A big portion of VPN users nowadays are mainly looking to unblock streaming websites and live television, more so than privacy. This is mainly whom My Expat Network diligently tries to serve. As the name suggests, expats are often left missing old programs and TV stations from home, and with a VPN, you can bypass regional restrictions to live TV and streaming websites by connecting to a server where you used to live. Of course, not only expats can benefit from using this service. Sports fanatics can tell you how frustrating it can be to watch sporting events online. If you travel often for work or leisure, or simply want access to global programming, such as US Netflix or Hulu, My Expat Network provides the VPN servers required to get the job done. If you want to learn more about this service, in this review I cover my experience using their VPN service.
Security and Privacy
This is of no surprise, since the main goal of My Expat Network is to facilitate access to world wide television and movie streaming on as many platforms as possible. My Expat Network also lacks a kill switch in case the connection drops, and doesn’t provide any advanced privacy options at this time. If you’re mainly looking for streaming features and services, privacy or web security might not be of concern at all, but if they are, it’s important to consider that only UK and US servers are available for adequate encryption. Users in highly censored countries like China also lack any advanced deep packet inspection protected servers or connection protocols.
IP and DNS Leak Test
When testing the application, the service successfully passed all of my IP, DNS and WebRTC leak tests across every server location. DNS leaks can often cause streaming services to detect your true location and block access, but the OpenVPN protocol based app posed no issues when the servers were tested. Kudos to My Expat Network for the functional protection.
The service currently provides 130 servers across 12 different countries. Unfortunately, the desktop app does not currently let you browse or select from different servers, and limits you to connecting to a specific location. The user interface is easy to use, but remains simplistic. Beyond having the ability of changing to other proxy settings, or viewing your OpenVPN connection and status log, no other options are currently offered. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since simple is quick and easy to use, anyone can quickly download and install My Expat Network, select a country of their choice and start streaming the content of their choice. The application is available on all major platforms – Windows, Mac, Linux, Apple iOS, Android, Amazon TV Fire stick, and even Sabai based network router configurations are provided. The mobile and Amazon apps have a more pleasing design but still don’t provide additional features.
Streaming content is where My Expat Network starts to shine. Although you might already know exactly what online websites and video content you want to unblock, you might want to discover more channels and platforms. Or you might not know where to find the content you’re seeking. On My Expat Network’s website, you can find a complete TV and streaming guide that links to a multitude of available websites for each of the 12 countries available on their network. These are: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States. Although not wide array of selection, it covers plenty of popular locations for now, and is likely to grow with time. I personally enjoy discovering new broadcasting stations and often free content available. But just like most people, I already know what I want to watch, but not always where it’s going to play. This is mainly the case for sporting events, where I usually need to search for what channels in what country will be playing the match live. I can easily locate the channel’s link on My Expat Network’s TV guide and get streaming in the matter of a minute or two.
Although I would like to see some incorporation of the TV channel guide on the application, it could arguably be cumbersome, and some might prefer to use the website, or not use it at all. But I still think that since this is the main attraction provided, My Expat Network’s app could possibly better facilitate access to all these broadcasting websites and streaming platforms. Using the website remains an easy task, and offers more than just global streaming guides. Under each guide, users can find the steps required to take in order to download geographically restricted mobile streaming apps. For example, when downloading from the Apple or Google Play store, some apps are only available in their native country, and require you to take specific steps to change the App Store country. They do a great job of outlining each steps to get your mobile device ready as quickly as possible.
Additionally, members are provided with simple but complete graphical step by step installation guides for the different platforms in case you run into any issues or questions. Once installed, testing and using My Expat Network went as expected, and I was able to access content in every country available by using their online TV guides. I hope to see My Expat Network offer the option of selecting different servers from each country. Bandwidth speeds were not as good as many other established VPNs available when connecting from Canada, but you might have a completely different experience. But having access to server lists with ping tests and load meters could certainly help attain better overall speeds. For most servers I was able to attain fast enough speeds for multiple high definition stream sources or at least a single 4k UHD stream, but competitively speaking, I have tested faster VPN servers.
Netflix and Streaming Test
Of course, My Expat Network worked perfectly for unblocking Netflix in different regions such as US, Canada, UK and France. And as expected, you can unblock every other streaming platform and live TV channel of your choice, such as Hulu or BBC One. As previously stated, the service did not fail any IP or DNS leak tests, and did a very good job of unblocking geographically restricted sites. This is My Expat Network’s specialty after all, and it does a good job of listing a large number of available live channels and stream sites.
If you wish to try or purchase a VPN subscription for My Expat Network, you will be presented with 3 different package types to pick from. PC/MAC/Router single device plan provides access to only one country of your choice, and allows you to use one simultaneous connection on a computer type device, such as desktop or laptop. This plan also supports Sabai VPN router connections, which allows you to connect an unlimited amount of devices, or a device that does not support VPN connections, such as a Smart TV or gaming console. But it does require you to purchase a Sabai powered router which My Epat Network also sells. The second plan also only allows you to select access servers in a single country and one simultaneous connection using the Tablet / Mobile device apps, this includes Apple, Android, and Amazon Fire Stick App. Finally, you can opt for the All Devices plan which provides access to all 12 available countries, allows you to use any kind of hardware, and up to 5 simultaneous connected users.
Opting for a single device / user plan will obviously cost less, and if you strictly only need access to content in a single country, than why pay more? Many expats simply want access to their native country’s content, therefore these plans make sense for the audience. You will also be presented with a choice between monthly, 6 month or 12 month subscriptions with ten to twenty percent discounts on the total cost. A yearly discounted package for one country comes out to $5.60 US a month, while a 5 device and all location access comes out to $9.60 per month. It’s not extremely expensive, but also not the most competitive pricing available. Many competitors offer similar or better pricing with bigger networks and access to more countries, but My Expat Network might provide a service you like and others lack, such as their extensive streaming guide.
All VPN companies will offer free support when installing the application, but My Expat Network takes it a step forward by providing the option to open a ticket and request that one of their ‘geeks’ provide you with a free installation service. They can provide guidance or offer remote desktop control through Team Viewer for anyone that really needs a hands-on technician. This can be especially useful for router configurations as they can feel more complicated and confusing to many users. Members and non-members create support requests directly under the Help Desk section which also includes troubleshooting guides. Or alternatively, you can send My Expat Network an email by using the Help tab that appears at the bottom right hand side of the website. Agents are available to help between 9am and 12am GMT.
My Expat Network’s main goal is to provide access to television channels and streaming platforms that are geographically restricted, and do a very good job of guiding you to said content. The bulk of their specialized service is delivered through their website. The VPN clients remain very basic, but the website provides everything a streamer needs. Proper installation guides and steps to take to access global Apple iOS and Android streaming apps are easy to follow, and My Expat Network has a complete well organized channel and streaming guide to find the content you want from various countries. Expats, sports fanatics, and web streamers have everything they need. Where it does lack, is a larger selection of secure servers for privacy enthusiasts, or torrent users. Advanced options or incorporated channel guides directly from the app would be a good addition. I also hope to see the option to sort and choose from different servers added, as the speeds were not impressive, but adequate for streaming.