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Network Lock is ExpressVPN’s kill switch. If your VPN connection unexpectedly drops, Network Lock blocks all internet traffic, keeping your data safe.

Network Lock is available in the ExpressVPN app for Windows, Mac, Linux, and routers. The feature is also available in the ExpressVPN Android app as Network Protection.

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How does Network Lock work?
When is Network Lock active?
How to enable or disable Network Lock?
Unable to apply changes to Network Lock
Allow (or deny) access to local network devices


How does Network Lock work?

When you are not connected to the VPN, your internet traffic may be vulnerable to third-party tampering. To keep your data safe and secure, in case your VPN unexpectedly disconnects, Network Lock is activated and blocks all internet traffic until your VPN connection is restored. Learn more about Network Lock.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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When is Network Lock active?

Network Lock is enabled by default. When enabled, Network Lock is active as soon as you are connected to the VPN and when the app is in other connection states. If you disconnect from the VPN manually, Network Lock will not be active although it is enabled in the app settings.

The following table summarizes when Network Lock is active (or inactive) in different VPN connection states.

This table shows a summary of when Network Lock is active or inactive.

Note: When the VPN is connecting, it may take a few seconds for Network Lock to become active.

If your VPN unexpectedly disconnects, Network Lock is activated and blocks any internet traffic entering or leaving your device until the connection is restored.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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How to enable (or disable) Network Lock

Important: You cannot disable Network Lock in the ExpressVPN router app.

Network Lock is enabled by default. If you disabled Network Lock previously, you can go into the app settings to re-enable it.

If Network Lock is disabled:

  • You will be able to browse the internet if your VPN unexpectedly disconnects.
  • Your traffic will not be encrypted and secure.

Enable (or disable) Network Lock

In the ExpressVPN apps for Windows or Mac, the Network Lock setting is indicated by a checkbox for Stop all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly:

  • When checked: Network Lock is enabled.
  • When unchecked: Network Lock is disabled.

Follow the instructions corresponding to your device:

Important: Before changing your Network Lock setting, make sure you are disconnected from the VPN.
  1. In the ExpressVPN app, click Menu icon.Options.
    Click "Options."
  2. In the General tab, check or uncheck the box for Stop all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly.
    Uncheck "Stop all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly."
  3. Click OK.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Important: Before changing your Network Lock setting, make sure you are disconnected from the VPN.
  1. In the ExpressVPN app, click Menu icon. > Preferences…
    Click "Preferences."
  2. In the General tab, check or uncheck the box for Stop all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly.
    Uncheck "Stop all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly."
  3. Close the window.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Disconnect from the VPN before changing your setting. Enter the following command: expressvpn disconnect
  3. To disable Network Lock, enter the following command:
    expressvpn preferences set network_lock off To enable Network Lock, enter the following command:
    expressvpn preferences set network_lock default

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Unable to apply changes to Network Lock

If you are unable to apply changes to Network Lock:

  1. Restart your device.
  2. Restart the ExpressVPN app.

If the issue persists, follow these instructions specific to your device:

  1. Press Ctrl + Alt + Delete.
  2. Select Task Manager. Click Yes to allow changes made to your device.
  3. Click More details.
  4. Select Services.
  5. Right-click ExpressVpnService.
  6. Click Stop.
  7. Right-click ExpressVpnService.
  8. Click Start.
  9. Relaunch ExpressVPN.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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  1. Use Spotlight Search to find Activity Monitor.
  2. Select ExpressVPN.
  3. Click the Force Quit icon at the upper-left corner of the screen.
  4. Relaunch ExpressVPN.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Allow (or deny) access to local network devices

When Network Lock is enabled, you are still able to access your local network devices by default. In the app settings, you can change access to your local network devices by allowing or denying access to them.

In the ExpressVPN apps for Windows or Mac, access to local network devices is indicated by a checkbox for Allow access to devices on a local network (such as printers or file servers):

  • When checked: Access to local network devices is allowed.
  • When unchecked: Access to local network devices is denied.

Important: Before changing your Network Lock setting, make sure you are disconnected from the VPN.
  1. In the ExpressVPN app, click Menu icon. > Options.
  2. In the General tab, check (or uncheck) the box for Allow access to local network devices such as network shares or printers.
    Check "Stop all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly" and "Allow access to devices on the local network (such as printers or file servers)".
  3. Click OK.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Important: Before changing your Network Lock setting, make sure you are disconnected from the VPN.
  1. In the ExpressVPN app, click Menu icon. > Preferences…
  2. In the General tab, check (or uncheck) the box for Allow access to devices on the local network (such as printers or file servers).
    Check "Stop all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly" and "Allow access to devices on the local network (such as printers or file servers)".
  3. Close the window.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Disconnect from the VPN before changing your setting. Enter the following command: expressvpn disconnect
  3. If you want to deny access to local network devices, enter the following command:
    expressvpn preferences set network_lock strict

If you want to allow access to local network devices, you will have to return to the default setting. Enter the following command:
expressvpn preferences set network_lock default

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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