We’ve upgraded your ExpressVPN experience with Lightway, a brand new, next-generation VPN protocol that will make your connection faster, more reliable, and more secure.
Unlike the off-the-shelf protocols that most other VPN providers use, Lightway was built by ExpressVPN from the ground up to meet your needs, making it easier than ever to protect yourself online.
Don’t just take our word for it. Our users have been testing out Lightway over the past few months, and here’s what a few of them have to say:
“I really love the Lightway protocol. I love being able to connect instantly and not wait. And I love how there is less battery drain. Now I can’t even tell the difference if I’m using a vpn or not.”
“The new protocol is insanely quick yet also very stable.”
“The instant connection is exceptional. Definitely a step up from other VPNs.”
“Lightway is extremely fast and efficient when compared to the OpenVPN protocol! Great work!”
What is Lightway?
Lightway’s launch marks a huge leap forward for the everyday VPN experience.
Most VPN services rely on a standard set of protocols—methods by which your device connects to a VPN server—each with its own strengths and weaknesses.
But ExpressVPN set out to create an all-new protocol to serve modern needs. The result is Lightway, which is now available for all ExpressVPN subscribers on all ExpressVPN apps: Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux, and routers.
So far, the feedback from users has been overwhelmingly positive. Those who have experienced Lightway on the ExpressVPN app for Android have given an average rating of over 4.5 out of 5 in our user survey.
A new standard for speed, security, and reliability
We’ve been providing consumer VPN services for over a decade—probably the longest of any major provider today—so we’ve learned a ton about what makes a first-rate VPN and where current VPN protocols fall short.
Here are a few ways that we’ve used our experience to make Lightway work better for you:
1. Everything you need and nothing you don’t, boosting performance
Lightway isn’t weighed down by the legacy features or technical debt of other major protocols. You’ll see this in our incredibly lightweight codebase—comprising only about 2,000 lines of code—and feel it in virtually every aspect of your experience, particularly in the speediness of establishing a VPN connection.
Testing has shown Lightway to connect 2.5 times faster than older protocols, and more than half of the time, Lightway connects the VPN in less than a second. Our users have reported a tangible difference, with nine out of ten agreeing that Lightway enables them to connect to the VPN faster than before. And after you’re connected, your internet speeds will be fast, too.
Lightway’s minimalist codebase also means lower processor load, so staying protected doesn’t have to mean a depleted battery. It also makes it easier to audit and maintain, making it more secure and enabling us to more quickly develop and deliver new features.
2. Built for motion, handling network changes or drops seamlessly
You step out of your home and your phone switches from Wi-Fi to 4G, then you step into the elevator and lose cell service until the doors open again. Legacy VPN protocols weren’t built with these scenarios in mind. Lightway is.
Lightway improves reliability by 40%. This means users experience fewer connection drops, especially on mobile. You’ll stay connected even when your device switches networks. And your VPN session persists even when your network connection drops unexpectedly, so once you’re back online, your VPN is, too—no need to re-establish the VPN link.
In addition to running on the UDP protocol, Lightway also supports TCP, which might be slower than UDP but connects better on certain networks. This allows Lightway to be used in a wide range of scenarios.
3. Tried and tested security that you can see for yourself
Our experience has given us the insights for building a better modern VPN protocol, but building a cryptography library is a different kind of job. So we knew that the right approach was to turn to something that has been thoroughly battle-tested and is widely trusted.
Lightway uses wolfSSL, whose well-established cryptography library has been extensively vetted by third parties, including against the FIPS 140-2 standard.
Lightway also preserves perfect forward secrecy, with dynamic encryption keys that are regularly purged and regenerated.
We’ve published the source code of Lightway on GitHub under an open-source license, ensuring transparency to our users. This means security researchers around the world can freely scrutinize the code, so any flaws can be caught and patched quickly. Independent cybersecurity firm Cure53 has also performed security assessments of Lightway on two separate occasions via penetration tests and source-code audits. Read the full reports from the assessments conducted in 2021 and 2022.
Read our dev blog for technical insights from ExpressVPN software developers on how Lightway works and what makes it better than the rest.
Try it out
You can try Lightway by updating your app to the latest version and changing your protocol setting. If you have tried Lightway, do let us know what you think.
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This explanation of product changes was entirely uninformative and unhelpful.
