WARNING: My Expat Network is a VPN service that was made solely for the purpose of allowing expatriates to watch SD TV from abroad. Its focus is on streaming and not security.
- Simultaneous connections 5
- Countries 4
- Jurisdiction Hong Kong
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Pricing and Plans
My Expat Network has an interesting system in place for its plans and pricing. If you are a British, American, Canadian, or Australian citizen, and want to access content only from your home country, you can do just that. Or, if you’d prefer, you can select the option to unblock the content in all four of those countries – though this comes at a higher cost. Similarly, you can specify which device you’d like to use – a PC, Mac, router, tablet, or smartphone – or select all devices. Finally, you have the option to choose between a monthly plan, six-monthly plan, or yearly plan.
All these choices make for a wide variety of price points. If you decide to stick to one country, plan prices will display in the currency of said country, with cost depending current market rates and what device(s) you want to use. Alternatively, if you decide to go all in and select all countries and all devices, the flat rate is in GBP and is £8.00 per month for a monthly plan, £7.20 per month for a six-month plan, and £6.40 per month for a 12-month plan. When taking into account the GBP to USD exchange rate at the time of writing, this is roughly $12.00 per month for a monthly plan, $10.80 per month for a six-month plan, and $9.60 per month for a 12-month plan.
After you pick your plan and price point, you can pay via Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Discover, or PayPal. While this is a decent range of options, I was disappointed to see that there was no anonymous payment option, such as bitcoin. That said, I was not surprised, for reasons that will become evident later in this review.
Unfortunately, My Expat Network does not offer a free trial. However, it does have a seven-day money-back guarantee that you can take advantage of in the case that you’re not satisfied with the service.
My Expat Network is a British company based in Hong Kong.
My Expat Network services a mere four places: the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Australia. Its server network stands at 120 servers and counting, which it refers to on its website as being optimized for SD (not HD) video streaming.
How many devices you can use to access these servers depends on which plan you choose. You can either go for one country and one device, or go all-in with all four countries for five simultaneous connections. If you go for the latter, you’ll be able to watch your favorite shows on your desktop, mobile, and tablet, and still have connections left over for your family's or roommates' devices!
Lucky news for our readers who are looking for a VPN primarily to stream TV shows: My Expat Network has a TV guide that lists each and every one of the channels that its users can access in the USA, UK, Canada, and Australia.
- BBC One through Four, BBC iPlayer, 4oD and Demand 5 in the UK
- NBC, CBS, Bravo TV and Adult Swim in the US
- ABC Net i-View, ABC News, Plus 7, and SMH TV in Australia
- CBC, CTV, Slice, and Global TV in Canada
For a complete list of accessible channels in each country, you can check out the TV guide on the My Expat Network website.
Security and Privacy
As I briefly mentioned in the Features section of this My Expat Network review, the company is based in Hong Kong. This is a great location for a VPN service to be based, as Hong Kong’s lack of a mandatory data retention policy allows providers based there to keep their users’ online activities safe from legal restrictions and government intervention.
Despite its prime location, My Expat Network has rather disappointing encryption protocols in place. It uses OpenVPN for PC and Mac VPN clients, and L2TP for mobile devices. 56-bit encryption is used for its UK service, while 128-bit is used for Australia, Canada, and the US. That said, I was told that soon all locations will be using 56-bit encryption in the future, as it will allow for high speeds and better streaming capability.
Such poor encryption is distressing to see in any VPN, but given that the service is dedicated only to streaming from abroad, and not security in any way, shape, or form, it is unsurprising and understandable.
The My Expat Network Website
The My Expat Network website is nicely designed and easy to navigate. The bulk of the information about the service can be found on its homepage, including its payment options, supported systems, and serviced countries. Links to helpful topics such as Packages, Channels, Support, FAQs, and Terms and Conditions can be found on the top and bottom of the page.
Also on the homepage you can find real time updates from My Expat Network's Facebook and Twitter accounts (in addition to links to them), plus select customer feedback.
My Expat Network has a blog under the Resources tab on its website. There, you can find information on things such as company updates, industry news, sports schedules, and TV licensing.
My Expat Network has a well-rounded support system in place. Its FAQ page is small but manages to answer all the main questions, such as "What TV channels can I watch?", "Do you offer a free trial?", and "What does a VPN connection give me?"
Should your question still be unanswered, you can browse the Help Center, which contains general announcements, support forums, tricks and tips, troubleshooting articles, and a community where users can leave comments.
If your question is still unanswered following all that, you can contact My Expat Network directly by submitting your request via an online contact form. Afterwards, you will receive an email containing your ticket number and a promise that your question is under review by staff.
For this My Expat Network review, I decided to test out their ticket-based customer support. I submitted a question regarding what encryption they use.
