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NordVPN has established itself as a cybersecurity industry veteran. The company has expanded beyond its initial VPN (Virtual Private Network) product into other cybersecurity areas with software for securing passwords or encrypting files.
So how does a titan like that compare against a whelp like Atlas VPN? This service made its debut in 2019 and has garnered around six million users since then. And in 2021, it joined the Nord Security family. Does that mean that Atlas VPN is on the fast lane to VPN industry fame?
To find out, we’ll compare Atlas VPN vs NordVPN to see whether there’s a chance for the newcomer to dethrone the long-standing champion.
NordVPN vs Atlas VPN 2022 comparison highlights
|“Best for” nominee||Best overall, Best for Netflix, Best for P2P, Best for China, Fastest VPN||Best overall, Cheapest VPN, Best Free VPN for Gaming, Best Free VPN for Windows|
|Price starts from||$3.71/month||$1.39/month|
|Review||NordVPN review||Atlas VPN review|
Speed and performance
Let’s begin with a speed test. At first glance, it appears that NordVPN is the faster provider with its proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol and a significantly wider array of servers. On the other hand, Atlas VPN is not too far behind with the modern WireGuard tunneling protocol.
We’ll conduct a few tests with the Ookla connection speed measuring tool to determine if that’s the case. Remember that you should take manual speed tests with a grain of salt since several factors beyond our control can influence them. Check out our in-house VPN speed test for a more objective overview of the performance of other VPN providers.
The baseline download speed is 95 Mbps during this test, while the upload speed is 94 Mbps.
|USA (New York)|
|Download||84 Mbps||71 Mbps|
|Upload||90 Mbps||91 Mbps|
|Download||88 Mbps||83 Mbps|
|Upload||91 Mbps||92 Mbps|
|Download||83 Mbps||78 Mbps|
|Upload||91 Mbps||92 Mbps|
|Download||90 Mbps||87 Mbps|
|Upload||91 Mbps||91 Mbps|
The test results are in the table above. As you can see, both providers performed splendidly and barely lost 20% of the baseline bandwidth. NordVPN offered faster download speeds across the board, while the upload speed was more favorable with Atlas VPN. Overall, both VPNs deserve spots among the fastest VPN providers.
|All physical servers||Yes||No|
|Owns all servers||No||No|
NordVPN is equipped with an impressive network of 5200+ servers in 60+ countries. All hardware is located in its respective countries, meaning there are no virtual locations. Additionally, most servers utilize RAM-only technology to prevent data storage on hard drives.
Meanwhile, Atlas VPN has 700+ servers in 27+ countries. While the numbers are pretty good, there’s nothing else noteworthy about the server fleet.
|Payment options||Credit card, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, ACH Transfer, cryptocurrencies, UnionPay||Credit card, Google Pay, PayPal|
Atlas VPN and NordVPN are on opposite sides of the spectrum regarding pricing. Unsurprisingly, NordVPN is the more expensive option since it offers many more benefits and is a cybersecurity industry veteran. Meanwhile, Atlas VPN is one of the cheapest VPNs available. Another key difference is that NordVPN offers a free trial, while Atlas VPN provides a limited free version to try out the service.
Common ground between the two includes the 30-day money-back guarantee and some payment methods (credit cards and Google Pay).
NordVPN lets you choose from three different subscription options:
The monthly subscription is the most expensive option, while the long-term plan comes with a 68% discount. Additionally, you can browse through various NordVPN coupon codes for a chance to find a different deal.
As mentioned above, you can give NordVPN a shot without commitment by claiming the 7-day free trial on the Google Play Store. It requires an Android device but otherwise provides the complete set of features.
You can pay in many conventional ways when purchasing a subscription, such as credit card, Amazon Pay, ACH transfer, or Union Pay. Alternatively, there are anonymity-preserving methods as well, such as with cryptocurrencies. And if you’re in a supported location, it’s possible to find a hard copy of a NordVPN license and buy it with cash.
Atlas VPN pricing
With Atlas VPN, you can pick from three subscription options:
While the monthly subscription comes without a discount, the lengthiest plan grants you up to 86% savings. However, you can also find alternative deals by perusing various Atlas VPN discount codes available online.
