6th May 2015
Today I reviewed My Expat Network to see how their features compared with their cost. Here’s what I learned:
- compatible with all operating systems
- fast customer service
- very low monthly rates
- 30 day money back guarantee
- not the fastest connection
- limited server locations
- only e-mail support available
Overall Score: 78/100
This score is much lower than the 97/100 scored by our top rated VPN – Express VPN.
My Expat Network turned out to be a great value, with numerous features at one of the lowest monthly rates.
To get My Expat Network, go here: My Expat Network
VPNs are a very simple way to protect your online privacy, as well as give you access to any content you want, no matter where you are.
Many countries have government instituted censorship programs that block and restrict access to content they deem inappropriate or dangerous to their society.
This isn’t just limited to political blogs either – it can include everything from social media to streaming services.
To protect yourself from hackers and identity theft, as well as get access to any content you want, use a VPN.
It will encrypt your activity and hide your IP address, tricking servers into thinking you’re in a different country and giving you unlimited access.
There are so many VPN providers out there, it’s really hard to know which ones are worth your money. Here I’ll go through, point by point, how you can shop smart for online protection.
Today I’ll also be taking a closer look at one VPN provider, My Expat Network, to see how good of a value they are. Let’s get started.
Will My Expat Network Work on My Operating System?
The first thing you want to ask yourself when you start shopping around for a VPN provider is: Does their software work on your operating system?
Keep in mind that you may want to use their connection on more than one device, so make sure it’s compatible with all of your devices – not just one.
My Expat Network’s software is actually compatible with all major operating systems, requiring little to no manual configuration.
Their VPN will work with Windows, Mac, iOS, Linux, and Android devices.
Rating: 5/5 – Compatible with all systems
What Kind of Features Does My Expat Network Have?
The features of VPNs are what set them apart from each other.
These can really vary a lot from company to company, so pay close attention to what a provider has to offer to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.
Feature #1: Multiple Connections
A VPN that allows you to connect to multiple devices simultaneously is great for someone who uses a few different devices they’d like to protect.
Even if you just have a household with a couple different people that could use the added security of a VPN, make sure to look for one that will give you at least two or three connections.
With My Expat Network, you get up to three simultaneous connections.
This coupled with the fact that they’re compatible with all of your operating systems makes them great for protecting your connection on all of your devices.
Rating: 4/5 – Up to 3 connections
Feature #2: Money Back Guarantee
A company that stands behind their service with a money back guarantee is one that you can trust.
This policy will hold them accountable for problems, and give you a chance to get a refund if things don’t go smoothly.
With My Expat Network, you get a 30 day money back guarantee, which is about as good as it gets.
If for any reason you’re not happy with their service within that time frame, they’ll give you a full refund, no questions asked.
Rating: 5/5 – 30-day money back guarantee!
Feature #3: Number of Servers
Before you pull the trigger on purchasing a VPN, make sure you look at how many servers they have.
This matters because a VPN that has very few (less than 20), will have a narrower distribution for their users, which could slow down your connection.
Though My Expat Network definitely has servers where it counts (in countries with the freest internet access), they only have four, so you’re really limited in your selection.
Rating: 1/5 – Very few server locations
Feature #4: Referral Program
There’s no better marketing out there than word of mouth, and this is something some VPN companies out there will let you take advantage of.
Companies that offer referral programs will extend special offers and discounts to their customers that send business their way, so always keep your eyes peeled for this feature.
This isn’t the most common feature with VPN, and it’s not something that My Expat Network offers their customers.
Rating: 0/5 – No referral program
Feature #5: Data Logging
Data logging is the practice of maintaining records of internet activity linked to IP addresses.
It’s how governments track suspicious online activity, and the reason a lot of people sign up for VPNs in the first place.
Don’t just assume a company doesn’t engage in this practice just because they’re in the security biz – make sure your activity is always anonymous.
My Expat Network doesn’t do any data logging, so you never have to worry about someone being able to access your activity logs, because they’ll never exist from the start.
Rating: 5/5 – Completely anonymous browsing
Feature #6: Bandwidth
This refers to the amount of data a server can handle per user at a given time. Pay extra close attention to this feature, particularly if you use streaming services like Netflix, or do a lot of downloading.
Since My Expat Network doesn’t technically provide you with an internet connection, but just your VPN, your bandwidth limitations should be the same as what your internet service provider sets.
That being said, it can still be affected by things like server traffic and the type of encryption you use.
Rating: 5/5 – No bandwidth limitations
How Secure Is It?
Sure, VPNs are a great way to get around content blocks and access any online material you want, but in the end they’re nothing more than a glorified proxy if they’re not secure.
There are two different types of encryption that are typically used: 128 and 256 bit, the latter being the more secure of the two.
My Expat Network uses the best encryption out there – 256 bit – so your connection is incredibly secure.
They have multiple VPN protocols, for different degrees of security, depending on how important the speed of your connection is versus the security (you typically sacrifice one a little for the other).
Rating: 5/5 – Ultra secure connection
What’s the Set Up Process Like?
Though VPNs are definitely increasing in their popularity, not everyone is familiar with what they are and how they work.
For those that have no experience with this type of software, an easy set up process is a must.
I loved how easy My Expat Network was to set up. With some VPNs, there’s a whole mess of settings you have to manually configure to set up the connection.
You spend twenty minutes going back and forth between the set up guide and your control panel, the whole time hoping you don’t miss a step and ruin some setting on your computer.
With My Expat Network, it’s as simple as point and click. You just download the software from their website, and the installation wizard walks you through the entire process.
You can select where you want your shortcuts to be, but that’s about the only part that really needs your input – the rest is automated.
Like most software, you’re going to have to reboot your system after you install.
