Let us start our My Private Network VPN review by observing that they have been providing online traffic protection to their users for over ten years. Their current service offers access to VPN servers in 44 countries. Their network supports multiple protocols including OpenVPN SSL which is one of the best protocols available to VPNs because of the security it provides, as well as, its performance. This along with AES-256 bit encryption, lets you encrypt all of your Internet communications from a variety of devices and operating systems. The My Private Network service will not only protect all of your Web traffic but also help you to overcome any censorship issues you may encounter while surfing the Web. Additionally, paid subscribers gain access to their proprietary MyTelly application which can enhance your online experience by allowing you to bypass geo-restrictions and access over 200 content providers from around the world.
Free VPN Service
My Private Network offers both paid and free access to the VPN network. Their free VPN service is fast enough to unblock Facebook, Twitter, Wiki, and other websites. Thus, it can give those with limited financial resources, a less censored view of the world and greater access to their peers through social media sites. Unlike some free VPN services, it does not have connection queues, scheduled disconnects, ads, or data quotas. However, it does have some limitations which include the following:
- Bandwidth of 1Mb/s per connection – which provides enough speed to securely access social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
- One connection per account – so you can only connect a single device.
- No country selection – because all free users traffic is sent through the least used available free servers in Spain or Germany.
- No MyTelly service – to increase your Internet entertainment experience.
Additionally, the free VPN does not include the extra features of their paid subscriptions. These limitations mean that you will need to subscribe to their paid service if you want to download material, stream media, or access geo-restricted content. As the team at My Private Network puts it, these extra incentives offered by the paid service is what keeps them in business.
Paid VPN Service
In addition to its free package, My Private Network markets its VPN service in two types of paid plans. These are the Single Country and Global plans. The only difference between these is that the Single Country option lets subscribers opt for connections through a single country of their choice. Whereas, the Global option provides access to all available countries (44+) in the My Private Network VPN network. Otherwise, the plans are identical.
The Single Server plan cost £4.97 per month. This can provide you with a substantial savings over the Global plan which cost £8.97 per month if it is an option that suits your VPN needs. Like many other services, My Private Network offers a discount on their plans if you opt for longer term packages. At the time of this review, they were offering a 5% discount on three month and 20% discount on one year terms. Here are the price and savings breakdowns:
- Single Country Packages – 1 Month — £4.97; 3 Months — £14.16 (save 5%); 12 Months — £47.71 (save 20%).
- Global Packages – 1 Month — £8.97; 3 Months — £25.56 (save 5%); 12 Months — £86.11 (save 20%).
This means that you could get their Global Plan from just £7.17 per month.
First off they use secure payment gateways to help mitigate private information leaks. None of your payment information is stored directly with My Private Network. They currently accept payments through PayPal for those who like to keep their online purchases centrally located. They also accept online credit and debit card payments though Stripe. For those who like to pay more anonymously, they allow payments in cryptocurrency through CoinPayments. Finally, they also take direct bank transfers to their UK bank account.
My Private Network VPN Features:
- No traffic logs – are stored or retained on your Internet activity, bandwidth use, or DNS queries.
- Multiple VPN protocols – that include OpenVPN SSL, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP.
AES 256-bit Encryption – to give your peace of mind regarding your Internet traffic security.
- Load balanced servers – which assign users to the least used servers to ensure that you have access to the fastest speeds.
- Servers in 44+ Countries – allows you to overcome various forms of Web censorship from different regions of the world.
- Device support – which includes Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, routers, and others.
- Simultaneous device – support allows you to connect up to five different devices at one time.
- NAT firewall – protects you from incoming malicious or unwanted traffic.
- DDoS protection – through servers that are equipped to guard against DDoS attacks up to 1000Gbps.
- DNS leak protection – to guard against DNS queries outside the VPN service
- Unlimited bandwidth and 99% uptime – ensure that the service is available for all of your Internet activity.
- Dedicated support – through email, social media, chat, and online community.
Free Trial and 90-Day Money-Back Guarantee
All new My Private Network users receive a 3-day free trial of their complete Global plan. At the end of the three days, you will automatically be downgraded to the free service. If you like their VPN network, you can subscribe to one of their paid packages.
Additionally once you purchase their VPN service, you will have 90 days to test it and determine if you are satisfied with its coverage and performance. If you are unhappy with it for any reason, they will refund your purchase price. They hope that you will give them a chance to make you 100% happy before making this decision.
My Private Network is owned and operated by Global Network Services Ltd. It is a UK-centric company that was started in 2009 by Jon Gittoes, an avid “techie”. The idea came to him while using the corporate VPN to “get around” various government and regional restrictions while traveling through Asia. Despite its British origin, the company is registered in Hong Kong.
