Atlas VPN is probably the first provider born in the new decade to catch widespread attention. Aiming to become the best free VPN, it also plans to avoid using ads and will live off premium version users.
But is Atlas VPN safe and fast enough to try out already? Does it unblock Netflix and other streaming platforms? What do we know about Peakstar Technologies Inc., the company behind this new project? Read my Atlas VPN review and find out.
- Based in: United States
- Servers and locations: 150+ servers in over 17 countries (Premium)
- Logs: Minimal data collection
- Encryption and protocols: Main protocol IKEv2, military-grade encryption
- Netflix: Yes
- Torrenting: Yes
- Apps: Android (other apps coming soon)
- Support: Email, 24/7 live chat (Premium)
- Price: Free
- Free version or trial: Yes, free version
- Website: atlasvpn.com
Security and privacy features
This provider has a solid foundation for becoming a truly safe to use VPN. It all starts with military-encryption, safe protocols, and strict no-logs policy. However, at this early stage of development, Atlas VPN still lacks a kill switch and other security features, such as split-tunneling, a stealth protocol, or multi-hop.
In short, it’s too early to say what security level Atlas VPN will offer users.
Encryption and tunneling protocols
The Atlas VPN official website and Google Play Store page don’t list the level of encryption. However, after contacting customer support, I found out that it uses AES-256 – the same encryption standard we find in the military and financial institutions. This is practically unbreakable and should make Atlas VPN users feel very safe indeed.
When it comes to tunneling protocols, Atlas VPN offers IKEv2, which is both fast and secure. More options will be coming soon, so OpenVPN fans should get it eventually in 2020.
At the moment, Atlas VPN doesn’t have a kill switch, but it is currently in the pipeline for Android and upcoming versions of the app. As of now, this shouldn’t be an issue, because users can turn on the Android native “Always-on VPN” feature.
No IP or DNS leaks
Atlas VPN has no IPv6, DNS, or WebRTC leaks. It’s difficult to say how sophisticated their leak protection it is, but my real location didn’t pop up during any of the tests.
I connected to a server in the Netherlands and saw only this country as the assigned IP location wherever I went.
Where is Atlas VPN based?
Atlas VPN is located in the United States and its Terms of Service were written in accordance with the laws of the state of Delaware. The company behind this service is Peakstar Technologies Inc., but I found little about it on the web. I was able to learn that it registered the Atlas VPN trademark in October 2019, its CEO is someone named Jim Roberts, and the media contact is Valentina Perez.
Having a true no-logs policy is not that common among VPNs and finding a free service with one is a tough task. That’s why Atlas VPN stands out from the crowd by doing minimal logging, which is needed to provide the service and comply with applicable laws. The fact that there’s no account creation in its free version speaks volumes.
So is there anything you can do about the data that’s being collected? Well, California residents may ask for a copy of their data once a year. As for the others, they can write to Atlas VPN support and request an edit or full deletion of their data.
Speed: what drop-off can you expect with Atlas VPN
I tested Atlas VPN on my Android phone from Europe. You should expect a significant downloading speed drop-off, but having a fast connection will allow you to stream in HD and download large files anyway.
First, I checked my baseline speeds without a VPN connection.
- Download: 225 Mbps
- Upload: 151 Mbps
- Ping: 1 ms
Later, I measured how they changed with the free and premium version of this provider. I used the average from them both.
Netherlands (free and premium)
- Download: 34 Mbps (85% drop-off)
- Upload: 113 Mbps (25% drop-off)
- Ping: 41 ms
United States, East Coast (free and premium)
- Download: 28 Mbps (88% drop-off)
- Upload: 97 Mbps (36% drop-off)
- Ping: 116 ms
Australia, Sydney (premium)
- Download: 28 Mbps (88% drop-off)
- Upload: 36 Mbps (76% drop-off)
- Ping: 340 ms
Connection times are fast, but download speeds are below average with Atlas VPN, leaving you with less than 20% of your bandwidth. Strangely, the distance to the server had almost no impact (except on ping) as I had nearly identical speeds in the Netherlands, the US, and Australia.
