ExpressVPN review: Just as speedy now with its own open-source protocol


Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

ExpressVPN in brief:

  • P2P allowed: Yes
  • Number of servers: 3,000+
  • Number of country locations: 95
  • Business location: British Virgin Islands
  • Cost: $99.95
  • VPN protocol: Lightway
  • Data encryption: AES256-GCM
  • Data authentication: SHA384
  • Handshake: ECDHE-RSA

Paying more than $60 for a VPN service is too much. Unless that company is offering a ton of extra features and device compatibility to justify the cost. One company making that gamble is ExpressVPN, which charges nearly $100 per year.

On top of the usual VPN connections, ExpressVPN says it works with Netflix, and you can use its smart DNS service to make an Apple TV or gaming console access U.S. media from overseas.

Note: This review is part of our best VPNs roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

connectedexpressvpn IDG

ExpressVPN with an active connection.

The last time we looked at ExpressVPN it was in the process of switching its server configuration to what it calls TrustedServer. That work is now complete. A TrustedServer means it doesn’t have a hard drive and runs entirely on RAM. This has become quite a trend, with many other VPNs following suite. ExpressVPN, however, was one of the first, along with OVPN.

Running everything in RAM avoids the possibility of any data logging since there’s nowhere to write the data to permanently. It also means that data is frequently overwritten and all data is lost when the server reboots. Authorities could employ some forensic techniques to pull limited data off RAM, but it wouldn’t be easy.

Features and services

When you first start up ExpressVPN, it looks about the same as it has for a few iterations now. It has a simple single-panel interface with a connected/not connected button, and the country selection below it. Then below that it shows the best smart location based on your geo data. When connected, ExpressVPN shows a selection of quick links to websites and internet-connected apps such as Google, Edge, and Mail. You can edit these shortcuts to customize them for your uses. 

Click the hamburger menu in the upper-right corner, and you can get to the options where you can choose your VPN protocol. By default, ExpressVPN uses its own homegrown protocol called Lightway. The company created the new protocol to serve its needs as a public VPN provider.

The Lightway protocol is open source, and you can find it on GitHub. It’s also had a security audit by the penetration testing firm Cure53. One thing the company didn’t create from the ground up, thankfully, is the encryption. For that, Lightway uses wolfSSL, an open source SSL/TLS library.

If you don’t want to use Lightway, you can specify OpenVPN, IKEv2, or L2TP/IPSec. The easiest thing to do is let ExpressVPN choose the protocol automatically, which is what we did for our tests. 

Source link

You might also like
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.