AtlasVPN Review 2024 | Is AtlasVPN the Best Free VPN?
In this AtlasVPN review, we’ll explore this virtual private network (VPN) provider in-depth. Most providers require you to pay before you try out their service, but AtlasVPN offers a free version of their VPN you can install right now. Lots of free VPN services aren’t terribly reputable, so how does AtlasVPN hold up? This VPN is owned by NordVPN, so there’s a greater level of service here than you’d usually see with most free VPN services.
Stay with us, and we’ll go over all the essential aspects that sets AtlasVPN apart from other free VPN providers, such as great service, fast servers, and trustworthy technology. We’ll also go over the paid version of AtlasVPN and tell you if their premium features can keep up with the rest of the competition. There are plenty of interesting anonymizing technologies on offer from AtlasVPN, including a constantly rotating IP pool. Read our full AtlasVPN review to learn all the nitty-gritty details you need to know to decide whether it’s the best free VPN.
|AtlasVPN Key Info
|Number of Servers
|Number of Countries
|Max Devices Supported
|24/7 live chat and email
Before we explore AtlasVPN’s ease of use, compatibility, security, and pricing, let’s take a closer look at some of the key features on offer.
AtlasVPN’s SafeSwap is an enhanced set of servers that offer additional security for premium users. SafeSwap servers do this by constantly changing the IP you’re assigned on the internet while connected to a single server.
Importantly, this allows you to switch your VPN connection automatically from one IP to another without any interruption in your internet connection.
This keeps internet advertisers from tracking you across sites by constantly changing your identity while also making it far harder for hackers to zero in on your location.
AtlasVPN keeps you safe online in multiple ways, one of which is SafeBrowse. When turned on, SafeBrowse monitors each URL you visit against a list of known malware vendors and blocks any attempts to download trojans onto your computer.
SafeBrowse also keeps online trackers at bay, reducing the amount of information third party marketing companies can learn from your browsing data.
AtlasVPN maintains its own malware blacklists, which are applied at the DNS level, so you save resources by not having to download and block ads and malware in the browser.
AtlasVPN offers MultiHop servers, which increase your security by running your connection through several VPN servers one after the other. While this is a service most top-tier providers offer now, AtlasVPN goes one step beyond with MultiHop+.
This feature constantly changes the routing that MultiHop uses so that you’re never connected through the same servers for long.
Connecting this way completely scrambles network connection logs when viewed by a third party, putting users at ease that their browsing data is highly secure.
AtlasVPN’s Split-Tunneling feature allows users to selectively choose which applications and websites will use the VPN connection and which will use the regular internet connection.
With this feature, users can send sensitive data through the encrypted VPN connection for added security while sending non-sensitive data over the regular internet connection for improved performance.
This is ideal for situations where you want to access content like Netflix from one location while working from home on a non-VPN connection.
AtlasVPN’s Data-Breach Monitoring is a service offered by AtlasVPN that constantly scans the dark web for known identity theft breaches. Users can provide their email to the AtlasVPN app for a 24/7 identity theft protection service.
Once you’re signed up, AtlasVPN will check your email against new identity dumps when they occur. If your credentials pop up in a future breach, the AtlasVPN app will instantly notify you of what happened and where.
AtlasVPN has a no-logs policy that ensures the provider holds no data about the users of its system. All of your data is encrypted by AES-256, as well as ChaCha20 and Poly1305 for symmetrical encryption and decryption, as well as file verification.
This ensures that there’s no potential threat of hackers, government agents, or insiders accessing your data or tracing it back to you. This is achieved by keeping all the operating systems in RAM on top of encrypted OS disks that the servers boot from.
AtlasVPN is one of the few VPN providers that offer a free VPN version.
AtlasVPN’s free version makes it one of the best free VPN services on the market, offering single email access to Data-Breach monitoring, three server locations, and 5GB per month of bandwidth to use on their encrypted servers.
It’s one of even fewer VPN tools offering a free version with absolutely no speed cap. You’ll be using the same servers that regular AtlasVPN users access, with the same blazing speeds.
AtlasVPN allows you to access all of your favorite streaming services no matter where you are in the world, including Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, and more.
The app changes your location by routing your connection through one of its servers, allowing you to sidestep geolocation blocks without slowing down your connection or interrupting your streaming. High-speed servers ensure that you’ll be watching your favorite shows in 4K.
