NordVPN is the best VPN for AT&T if you care about avoiding the ISP’s throttling, unblocking the websites it restricts, and keeping your online activities private. It’s also a great VPN provider to download torrents without getting caught in the USA or on ATT’s network.
After spending two weeks testing 20+ VPN providers for compatibility with AT&T, and privacy and security features, it’s time to discuss the results.
So, keep reading to learn why these VPNs are the best bet – and how to set them up properly.
Top 3 VPNs for AT&T
ExpressVPN is the best VPN to bypass AT&T’s firewall content blocks and extensive DPI filtering without losing connection speeds. With 3000+ servers in 94 countries, you’re always in luck to unblock most of the web.
NordVPN offers the best value with 1900+ US servers for local connections and 5500+ global servers to unblock content from anywhere. The no-logs VPN provider also features strong encryption to keep AT&T out of your data.
Enjoy unlimited simultaneous connections to unblock online services and content blocked by AT&T over Surfshark’s 3200+ servers. The affordable VPN provider covers 99 countries to offer an extensive internet reach.
AT&T is in the company of other ISPs in throttling internet speeds, even though you paid for promised higher speeds. Likewise, it restricts you from using the web in specific ways, such as downloading torrent files. Otherwise, it cooperates with copyright trolls and may even ban you from using its service.
The internet service provider (ISP) can do all that because it has a real-time front-row seat to your internet activity. Thus, nothing you do passes under its radar.
Unfortunately, such access to your data isn’t only to see what you’re doing.
AT&T also collects this data to sell to advertisers and other third-party buyers.
Since the Trump administration empowered internet providers to collect and sell this data without informing you, there’s no telling the level of privacy invasion AT&T is at these days.
On top of that, AT&T believes it knows best for you and will block some websites using its web filtering tool. While this tool may help you catch some spam sites, it has proven unreliable by blocking many relevant websites and denying users access.
It’s time to break the cycle of slow internet speeds, giving up your privacy on a service you’re paying for and only seeing a fraction of the internet.
My chosen VPNs for AT&T show promise in unlocking better connection speeds, bypassing content blocks, and encrypting your internet activity.
So, you can do all you want, and AT&T is none the wiser.
Ready to get started? Here’s a summary of what these VPNs bring to the table.
Download Torrents Securely, Get Better Speeds, and Unblock Content on AT&T With These VPNs!
Never worry about getting another cease-and-desist from copyright trolls or streaming low-quality videos because of AT&T’s throttling antics anymore.
Here’s a glance at how my top VPNs can help:
- NordVPN – Fast speeds on 5500+ global servers to unblock content in 59 countries without lag or buffering.
- ExpressVPN – Fast obfuscation to bypass AT&T’s VPN traffic blocks to sensitive content without losing significant speed.
- Surfshark – Up to 10Gbps speeds on each server to stream content in the US and download torrents securely on unlimited devices.
- PureVPN – Quantum-resistant servers in the US for an extra layer of security against AT&T, even if it uses next-gen computers to hack your traffic.
- VyprVPN – Get around AT&T’s severe firewall blocks with a fast Chameleon Mode that works on all 700+ servers.
Sounds interesting, right?
During my tests of these VPNs over two weeks, I discovered aspects where they outshined each other on the AT&T network. So, I’ve presented all my findings and comparisons below to help you make the best choice.
Let’s get into that.
Comparisons and Mini-Reviews of My Best VPNs for AT&T
I tested 20+ VPN software providers on speed, security, privacy, and reliable unblocking criteria. Here are the five that came out tops, how they fared in the tests, and how they compare against one another.
NordVPN – 1900+ US Servers & 5500+ Global Servers With Reliable Encryption
NordVPN has the largest selection of US servers of the VPNs I tested, coming in at 1900+ across 15 US cities.
But why do you need US servers if you’re already using AT&T from the USA? Well, you’ll need to connect to any of these US servers to
- Encrypt your internet connection so that AT&T can’t see what you’re doing online anymore.
- Retain access to local content in the USA (like Netflix US, Hulu, CNN Go, etc.).