This decision was primarily made because it isolates the service from the so-called “5”, “9”, and “14 Eyes” intelligence networks. It also helps to guard it against the stricter data regulations like the “snooper’s law” (The Investigatory Powers Act 2016) being passed by countries like the UK. Additionally, Hong Kong’s lack of data retention regulations lessens the likelihood that local authorities will subpoena your personally identifiable information (PII).
Like many technical people, Jon believes heavily in community involvement and open source applications. Hence, the My Private Network VPN service is built upon these technologies. This has allowed them to develop, maintain, and expand their VPN network over the years. This philosophy lets their service increase support for new hardware like the Raspberry Pi 2 and other devices.
My Private Network Server Infrastructure
The My Private Network started small in 2009 but, over the years, has grown into a moderate-sized global VPN network. It currently encompasses server banks in 44+ countries. These countries are spread among six continents: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania.
A complete listing of the countries in their VPN network follows:
- Egypt, South Africa
- Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan
- Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine
- North America
- Canada, Mexico, United States
- South America
- Argentina, Brazil
- Australia, New Zealand
Their network is operated as a fault-tolerant cluster composed of top quality dedicated servers located in Tier-1 data centers around the globe. Every one of their VPN servers has it’s own internal DNS server. This means when you are connected to the My Private Network server, your DNS queries go via their VPN server without any 3rd-party intervention or involvement. The network also provides NAT firewall protection which blocks incoming malicious traffic to your device. Additionally, their servers guard against DDoS attacks up to 1000Gbps.
My Private Network blocks port 25. This is the port that SMTP uses to send unauthenticated mail. They feel that this is necessary to avoid SPAM email from their service. Additionally, they do not condone downloading or sharing copyrighted material. Therefore torrents are banned on all servers in countries with legal restrictions against it. This means Torrents are only allowed on their network servers in Russia and Malaysia or when connected to their undisclosed torrent cluster.
Privacy and Anonymity
Privacy is becoming an imperative for online users due to the rules that many countries are creating to erode it for “national security” reasons which include data collection, eavesdropping, and others. Consequently, the British centric My Private Network service is registered in Hong Kong. This helps to shield it from the intelligence networks that have been established to share this information by many countries in the modern age. Additionally, Hong Kong has no mandatory data collection statutes. This makes it unlikely that local authorities will request information on their users.
• We do not retain or store any information regarding your internet activity, ie no firewall logs at all.
• We do not retain or store any information on the bandwidth you use.
• We do not retain or store any of your DNS queries.
Additionally, the My Private Network VPN servers use NAT firewalls to guard against malicious software that could reveal your identity. Their service also guards against DNS leaks which can help keep your true IP from outside observers on the Web. As you can see below, My Private Network passed our DNS leak test.
Information MPN Collects
What information do we collect?
We try to collect as little information as possible, but you do need give us a few things so that we can provide our services, they are:
• A username and password, chosen by you and used to connect to our services.
• Your email address, so that we can contact you
In addition to this, we collect certain information automatically when you use our services:
• If you purchase a service from us, we will record the transaction information against your account. … We do not hold or store any credit card information ourselves.
• If you contact us via an email, support request or survey — you may disclose additional information which is also retained.
• When you connect to our services, we record the time and date of your connection and disconnection. This information is retained for seven days and then purged from our systems.
When you use our website(s), we record meta data concerning your connection and the pages you visited.
Security of Your Internet Traffic
Default App Protocols
The first thing to consider when looking at the security of your Internet traffic on the My Private Network is the protocol used in the connection. Their network supports a variety of protocols. These protocols include OpenVPN SSL, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP. The My Private Network service defaults to the OpenVPN SSL protocol for Windows, Mac OS X, and Android.
MPN uses the IKEv2 protocol as the default for the iPhone and iPad. Both of these are considered to be two of the best VPN protocols in use today for their security and performance. Furthermore the IKEv2 protocol is optimized for mobile environment due to its multi-homing feature which allows it to stay connected when switching between networks. Additionally, both support AES-256 bit encryption.
Encryption Used By My Private Network
To evaluate the security of the encryption used by My Private Network service, we need to look at the best and default protocol used by their software application OpenVPN SSL. From their config file and other sources we find that their OpenVPN implementations uses the following:
- Handshake (server/client ) – is by RSA-4096 with 1024 bit Diffie Hellmann keys.
- Data channel cipher – is AES-256-CBC.
- Data authentication – uses HMAC SHA256.
- Control channel cipher – is AES-256-GCM.
- Control channel authentication – uses SHA-384.