I wrote to Atlas VPN customer support and they’ve told me that there are no limits for the free version in terms of speed. And while Premium servers are available to everyone (that’s at least three months more), comparing them will be impossible. It would be easier, though, if Atlas VPN added server load metrics to its app – now I can only guess that the Australian speeds were nearly identical because of the low load.
In any case, it’s a bit too early to evaluate Atlas VPN speeds because it’s only available on Android. Besides, it still has a small fleet of 150+ servers in 17+ countries that will definitely grow together with the userbase.
Does Atlas VPN support my device?
Currently, Atlas VPN has an Android app only. The iOS version is planned for February 2020, and later we should also see the desktop apps. There’s no information about other platforms or browser extensions, but I’m sure we’ll be hearing about them soon.
Atlas VPN for Android
This provider markets itself as a “free and simple VPN for everyone.” While I’m not sure about the “everyone” part, it cannot be more easy-to-use than it is now. That stems largely from the awesome interface, as well as the low number of features, which is common among the industry’s freshmen and shouldn’t be frowned upon (at least not yet).
The main menu has three clickable areas – a huge Off & On button, Server locations, and a hamburger menu on the left. Free version users get servers in the US and the Netherlands, while the Premium version unlocks all countries. It doesn’t take long for Atlas VPN to connect to your desired server.
Clicking on the hamburger menu brings three options – Premium, Settings, and Help. The first one contains a special offer to get three months of Premium for free. Not clicking on it would be ill-advised, especially when you don’t have to enter any payment information, not even your email address.
The Settings section might as well be titled “Setting”, as there’s only one – SafeBrowse – offered at the moment. Turned off by default, this still-in-development feature protects you from entering malicious websites by using special DNS servers that don’t resolve malware-containing addresses. In the future, the Atlas VPN team plans to add a blocker for trackers and ads.
You can download Atlas VPN for Android from the Google Play Store. At the moment of writing this review, it had a rating of 4.4 from over 200 votes. The app has been installed on more than 5,000 Android devices so far.
Atlas VPN for Netflix and other streaming services
Using the free version of Atlas VPN, I was able to watch Netflix US and NL. Switching to the Premium account also opened the door for Netflix UK. This is quite impressive for a VPN that’s both very new and, more importantly, completely free.
The aim of the Atlas VPN team is to continue supporting Netflix and other streaming platforms via their free service. Let’s hope their success continues!
To sum up, using Atlas VPN for streaming is not a bad idea, especially if you’re on a budget.
Does Atlas VPN support torrenting?
Yes, you can download torrents using Atlas VPN. At the moment, there aren’t many countries and servers to connect to, so you shouldn’t expect fast speeds. Also, Atlas VPN doesn’t offer a SOCKS5 proxy or port forwarding, so it’s probably not the best for your P2P activities. With that said, for a free service, Atlas VPN is a great proposition if you want to torrent anonymously.
Support: Atlas VPN’s FAQ and ticketing system
At the moment, Atlas VPN has only a few customer support options:
- 24/7 Email
- Submitting a ticket
The FAQ can be found on the Atlas VPN website and also in your app. It covers some basics but is far from being named helpful. In fact, it acts more like an introduction to the new provider that still holds the majority of its tricks in its proverbial sleeve.
I submitted a ticket on its website to test the support. Although it took some time to get a response, the agents were clear and informative. Again, this is the very beginning of a new service that grows by the day, so the next evaluation will come when Atlas VPN adds a 24/7 live chat, which I hope will be soon.
Pricing: grab the 3-month Premium of Atlas VPN for free!
There’s no information on how much the Premium version of Atlas VPN will cost. However, the representative told me that the price should attract potential customers.
The only thing offered right now is a free 3-month Premium subscription that gives you the full server list and should also provide better speeds, along with 24/7 customer support.
Should you get Atlas VPN?
Yes, you should get Atlas VPN. It’s free and it offers a free 3-month premium. There couldn’t be a better time to try this new service out. It’ll provide you with robust security, decent privacy, and OK speeds. Hell, it will even unblock Netflix US for you.
The best is yet to come for this provider. If you’re not an Android user, feel free to check back in a month or two – they should have an iOS app out already. And if we’re all lucky, it might just have desktop versions, too.