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A VPN helps secure and anonymize your network traffic. If your VPN unexpectedly disconnects, your online activity may no longer be secure.

The ExpressVPN app has a network protection feature that blocks internet traffic if the VPN drops. Additional options are available in the Android System settings.

Important: If you have general connection issues, refer to other troubleshooting guides.

In most cases, you do not need to change any settings in the ExpressVPN app to use network protection. The feature is enabled by default on most Android devices and gives sufficient protection to your online traffic.

If you want full protection for your online traffic, you can enable a feature via the Android system settings that gives you full data protection. Note that this feature is not available on Android TVs and Fire TVs.

Jump to…

How does ExpressVPN’s network protection work?
How does Android system settings work?
Which protection setting should I use?


How does ExpressVPN’s network protection work?

If your VPN unexpectedly disconnects, your internet traffic may be exposed to third-party interception. ExpressVPN’s network protection blocks all internet traffic until your VPN connection is restored.

When enabled, network protection does not disrupt split tunneling or access to local devices. Even if the VPN unexpectedly disconnects, you can still access the apps you selected to not use the VPN. However, you will not be able to access the apps you selected to use the VPN. Read more about network protection for Android.

Note: The network protection feature will not block internet connectivity if the VPN is manually disconnected.

Network protection is available on:

  • The ExpressVPN app for Android (Version 7.0 and above)
  • All versions and manufacturers of Android mobile devices

(Network protection is not currently available on Chrome OS devices.)

When is network protection active?

In the ExpressVPN Android app on mobile and tablet devices, network protection is enabled by default. For Android TVs, network protection is enabled manually.

When enabled, network protection blocks internet access as soon as your VPN connection drops. You will then see a message that says “Unable to Connect,” “Connecting,” or “Reconnecting.”

A message that says “Unable to Connect.”

For the ExpressVPN Android app on mobile or tablet devices, you will also see this system notification:

A system notification that says “Unable to Connect.”

You have the following options:

  • Try Again: The VPN will try reconnecting again.
  • Unblock internet: You will access the internet without using the VPN.

Android TVs do not support system notifications. For Android TVs, you can check whether network protection is enabled and whether the ExpressVPN app is blocking internet access in the app’s settings.

Enable or disable network protection

To enable or disable network protection:

  1. In the app, select Options.
  2. Select Settings > Network Protection.
  3. Toggle Block internet when unable to connect or reconnect to VPN on or off.
    Toggle “Block internet when unable to connect or reconnect to VPN” on or off.

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

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How does Android system settings work?

ExpressVPN also supports full leak-proofing (blocks all internet activity) via the Android system settings for Android 8.0 or above. If enabled, this setting:

  • Blocks all internet access (even if the VPN is disconnected manually)
  • Automatically deactivates your split tunneling setting and access to local devices

The feature:

  • Is not available on Android TVs or Fire TVs
  • May not be available on devices from certain manufacturers (e.g., Huawei)

Enable or disable Android system settings

To enable or disable the feature in your Android system settings (applicable to most Android devices):

  1. In the app, tap Options.
  2. Tap Settings > Network Protection.
  3. Tap Android settings.
    Tap “Android settings.”
  4. In the prompt, tap ANDROID SETTINGS.
    Tap “ANDROID SETTINGS.”
  5. If ExpressVPN appears on a list, tap Settings icon. next to it.
  6. Toggle Always-on VPN and Block connections without VPN on or off. (If you have toggled Block connections without VPN on, tap Turn on.)
    Tap “Turn on.”

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

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Which protection setting should I use?

In most cases, you are recommended to use the network protection feature in the app because it:

  • Offers sufficient protection for you
  • Allows you to use split tunneling and access local devices as normal
  • Allows access to the internet (Android system settings block internet access even if the VPN is manually disconnected)

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

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