On the other hand, you can familiarize yourself with Atlas VPN by utilizing the free plan. The only noticeable differences are the 10GB monthly data cap and a lack of certain security features on mobile. But once you’re ready to commit, you can buy a subscription via credit card, Google Pay, or Paypal.
|Protocols||NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2||WireGuard, IKEv2|
|DNS and IP leaks||No leaks||No leaks|
|Security features||Double VPN, Onion over VPN, CyberSec, SOCKS5 proxy, Obfuscated servers, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, split tunneling||Split tunneling (Android), SafeSwap, ad and malware blocking, data breach monitoring,|
The two providers include the basic features that you’d expect from any worthwhile VPN service:
Besides these, NordVPN and Atlas VPN have some distinctive features that we’ll cover in greater detail further below.
NordVPN security features
NordVPN typically tramples the competition by the sheer number of security features. We’ll cover some of the most important ones here, but you should visit our NordVPN review for a more detailed breakdown of the available benefits.
- Obfuscated servers. These servers are hidden using specialized technology and are impervious to the usual VPN detection methods, for example, DPI (Deep Packet Inspection).
- Dedicated IP. Besides the typically shared servers, you can purchase an IP address exclusive to you. That way, you’ll be less susceptible to streaming service detection and other issues that crop up when switching IP addresses.
- CyberSec. With this feature enabled, NordVPN can block ads, trackers, phishing attempts, and web domains that are used to distribute malware.
- Double VPN (multi-hop). In some cases, a regular VPN connection is not enough. With Double VPN, your connection is rerouted through multiple servers. This grants exceptional privacy and security, but at the cost of performance.
- Onion over VPN. These servers are integrated with the Tor network and reroute your connection through it and then through NordVPN.
Atlas VPN security features
Although Atlas VPN is no old-timer in the VPN industry, it has many security features scattered throughout the different supported platforms. We’ll provide a general overview of what’s available, but you can dive deeper into them by visiting our Atlas VPN review.
- SafeSwap. This is a unique feature in Atlas VPN’s toolbelt that automatically rotates between different IP addresses without reconnecting to other servers.
- Data breach monitoring. You can enter your email address on mobile devices and let the app monitor for personal data breaches.
- Safebrowse. Another mobile-exclusive feature that blocks malicious web domains that contain malware or phishing scams. iOS users get access to Safebrowse Plus, which also blocks ads.
- Split tunneling. Currently, split tunneling is available on Android and allows you to choose which apps should be encrypted by the VPN tunnel.
|Logging||Independently-audited no-logs policy||No-logs policy|
There’s an apparent rift between the two services in terms of privacy. Since NordVPN has been in the industry for so long, it had plenty of time to conduct independent audits and implement crucial confidentiality features. Meanwhile, Atlas VPN is still catching up.
For starters, NordVPN is based in Panama, a country known for respecting privacy and not having any data retention laws. Furthermore, the service had its no-logs policy audited twice by PwC Switzerland. Finally, you can purchase the VPN anonymously with cryptocurrencies or buy a hard copy at retail stores with cash.
Meanwhile, Atlas VPN is in a more precarious situation. It claims to follow a zero-logs policy, but the service’s jurisdiction is in the United States, a founding member of the Fourteen Eyes alliance. Additionally, there’s no option to acquire a subscription anonymously.
|Major dedicated apps||Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android|
|Other dedicated apps||Android TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick||N/A|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox||N/A|
|Manual setup||Routers, firewalls, NAS||N/A|
Device compatibility is a category where Atlas VPN is especially weak. Not only because we’re comparing it to NordVPN, but even in general. It only has apps available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. What’s more, there’s no option to configure a router manually with a VPN to circumvent this issue. The one upside of this service is that it permits unlimited simultaneous connections instead of the six that NordVPN provides.
Unsurprisingly, NordVPN is pretty versatile in comparison. It provides apps for all the platforms that Atlas VPN covers, plus Linux, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV Stick. Browser extensions are also available for Chrome and Firefox. Moreover, manual configuration is possible for routers if you want to have geo-unblocking abilities on unsupported devices.
Streaming in January 2022
|Other Netflix libraries||Yes||Yes|
Arguably the most common VPN use case is streaming. It enables you to access more movies and TV shows usually unavailable in your region. That way, you can get way more bang from your streaming provider’s subscription.
Atlas VPN and NordVPN are practically on the same page when compared in a vacuum. They work with the ever-popular Netflix, plus other services like BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video. And with their breakneck speeds, you’ll have no trouble watching content completely lag-free in UHD and 4K.
However, Atlas VPN is crippled in this category due to its abysmal device compatibility. Meanwhile, NordVPN manages to one-up the competition by improving the coveted Smart DNS feature. With the upgraded version called SmartPlay, you can easily get around geographical restrictions on practically any device without missing out on encryption.
