. This is a huge no-no for anyone looking for an ultra-private VPN.
The best way to test for this is with third-party tools. Some VPNs provide their own DNS leak tester but since there isn't one from Atlas VPN, we used the one hosted by DNSLeakTest.com.
We ran the test before connecting to the VPN:
And then we ran the same test immediately after connecting to a server in Germany:
Fortunately, the test verifies that Atlas VPN does not suffer from DNS leaks. The results show that DNS requests (the websites we visit) are not leaking, or in other words, are being contained within Atlas VPN's encrypted tunnel like they should be. This is true for both the desktop and mobile app.
Short Answer: There are hundreds of servers. The app lets you pick from 48 locations in 42 countries.
Atlas VPN provides over 1000 servers in 48 locations across Europe, North America, South America, Asia, and Australia. That links shows which ones support each protocol, which are P2P friendly, and which are available as SafeSwap servers, as Atlas VPN calls them. SafeSwap servers have a pool of IP addresses that constantly change while you're connected to further anonymize the connection.
Having several servers to choose from is helpful for a few reasons. Generally, the closer a server is to your real location, the faster it'll be, so if you're not getting the speeds you want, using a different server could help. Accessing geoblocked websites and services is another reason it's nice to have multiple choices.
Unfortunately, Atlas VPN simply doesn't compare to the server networks offered by most other VPNs. Some, like NordVPN, have thousands of more servers in dozens of countries.
Short Answer: We got it to work with several streaming sites from the desktop and mobile app, with the exception of Hulu which wouldn't load videos because it detected the desktop VPN (mobile worked fine).
- Netflix: Yes
- Hulu: Yes
- Disney+: Yes
- BBC iPlayer: Yes
VPNs are commonly used to access websites that are under geographical restrictions, meaning that they only work from certain parts of the world. Since a VPN gives you an IP address from a different location, you might be able to get it to unblock websites that aren't available where you live.
Atlas VPN has a bunch of servers in several countries, so it should be enough to unblock nearly anything, so we put it to the test. Their website lists some sites that it claims to unblock, including Netflix, HBO, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and Amazon Prime.
We were able to stream YouTube no problem from several locations, as well as Disney+ from the US and BBC iPlayer from the UK. Netflix detected the VPN and wouldn't let us watch anything, but it only happened once, and disconnecting and reconnecting was enough to make it work several times in a row.
Here's an example of a TV show on Netflix that's only available when you're connected to a German server:
You can see here that switching Netflix libraries actually does work with this VPN because when we turned over to a US server, that library is loaded instead and the above show isn't available:
Hulu, on the other hand, didn't work at all from the desktop app and instead detected the VPN, telling us to disable it if we wanted to stream any videos. We tried all the US servers Atlas VPN supports, and none of them could get around it. The mobile app, however, let us load Hulu videos just fine.
It's hard to fault Atlas VPN for this because they don't actually say that their VPN blocks Hulu, but if that's a feature you want from your computer, you'll have to try a different VPN that has proven to unblock Hulu, such as VyprVPN.
Short Answer: Paid users get unlimited bandwidth, meaning you can use it as much as you want without ever hitting a limit. Free users are limited to 5 GB per month.
One of the biggest differences between a paid VPN and one that's available at no cost is how much data you're allowed to use. Some have a daily limit or will make you wait a whole month before your data allotment resets. Atlas VPN is similar. While it is an unlimited bandwidth VPN for subscribers, non-paying users are restricted to 5 GB per month, meaning that's how much data you can upload and download while it's enabled.
Unlimited data is great news for anyone who normally doesn't monitor their data usage. Whether you've got the VPN on your phone or computer, a paid subscription works the same no matter how many emails you send or receive, how large of videos you upload to your online backup service, how many songs you stream or download, or whatever else you choose to do. You won't get kicked off the VPN for using too much data, nor will you even know how much you're using since it doesn't show you those stats.
