Surfshark and Atlas VPN are two of the best-value VPNs on the market. They’re also almost identical in their marketing and security features.
So, how can you choose between them and pick the right one for you?
We’ve tested both VPNs side-by-side to determine which offers better security, speed, access to content, privacy – and much more.
Before you buy, read the comparisons below, and make the most informed decision.
Surfshark vs. Atlas VPN – Which is best?
It was very close, but Surfshark outperforms Atlas VPN in a couple of key areas.
Both are exceptionally good low-cost VPNs. They offer unlimited simultaneous device connections, advanced security, fast connections, and reliable access to most online content (like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video).
However, Surfshark has four times more secure servers located in twice as many countries. It's significantly faster than Atlas VPN, and uses more modern tools. We’re also much more confident in its privacy policies and use of modern, RAM-only servers.
So, for an all-round better performance for almost the same price, stick to Surfshark.
|Money-back guarantee length||30 days||30 days|
Surfshark and Atlas VPN match up really close in price, but Atlas is slightly more affordable on every plan.
Both start with costly monthly plans: Surshark costs $12.95 per month, while Atlas VPN costs a bit less at $11.99.
Longer-term, Atlas offers one and three-year plans. The one-year plan costs $49.01, which translates to $4.08 per month. The three-year plan is your best bargain at $71.52, or $1.83 per month.
Surfshark offers a one and two-year plan. The one-year plan costs $59.76 ($4.98 per month).
The two-year plan also costs $59.76 in total after discounts. This works out at $2.49 per month, with an extra month free.
Both VPNs offer exceptional value, with unlimited device connections on every plan. You also get a 30-day money-back guarantee from both providers, to test them out risk-free.
While we think Surfshark offers more value than Atlas VPN, due to its larger server network and more advanced features, if you’re on a tight budget, Atlas VPN is slightly cheaper across the board.
Which has better features?
This wasn't easy, but Surfshark just managed to edge out Atlas VPN.
Both have apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, and Android TV. You install both VPNs on routers or use their browser extensions. And both VPNs offer unlimited device connections on a single plan.
They also include advanced tools like split tunneling, which lets you connect certain apps and websites to the VPN network, while keeping others on your local network. This is handy if you want to stream overseas content while still using local banking or map apps.
Both VPNs offer built-in ad blockers, malware detection, and double VPN (you can connect to two servers for added security).
We’ll be breaking down every feature and tool offered by Surfshark and Atlas VPN in the next sections.
But for now, Surfshark wins because it offers more advanced versions of the same tools, and they also work better on mobile devices.
Are routers supported?
Both Surfshark and Atlas VPN support installation on select router models.
Installing a VPN on a router automatically protects every device within its network, including phones, computers, smart TVs, Amazon Alexa, and any internet-connected device. However, router installation is a lot more technical than most devices. So, it's important your VPN provides detailed instructions for various router models.
Surfshark has walkthroughs and guides for installation on numerous router models. They’re simple and pre-empt most issues you might face. We couldn’t find specific instructions for installing Atlas VPN on different router models, which is disappointing.
So, while Atlas VPN works well on routers, we like that Surfshark has invested in providing instructions for less technical users.
What websites do they access?
Surfshark and Atlas VPN performed remarkably well accessing restricted websites and streaming services. In our tests, both could access Netflix libraries for multiple countries. Still, Surfshark was more effective, accessing more than 30 libraries in total.
Surfshark also has an obfuscation feature that hides the fact you’re using a VPN. This doesn’t just make accessing streaming sites that try to block VPNs easier. It also means you can use it in countries where VPNs are illegal, like China and the UAE, without getting caught.
Surfshark is one of the few VPNs that can break through the Chinese government’s Great Firewall of internet censorship, but you’ll need to install it before arriving in the country. Atlas VPN doesn’t work in China – full stop.
So, while Atlas VPN can access a lot of content and bypass some censorship, we’re more comfortable using Surfshark in this instance.
Surfshark and Atlas VPN can access popular Netflix libraries from the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy. However, thanks to its much larger server network, Surfshark works with many more libraries from less popular countries, like Japan.
Both VPNs are super fast, and you can stream Netflix in HD from most countries without too much buffering.
