You may be wondering if password managers are truly necessary.
Yes, in a nutshell.
The long answer: Just because you're not using the same easy-to-guess password combination of your hometown and the year you graduated high school for everything from your bank account to Neopets doesn't mean you have a strong password game.
You'll never be able to beat a computer at remembering long, random strings of letters, numbers, and special characters — and long, random strings of letters, numbers, and special characters are what make strong passwords. This isn't to say you should give your password to the first programme that asks for it. Your browser's built-in password manager, for example, is unlikely to be particularly secure — especially if additional security measures, such as two-factor authentication (2FA), are enabled — or robust. Some built-in password managers, like Apple's iCloud Keychain, require 2FA and are thus more secure. However, Keychain is only available on a few platforms, mostly Apple. There is a Keychain extension for Windows, but it only sends about 500 2FA requests per hour.
A third-party password manager will solve all of your issues. The best password managers are extremely secure, using 256-bit AES end-to-end encryption, zero-knowledge technology, and both 2FA and multi-factor authentication to protect your data. Apps and extensions are available for all major platforms, mobile devices, and web browsers. They also do more than just save passwords; they come with a slew of extra tools and features, such as password generators, security audits, and secure cloud storage, that will transform your security from "the 11-year-old down the street could hack you" to "not worth the effort."
Best Password Managers: Free and Paid
Best for Cross-Platform Syncing
Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome OS Browser extensions: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, Opera Free version: Sync across one device category (desktop or mobile) Premium: $36/year Family: $45/year, 5 users
+ Consistent cross-platform experience + Family plan is cheaper than competitors - Limited support for free users - Free accounts limited to one device
LastPass is one of the most well-known and widely used password managers for good reason: its cross-platform experience is excellent, as long as you're willing to pay for it.
LastPass Premium is reasonably priced at $36 per year; if you're already thinking about a paid plan, this could be the best password manager for you. Premium users have access to LastPass's security dashboard, dark web monitoring services, one-to-many sharing, emergency access, multi-factor authentication, and 1GB of secure cloud storage, as well as the ability to sync across an unlimited number of devices (and device types). ng services, one-to-many sharing, one-to-many sharing, emergency access, multi-factor authentication, and 1GB of secure cloud storage LastPass also has a family plan that includes everything the premium service has to offer for $48 per year for up to six people.
The interface of LastPass isn't perfect, but the most important part — capturing, storing, and filling passwords and credentials — simply works. This, combined with a smooth, consistent cross-platform experience, makes LastPass a breeze to use — and a password manager you don't hesitate to use is one that keeps you secure.
Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux
Browser extensions: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, Brave, Microsoft Edge, Vivaldi, Tor
Free version: Unlimited syncing
Family: $40/year, 6 users
+ Free version has unlimited sync
+ Open-source, excellent record
- Free version is bare-bones
- User experience is not seamless
Bitwarden has an excellent security reputation: in addition to industry-standard security protocols, Bitwarden submits its code to third-party security audits on a regular basis and makes its code open-source. Bitwarden can also be self-hosted on a local server, which, while not always more secure, is an option for those who want complete control over where their data is stored.
3) 1 Password
Best Family Password Manager
Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, LInux, Chrome OS, FreeBSD, OpenBSD
Browser extensions: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Brave, Edge
Free version: N/A
Initial device login is more secure
+ Great cross-platform performance
- No free plan (14-day trial)
- Installation is not intuitive
In several cases, 1Password goes above and beyond its competitors, favouring security over convenience. You'll need both your master password and a secret key (received at signup) the first time you log in to any device with 1Password — it's less convenient but much safer than password managers that only require your master password.