No-cap data usage used to be true for the free app as well, but they ended that within two years of launching the service.
Keep in mind, however, that just because Atlas VPN doesn't limit your data, it doesn't also mean that your ISP won't. In other words, if the company you pay to have internet access on your phone or in your house has a monthly data limit, that still applies even though you're using a VPN.
For example, if you're only allowed 25 GB per month on your phone, a VPN—even an unlimited one like this one—will stop working if your ISP cuts off your data for surpassing their limits. This is because a VPN isn't a replacement for your normal internet connection.
Short Answer: Our tests show a download speed as fast as 115 Mbps on a network that normally maxes out at around 125 Mbps (this equates to a 7% loss). Paying users are said to experience faster speeds than free users, and our experience shows that's likely true.
Atlas VPN claims to offer the "fastest speeds on the market." To test this, we measured the difference from our baseline (no VPN) with the speeds we got when we were using the VPN, and then we compared results between the free and premium app to see if they impose any limits on non-paying users.
Let's start with a quick look at how our speed test compares to other VPNs we've tested. As you can see, Atlas VPN retained slightly less of the original download speed (i.e., it suffered a greater loss), than TunnelBear, Mullvad, and ExpressVPN.
Before we look at all the numbers, remember that it's common for a VPN to make your internet slower; the goal for most people is to find the one that slows it down the least. Even Atlas VPN admits that you might notice a 20% drop.
Here are our normal speed results that were taken before we turned the VPN on:
- Download: 123.17 Mbps
- Upload: 24.79 Mbps
- Ping: 3ms
Following are speed tests that we made while connected to the VPN, specifically to a server automatically chosen as the fastest one available for our location (Midwest US):
It's clear that we got close to our ISP-given speeds. One way to think about these numbers is to realize that the VPN used over 90% of our typical download speed. Our fastest download on the VPN (115 Mbps) wasn't too far off from our fastest pre-VPN speed (124 Mbps).
So, what about the free app? Is it actually slower than the premium one? To see, we ran the same speed tests that we did above with the premium app, but we were forced to pick from a smaller selection of servers (since free users are limited).
Here are those results:
We contacted support to ask about speed limits, and they said that because of the few servers you can choose from in the free app, you won't always get on to the fastest one. This seems true according to our tests.
To be clear, these speeds aren't terrible. In fact, they're actually pretty good compared to some of the other VPNs we've used. But if our results are true for you, too, expect to experience a drop in speed like they claim, but don't expect the same speeds we received if your baseline is higher or lower.
Short Answer: Yes, torrents are supported from every location.
Torrent users need an unlimited data VPN like this one to avoid quickly hitting monthly data caps. Fortunately, Atlas VPN says that P2P traffic is supported by their servers, and we confirmed this in our tests.
Since it's not clear which servers can use torrents, we tested all supported regions and can verify that none of them blocked the traffic.
Short Answer: There's an app for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV.
This VPN works on these platforms:
- Windows 10 and newer
- macOS 10.15 and newer
- Android 5 and newer
- iOS/iPadOS 13 and newer
- Android TV
- Amazon Fire TV
A Chrome extension is apparently in the works as well.
Since Atlas VPN supports simultaneous connections on unlimited devices, you can install it on as many supported phones and computers as you want. Something we really like about this is that you don't have to use a password on each device. Just type the email address you used when signing up and then enter the code they email you, or click the link, and you'll immediately get logged on as a premium user.
The main screen in the desktop app is for selecting a server and enabling and disabling the VPN. Use the button off to the right to turn it on and off, and scroll through the list on the left to choose any of the servers to connect to.
As you can see, the servers are separated into three categories so it's easy to find ones that are best for streaming or privacy. The Streaming servers are said to be optimized for 4K streaming. Privacy Pro lists SafeSwap servers which the app claims lets you access the web from multiple IP addresses at the same time, and MultiHop+ servers is supposed to make it possible for you to connect via multiple different servers in different countries.