AtlasVPN ‘s Ease-of-Use
Getting started with AtlasVPN is extremely easy on most platforms. We took each version for a test drive and were pleasantly surprised with everything but the Linux version.
It’s easy to install and get started, whereas advanced settings and extra server options are just a few clicks away. When you’re installing AtlasVPN, there’s no password or username system.
Instead, you’ll be mailed a link to the email you signed up to AtlasVPN with, which you’ll have to click through to confirm access from the device you’re installing AtlasVPN on. This is a one-time process, but it’s a little safer than the traditional login system most people are used to.
Notably, the email popped up nearly instantly after we requested it. Some providers take ages to send password reset or two-factor authentication emails, so it’s good to see AtlasVPN makes logging in quick as well as easy.
What Devices Can I Use AtlasVPN On?
Even with free VPNs, compatibility is an important consideration when deciding whether a VPN is suitable for your needs. Here are all the details you need to know about AtlasVPN’s compatibility.
AtlasVPN’s Android version is the only one that offers Split-Tunneling, but you’ll have to use the Android device’s inbuilt Split-Tunneling to get the job done. Otherwise, you’ll find most of the other AtlasVPN features here, including:
SafeBrowse, Data Breach Monitoring, Auto-Connect, and a system-wide Kill-Switch.
The app itself is really easy to use. When you log in, you’ll need to enter a code from your email to log in so make sure you’ve got another device handy.
We appreciated being able to access the Data Breach Monitoring function from inside the mobile app. Often, data breaches are made worse by occurring during periods when we’re separated from our main devices.
It’s way harder to manage identity theft if you’re away from your computer, but the Data Breach Monitoring function just requires a single email input, and you’re covered.
SafeBrowse is also available on Android. This is one of the most useful features for VPN apps on mobile devices, as it’s far harder to manage a breach once it’s occurred. Anti-virus programs are good, but blocking malware from accessing the phone at all is better.
AtlasVPN does this by maintaining blocklists at the DNS level. This is especially important because phones have reduced computing power compared to PCs, so having a malware blocker running on the phone might slow it down.
Android TV devices
AtlasVPN is available on Android TV devices after Android 6. This includes most modern Samsung TVs, as well as Amazon Fire TVs.
You’ll get largely the same experience you get on Android mobile devices, but it’s effective if you need to change your location for Netflix or other streaming sites.
AtlasVPN on iOS won’t blow your socks off, but it works. AtlasVPN comes available from the Apple App Store, so all you have to do is download it. Like the other AtlasVPN devices, you’ll need to sign in with your email address and then confirm a login.
Once you’re up and running, it’s just one single tap to get connected to your closest server.
The app itself is extremely minimalist, boasting a clean white background occasionally brightened up by AtlasVPN’s cartoon mascot. Tracker Blocker and Data Breach Monitor premium functions are available on iOS, as well as IKEv2 for encryption.
You’ve also got access to all of AtlasVPN’s specialist servers, including MultiHop+ and SafeSwap.
There’s a tendency among iOS VPN apps to drop out sometime, but we found that AtlasVPN performed well. Even after putting it through a host of disconnection tests, we found that the Kill-Switch performed as expected, which is great for security concerns.
The Mac version of AtlasVPN isn’t all that different from the Windows one. Usually, the key difference is the lack of OpenVPN support on MacOS or the lack of IKEv2 support on Windows.
Here, both versions support IKEv2. You’ll find the same nagging adverts on the free version of AtlasVPN for Mac, but the overall visual design of the app is a little cleaner and fits well with the Mac aesthetic.
Otherwise, it’s the same as the Windows version here. We found the system-wide Kill-Switch worked through our battery of disconnection tests and couldn’t find DNS leaks thanks to AtlusVPN’s in-house stealth DNS servers.
We got our hands on the AtlasVPN client for Windows, and it works just fine. There’s a few small issues we’ll get into in a minute, but it works pretty well.
Connection speeds with IKEv2 and WireGuard are great, and it’s very easy to get connected within a second thanks to a giant auto-connect button taking up a significant portion of the screen.
When we tried out the free version of AtlasVPN, we were surprised to see all options for server locations available in the app. However, if you click on one of the non-free server locations, you’ll quickly be taken to an in-app advertisement for the full AtlasVPN experience.