I was shocked to receive a personalized response a mere five minutes later. The staff member answered my question in full and told me to contact them again if I had any more questions. All in all, I was very happy with the quality (and speediness) of the My Expat Network support!
Signing up for My Expat Network VPN is simple. After picking your desired plan, device(s), and payment plan, you will be required to provide your first name, last name, and email address, and to generate a password. After signing up, you will receive a confirmation email that will take you to your account page. There, you can find information about your subscriptions, in addition to the installation page.
After installing My Expat Network (a process which takes mere seconds), you will have to restart your device before the client can launch.
For this My Expat Network review, I opted to test out the All Countries All Devices service.
The My Expat Network Windows 10 VPN Client
The My Expat Network VPN client for Windows was a little tricky to find at first. While a desktop icon does display after downloading the software, this doesn't actually launch the client. Instead, it can be found in the system tray.
Upon opening, you'll be greeted with available countries to connect to, in addition to settings and the Exit button.
Clicking on a country allows you to Connect, Disconnect, Show status, and View logs.
Once you click on your desired country, you'll be notified of a successful connection as well as your new IP address. (For the sake of this review, I blacked out the IP address that was given to me.)
By clicking on Show status, the following popup will appear, supplying the user with additional details of their connection:
The Settings menu of the My Expat Network VPN client is just as bare bones as the rest of it. The Proxy tab allows you to choose between using the company's settings, using system proxy settings, or manually setting up your own.
The General tab, meanwhile, only gives you the option to switch languages. Lastly, the About tab gives you a snippet of additional information about the company.
Speed and Performance
The graphs show the highest, lowest, and average speeds for each server and location. See our full speed test explanation for more detail.
Speed tests were conducted in Europe with a 30 Mbps baseline connection. As you can see in the graphs, both upload and download speeds were significantly lowered when My Expat Network was turned on. Given that My Expat Network is meant for streaming, to see such slow speeds was very disappointing. That said, it is arguable that these speeds are good enough for streaming SD TV - the primary purpose of My Expat Network.
Testing done for leaks turned out similarly disheartening results. ipleak.net revealed that while the IP address was masked, both WebRTC and DNS leaks were detected. What's worse, it scored 0/10 on the test over at test-ipv6.com, which tests for IPv6 stability and readiness. doileak.net - which is a mix of the aforementioned tests - yielded more of the same saddening results.
The conclusion of my findings during these various performance tests? Not only does My Expat Network have lackluster speeds, but it fails to hit the mark when it comes to strength and security as well. In its defense, speeds should never drop to the point that streaming SD TV would be impossible - though HD would be another story. Also, its target audience is likely to be preoccupied only with streaming, and not security, meaning that they would likely be (a tad worryingly) unconcerned with the results of our various leak tests.
In addition to Windows, My Expat Network works with the vast majority of devices. This includes OS X, iOS and an Android VPN. They also have VPN for Linux, and DD-WRT support. The My Expat Network client is largely the same across platforms in terms of design, quality, and efficiency. Setup guides for each platform can be found in Installation Guides under the Support tab on the My Expat Network website. The VPN for iPhone users may use a different encryption protocol, see the provider website for more details about this.
My Expat Network Pro App
As mentioned above, My Expat Network is mobile-friendly. Its app can be downloaded from both the Apple App Store and Google Play. Download and installation is as easy and seamless as the desktop version, with there being no need to change your settings in order for it to work. It is similarly easy to use. Once downloaded, all users have to do is enter their username and password and tap on the flag of their desired country to connect.
I found the mobile version of My Expat Network to actually be more user-friendly than the desktop version, as well as more stylish. I also had no problem connecting to or disconnecting from any of the servers.
- Fast and friendly customer support
- Software optimized for streaming
- Based in Hong Kong
- Five simultaneous connections
- Seven-day money-back guarantee
I wasn’t so sure about:
- Services only four countries
- Minimal logging
- Incredibly bare bones VPN client
- Optimized for SD and not HD streaming
- Very slow speeds
- WebRTC, DNS, and IPv6 leaks
- Pricey for what you get
- Incredibly weak encryption
Let’s wrap up this My Expat Network review, shall we?
While some people use VPN services for anonymity or to bypass censorship, it’s fair to say that the most common use is to access streaming services from other countries. My Expat Network is upfront about this and markets itself purely as a means of accessing foreign TV services. However, even with an easy-to-use client that even the most technology-phobic individuals can manage, this doesn't change the fact that My Expat Network is excruciatingly slow and riddled with WebRTC, DNS, and IPv6 leaks. Not exactly what you're looking for in a VPN, even if it's just one you want to use for streaming!
As such, if you're an American, British, Canadian, or Australian expatriate, and are looking for a HD streaming service that's fast, reliable, and has decent security, I'd suggest you look elsewhere. However, if you're unconcerned with security and are simply looking to watch SD TV from abroad, My Expat Network could be the VPN service for you.