But if your main reason for getting a VPN is to access Netflix’s vast global libraries, Surfshark will serve you much better.
Both Surfshark and Atlas VPN support torrenting and provide excellent features to ensure your file sharing is fast and private.
They both have super fast servers that can run on the efficient WireGuard VPN protocol. They use 256-bit AES encryption across their networks – the same unbreakable standard used by banks, governments, militaries, and spy agencies. And they both offer automatic kill-switches that block your internet connection if your VPN connection drops (so your torrenting activities never leak to your internet service provider).
Your torrenting history is kept private by both VPNs’ strict no-logs policies, which means they never record your data or online activities, and can’t be forced to share them.
Surfshark comes out on top, however, for four reasons:
- It uses state-of-the-art RAM-only servers that are automatically wiped on a regular basis.
- It’s based in the British Virgin Islands, while Atlas VPN is based in the US (one of the most hostile places for torrenting).
- It’s generally faster than Atlas VPN, so you’ll enjoy quicker P2P sharing.
- Its global server distribution and better obfuscation feature mean you can torrent in many more countries than Atlas VPN.
Setup & usability
Surfshark and Atlas VPN make installing and using their apps exceptionally easy.
Whether you’re on Android, Windows, iOS, macOS, Linux, or Amazon Fire Stick, you’ll have step-by-step guides to help you install, navigate, and configure both VPNs on most devices. They also offer browser extensions for desktops to manage the VPN while browsing without opening an extra window.
If you encounter any problems, both VPNs have 24/7 customer support, including live chat and email. They have FAQ sections on their websites to answer basic questions, alongside YouTube tutorials.
Surfshark and Atlas VPN also include "single click” server connections, making connecting to a server instant and super easy.
Surshark just about wins this round, because it shows you the number of people on each server, so you know if there’s a risk it will be congested and slow. Also, it has a much bigger server network: 3,000+ servers in 100+ countries vs. Atlas VPN’s 750+ servers in 47+ countries. So, there’s less chance of Surfshark’s server being crowded with users.
Both Surfshark and Atlas VPN have mobile apps for iOS and Android, but Surfshark has better features.
You can install both VPNs on multiple mobile devices, including phones and tablets. You’ll also benefit from split tunneling, ad blocking, and other important security features on both. But Surfshark goes a bit further by including browser extensions on mobile and offering GPS spoofing (which fakes your phone's GPS location).
Surfshark’s router support also enhances its mobile capability. Anyone who visits your home will automatically connect to Surfshark’s secure network on their phones – without having to install its apps on their devices.
Performance & speed
|ProPrivacy.com SpeedTest (average)||41.0 Mbps||30 Mbps|
Throughout our tests, Surfshark was much faster than Atlas VPN. On average, it delivered connection speeds of roughly 324 Mbps. In comparison, Atlas VPN averaged 247 Mbps. Both VPNs are fast, but Surfshark is way ahead.
There are a few reasons for this.
Most importantly, Surfshark’s server network is more than four times bigger. It has 3,200+ servers in 100+ countries. Atlas VPN only has about 750 servers in 47+ countries, which is tiny compared to any top VPN. This means its network gets more congested as more users connect, and you might have to connect to a server much further away if you’re in a smaller, more remote country.
Both VPNs will be fast enough for buffer-free streaming, gaming, and video calls in most countries. But Surfshark blows past Atlas VPN in every use case.
|IPv6 leak protection|
|WebRTC leak protection|
Surfshark and Atlas VPN offer excellent security, but Surfshark has a few extra features that provide more advanced security on every device.
Both Surfshark and Atlas VPN offer the WireGuard and IKEv2 VPN protocols. WireGuard is a modern, lightweight, and faster protocol that maintains a high security standard. IKEv2 is good on mobile, where you might connect to numerous networks throughout the day and need an instant connection.
However, only Surfshark offers OpenVPN – a good protocol for streaming. Having said all that, most users will stick to WireGuard anyway.
Both VPNs use AES 256-bit encryption, a virtually unbreakable standard used by all the best VPNs (don’t use a VPN that doesn’t offer this level of encryption). They both offer automatic kill-switches that block your internet if your VPN connection drops for even a second, keeping your data hidden at all times.