This looks great. Are there plans for deployment to routers? I’m thinking particularly OpenWrt (& the GL.iNet flavour of OpenWrt), which I guess would have a degree of dependance on the OpenWrt developer community.
Any update of Lightway for iOS app?
It is now available on iOS to beta testers.
Become a beta tester: https://www.expressvpn.com/support/troubleshooting/become-an-expressvpn-beta-user/
My apologies if the topic, of “Lightway for iOS”, has been addressed, however I am limited in scope of my attention, due to a recent injury, limiting the capacity for me to read quickly through a long Comment Thread.
I am, however, interested to know when the prospective integration of Lightway, with the iOS platform, is purported to take effect. As this is one of the main reasons I chose ExpressVPN, and rather than going through the process of integrating Wireguard with the App, if possible, or the need to use OpenVPN to achieve a similar result.
Even any whispers would even be appreciated, thanks.
I used to have trouble connecting in Iran and it was slower to connect
But with the addition of this option, this problem is solved in Windows & android.
I have a very high connection speed since this protocol was added
And I always use this connection.
It is really unique!
So, how does this new agreement work in China? Can it be used normally, and can Chinese users use more normally connected nodes in the future? This is something that many people, including me, care about.
I just switched to Lightway, and my Express VPN connected so damn quickly! Bravo!
I have windows & Mac computers Apple devices. Should I wait to upgrade to Lightway
until ready for OSI?
Will you notify me when OSI-ready.
You could choose to update your apps and switch to Lightway on all your devices apart from iOS. However, it’s always a good idea to keep your apps updated regardless. And yes, we will announce when iOS gets Lightway, and we’re working hard to make it happen!
Je serais ravi de recevoir cette info en français.
Je ne comprends que très peu l’Anglais.
Just testing lightway, did speed test before and after, my speed didn’t go up( that’s on talktalk) find notice faster connection, still get connection issues with some sights don’t think they like you using a vpn.
ny computer is working faster, but now i get pop ups which i never got before. what to do?
I activated Lightway -UDP (preview) via Protocol option — changing from previous selection of Automatic (recommended). Is this new permanent setting actually a better option than your recommended Automatic setting?
For now, most users must manually change the protocol to Lightway to try it out. But very soon, the “automatic” setting will include Lightway, which will be the chosen protocol in most cases.
I leave my ExVPN protocol setting at Automatic. Can I assume that ExVPN will select Lightway when appropriate?
This will be the case very soon. For now, most users must manually change the protocol to Lightway to try it out.
where are the instructions for manually changing the protocol to Lightway. I checked my phone is all the options in your app but can’t find a way to update.
Here is how to do it on Android: https://www.expressvpn.com/support/vpn-setup/app-for-android/#protocols
(Lightway is not on iOS yet.)
Was planning to contact you today. The reason was to complain about being unable to watch itv-hub for catch up. Zattoo is great for watching live UK tv. I noticed that Switzerland 2 has disappeared, this was normally the better of the two. I am getting 50Mbps on average from my internet provider. I have found that if I get 10Mbps from your sites, I can watch uninterrupted. But recently the speeds have not reached 10 more 7-8 which results in buffering all the time. So when I got your email telling me about Lightway did a speed test, then switched to Lightway, tested again and I am getting 11-13 Mbps. For the first time in weeks we have been able to watch catch up tv and for the last 3 hours without any interrupts. So thanks from me.
hello Victor, what int.provider do you have? i’m happy to have 3 Mbps, here in the Philippines with globe!
Very Nice 10/10
Lightway is a massive improvement and has convinced me to continue my subscription.
How do I apply this on my DDWRT router? There is no app per se, just OpenVPN settings.
Unfortunately, it is currently not possible to use Lightway for manual configurations.
Are there plans for manual router configurations? A guide to set up with Pfsense and/or Opnsense?
We have one for pfSense: https://www.expressvpn.com/support/vpn-setup/pfsense-with-expressvpn-openvpn/
For manual router configurations: https://www.expressvpn.com/support/vpn-setup/#manual-router
This is for openvpn. What about any manual configuration or just the source for lightway for openwrt of opensense or pfsense?
does this work for media streamer?
MediaStreamer gives you fast streaming, but it isn’t a VPN, so it doesn’t use protocols, Lightway or otherwise.