While the free version of AtlasVPN is very functional, it’s hard not to feel like it’s one giant advertisement for the real thing. You can even see SafeSwap and MultiHop servers, even though they’re not accessible at all for free.
Speaking of, the server selector is very simple. Instead of a sprawling world map for you to choose locations from, AtlasVPN opts to use a browser list of locations that you can scroll through.
Helpfully, Streaming-optimized servers and Secure servers are both segregated into their own tabs. SafeSwap and MultiHop servers share a single tab.
Unfortunately, it’s not very easy to search through this list. There’s no search bar available, and without a world map, you’re left guessing where the closest server is to a location you’re interested in.
The app itself is extremely simple to connect with, but this comes at some cost to usability. Apart from the in-app ads, the free version’s completely functional. There’s a handy in-app counter which lets you know how much data you’ve got left for the month.
We found speeds remained the same when we switched over to the premium version. Both versions passed all of our IPv6, and DNS leak tests, as well as the kill switch — all performed well during our disconnection suite of tests.
Particularly, we tried to get the kill–switch to drop out while using SafeSwap and MultiHop+ servers, but we couldn’t observe any leaks through Wireshark.
AtlasVPN does offer a VPN client for Linux OSes, which puts it above many other free VPNs. Many free VPNs, if they support Linux at all, will only provide the OpenVPN config files and expect the user to do the extra work to connect to the service.
However, the AtlasVPN app for Linux doesn’t come with a graphical user interface like apps for other devices. Instead, there’s a command line interface. Most Linux users will be comfortable connecting and disconnecting from the terminal, but it’s not ideal for first-time users.
As far as features go, it’s pretty barebones compared to the other apps. You can only use the WireGuard protocol, which isn’t the worst thing in the world, but we’d appreciate a greater choice of protocols.
Standard, SafeSwap, Streaming, and MultiHop servers are all available via a connection wizard that pops up when you invoke AtlasVPN at the command line. It’s less complex than some other Linux VPN apps we’ve seen, but there are fewer options too.
There’s also no way to access the Data Breach Monitoring from the Linux app, which is unfortunate. It wouldn’t be hard to add an email feature to this app, but for now, you’ll have to use the AtlasVPN website to add your email.
There are currently no browser extensions for AtlasVPN. This is unfortunate, as being able to try out the free VPN features in the browser would be extremely quick and easy.
In the future, we may see a Chrome or Firefox extension, but for now, you’ll need to download a desktop or mobile app.
AtlasVPN doesn’t offer a router app at the moment. As AtlasVPN doesn’t offer OpenVPN as an encryption protocol, it’s quite unlikely that AtlasVPN is going to offer router support in the future, as this is the basis for router apps.
If you need router support, you should check out one of our other recommended free VPNs instead.
How to Install AtlasVPN
It’s pretty easy to get started with AtlasVPN, but just in case you’re wondering, we’ve written up a quick guide to walk you through the process from scratch on Windows. Read on for more.
- Step 1 — Head to AtlasVPN and click on “Download free”. You’ll start downloading the Windows installation file.
- Step 2 — Once the download is complete, locate the installation package in your Downloads folder and double-click on it.
- Step 3 — Installing AtlasVPN is automatic, and once it’s done, the application will be launched.
- Step 4 — Log into your account by launching the application and pressing on ‘Already have an account? Sign In’, and enter your email.
- Step 5 — You’ll receive a verification email with a button Confirm sign-in that you’ll have to click to complete the Sign-in process.
- Step 6 — You’ll be redirected to a new page asking you to allow the Atlas VPN application to open. You’ll automatically be logged into your account by checking the Allow box and clicking Okay on the app.
- Step 7 — There are two ways to connect to a VPN server:
- Clicking the Quick Connect button. This will connect you to your preferred server or a suitable server, which will be selected based on a few criteria, such as the distance to the server and the server load.
- Clicking on a specific country in the list of servers. This will connect you to a server within the chosen area.
After you connect to a VPN server, the connection status in your application will be changed to Protected. The server you have connected to will be shown at the top under Current Connection.
AtlasVPN Performance | How Fast is AtlasVPN?
There are a bunch of different aspects that impact how fast any given VPN will be. Unfortunately, some of these are totally out of anyone’s control. All servers go through peak usage times, personal network settings can significantly slow down some VPNs, and maintenance happens.
