Is the price right?
Most password management apps will offer a free tier and if your password needs are moderate that might be all you'd need.
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We've assessed each password manager on its claims and looked over comparative reviews from authoritative sites as well as user reviews over time to come up with our rankings. Given the importance of security in a password manager, we've also considered whether these services themselves have had any security breaches as well when coming up with our definitive list.
All choices are independently made based on our combined 60+ years of reviewing experience and are not based on commercial relationships.
LastPass is a LogMeIn-owned entity that a lot of reviewers love for the fact that its free tier offers up a lot of features typically locked behind a paid product, including syncing passwords across multiple devices for a single user. The paid tier for consumers starts at $4.53 a month and adds multi-factor authentication, online storage and one-to-many password sharing, with a family pack at $6.04 a month offering up a 6-licence pack. LastPass relies on a cloud-based storage model, rather than local or allowing you to pick, which could be problematic for some. It has had reported incidents in the past that could have led to password leakage, although it has been very rapid in patching those holes when they've been reported, which is encouraging.
1Password's heritage is in the Mac space where it used to be a standalone paid app, but it's now more of a subscription password service, with support for Macs, PCs, Linux and mobile devices. That Apple heritage does make it a good match for iOS users, with a lot of support for autofill options on iOS apps that many other services tend to fall over on. Vaults can be stored locally or on iCloud or Dropbox, but sadly there's no support for alternative online cloud storage services for your encrypted vault. Reviewers also note that if you're coming from other apps that it can be tricky to get 1Password to fully import some password types.
If you want password management but don't want to spend any money on it, KeePass has long been the go-to solution for storing all your passwords, because it's a totally free open source password management client. It has been ported to just about every operating system ever in a variety of forms. While that does give it a lot of configuration flexibility, it also means that there are lots of KeePass "clients" out there. It also means that it relies on you to do the configuration of how and where you store your encrypted vault and which features you want to bolt onto it. KeePass can be amazingly powerful with plentiful extensions to cover security needs, but that also means it can be baffling for the less technically adept, especially if you're trying to get it sorted on a mobile device.
Dashlane is well liked by many reviewers for its complex suite of features, most notably on the paid version which not only includes password management and 2-factor authentication but also VPN access for additional online security and dark web monitoring to inform you if there are breaches involving your information. There's a free tier, but it's limited to a single device with no cross-syncing and you can only store a maximum of 50 credentials on it before you'd need to step up to the paid version.
Keeper provides a robust suite of tools for either personal or business use with a lot of scalability in terms of the features it can offer beyond simple password storage. These include features such as dark web monitoring, an optional paid encrypted communication platform and cloud-based storage. Keeper is well regarded for this, although the range of features does mean it has an array of price points depending on whether you want a personal licence, a family group licence or a business set-up. The costs can rise pretty quickly if you want everything Keeper has to offer. There is a free version, but it's limited in the number of passwords it can store and pushes you heavily towards trialling the paid version.
Here's what you should consider when choosing a password management app:
Most password management apps will offer a free tier and if your password needs are moderate that might be all you'd need.
The days of having a single computing device that you use daily are way behind us, with many of us working not only on a laptop, but also our phones and tablets and potentially remotely over the web as well.
The password management space has shifted from a "pay once for the software" model to a subscription basis, with most of the best management apps also offering real-time monitoring of included sites and sometimes the dark web to their suite of tools. That's an important inclusion, because if your strong password is leaked online or there's a known breach, having your password management app inform you of it makes it easier to change the password.
Many password management apps will now support at least 2-factor authentication and some step into areas of multi-factor authentication or providing their own authentication services within the apps.
The whole point of a password management app is that your password vault is encrypted, but if you lack the technical nous to check the encryption level, you're trusting in the credentials of the app provider. Not everyone is flawless in this regard and software always has bugs. As such, the speed of reaction and patches is just as important as whether bugs existed in the first place.
Many people use the same passwords across multiple accounts. Unfortunately, hackers know this. A lot of us repeat passwords because it’s easier than creating and remembering multiple secure passwords, but it makes us vulnerable to hacking. Password managers can solve this problem.
Password managers give you the convenience of creating and storing more-secure passwords so you don’t have to remember them or type them in every time you log in. If the security of storing your passwords with a password manager concerns you, you can store passwords locally on a physical device.
The best password manager for you depends on how easy the software is to use, how much security you need, whether you want to use cloud or local storage and your budget. Prices are subscription based and generally range from free to around $100 per year.
This guide will help you compare password managers and make the right choice to meet your needs.
Password managers store your usernames and passwords. They can also manage your credit card information and PIN and create different secure passwords for every website you use. Password managers can be browser plug-ins or apps accessible on desktop or mobile.
Password managers offer the following features:
If you recycle your passwords, you should consider a password manager. Password managers will create and store secure passwords so that you don’t have you. All you have to remember is the master password to your password management software account.
By using a mobile app, you can access your passwords everywhere you go without having to type long passwords out on your mobile keyboard. If your phone gets stolen, your passwords will still be protected by your master password. Without it, no one can access the rest of your passwords or account details.
The main factors to consider when choosing between password managers are cost, convenience and security.
Password managers typically operate on a monthly or annual subscription service. Costs range from free for the most basic services to around $100 per year for advanced security and multiple user accounts. Almost all services offer a free trial period.
Once you have considered your budget, look for password managers that:
While password managers take many precautions to keep your information safe, nothing stored on the Internet is 100% secure. Make sure to read reviews of any potential password managers and pay close attention to available security features. Most password managers protect your information with a master password, encryption and multi-factor verification.
Password managers store your information using either online cloud storage or local storage. If security against hackers or government surveillance concerns you, consider using local password storage.
A server or network of servers connected to the Internet.
A physical storage device such as a hard drive or USB drive.
Setting up your password manager is a five-step process involving the following:
While it may seem scary to store all your passwords in one place, it is much less secure to re-use passwords or use easy-to-hack passwords. If you aren’t already taking precautions to secure your account, you should consider using a password manager. If you’re concerned about the safety of your online accounts, start browsing our featured password management software today.
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