- Prevent account bans on your bank or sensitive financial apps (like Venmo and PayPal), which may think someone else is accessing your account from abroad.
- Get lower ping and latency if you play games over your AT&T mobile network.
Alternatively, you can set up NordVPN’s split tunneling to bypass VPN traffic on some apps. That way, the apps you want to protect from AT&T go through the VPN, and others (like your banking apps) stay outside the encryption bracket.
However, I don’t recommend that. It’s much better to connect to the nearest US server.
Fortunately, NordVPN also offers 5500+ servers in 59 countries to unblock content unavailable in the US. For example, you can
- Connect to UK servers to unblock BBC iPlayer
- Connect to Canada servers to access Crave TV
- Connect to Indian servers to access Voot
Likewise, these foreign VPN servers can help you get access to content AT&T may be blocking in the USA. An example that comes to mind is 4chan, which the ISP blocked some years ago.
On top of that, you can bypass most sites irregularly blocked by the malfunctioning AT&T spam filter via NordVPN’s Canadian, Australian, and other foreign servers.
The reliable VPN is so great at unblocking because of its AES 256-bit encryption. Fortunately, that encryption is also responsible for keeping AT&T blind to your internet activity.
That’s good news for two reasons:
- You can now get better connection speeds since AT&T can’t throttle you based on internet activity
- You can download torrents, and AT&T won’t see what you’re downloading, where you’re downloading from, or know you’re the one downloading it
To be extra sure, I tested NordVPN for downloading torrents and never got any nasty copyright notices. I also checked that it’s compatible with uTorrent, BitTorrent, qBitTorrent, and other torrenting clients.
In fact, I found some specialty P2P servers on NordVPN, optimized for torrenting and file-sharing. So, I got better download speeds without sacrificing security.
However, NordVPN didn’t seed my torrents when I was done.
Thankfully, I don’t do much torrent seeding anyway, but you can use ExpressVPN and PureVPN for that.
Lest I forget, NordVPN’s exclusive NordLynx protocol was best compatible with ATT’s network in the USA. It gave me the tiniest connection drops, ensured better speeds, and maintained the encryption protocol.
Although I didn’t need to try the IKEv2 protocol, it’s the best alternative to NordLynx if it’s not working for some reason.
Finally, I checked that NordVPN isn’t affiliated with the USA.
Luckily, the audited no-logs VPN provider is based in Panama, a privacy-friendly location with no data-sharing alliances with any country.
- NordVPN can’t be legally required to share data about your online activities with AT&T or the US.
- NordVPN won’t have any data to share since it doesn’t collect any.
You can get NordVPN’s protection on six devices on AT&T, including your router. However, I tried, and you can’t install the secure VPN on AT&T-supplied routers. So, buy a compatible NordVPN router, get AT&T on it and broadcast your secure connection to every device in your home.
Even so, it’s one of the most affordable VPNs I reviewed.
It’s a little costlier than Surfshark but WAYYY cheaper than ExpressVPN.
Still, use these NordVPN discounts to get a better deal and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN – Fast Obfuscation on 3000+ Servers to Bypass AT&T VPN Blocks
ExpressVPN’s main selling point is offering fast, automatic obfuscation on all servers across all protocols.
But how does that help you?
AT&T sometimes creates extensive firewall blocks to some web content over its network. In those cases, regular VPN traffic won’t do much since AT&T would have also prepared for VPN users.
With obfuscation, the VPN traffic is disguised as regular web traffic.
So, AT&T’s filters can’t catch your VPN usage and allows the encrypted online traffic to pass through. Thus, unblocking the content.
Other VPN providers also offer obfuscation, but it usually comes with a severe connection drop. With ExpressVPN, you can still stream content in 4K while obfuscation is enabled!
However, it doesn’t have as many US servers as NordVPN or Surfshark.
Instead, it covers 20+ US locations, enough to unblock content while encrypting your internet connection over AT&T.
ExpressVPN is also well suited to unblocking content abroad, thanks to a broader selection of 3000+ servers in 94 countries.