The handshake is more than sufficient to authenticate the server and client. This guards against man-in-the-middle attacks. New control channels are negotiated with every new connection. Using a preferred parameter of AES-256 for the control encryption strength and SHA-384 for channel authentication. Data is encrypted using AES-256 with authentication by HMAC SHA256. These are the parameters used to secure secret US government documents. Finally by using 1024 bit Diffie Hellman keys for forward secrecy, they ensure minimum data exposure if a key is compromised.
With the above setup, My Private Network has implemented some of the strongest VPN security currently available in the industry. Consequently, you should be assured that your online traffic is well protected. This along with their privacy feature will give you “peace of mind” when accessing their VPN servers.
My Private Network VPN Support
My Private Network support is primarily by means of tickets. They say that these will be answered within 12 hours. Ours was answered in about an hour. Therefore 12 hours must be the maximum time for a reply and the default used to acknowledge that your ticket has been received.
Include your email address, ticket subject, and a description of your issue in the ticket. It you are having a connection problem, then you should also attach your connection log.
They also have an extensive FAQ database that is well organized and easy to search through. This database can answer many of your questions. It also has step-by-step guides to use the My Private Network service with a variety of devices and protocols. These contain links and tips to make this process easier.
They also have a community help forum that you can use to ask questions and find answers. You must register before you can submit questions in the forum. Their website blog provides update announcements, security tips, and other related topics. Finally, they maintain a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
My Private Network : Hands On Testing
OpenVPN SSL Protocol Deployment
My Private Network supports the OpenVPN protocol through their app. This software connects to other third-party, open-source programs through SSL. PC and Mac users connections are handled through OpenVPN Technologies, Inc. and Tunnelblick VPN graphical user interfaces (GUIs) respectively. Additionally, you will need to install configuration files for the servers that you want to use. We will illustrate this in our Windows 10 installation for their service.
This implementation of OpenVPN makes its installation a little more complicated. However, it also allows them to support OpenVPN on a wider variety of newer hardware. This includes using their service on Raspberry Pi 2 through Kodi using two of its most common Just Enough Operating System (JeOS) media interfaces, OpenELEC and LibreELEC.
Installing Manual Protocols for Other Devices
If your device is unable to connect through OpenVPN, they also support IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP. These other protocols are supported through manual installations using the respective device built-in network utilities. Step-by-step guides for these installations can be found in the FAQ on the My Private Network website. Multiple protocol support lets you to use their service with a variety of devices. These include PC, Macs Android and iOS mobile phones and tablets, Amazon tablets, Google Chromebook, gaming consoles, various routers, and others.
Installing and Using The My Private Network Windows Client
Installing the OpenVPN SSL Support for Windows 10
To begin the installation process to connect to My Private Network via OpenVPN SSL you must first download their OpenVPN installation app for Windows 10. It can be found by selecting “Get Started” from the main menu of their website. First, click on the “Download for Windows 10” button and save the file to your computer.
You will need to create an account on the My Private Network website before you can properly install OpenVPN SSL support for their service to your computer or other device. If you have not yet registered an account, click on the “Get started for free” button. This opens the account creation page.
Create a username and password for your account and enter in your email address to associate with your account. Confirm your password and check the bot box. Select the “Register account” button to finish creating your account.
This will do two things. It will send you a welcoming message from My Private Network and it will open your newly created account on their website. Verify that you now have an active free three-day trial account.
Now that you have created an account you can begin the My Private Network OpenVPN installation to your computer. Run the file that you downloaded earlier and allow it to make changes to your computer by selecting “Yes”. This will open its setup wizard.
Clicking on the “Next” button will display the License agreement for you to examine and accept. You must agree to its terms to proceed. Select the “I agree” button to move to the next setup screen. This will open the screen that lets you choose which servers that you want to install configurations for. By default, only the core OpenVPN software and the GBR (UK) and free connection files are chosen.
You can choose only those locations that you want to connect or do as we did and choose all connection components. This screen determines which .ovpn configuration files are transferred during the initial OpenVPN installation. You can add components later by running the MPN configuration tool. Once you are ready, select “Next” to continue.
On the next screen, enter a destination path for the OpenVPN files to be transferred. You can also use the “Browse” button to select a path or just click “Next” to accept the default. Once you have entered an installation path, select the “Next” button to register your account.
This will then prompt you for the “Username” and “Password” that you created when you registered your account. Do not enter your email here. It is only used to open your account client page on the My Private Network website. If you do not enter your credentials here, your MPN connections will fail after installation. So, enter them and click “Next”.