It’s hard to get a sense of how exactly this all impacts the service, so we attempt to keep it as fair as possible by testing repeatedly at random times throughout the day and on random servers.
In the office, we use a 100 Mbps connection to check how fast our connections are through each VPN. We find this accurately reflects the best residential connections and allows for streaming 4k content.
There’s going to be some necessary slowdown due to encryption, but the best VPNs have a pretty low overhead of around 5%.
AtlasVPN averages out at 82 Mbps on the New York server and 86 Mbps on the Netherlands servers, whereas the LA server came in on average at 74 Mbps.
AtlasVPN advertises a slowdown of around 20%, which accurately reflects our testing. While the LA server was a little slower, streaming Netflix through it wasn’t a problem.
Although it’s not the fastest VPN, we noticed no slowdown or stuttering while streaming 4K content, but we wouldn’t recommend streaming several services at once through a single subscription.
We tested the free VPN and premium VPN version of AtlasVPN and found speeds that were comparable between the free servers in the Netherlands, New York, USA, and Los Angeles, USA, and their premium counterparts.
Connection quality was also very stable on the free version. However, be warned. You’ll find yourself chewing through that 5GB usage pretty quickly because there are no speed caps.
A few sessions of streaming HD and 4K content nearly ran us dry, so make sure you aren’t wasting your free trial on downloading large files.
How Secure is AtlasVPN? | Is AtlasVPN Safe?
There’s not a huge amount we know about AtlasVPN’s security, but what’s there is promising. We know AtlasVPN uses encrypted disks to run their servers, and along with a no-logs promise, we would assume this means AtlasVPN is running RAM-based servers.
Although there’s never been a data breach at AtlasVPN, we won’t know if this is an effective approach until they receive a third party audit.
AtlasVPN’s Encryption Protocols
AtlasVPN offers some powerful VPN protocols to keep your data encrypted, but it’s not quite got everything we’d expect. There’s a conspicuous lack of OpenVPN support across all AtlasVPN apps, which makes it a little more difficult to recommend as it’s less compatible.
However, the protocols AtlasVPN does use are pretty solid. Read on for more info.
WireGuard is a relatively new VPN protocol that’s designed to replace OpenVPN, which is the dominant VPN technology used by thousands of companies worldwide.
WireGuard is much faster at establishing connections than OpenVPN due to a smaller code-base that takes up fewer resources. The default implementation of WireGuard suffers from some security issues that expose the user’s IP inside the WireGuard server.
We don’t know if AtlasVPN has fixed this problem in their implementation, but until we know for sure security-conscious users should stick to using IKEv2.
IKEv2/IPSec is an older VPN protocol used primarily by modern Apple devices to provide encryption and tunneling for VPN connections. It’s often considered less secure than OpenVPN or WireGuard due to potential interference in the cryptography of the protocol by the NSA.
While not confirmed, it suggests that the core algorithms used to build the IKEv2 protocol are vulnerable to man in the middle attacks. However, the likelihood of this occurring is extremely low. Users worried about government surveillance may need to look elsewhere.
AtlasVPN’s Transparency Reputation
While AtlasVPN isn’t as thoroughly transparent as some of the top-tier VPN providers are, it’s clear there’s a commitment to openness that AtlasVPN is building upon with additional audits.
NordVPN acquiring has helped enhance AtlasVPN’s position as a trustworthy VPN with new approaches to transparency. Check out our thoughts below and our in-depth NordVPN review.
Audits are an essential part of proving transparency and security, especially when running a VPN provider. This is even more important when it’s a free VPN, as there’s often a perception that free VPNs fund their operations through data harvesting.
This is why we’re happy to see that AtlasVPN has contracted several outside cybersecurity companies, including VerSprite and MDSec, to perform penetration tests of their apps.
These deployments increase confidence in the implementation of AtlasVPN’s VPN apps, which are vital to keeping the security of AtlasVPN’s network high. We found reading through the audit reports to be encouraging.
VerSprite found several medium level issues with the iOS app, which were quickly fixed in an urgent update, as well as backend server issues that were also fixed quickly. MDSec’s audit found no major problems with the Windows app, which also reads well for AtlasVPN.
We’re yet to see AtlasVPN perform the same auditing for AtlasVPN’s overall data security, but we hope in the future, AtlasVPN will extend its current auditing regime to include other parts of the business.