I find that it’s the best bet for travelers, students, and expats from the Middle East and Africa who need a server in their country to unblock content. Whereas these countries are missing on NordVPN, otherwise restricting their access.
I put these servers to the test and got access to
Like NordVPN, ExpressVPN uses top-shelf AES 256-bit encryption to support its servers’ reliable unblocking. That also promises better privacy, so AT&T can’t collect your data to sell or see what you’re doing on the web.
This is where I test that claim by downloading a few files over torrent websites. Until now, I didn’t get copyright notices or letters from AT&T telling me to stop.
The best part is that ExpressVPN supports torrent seeding, unlike NordVPN and Surfshark. However, this is only possible on its router app since that’s where you get ExpressVPN’s port forwarding support.
And, since you know that it offers fast obfuscation, its fast torrent download speeds aren’t that surprising anymore. When you’re not downloading torrents, these ultra-fast servers could also unblock major streaming services in 4K or bypass throttling to help surf the web faster.
Since most users (including me) use AT&T’s networks on their mobile devices, I tested how some of my favorite mobile games would fare on ExpressVPN. Luckily, I got smooth gameplay on some demanding titles like
I got the best gaming, streaming, and torrent results over ExpressVPN’s ultra-fast Lightway (UDP) protocol. However, I sometimes had to switch to the Lightway (TCP) option when it seemed like AT&T was hating on my VPN traffic.
ExpressVPN also has the IKEv2 protocol as backup, like NordVPN.
Most times, though, you won’t need to switch to this.
Luckily, ExpressVPN offers its automatic obfuscation on all these protocols.
Finally, ExpressVPN is a twice-audited no-logs policy VPN provider, showing its commitment to your data privacy and security.
I also like that it’s based in the British Virgin Islands, bearing no ties to the USA. Even if it was legally compelled to give up your data, its no-logs policies mean that’s impossible.
And I trust this service, given that Turkish authorities once seized some of its servers and found nothing on them.
However, there’s a small dealbreaker:
ExpressVPN is a high-priced VPN provider, only coming in behind VyprVPN. It also offers the least simultaneous connections (five), so it doesn’t make up in that department either.
Even so, it’s an excellent buy for automatic and fast obfuscation on top of other top-shelf privacy and security features.
If interested, grab these ExpressVPN discounts to shave some dollars off the top.
Surfshark – 600+ US Servers & 3200+ Global Servers for Unlimited Users
Surfshark beats ExpressVPN to the punch on US server count, offering 600+ US servers in 25 cities. This also makes it your best choice for finding a server in a city closest to you since it provides the most extensive US city spread.
On top of that, I always use the automatic connect feature for the USA to get the fastest and nearest server location without having to test the servers myself.
Likewise, I never hemorrhaged data to AT&T during my Surfshark tests. Thanks to the active military-grade encryption enabled on connecting to Surfshark’s servers, you’re in control of your online data.
Thankfully, Surfshark is also a no-logs provider, so it’s not intercepting your data instead of AT&T now. In other words, you’re the only one who knows what you do online – and Surfshark works hard to keep it so.
Besides the privacy and anonymity, Surfshark is also decent at unblocking content. I tried it with some streaming sites, and I successfully unblocked
Thanks to its 3200+ servers in 99 countries, you can unblock content from almost anywhere globally. This is even higher than the country count on ExpressVPN, making it the highest overall.
I got the best streaming speeds on Surfshark over its WireGuard protocol.
I was half expecting it to have an in-house protocol like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and VyprVPN, but that’s not the case here.
Thankfully, WireGuard is no slouch for internet speed and online security either.
However, like the others (except ExpressVPN and VyprVPN), Surfshark also suffers a considerable blow when using obfuscation.
So, you should never require it. Else, you’ll be better off with ExpressVPN if you need fast speeds while bypassing VPN traffic blocks from ATT.
Surfshark and NordVPN are almost evenly matched on torrent download speeds. That’s not surprising since the least servers on Surfshark are promised at 1Gbps speeds!
However, Surfshark doesn’t have special P2P servers, enabling P2P support on all its servers instead. This is like ExpressVPN’s practice, but Surfshark doesn’t support seeding either.