This will open the last configuration page where you can select the port used by the OpenVPN connection. The UDP port 1194 is the default and you should use it unless you are updating your configuration because of failed connections.
This completes the setup necessary for connections via OpenVPN SSL to the My Private Network service. Click on the “Install” button to start the installation. This will transfer the .ovpn configurations files to your chosen path and install the necessary TAP driver. Once the setup completes the “Next” button will be available.
Choosing it will open the final setup screen. It will default to start the service when you click on the “Finish” button. Click “Finish” now to begin using the My Private Network VPN service.
Using the MPN Windows Client
Once the My Private Network service starts, it minimizes to the system tray. Their service uses the open-source OpenVPN GUI for its Windows client. Clicking on the system tray will display its icon in disconnected state. Notice the lock is closed and the symbol is red. Hovering the mouse over the icon in this state will display the OpenVPN GUI.
To connect to a server on the My Private Network VPN network, right-click on the icon in the system tray, choose the country you want to connect through, and select connect from the menu.
Notice that “Disconnect” and “Show Status” are not active choices. Selecting “View Log” will open a text file for your connections. You can also view and edit the USA .opvn text file by clicking on “Edit config”. You can change the OpenVPN GUI settings by selecting “Settings” in the first menu.
My Private Network OpenVPN Windows Client Settings
There are three tabs for controlling these settings and displaying information in the My Private Network OpenVPN Windows client implementation. These tabs are the “General”, “Advanced”, and “About” settings.
The general settings are divided into the following sections:
- User interface – allows you to choose the language used by the GUI interface. Choices include Spanish, French, English, Russian, Chinese , and others.
- Startup – lets you open the client when Windows boots.
- Preferences – lets you control how information is stored and notices are displayed.
- Append to log – lets you append new connections in the log rather than overwrite those already in it.
- Show script window – lets you modify any running scripts (text file).
- Silent connection – controls connection information displayed.
- Show balloon – lets you determine when or if you see connection notices. You can choose only on connection, when connecting or reconnecting, or never.
The advanced tab allows you to determine where the client searches for OpenVPN configuration files and stores connection logs. You can also set up script timeouts (s) pre-connect, connect, and disconnect. We recommend that most users accept the defaults for these advanced settings. The last setting makes it possible for the software to operate in service only mode.
The about tab shows the latest OpenVPN version and copyright information. It also explains how the OpenVPN software is intended to work to provide Internet security for everyone.
If you see a yellow icon in the system tray, it means the service is still trying to connect to your chose server.
After your connection completes, a status message is displayed.
Opening the system tray and hovering the mouse over it displays our connection status. Notice the icon is now green. As you can see the MPN USA server has been selected and we are currently connected to it. It also shows the time we connected and the virtual IP address that was assigned to us.
Right-clicking on the icon shows that we are now connected to a MPN USA server. Notice the check beside MPN USA. You can also see that “Connect” is now inactive. To change to a new server on the My Private Network, you should first disconnect from your current one. Otherwise you may experience connection failures.
You can look at the connection status by selecting ” Show status”. This window displays the connection log in it and lets you examine it. You can also disconnect and reconnect to your current server from here.
My Private Network Windows Client Summary
The installation file for Windows allows you to easily install the OpenVPN SSL Windows client to connect to the My Private Network service. However, it does require some thought and technical ability on your part to configure its installation. The service runs through the system tray using the OpenVPN Inc open source GUI. This is a menu-based system. Simply right-click on the GUI icon in the system tray, select a server location and click “Connect” on the resultant submenu. To disconnect choose your current connection which is displayed with a check by it and select “Disconnect”. You should disconnect from your current VPN server before connecting to a new one.
Installing and Using The My Private Network Android App
Installing the Android MPN Secure & Fast VPN Manager App
First, navigate to the My Private Network website. Once there, tap on the “Get started for free” button. Then scroll down and tap on the “Get it on Google Play” to download the MPN VPN Manager App.
After the store opens, tap on “Install” to transfer the software to your device. When this process completes, tap the “Open” button. This will start up the app on your Android phone or tablet.
Authenticating My Private Network for Android
After the app starts, the version information is displayed. This is followed by the account creation screen. Since we already have an account, tap on the “Use existing account” button.
Once the login screen opens, enter the “Username” and “Password”. Tap on “Login to verify your credentials and open the app connection dashboard. In its current disconnected state it displays your true location, the icon is highlighted in red with the lock open, and the “Connect” button.
First Connection to a MPN VPN Server From You Android Phone
Tap on “Select country”. This opens the country overlay screen where you can choose the country that you want to connect to. Select United States and then tap the “Connect” button. Since this is your first time using the MPN VPN app, you will have to give it permission to setup the VPN.
