Have you ever found yourself caught in a seemingly unsolvable dilemma while using ExpressVPN on your Mac computer? On one hand, you want to maintain your VPN connection for various reasons like bypassing geo-restrictions or preserving your privacy. On the other hand, you can’t afford to lose access to your local devices—be it your iPhone, iPad, or a complex home server setup. It’s an annoying issue, but here’s the kicker: the solution is a mere checkbox away in the ExpressVPN app. This article will walk you through the simple steps to keep your VPN up while accessing your local network freely.

In my setup, I’m using a MacBook Pro running macOS, equipped with the ExpressVPN app. I keep my VPN connection active at all times for reasons ranging from constant traveling to maintaining a consistent online experience. I also carry my home server with me, hosting multiple VMs, alongside personal devices like an iPhone and iPad. The rub was that every time I wanted to connect to these local devices, I had to disconnect the VPN, disrupting my secure tunnel to the Internet. But as it turns out, the ExpressVPN app has an overlooked setting that allows for unhindered access to local devices—all while keeping the VPN connection intact. This article will guide you through the easy process of enabling this life-saving feature.

Disclaimer: I want to make it clear that I’m not promoting ExpressVPN, nor am I being compensated for writing this article or endorsing their app. I’ve been using ExpressVPN for two years and have found its features beneficial for my specific needs, which is why I’ve chosen to share this information. My primary aim is to help others who may be facing similar challenges with balancing VPN connectivity and local network access.

What are local IP addresses?

Local IP addresses are private addresses that are used within a local area network (LAN). Unlike public IP addresses, which are unique across the entire internet, local IP addresses are unique only within your local network. They are not accessible from the internet, making them secure for local communications.

Local IP addresses usually fall within specific ranges defined by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) for private internets. These ranges are:

  • IPv4
    • to
    • to
    • to
  • IPv6
    • fc00::/7


If you’re on a home network, your local IP address might look something like:


If you’re in an enterprise setting, you might encounter local IP addresses like:


Local IP addresses are essential for devices within the same network to communicate with each other. For example, when your smartphone connects to your home Wi-Fi, it is assigned a local IP address to facilitate communication with other devices on the same network, such as laptops, tablets, or smart home devices.


Before diving into the process of allowing access to your local network devices such as printers or file servers, ensure you meet the following prerequisites:

  1. ExpressVPN installed: Make sure ExpressVPN is installed and configured on the device from which you wish to manage local network access. This guide focuses on the macOS platform, but the general principles should apply to other operating systems as well.

  2. Knowledge of local network devices: Have a clear understanding of which local devices (e.g., printers, file servers) you want to access while connected to the VPN. Knowing their IP addresses or network locations can be helpful.

Once you’ve checked off these prerequisites, you’re all set to proceed with configuring local network access while using ExpressVPN on macOS.


The solution is surprisingly straightforward. The issue revolves around a single checkbox in the ExpressVPN app settings that controls access to local network devices. Enabling this option allows you to connect to your local devices without having to disconnect your VPN.

Open the ExpressVPN application on your Mac computer.

Go to settings: Click on the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines) in the upper-left corner to open the menu options. Select Preferences... from the dropdown list.

Navigate to General tab → Network Lock settings: Look for the “Network Lock” setting in the options.

Allow access to local network devices: Look for a checkbox that says “Allow access to devices on the local network (such as printers or file servers).” Check this box to enable access to your local network devices.

How to fix: No access to local devices when connected to ExpressVPN

Close the Preferences window: Click the red “X” button at the top-left corner of the Preferences window of the ExpressVPN app to close it.

If you’re already connected to a VPN server, disconnect and reconnect to apply the changes.

The final step is to verify that your Mac computer, with the ExpressVPN app running, can indeed access your local devices. To confirm this, try pinging one of your local devices—be it your home server, iPhone, or iPad.

Open Terminal app: You can find it by navigating to ApplicationsUtilitiesTerminal, or simply by searching Terminal in Spotlight (Cmd + Space).

Ping your local device: Run the following command to ping the IP address of your local device:

ping [Your local devices IP address]

If you receive a reply from these pings, then congratulations! You’ve successfully configured your ExpressVPN app to allow access to your local devices without disconnecting the VPN.


Navigating the maze of VPN settings while trying to maintain access to your local devices—be it a home server or personal gadgets like an iPhone or iPad—can seem like an impossible task. Especially when you’re constantly on the move and reliant on a persistent ExpressVPN connection. However, with the right insight and a simple checkbox, you can have the best of both worlds. By following this guide, you should now be able to surf securely via ExpressVPN while enjoying uninterrupted access to your local network.

I hope this article has helped you seamlessly integrate your VPN and local network experiences. If you found this guide useful, feel free to leave a comment :smiley:

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. May your digital life be both secure and convenient, thanks to your perfectly configured VPN setup!

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