There’s also another hiccup to consider.
Surfshark is based in the Netherlands, a country in the 14 Eyes data-sharing alliance with the USA. Since AT&T is in the USA, it may push the government to ask the Netherlands to get your web data from Surfshark.
Scary, but there’s a silver lining:
Surfshark has been audited for its no logs claims too.
So, it won’t have any of your data to share with its government, the Netherlands government, or ATT.
With that out of the way, Surfshark makes a good value argument by offering unlimited simultaneous device connections.
You’d think this makes it expensive, but it’s the cheapest VPN provider I reviewed.
Thus, you can use this single VPN to protect your iOS and Android smartphones and your family. The best part is that you get unlimited bandwidth, too, so you don’t have to worry about hitting a fair data usage threshold.
You can use these Surfshark discounts to save even more and qualify for the 30-day money-back guarantee.
PureVPN – Quantum-Resistant US Servers + Encrypted Global Servers
PureVPN is the second largest collector of US servers I reviewed, and it brings a twist to it. How so?
For starters, this VPN provider packs 1800+ US servers in 13 cities, putting it just behind NordVPN in the US server reach.
PureVPN also adds quantum-resistance technology to these servers.
That prevents governments, ISPs, and hackers from uncovering your internet activity tracks, even if they were using next-gen computer technology!
Given that you’ll be connecting to US servers a lot over ATT, PureVPN ensures
- You get the best possible data encryption technology around
- You get higher-tier protection against advanced live traffic hacking techniques
- You get a lot of US servers to prevent overcrowding
- You have a generous choice of US cities to connect to for the least ping and faster speeds
I connected to a few US servers and accessed Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. Fortunately, PureVPN’s US servers unblocked the US libraries on these platforms.
Also, while PureVPN is behind the trio of ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark in the speed department, you won’t even notice.
After all, I streamed HD content without buffering.
Thanks to its low ping servers, you can also get great gameplay on PureVPN. I’d suggest NordVPN and ExpressVPN for the least pings, but if PureVPN is what you have, you’re good to go, also.
To verify this, I tested the VPN provider on some of my best mobile games, like Fortnite and PUBG. In fact, I eliminated the usual network-induced lag I get when changing weapons sometimes and got that split-second leap on other players I was up against.
Thankfully, the US servers aren’t all PureVPN is good for.
PureVPN edges out NordVPN with 6500+ servers in 78+ countries.
It’s behind ExpressVPN and Surfshark on the country count, but you stand a higher chance of getting servers in preferred regions here.
It also carries a generally better selection of African servers.
So, this is the place to be if you want to unblock
- Ibaka TV or IrokoTV from Nigeria
- UBN TV, SABC, or other South African TV channels
- Watch Nile TV or El-Sharq TV online from Egyptian servers
You’ll also get a vast library of European, South & Central American, and Oceania servers to unblock content in those regions.
This combination of vast servers, quantum-resistance technology, and PureVPN’s 256-bit encryption explains why it can bypass ATT’s content filtering and blocking.
Throughout my tests, I only got the AT&T spam filter on otherwise safe sites whenever I disconnected from PureVPN. Thus, I don’t doubt that it’ll also bypass parental control settings to these sites since ATT can’t see your internet activity anymore.
The fact that the ISP is now blind to your internet activity makes PureVPN suitable for downloading torrents.
I got a few game updates, updated my book library, and downloaded some old movies I’ve been looking for without getting nasty copyright notices.
I even downloaded these files on various days to be sure PureVPN’s protection isn’t hit-and-miss but consistent.
Like NordVPN, PureVPN maintains some P2P-optimized servers for torrent downloads.
I recommend connecting to these before going to torrent sites because
- P2P servers are better for file sharing
- P2P servers are often maintained in countries and regions where torrenting is legal
- P2P servers are engineered to bypass throttling and supply the fastest download speeds
So, while you can connect to any of PureVPN’s servers to download torrents, choosing from the P2P server spread is best. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a P2P server in the USA. But NordVPN does.
Even so, it’s slightly better than NordVPN since it supports torrent seeding. Again, not many of us seed torrents anyway, so that shouldn’t be a serious dealbreaker.