For more alternatives, check out our list of Best VPNs for streaming!
Torrenting and P2P
|Allowed on||P2P servers||All servers|
|Free SOCKS5 proxy||Yes||No|
|Split tunneling||Yes (Windows, Android, Android TV)||Yes (Android)|
VPNs are frequently needed to get around P2P traffic restrictions by ISPs (Internet Service Providers). This file-sharing technology is usually blocked because of its constant use by digital pirates to distribute copyrighted content. Sometimes VPN providers block P2P traffic for the same reason.
Thankfully, both providers of this comparison permit torrenting on their servers. It’s worth noting that NordVPN has specialized P2P servers optimized for torrenting to provide better performance. Meanwhile, with Atlas VPN, you can torrent in any server location.
With that out of the way, a few bonuses make NordVPN the superior VPN for torrenting. For starters, it provides a free SOCKS5 proxy if you’d prefer to secure your torrent client without a VPN connection. Additionally, split tunneling is supported on a greater selection of platforms, including Windows. The one thing that’s missing from either service is port forwarding.
|Works in China||Yes||Not guaranteed|
|Stealth VPN||Obfuscated servers||No|
|Tor over VPN||Onion Over VPN||No|
Not all countries take too kindly to the privacy benefits of a virtual private network. One such country is China, known for its all-encompassing online censorship and surveillance, commonly referred to as the Great Firewall. Naturally, the government isn’t sitting idly and instead blocks VPN traffic that isn’t permitted.
NordVPN customers can effectively utilize Obfuscated Servers or Onion Over VPN to tear down the Great Firewall. Meanwhile, Atlas VPN offers no such features for combating online censorship. We reached to its customer support to be certain and were notified that adequate performance in China is not guaranteed.
The situation in China is constantly evolving, and VPN services are in a constant tug of war with the government. As such, you should check our best VPNs for China list if you’re looking for a more sure-fire way to circumvent censorship.
If you’re ever in a pinch while using a VPN, it’s good to know that you can reach out to customer support experts. Even better if you can receive assistance any time of day.
Thankfully, both NordVPN and Atlas VPN provide their customers with top-quality customer service. Users can resolve the most time-sensitive issues swiftly via 24/7 live chat. Otherwise, you can reach out via email or read through extensive knowledge bases for more in-depth guides on solving various problems. It’s also worth mentioning that live chat is only available to premium Atlas VPN customers, not free users.
Best VPN by category
|Speed and servers||Wins✔️||Loses❌|
|Total wins||7 out of 9||1 out of 9|
NordVPN vs Atlas VPN – which is better?
If you’re ever conflicted between NordVPN vs Atlas VPN, know that the latter is only superior in terms of price. NordVPN wins in all other areas and easily defends its title as the best VPN service overall.
Meanwhile, Atlas VPN has plenty of catching up to do. It’s lacking heavily in the device compatibility and privacy departments. However, its strength lies in the exceptionally affordable price and ability to get around geo-blocks by streaming platforms.
Which VPN is more up your alley? Share your preferences in the comments section below!
Is Atlas VPN good?
Atlas VPN is one of the best VPN services overall. It’s ridiculously cheap, provides unlimited simultaneous connections, and works with many popular streaming platforms. It’s also equipped with one-of-a-kind security features, such as SafeSwap, which rotate your IP address without needing to reconnect to different servers.
Is Atlas VPN better than ProtonVPN?
Atlas VPN and ProtonVPN are quite similar in terms of quality, but there are a few aspects in which they differ. For instance, Atlas VPN is significantly cheaper when opting for a premium plan. Additionally, it allows unlimited simultaneous connections, while ProtonVPN only permits ten.
Is Atlas VPN Unlimited?
Atlas VPN is not unlimited when using the free plan. Your browsing data is capped at 10GB per month. Additionally, you have access to fewer features on mobile devices, and you can’t contact customer support via live chat. Thankfully, all of these downsides can be remedied by purchasing a premium plan.
Is NordVPN the most secure VPN?
Yes, NordVPN is arguably the most secure VPN service available. It’s located in Panama, passed multiple third-party audits of its no-logs policy, and uses RAM-only servers to avoid storing data on hard drives. It also has features that block malicious ads, phishing attempts, and malware.
Ethan is a security researcher and digital privacy advocate. He spends his time unraveling various anonymity and security tools, plus contributing to open-source projects. Otherwise, he keeps a low profile by hiking or cycling around the countryside.