The Assistant tab has nothing to do with VPNs, but does include some extra security options: Tracker Blocker and Data Breach Monitor. The former is supposed to block dangerous websites and stops third-party cookies from tracking your web browsing habits. The latter can be used to check if an email address has been included in any known data breaches.
Apart from those settings are really only a few other options. One is for if you want the app to launch automatically each time your computer starts up. If you're using the paid version with unlimited traffic, this is a pretty easy decision to make if you want constant protection.
You'll also use the settings to log in to your premium account (if you have one) and to check the expiration date for your plan. When you enter your email address to enable premium, you'll get an email like this one where you need to click the button to verify and log in your account (there's also a code you can copy, which is good if you're logging in to a device where you don't have access to your email):
The kill switch toggle, protocol options, and a few other things like enabling analytics and "Close to tray" are available in the settings as well. By default, the kill switch is turned off and the protocol selection is set to Auto, but you can switch between IKEv2 and WireGuard.
Something we like about the desktop app that not even all well-known VPNs support is the ability to upgrade the software from within the program itself. This makes it really easy to stay on top of new features and security improvements. If you have to go out to the website each time an update is available, it'll discourage most people from getting the freshest updates. The settings is where you can check for and apply any updates.
However, a clear advantage that other desktop VPNs have over this one is that they typically offer more than one security-related option. While a kill switch is supported from the settings, DNS leak protection and split tunneling would be nice here, too.
Much like the desktop app, Atlas VPN on mobile devices has a server selection screen that shows all the locations you can connect to. The settings are bare enough that you won't get overwhelmed deciding what to customize. This is true even despite the fact that there are a few parts of the app that we think are pretty pointless.
There isn't a lot to do in this app but that's why it excels. The main screen is for selecting a server; you have free reign to choose anything from the list if you're a paying customer, otherwise, you get three options listed at the very top that are free to use.
Other tabs are positioned along the bottom:
- The Assistant screen is related to your privacy but it has nothing to do with VPNs, though you might still find it useful. Tracker Blocker lets you block third-party cookie tracking. Data Breach Monitor has you enter an email address to see if it's included in any known data breaches. If so, you'll be given a list that describes when the breach occurred and what was compromised (whether it was names, passwords, etc.). Free users can see just the most recent one.
- Invite Friends lets you earn free premium for you and a friend if they sign up through your invite link.
- Finally, you have the settings, which include a kill switch, the option to switch between the two supported VPN protocols, and split tunneling if you want to disable the VPN for certain apps.
One thing unique about this app is that you can't use it if an update is pending. Usually, you can skip updating an app until you decide, but Atlas VPN won't even let you use it until you've downloaded the most recent version. This could be viewed as a bad thing, but since VPNs are built around privacy and security, and the only way you can stay on top of it all is through updates, this tactic isn't a bad idea.
Short Answer: Email and live chat are the easiest methods to get a hold of them.
The best way to get support is by submitting a request from this form. It will auto-create a ticket that they'll respond to over email. They can also be reached from your own email client at email@example.com, or live chat if you log in to your account on their website.
When we reached out, the information and guidance we got were...conflicting. We emailed back and forth over the course of several days and found that they were always really quick to respond. But it seemed like we had to dig a little to get the information we were after.
We asked what the speed limit is for the free version of the app, and they made it very clear and concise:
There is no speed limit using our application.
But we know that isn't true due to our speed tests and their own documentation. So we asked again:
Q: Even the free version? If I don't pay for premium, I won't have speed limits? I ask because the app says that "High Connection Speed" is only for premium users.
A: Yes, the free version has speed limitation due to limited amount of servers being available while in this mode.
That wasn't terrible support, but they definitely weren't upfront with the whole picture.
Another way to get help is through the General Info page through their help center. The information there used to be extremely outdated, with incorrect prices and vague answers that were clarified only after emailing them. However, this seems to have been fixed from what we can tell.