My Private Network is a Hong Kong-based VPN aimed at the UK market. The company prices its service in pounds and is a good option for expats who want to access UK TV while living abroad.
The features of the service include an additional Smart Domain Name System (DNS) service. This should get you into most of the TV services that you miss, including Sky Go. You may find a few aspects of this Virtual Private Network (VPN) service aren’t perfect. However, the three-day free trial should give you the opportunity to work out whether it is good enough to fulfill your needs.
Three-day free trial
Open-ended money-back guarantee
Custom app for Windows
Third-party app for Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Android
Allowance of five simultaneous connections
Custom app not available for Macs, Android, or iOS
My Private Network offers PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, and Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2). However, there’s only an app for OpenVPN. You need to set up the other protocols manually.
Logs & Legal
The OpenVPN implementation uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption system with a 256-bit key. This is very good – it’s as strong as any VPN uses. The key exchange and session establishment procedures of OpenVPN use the methodologies laid down in the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol. This is the security system that protects HTTPS webpages. OpenVPN gives implementers options over the strength of RSA encryption used for the session creation phase. The main variation between VPN services is the length of that key.
My Private Network’s RSA implementation includes a 2048-bit key. This is standard in the industry. The top VPNs in the world use a longer key, of 4096 bits in length.
Security features that are absent from this service are a kill switch and automatic WiFi protection. A kill switch prevent apps on your device from connecting to the internet if the connection to the VPN drops. Automatic WiFi protection prevents your mobile devices from connecting to open WiFi hotspots without your knowledge.
Is My Private Network Private
Although clearly aimed at the British market, My Private Network is run out of Hong Kong. This location was chosen because there are no data retention laws there. Additionally, companies based there aren’t liable to pressure from the secret services as they are in the UK.
The site includes a warrant canary. This system addresses the problem that anyone who has been served with a court order for information isn’t allowed to tell the people who are under investigation that the authorities are collecting information on them. However, they are allowed to tell you that they haven’t been served with a subpoena. Therefore, if you spot a gap in the warrant canary log, that means the service received a court order.
The My Private Network Website
The My Private Network website is well-organized and looks professional. The big pink buttons that lead to the free trial are all over the site. This trial seems to be the company’s main marketing channel.
A free version of the VPN is a separate entity to the free trial.
The menu bar at the top of the site includes a link that says “Free VPN.” This free service is available long-term and uses the same interface as the paid version. However, data throughput is limited to 1 Mbps and you can only use a server in one location, which you can’t choose.
The free trial, on the other hand, is exactly the same as the full “Global” package. You can use it for free for three days. The installation files for the free trial get all of the software for the paid version on your computer, along with access to the free version. Thus, once your three-day trial expires, you have the choice of signing up for the service or continuing with the free version.
There are links to more pages in the site’s footer.
These links include access to the service’s blog.
If you experience problems with the VPN service, your first port of call should be the website’s knowledge base.
There isn’t a vast amount of information on this page, so you may well need to contact the customer support team. Access to the help desk is via a web form.
You will receive a reply to your query by email.
My Private Network Free Trial
Whether you intend to use the paid service or the free version, you need to set up an account first. The registration process gets you access to the three-day free trial. This is your starting point. Press on any “free trial” button on the site to access the registration form.
You’ll receive a welcome email to the address that you enter into the registration form. You don’t actually need to enter a real email address because you can log into the site’s client area to get the software you need without having to read any emails. Also, the username and password you set up when registering are the credentials you’ll need to log in to the VPN interface.
However, if you object to giving the VPN company your real email address it is better to create an anonymous webmail account rather than just typing in a fake address. Having some channel of contact may be necessary if you ever need to access the help desk.
Check your inbox for a welcome email.
A link in this email leads through to a download page, which will get the app on your computer.
The installation process involves you choosing which server configuration files to set up. One of those files is for the free service. If you don’t decide to pay for the service after the three-day trial ends, you won’t be able to use any of the named servers. However, the free service option will still appear in the app and will still work.
If you want to pay for the service after the free trial expires, you need to sign in to the website’s client area.
You can buy a subscription via the My Subscriptions option in the left-hand menu.
Select a package, then a subscription period.
Next, choose your payment type.
You’ll get time credit added to your account that will enable you to continue using the full VPN service once the trial period expires.
The My Private Network Windows VPN Client
My Private Network uses a program called OpenVPN GUI for its Windows app. This was developed by the organization that manages the OpenVPN standard. This interface is available for free. You may already have it installed on your computer if you’ve used a VPN before.
The company has produced its own adaptation of the standard OpenVPN GUI app. This makes it easier to install. However, the configuration files go into the directories used for OpenVPN GUI. Thus, if you already have that program, the configuration files for the servers of the last VPN that you got the software for will still be on your computer. The menu for the interface is made up of records for each configuration file, so the My Private Network menu will include entries for that other VPN’s servers.
If you want to get rid of old configuration files, to delete them from the interface menu, you need to look in C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\config. If you want to save the old configuration files, you can create an archive folder in the OpenVPN directory and store them there.