Why no iOS…does this mean iOS is not a priority ?
Since I downloaded the last update I cannot use my email client unless I close Express VPN.
Support will be in touch with you shortly.
Hi, after several updates and solving a lot of problems with much patience using your great support I am not sure, what to do with the choice of proposals “Appps”, Express VPN, Lighway, Protocols, Technology”. I should be an expert and not a simple user pf ExpressVPN for any decision.
Dr. J. Meyer-Wahl
Change my Protocol? What protocol? How? To What?
In the information age, it is really hard to get information. Language still matters.
Dr. Frankenstein & Rick:
Expertise comes with experimentation, trial and error. The VPN protocols are within the ExpressVPN app. Select one of the five protocols, choose a location, and test your connection speed using Ookla Speed Test. You will find that ONLY YOU can determine the BEST connection. For me, IKEv2 is consistently MUCH faster. Also, the “Smart Location” is not always the FASTEST connection. Lightway, although very close to offering the same performance as IKEv2, slightly trails. UDP, TCP are so slow that they are virtually unusable. Again, you will have to test each protocol to determine what works best.
works like a charm on Linux Mint. Connects fast and indeed hardly a load on CPU
No idea how to obtain this . Am happy with existing so not really bothered going to the hassle
I had no idea how to access it. Strange they didn’t specify how to do it.
But I found out if open the Express VPN menu (mac) and select “Preferences” there is an icon for “Protocol” and that’s where you can switch it.
I think they did specificy how to start using it. See “Try it out” at the end of this page, right above where the comments start.
I agree with you, While the first ExpressVPN was a simple enough set up on most of our electronic tech products, my husband’s laptop was extremely difficult, certainly not interested in going through hours of that again just for an upgrade.
Several possibilities at the end of this article:
– I like
– I leave a comment
Doesn’t it miss the “I don’t like” option? : )
Doesn’t get any better
Using ExpressVPN V9.5.0 on Windows 10 x64 from the UK and connecting VPN to Washington DC using Lightway. Connects fine, browses ok. Ookla speedtest to a US-based server gives me 48Mb down, 2.6Mb up. With ExpressVPN protocol set to automatic, the speeds are 34Mb down, 1.6Mb up, using the same server, suggesting that Lightway is faster. Will be repeating the tests periodically to see if these results are consistent.
So many good questions but nobody from ExpressVPN appears to be answering them. To me this is disappointing and exemplary of their commitment to “support”.
Good luck getting any questions answered. I’m a subscriber and can never get help, even though I’m actually paying for 2 subscriptions. The new paradigm is no support.
Does the fact that the core library of Lightway will be open-sourced increase the probability of getting hacked?
Not at all. It will likely make it more secure.
Open Source does mean that anyone can look at the code and try to find vulnerabilities in it. So there is a downside. But it’s generally consider a positive because by the same token, anyone and everyone can look at the code and find vulnerabilities and tell the authors about them. All of modern cryptography is based on this same principle of publishing the algorithms and letting people try to find weaknesses, thus ensuring only genuinely strong algorithms are found. “Security through Obscurity” is a popular fallacy people like to point out.
In practice a lot of projects don’t get looked at enough so don’t gain this benefit. So it’s a case of positives and negatives but one very big positive is that with Open Source you can inspect for deliberate vulnerabilities, i.e. backdoors. Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes. With Open Source, we custodiet the custards. Or something like that. This is particularly important in a field like VPNs.
I hope that answer helps. I’m just a customer by the way – I don’t work for them.
By definition open-source means no secret back doors. It also means anyone can scrutinise the code, & possibly see flaws that hadn’t been seen, & which can then be fixed.
Does Lightway’s wolfSSL use TLS 1.3?
When is the Lightway protocol coming to iOS?
When is the Lightway protocol coming to iOS in the TestFlight app? Looking forward to this.
Downloaded the latest update just now, and tried to use the new Lightway protocol. My windows 10 computer will not connect using Lightway. It will connect using any of the other 4 protocols.
I have just the opposite, I can connect reliably with Lightway and not the others. Win10 Pro.
I am testing now Lightway, very fast connection setup and on speedtest.net achieved 111 Mbps in downlink. From my location I can also connect via the other protocols. Win 10 Pro and WiFi 5
Whe will the iOS beta include Lightway? there’s no denying the current app significantly impacts battery so am eager to try out the new protocol.