NordVPN has made several commitments to engage with some of the most well-respected auditing companies in the industry, so this bodes well for AtlasVPN to eventually certify their no-logging status.
Specifically, AtlasVPN states that they don’t log any of the following information:
- IP addresses
- Browsing history
- Traffic data
- Connection logs
- Any other information that could identify a user’s online activity
We’re sure this is true for the VPN itself, but there are some web trackers we found on the main website that could potentially track website usage data.
We had some concerns about the use of email addresses sent through the app to activate the Data Breach Monitoring, but these emails are sent over AtlasVPN’s encrypted connection and aren’t stored in plaintext on the servers.
AtlasVPN doesn’t disclose which third parties — if any — it uses to carry out the actual scanning of dark websites. AtlasVPN claims that there’s no way they can comply with court orders or warrants because AtlasVPN is designed to not hold logs.
We’re yet to see a third-party verification of this claim, but AtlasVPN’s canary warrant on their site suggests that they’ve yet to receive a single court order. Until they do, there’s no way to know whether AtlasVPN’s policy is completely true.
AtlasVPN’s Server List
AtlasVPN has an extensive list of servers to choose from. Check out our server list to find out every single server you can connect to using the app:
- Czech Republic
- United States
- Hong Kong
- United Arab Emirates
- New Zealand
AtlasVPN Price | How Much is AtlasVPN Per Month?
AtlasVPN’s free service really is completely free. There are no hidden costs or fees to catch you out, it’s absolutely cost free. There are also no speed caps on the service, although you’ll find there are some usage restrictions.
AtlasVPN gives you 5GB of free data a month to use with the free VPN service, after which you’ll either have to wait until next month or buy a subscription. There are only three locations to choose from at the moment, but this is on par with other free VPN offerings like ProtonVPN.
On the other hand, there’s AtlasVPN’s paid service. The price depends on the subscription plan you choose. AtlasVPN has several subscription plans available, including:
- Monthly Plan — $10.99 per month — Provides you with unlimited access to the AtlasVPN network and all of its features.
- Annual Plan — $4.08 per month or $49.01 for the year — You’ll save 63% with this plan.
- 3-Year Plan — $1.99 per month or $71.49 for 3 years — This saves you 82% over the monthly price, and you’ll be billed once every 3 years.
When you upgrade to AtlasVPN’s paid service, you’ll get an unlimited data cap, and access to all of AtlasVPN’s premium features across more than 750 servers.
There are a bunch of different payment options available from AtlasVPN. They accept all major credit and debit cards, as well as Paypal and Google Pay for online payments.
The payment process is pretty easy, but cryptocurrency is the most private way to pay. AtlasVPN allows you to pay in Bitcoin or Ethereum via the CoinPayments portal.
Payment wasn’t difficult at all, but there was no portal to take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee. Support staff will process your refund, but you’ll need to get in touch first.
Once we did get in touch with a representative, the rest of our interaction was pleasant, and the refund was processed within a few days.
Does AtlasVPN have a free version?
Does AtlasVPN keep logs?
How good is AtlasVPN for torrenting?
How good is AtlasVPN for streaming?
How many devices can be connected to AtlasVPN?
Does AtlasVPN slow down Internet speed?
Can I use AtlasVPN in China?
Is Atlas VPN trustworthy?
Is Atlas VPN actually free?
Is Atlas VPN good for Torrenting?
Who is Atlas VPN owned by?
Does AtlasVPN sell your data?
Which is better, NordVPN or AtlasVPN?
Conclusion | Is AtlasVPN Worth it?
AtlasVPN isn’t terribly exciting, but it doesn’t disappoint. It does everything just as well as it needs to, no more and no less. The free VPN offering gives you just enough to test the service for yourself while holding back all the interesting options for premium users.
It’s pretty reasonably priced, and some of the premium features like MultiHop+ and SafeSwap are very interesting if you need services that continually anonymize your internet usage.
These servers come in addition to AtlasVPN’s streaming servers, which are optimized to keep high-speed connections stable while streaming HD and 4k content.
While some other premium VPN providers, such as NordVPN, offer a greater range of features, most of them don’t offer unlimited devices. One AtlasVPN subscription covers your whole family of devices, which makes your subscription greater valuable when you’ve got more devices.
Check it out below and take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee, as well as the free VPN trial.