Atlas VPN is a “freemium” product developed by Atlas VPN Inc. While it does offer Windows 10 and macOS apps, the mobile versions work better. If you have multiple devices, Atlas advertises unlimited simultaneous connections. This is different from their top competitors that typically offer 5 to 10 connections. If you decide to use the free option, keep in mind you will only have access to three servers. Unfortunately, their premium account only includes access to VPN servers in 18 countries. The website states they have 20+ countries, but we could only find 18 in both the Windows and Android apps. We’ll take a closer look at the service in our review of Atlas VPN to see how it holds up and performs. Keep in mind we are using the premium version to give you a full look at what the VPN service has to offer.
How Much Does Atlas VPN Cost?
The answer to this question is not straightforward. The website offers three plans, four if you include the free version. The paid plans are for one month, one year, and three years. The prices are $9.99 for one month. If you choose the year of service, it is $29.88 for a total of $2.49 a month. The best value is the three-year plan for $50.04. That takes the price down to $1.39 a month. To the right of the website image, you see a green arrow. That is the mobile (Android) version. While it offers you a 3-day free trial, it immediately charges you the price of $49.99 for a year of service after the trial ends. This is considerably higher than the price listed on their website.
We don’t understand why there is a price difference, considering you can use the same mobile or desktop account. You also see that their price for a year on mobile is virtually equal to three years of service. Why anyone would keep the subscription after three days without canceling and signing up through their website is a question we can’t answer. As we mentioned above, though, they do offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. As far as payments go, they accept Visa, MasterCard, Diner’s Club, Amex, JCB, Discover, Google Pay, and PayPal. Ideally, we would like to see them accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency.
About Atlas VPN Inc.
How to Use Atlas VPN Features (Windows)
The good news is, the Atlas VPN app is straightforward, and the interface is easy to use. The bad news is, it does not have many features to speak of. To use it, you choose the server you wish to connect to. Next, click the power button located in the middle of the graphic, as you see below. You know you are connected when the words show protected. If you want to access the features, click on the gear as pointed out by the green arrow.
While you see 5 blocks in the third screen above, there are only three options you can set. These are:
- Start on Launch – If this feature is on, your protection will launch as soon as you open the app.
- Analytics – This setting shows in-app analytics to help improve app stability.
- Kill Switch – If your connection drops when using the VPN, this option will kill your internet traffic.
We would like to see more substance in their settings. Specifically, we would like to see the ability to change VPN protocols, change ports for the service, and a split tunneling option. The company has a good app design, but the app needs more features if it wants to be considered an alternative providers like ExpressVPN.
How to Use Atlas VPN Features (Android)
The Atlas VPN Android app is a bit different. While it has the same opening screen, you select the server by tapping on the server list icon. In the image below, the red arrow indicates where the features are. That will take you to the second screen where the green and yellow arrows are. The green arrow will take you to the third screen. That is where you find the two options of safebrowse and kill switch.
When you click on the icon we point out with the yellow arrow, you’ll find the assistant. The only thing that does is tell you if someone has stolen your data. We would like to see Atlas VPN offer more features. We noticed the lack of any note about the VPN protocols it uses on either version. You also don’t have any way of selecting it. For a “secure VPN” that is regrettable.
Does Atlas VPN Leak?
Yes. We ran DNS leak tests from two different sites. For both tests, we connected to an Atlas VPN server in New York. While it did not show our actual IP address, the DNS requests show that they are coming from our internet service provider. DNS leaks are important because one of the main reasons for using a VPN is to protect your privacy. Since the goal is to mask our location and DNS, these tests show that Atlas VPN leaks like a sieve. This is very disapointing, especially considering that we tested the premium version of the service.
Atlas VPN Speed Test
Speeds are important, especially if you plan on streaming content. We tested our performance to a speedtest.net server in NYC and got a download speed of 458 Mbps before connecting to the VPN. As you can see, we were able to achieve a speed of 244 Mbps. after connecting to an Atlas VPN server in New York. Though that isn’t slow, it is still a speed loss of 47%. As we mentioned, there is no place to select or change the protocol used. We have read reviews that say Atlas VPN uses IKEv2 protocol with AES-256 encryption. This makes sense but we would like them to display the protocol used in the app.
Other locations tested were:
- Miami – Speed without VPN = 457 Mbps, with = 249 Mbps
- Los Angeles – Speed without VPN = 445 Mbps, with = 107 Mbps
- London – Speed without VPN = 458 Mbps, with = 154 Mbps
- Frankfurt – Speed without VPN = 439 Mbps, with = 269 Mbps
When we tested their servers, our speeds were all decent. We did not find any that were slow. Of course, that may not be true with the free version. With the various servers we tested, we did not find any that gave us any connection issues. It would be interesting to see if the same applies to their free VPN access.
Does Atlas VPN Unblock Streaming Services?
The company specifically touts this ability, so let’s see how it actually did. In the image below, you see we tried Atlas VPN with BBC iPlayer. As you can see, here, it successfully played A Perfect Planet on BBC. If you have an issue getting iPlayer to work, you may want to refresh the screen. We had that issue initially.
For the second test, we used Netflix in Canada. That is because we are US based. As you can see, the three screens below show our search for a Canadian exclusive show called the Big Ugly. The first screen shows that it is not available without the VPN. The second screen shows we found it after connecting, and the third screen shows it playing. Even though we did not specifically play an American title, the example below shows it will unblock access to Netflix in the USA.
Despite showing the Amazon logo on the website, we did not have quite so much luck using Atlas VPN with Amazon Prime Video. Instead of letting us play the show The Grand Tour, it detected we were using a VPN and would not let us watch it. Not all providers have the same issue.
To summarize, of the BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and Amazon services we tried, Amazon is the only one that failed. Even though that is not bad, a service that advertises access to different libraries should allow you to do so without the errors.
Technical support is important, especially if you ever have issues with the service. According to all of the information, Atlas VPN has a blog and 24/7 support via email. We decided to test it by asking their team a simple question. We realize our message was not a priority concern, but it took them approximately 19 hours to answer it during the work week. The take away is that if you need help with the service or want to ask a specific question, you may have to wait a bit.
In conclusion, we come out with a mixed opinion of Atlas VPN. While it has some good points like long term pricing and ease of use, there are some big issues the team needs to address. From what we see from the Windows and Android versions, it lacks the functionality of many of the top competitors. Let’s take a look at the good points and a few suggestions to help make the service better.
We were impressed by:
- Strict No-Logs policy
- The service passed the IP location test
- Ability to unblock access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Reasonably priced (accept when signing up using Android)
- Unlimited simultaneous devices
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Decent speeds internationally
- Fix issue with Amazon Video
- Start accepting cryptocurrencies
- Add features like split tunneling and port forwarding
- Fix pricing differences between mobile and desktop versions
- Identify the VPN protocols used and give users different protocol options
- Fix DNS leaks in the Windows app
- Add more servers and locations
As you can see, there are some good points but also plenty of room for improvement. From the DNS leakage issues and small network, lack of features, and protocol options to the problems we had with Amazon Prime Video, Atlas VPN was a mixed bag. The fact that the service leaked our DNS was a deciding factor for us. On their website, they compare themselves to some of the well-established brands in the community. This service may be ok in some situations, but the company has quite a bit of work to do if they are going to make those kinds of comparisons.