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ExpressVPN’s Network Lock is a kill switch, designed to protect your privacy when your VPN unexpectedly disconnects.

This guide is for the Windows, Mac, Linux, and router apps. You can also use Network Lock on Android devices.

Jump to…

How does Network Lock work?
When is Network Lock active?
How to disable Network Lock
Unable to apply changes to Network Lock
How to access your local network devices while Network Lock is enabled


How does Network Lock work?

A VPN encrypts and hides your network traffic from third parties to give you online protection and privacy. However, even the best VPNs connections can fail, leaving your internet traffic exposed.

ExpressVPN handles this unexpected issue with Network Lock, which automatically cuts your device’s internet connection if the VPN suddenly disconnects. This prevents unprotected traffic from leaving your device. Read 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 active as soon as your VPN connection drops.

It will block any internet traffic to or from your device until you choose to stop using the VPN or the VPN connection is restored.

The following table summarizes when Network Lock is active or inactive.

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

Note: It may take a few seconds for Network Lock to become active while the VPN is connecting.

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

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How to disable Network Lock

Note: Network lock cannot be disabled on the ExpressVPN app for routers.

By default, Network Lock is enabled in your app. If you want to disable Network Lock, your internet traffic will not be blocked if your VPN connection drops. Your traffic in those moments is not encrypted and secure.

To disable Network Lock, please refer to the section corresponding to your device below.

In your app, click the hamburger menu (≡), then click Options.

Click “Options.”

In the General tab, uncheck the box for Stop all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly. Click OK.

Uncheck the box for “Stop all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly."

Network Lock is now disabled.

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

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In your app, click Options (≡), then click Preferences…

Click “Preferences.”

In the General tab, uncheck the box for Stop all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly, then exit the menu.

Uncheck the box for “Stop all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly.”

Network Lock is now disabled.

To enable Network Lock again, return to the General tab in the Preferences menu and check the box again.

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

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Type:
expressvpn disconnect

Then type:
expressvpn preferences set network_lock off

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

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Unable to apply changes to Network Lock

If you have trouble applying changes to Network Lock, reboot your device and restart ExpressVPN.

If the issue persists, follow the steps below.

For Windows (while running as administrator):

  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.

For Mac:

  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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How to access your local network devices while Network Lock is enabled

You can use Network Lock and access your local network devices at the same time.

To do so, refer to the section corresponding to your device below.

  1. In your app, click the hamburger menu (≡) > Options.
  2. In the General tab, check the boxes for Stop all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly and Allow access to devices on the local network (such as printers or file servers).
    Check the boxes for “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.

If you have trouble accessing your local network devices after following these steps, please refer to these troubleshooting instructions or contact the ExpressVPN Support Team.

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

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  1. In your app, click Options (≡) > Preferences…
  2. In the General tab, check the boxes for Stop all internet traffic if the VPN disconnects unexpectedly and Allow access to devices on the local network (such as printers or file servers).
    Check the boxes for “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. Exit the menu.

If you have trouble accessing your local network devices after following these steps, please refer to these troubleshooting instructions or contact the ExpressVPN Support Team.

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

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By default, you can access your local network devices while Network Lock is enabled.

If you want to block access to local network devices while Network Lock is enabled, type:
expressvpn preferences set network_lock strict

To return to the default setting that allows local network access, type:
expressvpn preferences set network_lock default

If you have trouble accessing your local network devices after following these steps, please refer to these troubleshooting instructions or contact the ExpressVPN Support Team.

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

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