Tap “OK” and the dashboard will change to its yellow icon connecting state. After a short time, the icon will turn green and the action button displays “Disconnect”. You are now connected to the My Private Network service and your Internet traffic is secured. The dashboard shows your new virtual IP address. Now, tap on the app menu icon (three horizontal lines) in the upper-left corner to open it.
The My Private Network Android App Menu
The menu screen displays your account information at the top. This is followed by the menu itself. The app menu contains the following eight items:
- Change Password – lets you use the app to change your password.
- FAQ – opens the FAQ category screen. Selecting one of these categories opens a list of related articles that you can then examine.
- Subscription – will inform you that subscription changes can only be made on their website and offer to take you there.
- Contact us – opens a screen where you can ask account or support questions.
- Send debug log – opens a screen where you can send your connection log to MPN support to help resolve issues.
- Settings – lets you change the protocol used if you are having connection problems. It defaults to UDP 1194 but you can also select UDP 4096 for max encryption, TCP 443, and TCP 1194. TCP connections are slower. You will receive an error if you try and change protocols while connected.
- About Us – displays version information and links to the My Private Network website, support email, and social media accounts.
- Logout – opens a confirmation message before logging off.
Connecting to a New Server with the MPN Android App
To change to a new VPN server, you must disconnect from your current one. Else, you will get an error message. Then select a new country to connect to. Tap on the toggle to complete your connection.
My Private Network Android App Summary
Installing the Android MPN Secure & Fast VPN Manager app is easy. Unlike the Windows installer, it automatically includes all countries. It also lets you change protocols in the app. Connecting to a VPN server requires only a couple of taps. First select the country and then tap the connection toggle. To disconnect, just tap the action button at the bottom of the dashboard screen. Its menu has items to help you use their service.
My Private Network VPN Speed Test
We tested MPN using their OpenVPN SSL with AES-256 under Windows 10. The My Private Network VPN service performed mediocre on our speed tests. Its performance was not note-worthy compared to some of the faster VPN networks that we have tested. The encryption overhead that they incurred for AES-256 algorithm is probably the primary reason for its speed decrease. This speed drop could also be caused by server overcrowding.
You can see that our download speed was 41.4 Mbps without the VPN connection but decreased to 30.41 Mbps when using the My Private Network VPN service. This is a drop of about 26.5% to a server in New York City. Similar results were found when using other locations with more speed loss observed as distance and ping speeds increased. There was about 50% decrease in speed to a server 4100 miles away when using the My Private Network VPN. Even with this loss in performance, the 20+ Mbps speed is still fast enough for most applications. You may have different results in your region of the world and depending on your original ISP speed you could notice some spooling with their service.
MPN Review : Conclusion
My Private Network has been in the VPN industry for about ten years. It is a UK-centric company that is registered in Hong Kong for privacy reasons. They have a moderate sized global VPN network. They have servers over 44 countries. These servers are distributed on every continent but Antarctica. Their network allows P2P traffic only on their servers in Russia and Malaysia.
The My Private Network service allows connections by the OpenVPN SSL, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP protocols. Multiple protocol support lets you use their service with a variety of devices. Their application software connects to Windows, Mac OS X, and Android using OpenVPN with the aid of third party, open-source interface software like the OpenVPN Inc, GUI and Tunnelblick. Therefore, its installation is not as straight forward as some providers. It requires some user input to configure it properly. Their service defaults to the IKEv2 protocol for connections for the iPhone and iPad.
My Private Network uses some of the strongest VPN encryption currently available in the industry for their OpenVPN and IKEv2 connections. Both are secured with 256-bit AES encryption. They do not collect or store traffic logs on your Internet activity, bandwidth use, or DNS queries. Their service provides DNS leak protection, NAT firewall, and DDoS protection. Their support is primarily through email tickets. The Android app also has a chat component. Additionally, they have a well organized FAQ database with step-by-step guides to install their service on a variety of devices.
What we liked about the service:
- They do not keep VPN activity logs.
- The service provides good security for OpenVPN and IKEv2 connections.
- MyTelly SmartDNS service is included with paid plans.
- P2P is allowed on the Russia and Malaysia servers.
- MPN offers a 3-day free trail and 90-day money-back guarantee.
- They provide limited free service for everyone.
Ideas to improve the service:
- My Private Network could develop their own custom client for eae of use.
- Add more servers in some locations to improve performance.
My Private Network has servers in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania. They offer a 3-day free trial for all new users which does not require credit information. In addition they have a 90-day money-back guarantee. This means you can try out their VPN service without risk. If you decide you like it you can get their full global plan from £7.17 a month.