July 30, 2021

ExpressVPN gets a big speed boost with newly launched Lightway protocol

Struggling with downloads or streaming via VPN? ExpressVPN's new homegrown protocol might help.

express vpn connected icon

  • ExpressVPN has launched a new protocol dubbed Lightway.
  • This protocol is supposed to deliver improved speeds and a faster connection process.

ExpressVPN is one of the more popular options in the VPN field, offering a variety of server locations and apps across a number of platforms. Speeds are generally good in our experience, but things could definitely be a little better when streaming video, for example.

Now, ExpressVPN has introduced a new protocol dubbed Lightway, that was built by the company itself in order to deliver improved speeds and a faster connection process.

The company is also claiming a lower processor load (therefore enabling better power efficiency), and the ability to stay connected when your device switches networks.

What should you expect from Lightway?

For what it’s worth, three quick speed tests via the Netflix-backed fast.com website yielded an average download speed of 41Mbps for the legacy protocol when connected to New York. Meanwhile, the Lightway protocol delivered an average download speed of 39Mbps. Three tests via the legacy protocol to Sweden yielded an average download speeds of 49.3Mbps, while tests with Lightway enabled gave us an average speed of 50.6Mbps.

Meanwhile, our own Dhruv Bhutani reported that Lightway was constantly faster for him when testing, occasionally delivering almost double the download speed at times. One of the biggest differences came when connected to the UK, as Dhruv reported speeds of 110Mbps via Lightway compared to 69Mbps using the legacy UDP protocol.

This isn’t exactly a scientific test then, but it does suggest Lightway should deliver faster speeds in most (but not all) conditions. However, the new protocol constantly delivered connection times of under three seconds in our brief testing, compared to just over five seconds for the legacy protocols.

The Lightway protocol is available on ExpressVPN for Android, Linux, Mac, Windows, and routers. The company confirmed that the protocol will come to the iOS app too. You can try out ExpressVPN via the button below.

ExpressVPN — 12-Month Plan