ExpressVPN Lightway

ExpressVPN is looking to change the VPN game with its new Lightway protocol. Rather than using OpenVPN, L2TP, or one of the other popular protocols, ExpressVPN opted to make its own, and it’s finally releasing Lightway to all Express VPN users across all platforms.

Not only is Lightway available to all users, but ExpressVPN has open-sourced the code for scrutiny, providing more confidence to users that it’s worth a look.

What Makes Lightway Stand Out?

Lightway is a VPN protocol. That means that it is essentially a blend of transmission rules and encryption standards that the VPN uses. In the case of Lightway, it’s a brand new protocol built from the ground up to optimize connection speed, reliability, and connection speed. Those are all critical things to consider when choosing a VPN.

According to ExpressVPN, Lightway connects more than 2.5x faster than other VPN protocols. This is especially useful if you use a VPN on your mobile device, as you won’t need to waste time waiting for the VPN to get going.

As far as reliability, the company says that with its new protocol, connections are 40 percent more reliable. This should significantly reduce the number of drops, which is especially useful on mobile when your connection is in a constant state of flux due to differences in cellular coverage.

Arguably most important is the actual speed of the connection, which ExpressVPN says is up to 2x faster than other VPN protocols. A VPN is almost always going to slow down your connection a bit, but with Lightway, you should get closer to your ISP’s full speed.

Lightway has been available as a beta for some time, but now it’s available to all ExpressVPN users on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux, and routers. If you don’t already have a VPN and you’re looking for one, we definitely recommend ExpressVPN.

Our Favorite VPN


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ExpressVPN is our top VPN pick. It’s fast and inexpensive and it features Lightway, its own faster VPN protocol. Many of us at How-To Geek have trusted and used it for years.

How Much Should You Trust It?

ExpressVPN took a twofold approach to make sure its new VPN protocol is reliable. First, it had it audited by an independent third party called Cure53. The firm conducted a penetration test and source code audit of Lightway before the full rollout and found that “The codebase observed on Lightway Core follows consistent coding patterns and exhibits— in the testers’ view—a high quality.” You can see the full report on Cure53’s website.

Outside of that, ExpressVPN decided to make the code open-source, which means anyone can perform the same tests and audits on it to make sure it’s where it needs to be. You can view the complete code on GitHub and see if everything is as the company claims.

How to Try Lightway For Yourself

Obviously, the best way to see if Lightway is for you is to try it. We’ve given ExpressVPN rave reviews in the past, and it has consistently been our favorite VPN. This new protocol looks to make it even better, so it’s worth a try.

ExpressVPN isn’t the only VPN on the block, and we’ve tested them all for every situation.

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Profile Photo for Dave LeClair Dave LeClair
Dave LeClair was the News Editor for How-To Geek. He is now a Mobile Analyst for PCMag. Dave started writing about technology more than 10 years ago. He's written articles for publications like MakeUseOf, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and plenty of others. He's also appeared in and edited videos for various YouTube channels around the web.
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