Atlas VPN and Surfshark also go much further than most VPNs by including ad blockers, malware detection, and dark web monitoring that alerts you if your data is being shared or sold online.
But Surfshark offers a few security tools missing from Atlas VPN. These include obfuscated servers that hide the fact you’re using a VPN, an essential tool in countries where VPNs are illegal.
So, while it's incredibly close, Surfshark currently offers slightly better security than Atlas VPN.
|Jurisdiction||British Virgin Islands|
|Anonymous payment options?|
Your VPN’s base of operations is critical to your privacy. We always recommend VPNs based in privacy-friendly countries with no data retention laws.
Surfshark is based in the British Virgin Islands, one of the most private countries in the world. Atlas VPN is based in the US, a leading member of the Five Eyes global surveillance alliance, and one of the least private places on Earth.
However, we trust Atlas VPN’s privacy policies, which ensure it doesn’t store any connection or activity logs from users. So, in theory at least, it can never be forced to share any data that would reveal your online activities to US authorities and their partners.
Like Surfshark, Atlas VPN has been independently audited to ensure its network is secure and it's not secretly collecting any user data. Surfshark has gone much further, though. It’s had its entire infrastructure audited for potential breaches, leaks, and privacy violations.
Surfshark collects limited connection logs to keep your account running and to maintain its server network. But it has a strict no-logs policy that ensures the data is deleted when you end your session and uses RAM-only servers that are wiped on a set schedule.
Neither VPN requires any personal information beyond your email address to sign-up, and both allow cryptocurrency payments, further enhancing your anonymity.
For its location and more robust privacy measures, Surshark also wins here.
|Free trial||7-days (macOS and mobile apps)|
|Money-back guarantee length||30 days|
Once again, Atlas VPN and Surfshark match closely in customer support. Both have 24/7 live chat, email support, ticket support, detailed setup guides, and comprehensive FAQ sections that solve the most common problems.
Atlas VPN also has video guides, but Surfshark one-ups it with an active YouTube channel that uploads weekly videos.
To try and distinguish them, we tested their email response time. Atlas VPN proved to have one of the fastest response times of any VPN we’ve tested, averaging 45 minutes. Surfshark was also quick compared to other VPNs, at approximately 3.5 hours.
So, purely based on email response times, we give this one to Atlas VPN.
Winner: Atlas VPN
Methodology: how do we compare VPNs
We put every VPN we feature through rigorous testing based on strict criteria we’ve developed over many years. You can use the same criteria when making your decision.
Here are some of the factors we think are most important when grading a VPN:
- Server network: We only recommend VPNs with thousands of fast, secure servers located in many different countries. This guarantees good connections anywhere.
- Speed: We test every VPN to ensure it's fast enough for HD streaming, gaming, video calls, and anything else that needs a buffer-free connection.
- Excellent security: Look for VPNs with 256-bit AES encryption, DNS/IPv6 leak protections, automatic kill-switches, numerous VPN protocols, and much more.
- Privacy tools: Ensure your data is never recorded or shared, thanks to RAM-only servers, IP address masking, stealth modes, and other tools.
- Access content: The best VPNs work with every popular streamer, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Now TV.
- Good value: VPNs don’t have to be expensive, so stick to providers with low-cost, simple plans and generous money-back guarantees.
- Easy to use: Top VPNs have simple, intuitive, and beginner-friendly apps for every major device.
- Customer support: Look for 24/7 live chat support, extensive knowledge bases, video tutorials, and lively communities of users.
- Transparent privacy policies: Make sure your VPN is trying anything shady like selling your data. Read the privacy policies and make sure you actually understand them.
Learn more by reading our VPN review process. Or you can save yourself the trouble and go for Surfshark VPN.
Surfshark and Atlas VPN are excellent low-cost VPNs. They’re fast, reliable, provide airtight security, and offer almost identical features.
However, Surfshark has more to offer in almost every category. It's got a much bigger server network that delivers faster speed in more countries. It offers slightly more advanced security, and it's more privacy-friendly.
Try it out risk-free on a 30-day money-back guarantee and see for yourself.
If neither of these VPNs meets your needs, you can check out our other top VPN comparisons.