Even with this new protocol, I still only get 1/3 of the speed I pay my ISP for. The question then becomes, who am I really wasting my money with? So, this wont change that I probably wont renew my sub.
Does express VPN work on Synology Routers?
Will both the server and the client be open source? Can I deploy my own server, or compile my own client on platforms not supported by ExpressVPN client to connect to ExpressVPN servers?
Will users be able to connect without the ExpressVPN client? Like connecting on routers, servers, etc. by manually downloading the ovpn configuration files
Amazing job!!! First beta connects at 180mb/sec , very stable and fast on my Linksys 3200. Old protocol maxed at 45mb/sec. keep up the good work ! Really impressive!
Just tried it today on my router. Wow network speed went up about 100 Mbs Can’t wait until the non beta is released
Its only on Android Devices STOP THIS FAKE COMMENTS
Hi, how to setup Lightway in Linux? Will there be a propietary app or can we set it up with open source tools like OpenVPN?
Does it work in China?
Today/27 Aug 2020 my ExpressVPN Android app on my smartphones and my ExpressVPN Android TV app on my Android TV box updated to include the new Lightway protocol. While Lightway does indeed connect much faster than OpenVPN UDP or TCP, speedtesting shows it’s significantly slower than OpenVPN UDP (around 20% slower) and about the same speed as OpenVPN TCP. Or at least this was my results today.
This has been my experience too. I also found Google PLay Store was unable to download updates while connected with Lightway. Could be just a coincidence, maybe not ….
What about privacy?
Like WireGuard, Lightway seems to market itself on increased speed and performance. But e.g. Wireguard is not built for privacy.
Does Lightway have more focus on the privacy side of VPN, in comparison to e.g. Wireguard?
I would like to see both the protocols in the app Wiregaurd and Lightway
Awesome to hear you’re working on improving performance. Looking forward to someday installing it on my router.
It is nice to know that.
No update about when it will be out? 🙁
I would also like to know, why not Wireguard? Is Linus Torvallis also building Lightway into the Linux kernel? I very much doubt it. With only ExpressVPN using this protocol will it even be validated by third parties, and without independent verification how do we know that it’s actually reliable?
When Lightway will be out?
Nice update but why no wireguard? or is it coming to?
Two weeks passed and no new beta for Windows that has Lightway protocol. 🙁
Just a little bit more patience! It’s happening!
Thanks for your message. Any ETA? One week, two weeks? I can’t wait to test it.
Please make MacOS/IOS version priority. Thank you. Because a lot of advanced users, use ExpressVPN on Apple Device. XD
Any ETA for Lightway Protocol to be available in the Windows version? Please make it with TCP port as well. Currently, Lightway on Android has only UDP.
Thank you so much.
I’m really disappointed to see you’re opting to develop your own protocol (“Lightway”) when the next standard protocol WireGuard is already on the way. 😑
Why not invest the time and resources in making WireGuard secure and reliable? Why do you add yet another protocol which further diverses the VPN landscape? The broader community would benefit much more from the investment in Wireguard!
Instead, I don’t see incentives for (good) guys to review your protocol. What makes it a better choice than WireGuard? And why couldn’t Wireguard solve your use case?
Please explain. I don’t get it… 🙄
Lightway will be open source as well and be able to compete adequately with Wireguard! We’ll convince you through speed, security and reliability!
Aside from what Lexie said about Lightway, I think both vpn vendors and users think that “the more the merrier” is an approach to take, In order to lessen the likleyhood of hackers cracking any one protocol, thereby keeping the enduser secure/happy.
looks like the expressVPN people are only trying to establish themselves with “their own inventions”, but not building their products with the benefits to the community in mind.
if you do wanna convince the so-called / self-claimed advantages of Lightway, do some side-by-side comparison between Wireguard / OpenVPN / IKEv2 / PPTP / L2TP.
saying that “lightway is its own thing” is like a joke, it has no weight in terms of security.
Is it base on wireguard？
It is its own thing!
Please make Windows version priority. Thank you. Because a lot of advanced users, use ExpressVPN on Windows.
I joined the beta today for Andriod, but it seems it hasn’t released yet. Is that right?