My Expat Network VPN Review - 2021
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Why Choose My Expat Network VPN
My Expat Network is an interesting but limited and expensive proposition. It relies on L2TP and OpenVPN with 64-bit encryption for better speeds and offers a network of 120 servers in 12 locations.
Best VPN for
Pricing and Plans
Even though My Expat Network aims to make things simple for non-techies, its pricing structure is needlessly mind-numbing. You need to select the country you wish to unblock, and the devices you intend to use, and only then the duration of your subscription. You can select all devices, and all countries, too.
All countries and PC/Mac/Router devices will set you off at $3.50 per month. The same pricing is found in the package covering all countries and tablet/mobile-only devices. If you choose all devices with up to 5 connections at once, it is billed at $6 per month.
Surprisingly, you can’t choose a one-country plan with all devices. If you need all devices, the subscription defaults to all countries. As I said, needlessly complex.
The company accepts only two payment methods – PayPal and credit cards. No free trials are available, but you should be able to get a refund during the first 30 days of your subscription.
Catering to a non-techie audience, My Expat Network also offers live support and remote assistance in installation and troubleshooting via TeamViewer.
My Expat Network supports Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Amazon Fire, and routers. Your customer area offers shortcuts to downloads, manual installation guides, and FAQs. It’s a nicely designed and easy-to-navigate area, where you can also access your invoices and tickets. There is no live chat bubble, but the email-based support is prompt and savvy.
My Expat Network Windows client is a customized version of the OpenVPN GUI. If you are familiar with the latter, you will recognize its simplicity in My Expat Network solution. When active, the app is a mere icon in your task bar. Clicking it will bring up a small floating window with a selection of servers, each with a drop-down menu to connect, disconnect, show status, and connection logs.
The settings are minimalist, too, and consist of three tabs – About, General (where you can change the app’s language), and Proxy. The latter has three options – use My Expat Network config files, system proxy settings, or a manual configuration.
I appreciate the clean, spartan design, and the ease of use, but I certainly wish there were more toggles, like a kill switch or a DNS leak protection.
Torrenting of copyrighted material is explicitly prohibited. Five simultaneous connections are only available in the All-in-One plan, but considering you can set up your router to cover all your devices it’s not a limitation, per se.
My Expat Network uses low-level 64-bit encryption to provide faster connection speeds for streaming. Their servers are not supposed to be running at more than 75% capacity, and the provider claims to unblock even the live sports events. Unfortunately, in my time with the VPN, I was getting consistently sluggish connection speeds.
My initial speed without the VPN was above 30Mbps:
With My Expat Network enabled, it downright stalled. Ookla’s speed test would flake out repeatedly – taking the measurements turned into a debacle.
Check the speeds for the US connection:
the UK connection:
and the Australian connection:
The connection is never consistent; the speeds are disappointing and certainly not apt for streaming.
The good news is the VPN did not leak my DNS, WebRTC, or IPv6 details:
Here comes the greatest disappointment – the poor speeds prevented me from streaming BBC iPlayer. It kept buffering forever.
I was able to access Australia’s Channel 9, but then again, the speeds were unacceptable.
Netflix blocked me from the get-go while HBO was the only streaming website I could watch with My Expat Network VPN enabled.
Privacy and Security
The company is based in Hong Kong, which is relatively good because there are no data retention laws there but it’s still China. However, the provider has to keep connection logs and bandwidth use to comply with local laws in the US and the UK, and other countries where its servers are located. The company will disclose those logs to law enforcement if compelled. No file-sharing of copyrighted material is allowed.
The technical specs are weak – OpenVPN with 64-bit encryption for desktop and L2TP for mobile devices. The encryption is poor, but considering the provider never said it was meant for privacy, I appreciate the transparency.
My Expat Network does not monitor your usage activity.
My Expat Network is not meant for privacy or security. If you’re okay with that, go ahead and try it. Speed-, streaming- and performance-wise, my experience was awful – your mileage may vary. But then it’s also overpriced. Thankfully, there are better options for streaming and security on the VPN market these days.