What is the ExpressVPN Lightway protocol?

ExpressVPN released its own VPN protocol to give users improved speed and security. That protocol, Lightway, has helped ExpressVPN maintain competitive parity with NordVPN which has received accolades for its NordLynx VPN protocol. Continue reading to find the answer to your question, “What is the ExpressVPN Lightway protocol?”

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What is the ExpressVPN Lightway protocol?

Every time you connect to a VPN, you create an encrypted tunnel between your computer and a VPN server. Although that tunnel gives you exceptional security, it also requires bandwidth. It’s called “overhead.”

Adding overhead to your data connection can slow it down. In effect, you’re using more capacity to do the same work.

In exchange for some of bandwidth, you get online security. It’s a good deal. But, what if you can make it better?

Thankfully, top VPN services, such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN have committed to developing streamlined protocols that reduce VPN overhead. Lightway is ExpressVPN’s latest solution.

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About the Lightway Protocol

ExpressVPN bbuilt Lightway from the ground up, so you know it’s secure and fast.


ExpressVPN used about 1,000 lines of code to create a lean VPN protocol. It depends on the well-known wolfSSL code library to create secure connections with minimal amounts of bandwidth. Moreover, the protocol uses no external binaries, so no chance exists for code tampering.


ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol uses either UDP or TCP. During idle periods, the network stays connected, preventing annoying service disruptions. For example, when switching a device from Wi-Fi to cellular, Lightway maintains the connection.

However, after extended time outs, the protocol resets and releases your ExpressVPN-assigned IP address.


Lightway uses the AES-256-GCM and ChaCha20/Poly1305 ciphers.


Right now, Lightway doesn’t offer an obfuscation option. For this reason, consider using alternative protocols while trying to circumvent national and corporate firewall restrictions.


90 percent of Lightway users report noticeable speed increases when they switch to Lightway from other protocols such as OpenVPN.


ExpressVPN’s Lightway preserves “perfect forward security.” The protocol routinely purges and regenerates dynamic encryption keys.

Operating Systems

You can use Lightway via ExpressVPN apps for Android, Windows, Mac, or Linux. It also works with VPN-enabled routers.

More about Lightway

Please visit ExpressVPN.com to learn more about Lightway, the new VPN protocol.

Below, you can watch ExpressVPN’s Lightway video:

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About ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a virtual private networking service that increases internet users’ privacy and security.

Encrypted Tunnel

When you connect to ExpressVPN, the service sends all your data from your device, through an encrypted pipeline, to a distant server. Thanks to the use of military-grade ciphers, no one, including your ISP can see the data you exchange through your internet connection.

Anonymous IP

When your online data arrives at an ExpressVPN server, the VPN replaces your personally identifiable ISP-assigned IP address with a new, anonymous IP address.

While connected to ExpressVPN, the websites and other online resources that you use will record your anonymous IP address rather than your own.

ExpressVPN does not keep logs, so no way exists to associate your personal IP address with your online activity.

If, while connected to ExpressVPN, you log into a website, such as your bank, you create a scenario where some of your online activity may be traceable to you.

Still, with thousands of users using the same anonymous IP address, attorneys, snoops, hackers, and law-enforcement agencies may have difficulty connecting you with your other online activities.


When you connect to a VPN server, you inherit the location attributes of that server. So, if you live in the USA and connect to a server in Brazil, your online traffic will appear to come from Brazil.

ExpressVPN gives you a chance to circumvent online geo restrictions. For example, you can connect to an ExpressVPN server in a different country to gain access to that country’s Netflix catalog.


ExpressVPN maintains servers in 160 locations in 94 countries.


Once connected, ExpressVPN users enjoy unlimited bandwidth.


You can simultaneously connect up to 5 devices to your ExpressVPN account. A VPN router counts as one device.

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