Installing My Private Network
The installation process creates a desktop shortcut. The image below shows this, with the shortcut for the standard OpenVPN GUI program beside it. You could click on either of these to access the My Private Network service.
When you click on the program’s shortcut, you won’t see an application open. Instead, an icon will appear in your system tray. If you don’t see the icon, click on the up arrow in the system tray to reveal hidden icons.
Right-click on the icon to access the VPN’s menu. As your mouse pointer passes over each menu entry, a submenu with controls will appear. Click on Connect to engage that server.
A nice feature of the My Private Network customization of this interface is that you enter your username and password when you install the app. Ordinarily, users of the OpenVPN GUI have to enter a username and password every time they connect to a server. In this case, you never have to enter any credentials.
You’ll see a screen that fills up with scrolling system messages as the connection proceeds. This window will disappear once the connection has been established.
Another confirmation that you’re connected to the VPN is a service notification that appears in the bottom right of your screen. You’ll also notice that the My Private Network icon has turned green.
Back in the interface menu, you’ll see a tick next to the server that you connected to. Use Disconnect in that server’s submenu to close the connection. If you want to switch servers, you need to disconnect from the current server before opening a connection to a new one.
My Private Network Performance (Speed, DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 Tests)
I conducted speed tests using OpenVPN over User Datagram Protocol (UDP). The graphs below show the performance of unprotected connections to Miami (US) and London (UK) from a location in the Caribbean. I then tested the connection to Miami with the My Private Network US server managing the line, then with a server in Canada engaged. My final test ran a connection to the test server in London through the My Private Network UK server.
Each of the blocks in the graph represents the maximum, minimum, and average speeds observed over five test runs. I performed these tests using testmy.net.
I used IPLocation.net to detect the actual locations of each VPN server. The US server was in Matawan, New Jersey. The Canadian server was in Coquitlam, British Colombia. The UK server was in Maidenhead.
All servers gave acceptable speed performance that came within range of the speeds experienced on the unprotected connections.
I performed more tests with ipleak.net while connected to the My Private Network UK server to check DNS leaks and the Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) bug. This site reported my location as the UK but couldn’t state a specific location. Only one DNS server was detected. That was in the UK. Thus My Private Network passed those tests.
I also tested for DNS leaks with doileak.net. I performed these tests while connected to the UK VPN server. This site detected my location as being in the UK, and using DNS servers in the UK. The only problem identified by this test site was that the time zone settings of my computer weren’t the same as the time zone of my reported location. This could be used as an indicator of VPN usage.
My Internet Service Provider (ISP) doesn’t use IPv6 addresses, so I was unable to test for IPv6 leaks.
I tested the My Private Network UK server to see whether it could get me into video streaming services. Netflix’s detection systems spotted the VPN and blocked video delivery. However, I was able to watch videos at the BBC and Channel 4 websites.
The US server also couldn’t get me into Netflix. It had no success at the ABC website either, but it did get me access to videos at NBC.
The My Private Network custom app is only available for Windows. Users of Apple Macs, iPhones, and iPads get a generic program, called Tunnelblick. The PPTP, SSTP, and L2TP protocols are available for manual setup on Linux machines, and the Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android operating systems. Macs with macOS can have SSTP and L2TP VPNs set up on them manually. Additionally, you can get a VPN on a DD-WRT router or on Kindle Fire with PPTP.
My Private Network comes with a Smart DNS service, called MyTelly. A Smart DNS system can sometimes be a good solution if you just want to get into overseas TV streaming services and having security on your connections isn’t a priority. I installed MyTelly and tested its performance with the same video streaming services that I tried with the VPN.
There is no way to manipulate MyTelly to direct it towards a specific country service for Netflix. I set up the DNS following the guide on the My Private Network site. However, the service didn’t divert my access for Netflix. Instead, I got the library for the country that I was in. The VPN was able to get me into ABC and NBC in the US. That was a better performance than the VPN, which couldn’t get me into ABC. In the UK, I got into the BBC, the ITV Hub and Channel 4 to watch videos.
My Private Network Review: Conclusion
This VPN’s adaptation of the OpenVPN GUI system creates some improvements over the standard interface. The option to choose which severs to install is a little time consuming. In addition, the pre-setting of whether to use Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or UDP during the installation process is an annoying limitation. However, it’s great not to have to enter log in credentials every time you connect to a server.
If you’re used to using the OpenVPN GUI, you’ll like this system. However, if you’ve tried out the custom apps of some of the best VPNs on the market, such as ExpressVPN or Buffered, you’ll find this VPN’s interface clunky. The absence of a kill switch and an option for automatic WiFi protection also arise from the fact that My Private Network doesn’t have its own fully customized app.
Three-day free trial
Accepts PayPal and Bitcoin
Allowance of five simultaneous connections
I wasn’t so sure about:
No online chat for support
Can’t get into Netflix
No kill switch
No automatic WiFi protection
As a traveler with a Netflix subscription, this service would be no good for me. If you’ve tried My Private Network with your favorite streaming services, let us know in the Comments section below. Do you have a Sky subscription? Were you able to get into Sky Go from abroad with My Private Network? Let us know which countries you went to and which streaming services worked well for you with My Private Network.