One of the most surprising things about PureVPN is how it manages almost similar speeds across its different protocols. Still, you should use WireGuard since it helps conserve your mobile data and battery while getting you better speeds.
So far, PureVPN and ExpressVPN are the only VPN providers I reviewed having two security audits to verify their privacy and no-logs claims. PureVPN even takes it a notch further with its surprise audit from KPMG.
Thus, it can get audited at any time, so it must always be on its best behavior.
Another similarity with ExpressVPN is that it’s also based in the privacy-friendly BVI. In other words, the US or ATT can’t send any court summons for your internet data or deanonymize you over PureVPN’s servers.
But that’s where the comparisons with ExpressVPN end, and for a good reason.
For example, PureVPN offers more simultaneous connections (10 vs. 5) than ExpressVPN and is the more affordable of the two.
Get these PureVPN deals to save more and get the 31-day money-back guarantee.
VyprVPN – Reliable, Fast and Secure Obfuscation Over 700+ Servers
VyprVPN has the least US server location and global servers of the VPNs on this list. Still, it performed better than most other VPNs I tested but didn’t make this list.
So, how does this small server count still translate to better performance?
VyprVPN’s US servers in 8 locations would stream even DirecTV content without issues. Considering how serious AT&T usually is about blocking VPN traffic to this service, I think that’s impressive.
You’ll also get 700+ other servers in 70+ locations globally.
This means more locations than NordVPN but still fewer servers.
So, you may have to deal with server overcrowding if the same number of users are simultaneously on both NordVPN and VyprVPN.
Besides the general WireGuard protocol for better mobile speeds and security, VyprVPN uses the stable and reconnection-friendly IKEv2.
But there’s more.
Like NordVPN and ExpressVPN, it introduces a Chameleon protocol.
Only that, this time, it’s not to replace WireGuard as the first two VPNs did.
Instead, this Chameleon protocol is to bypass harsh content censorship from the US government, AT&T, or parental control settings on the ATT network. I’m impressed by it because it manages to keep the same speeds, if not better, than the basic WireGuard.
However, I don’t recommend that you keep this one connected just because it’s fast. I noticed a slightly higher data consumption on ATT with the Chameleon protocol enabled in my tests. So, save it for when you genuinely need to bypass stricter censorship.
That also takes me to the lack of an Automatic protocol selection I see with my other VPNs. Thus, you’ll always have to tell VyprVPN what protocol to use. That could be a downside for users who aren’t as tech-savvy and might not remember to change the protocols for every corresponding instance.
Another area where VyprVPN and ExpressVPN intersect is torrent seeding.
I asked VyprVPN support (which is fast to respond), who confirmed this and that all servers are P2P enabled too.
So, download and seed your torrent files without getting any letters from nasty copyright bodies, online trolls, or AT&T.
Just remember to enable the kill switch, so you’re still protected if the VPN connection randomly drops.
It gets better!
VyprVPN has its headquarters in Switzerland, one of the most privacy-friendly locations. In fact, the country’s laws protect residents and citizens from online surveillance, connection logging, and other issues that AT&T loves to engage in.
On top of that, VyprVPN is audited for its no-logs VPN claims.
It’ll even allow you to enjoy these premium benefits on 30 simultaneous device connections. That’s
- 3x more connections than you get with PureVPN
- 5x more connections than you get with NordVPN
- 6x more connections than you get with ExpressVPN
But the price reflects these premium additions, making VyprVPN the most expensive VPN I reviewed.
So, it’s best to grab these VyprVPN deals while they last to save on your subscription.
How to Setup a VPN for AT&T?
You need the correct VPN setup to prevent accidental IP leaks when surfing the web or downloading torrent files on ATT. So, you should enable the VPN kill switch, choose the suitable VPN security protocol, and connect to a preferred server.
Here’s a stepwise guide with my preferred VPN to get you started:
- Choose your best ATT VPN. I prefer https://vpnalert.com/go/nordvpn on AT&T.
- Download the VPN app for your mobile device. It’s best to go to your Google Play Store/iOS App Store for this.