Rating: 5/5 – Effortless setup process
Is it Easy to Use?
Once you get the VPN set up, you’re going to want to make sure you can connect and disconnect with ease, and not have to go in and adjust a bunch of settings each time.
The faster and more accessible the software, the better. My Expat Network is really easy to use.
There’s no software dashboard with the Windows version that I used, just a little icon in your notifications bar that you right click to access your servers.
You just select a location and hit connect. Boom – done.
Rating: 5/5 – Very quick to connect
You’re only prompted to log in to My Expat Network during the initial set up process, which is really great.
Even if you close the program and reboot your system, when you reopen it, you still won’t have to log back in (great for users who can’t cram another password combination into their brain).
Changing servers is really straightforward with My Expat Network. When you go into the connection settings, you’re shown their servers, and you just pick the one you want to connect to.
There’s no way to tell how much traffic that server is seeing at that time, but if you find the connection is a little slow, just disconnect and select a different one to try.
What If I Need Help?
Customer service is so important with online services like these.
Since there’s no office building to go to, you have to be able to trust a company to respond to e-mails and pick up the phone when you need assistance.
Before you get stuck with a service plan, make absolutely sure that the VPN provider is going to be there to help when you need them.
This is the most important part of a company’s customer service.
Since we all live in different time zones, you need to make sure you can get in touch with customer service no matter when you need assistance.
My Expat Network has 24/7 customer service, and claims that most inquiries will receive a response within a few hours. We’ll put this to the test in the next section, in our customer support test.
Rating: 5/5 – Prompt, 24/7 service
It’s really convenient to be able to reach customer service in a few different ways.
If your inquiry isn’t urgent, e-mail works fine, but if you need immediate assistance, live chat features and phone support can be invaluable.
My Expat Network only offers e-mail support, so keep that in mind if you’re having connection problems and are in a pinch for time – nothing beats the speed and convenience of a live chat feature.
Rating: 2/5 – Only e-mail support
Customer Support Test
As promised, I put My Expat Network’s customer service to the test, to see how fast and helpful their team was.
I made sure to contact them at two different times of day to see how their response times varied with business flow, and just how round the clock their customer support really is.
E-mail Support Test #1 – Saturday/5:00 p.m.
I sent my first question in at the end of the day on a weekend, during a time when call centers and customer service teams usually see a high volume of inquiries.
The response wasn’t quite as fast as I was hoping – it took them nearly seven hours to get back to me. However, they were helpful and resolved my issue.
Result: 6 hours 46 minutes
Rating: 3.5/5 – Service could be faster
E-mail Support Test #2 – Saturday/11:53 p.m.
Oddly enough, I got a much faster response when I contacted their support team well outside of normal business hours.
This is likely because they were receiving fewer inquiries at this time of night, or because of a time zone difference.
At around two and a half hours for a response time, they did much better this time around.
Result: 2 hours 36 minutes
Rating: 4.5/5 – Much faster service
Overall, My Expat Network compares really well to other VPNs’ customer service out there. Their support staff was really helpful, and their service was pretty prompt compared to what I’m used to.
Overall Support Rating: 8/10 – Fast and helpful service
How Fast is My Expat Network?
Besides their customer service, I wanted to see how fast My Expat Network’s connection was too.
A fast connection means you’re going to have no problems watching movies or streaming music online, so it’s pretty important for people using a VPN to access sites like Netflix and Pandora.
I ran two speed tests – one with my standard home connection, and one with the VPN – to see how My Expat Network compared. Here’s what I ended up with:
Without My Expat Network
With My Expat Network
As you can see, there isn’t a huge difference in speed, but it was noticeable when I was online checking e-mail and watching videos.
Though My Expat Network should be plenty fast enough for managing your personal accounts, it may not be the best for users that stream and download frequently.
Rating: 3/5 – Not the fastest connection out there
How Much Does My Expat Network Cost?
One of the final considerations when you’re shopping around for a VPN is definitely the cost. The thing is, there are tons of VPN providers out there, so it’s a pretty competitive market.
There’s no need to settle for a more expensive VPN that doesn’t have everything you want when there’s bound to be a better alternative out there.
My Expat Network prices their plans a little different than other VPNs out there.
Rather than having plans with different features at different rates, they have separate plans for either home or mobile connections.
However, their monthly rates are about as low as they come – $5 a month. Even if you wanted both service plans, that’s still lower than the average rate out there.
Rating: 5/5 – Super cheap plans
The X Factor
This final category isn’t so much a feature or a selling point, but really just your overall impression of the product and the seller.
It’s what makes you pick one over the other, when all other points bring you to a pretty close tie.
One thing I really noticed about My Expat Network was that though their website was a little disorganized, they really catered to people that may not be very familiar with VPNs and how they work.
Their language wasn’t overly technical, but really down to earth and easy to understand. Their website gave off a very low key, friendly vibe to potential customers.
They would have scored a little higher in this category if their product specifics were more available.
I was still really pleased with the way they marketed to the average Joe looking to watch Netflix, rather than the internet savant.
Rating: 15/20 – Marketing in a language we can all understand
Overall, I was really pleased with how well My Expat Network performed through all of these tests. They’re really affordable, and had some great features.
- compatible with all operating systems
- up to 3 simultaneous connections
- no bandwidth limitations
- 30 day money back guarantee
- relatively fast connection
- very secure encryption
- no data logging
- prompt, 24/7 support
- software is easy to use
- VPN has simple set up
- easy to understand, no technical jargon
- no referral program
- only 4 servers to choose from
Overall Score: 78/100
As you can see, My Expat Network is a pretty great value that doesn’t sacrifice features for a low monthly rate.
To get My Expat Network, sign up here: My Expat Network
To see the highest rated VPN that scored a 97/100, click here: Express VPN.