Password manager buying guide: Compare LastPass, Dashlane, 1password and more
A password manager can help protect your accounts against hackers.
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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.
Compare some of the best password management software
What is password management software?
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:
- Automatic login to websites and accounts
- Generating secure passwords
- Assessing the strength of current passwords
- Syncing between devices
- Tracking if someone has used your login details
- Notifying you if a website you are using is unsafe or not secure
- Allowing multiple users
- Auto-filling online forms
Why should I consider password management software?
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.
What to look for when choosing password management software
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:
- Are easy to use across all your devices
- Auto-sync between your devices
- Have high levels of security
Is password management software secure?
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.
Cloud vs Local Storage
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.
How to set up password management software
Setting up your password manager is a five-step process involving the following:
- Create a secure password for your password management software account. Some password managers will allow you to use fingerprint or facial biometric authentication in addition to a master password.
- Enter all of your current passwords into the password manager. You can continue to add more as you set up new online accounts.
- The software will let you know which passwords are weak and flag any duplicate passwords.
- Create new, more-secure passwords or let the software do it for you.
- Finally, the software will auto-enter your passwords every time you log in to a website or account. Password managers will also send you alerts when you should change your passwords and will automatically update your new password information.
Listen: Tips from a hacker on how to protect your identity
6 additional ways to keep your accounts safe
- Don’t tell anyone else your passwords
- Update your master password every few months
- Use screen locks with passwords for all devices
- Never leave your computer or mobile alone in public
- Create a secure password to access admin features on your computer and mobile device
- Use anti-virus software
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.
Frequently asked questions
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