- Login with your account credentials.
- Enable the kill switch.
- Choose the correct protocol. I recommend NordLynx for the best speed, security, and AT&T data savings.
- Search and connect to a preferred server.
- OR: Click the “Quick Connect” button to get automatically assigned the fastest server in the nearest location.
- Wait for the connection confirmation.
- Test for VPN leaks. Go to www.ipleak.net and ensure you get the VPN-assigned IP address, not your actual IP address.
- Start browsing the secure web.
Some VPN providers (like NordVPN) don’t have a kill switch setting in their iOS app.
However, it’s automatically enabled whenever you connect to any server under any protocol.
Still, check to confirm whether it’s there after every app update.
Can You Use a Free VPN With AT&T?
You can use a free VPN with your AT&T network. Still, it won’t protect you against the ISP’s speed throttling, online privacy invasion, personal data collection, and copyright trolls when you download torrents.
I tested some free VPN providers, and they didn’t offer enough encryption on their limited servers to unblock my favorite content on streaming platforms.
Even so, they peppered me with many ads that ruined the experience.
So, choosing an affordable premium VPN provider like NordVPN with top-notch security, privacy, speed, and unblocking features is best. It even has an ad blocker that keeps intrusive ads and malware trackers away.
Can You Bypass AT&T Throttling With a VPN After Exhausting Your Data Plan?
You can’t bypass AT&T’s bandwidth throttling with a VPN after exhausting your main data plan. Your account is linked to the data balance; a VPN won’t change that.
However, you can bypass ATT’s throttling with a VPN if your active data plan is slowed down due to your streaming, gaming, heavy downloading, or other internet activities.
You’ll have to choose a premium, speed-optimized VPN like NordVPN and connect to fast protocols (like its NordLynx protocol) to enjoy this throttling bypass.
Frequently Asked Questions
The AT&T ActiveArmor isn’t a true VPN, even though it’s being marketed as one.
It’s designed to kick in to protect your device once you connect to a public/free/unidentified Wi-Fi network.
However, all your online data is still routed through AT&T, so it can keep collecting your data rather than the Wi-Fi network provider. Likewise, it doesn’t allow you to connect to other servers, encrypt your internet connection, download torrents safely, or unblock content from abroad.
The best way to bypass AT&T Secure Family parental controls is to turn off your device, wipe your device entirely or download a VPN app that can spoof your location (like Surfshark on Android devices).
However, note that a VPN might not be able to accurately spoof your GPS location to avoid detection. Thus, purchasing your own AT&T plan and moving out of the family plan’s coverage is best.
AT&T sometimes throttles VPN traffic, but this is only evident on poorly engineered and mostly free VPN providers that aren’t optimized for speed.
Likewise, AT&T may sometimes throttle VPN traffic over OpenVPN protocols.
Thus, it’s best to get a VPN with fast obfuscation like ExpressVPN or options with multiple protocols like NordVPN and Surfshark.
AT&T and other ISPs can see that you’re using a VPN, but they can’t see what you do over that VPN. Thus, they don’t know what IP addresses you get, what VPN server you’re connected to, what websites you’re visiting, or the files you’re downloading.
You can also make it impossible for AT&T to see that you’re using a VPN by employing obfuscation protocols that disguise your VPN traffic as regular internet traffic.
Using a VPN with AT&T’s network is legal to unblock content, improve anonymity, ensure online privacy, and download torrent files securely.
However, it’s against AT&T’s and reputable VPN providers’ ToS to commit any cybercrime on their networks. Thus, such an instance may make your activities with the VPN (and AT&T’s network) illegal.
Browse Securely and Privately on AT&T
AT&T shouldn’t dictate what content you see online, how much data you can use at once, or police how you browse the web. It should also not be able to sell your data for a profit after collecting subscription fees for the service provided.
Thus, get a reliable, no-logs, fast, and privacy-focused VPN provider like NordVPN.
Use these NordVPN discounts when you’re ready to get the VPN for cheaper and enjoy a 30-day risk-free money-back guarantee to test it for yourself.