Password manager is the best way to maintain unique, hard-to-guess credentials for every secure site. Period.
Password managers store your passwords in a database whose contents are protected with high-grade, 256-bit encryption. To unlock the password database, you enter a decryption key (your master password) that only you know.
Different password managers have different user experiences and different feature, but most of the core features are similar:
- A password generator that puts together a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Secure sharing of passwords with trusted contacts.
- Form filling, including the option to automatically enter credit card details.
- Secure notes.
- Password managers that sync the saved password database to the cloud use end-to-end encryption. The data is encrypted before it leaves your device, and it stays encrypted as it’s transferred to the remote server. When you sign in to the app on your local device, the program sends a one-way hash of the password that identifies you but can’t be used to unlock the file itself.
Best Free password Managers
LastPass, which has been a member of the LogMeIn family since 2015, is one of the best-known brands in a very crowded field, largely because its free edition offers a robust set of features and supports an unlimited number of devices per user. The company’s personal and business product lines work on all major desktop and mobile platforms and browsers. The service is cloud-based only, with files stored on the company’s servers and synced to local devices.
You can upgrade to the Premium version ($36 a year) for a few extra features, such as advanced multi-factor authentication options, 1GB of encrypted file storage, and the capability to designate a trusted contact for emergency access.
Get LastPass from the official page
RoboForm Free / RoboForm Everywhere
RoboForm celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2020, making it practically a senior citizen compared to some of its competitors. The free version supports unlimited logins and has clients for Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS, as well as all major browsers. This version stores its credentials database locally, which means you’re responsible for backing up that data and syncing it manually between devices.
Get RoboForm here
Dashlane doesn’t have the longevity of its chief rivals, but it’s been around long enough to earn a reputation for ease of use. Apps are available for Windows PCs, Macs, Android, and iOS. If your password database includes fewer than 50 entries and you only need to use the software on a single device, you can get by with the free version, which also supports two-factor authentication. Dashlane does not offer a family plan, but it does support sharing of passwords between accounts.
Get Dashlane here;
Sticky Password was founded in 2001 by former executives of AVG Technologies, which was a pioneer in the freemium category for security software. True to their roots, this password manager offers a full-featured free version that works on all major device categories and browsers, allows an unlimited number of saved credentials, and supports two-factor authentication and biometric sign-in.
Get Sticky Password here
The LogMeOnce feature list is almost overwhelming, but if you’re looking for extreme customizability, it should probably be on your shortlist. A free, ad-supported version offers storage and syncing of unlimited passwords on unlimited devices, with severe limits on secure password sharing, secure notes, and saved credit cards.
Get it here
If the name sounds familiar, that’s probably because you’ve heard of NordVPN, the flagship virtual private network product from this slightly mysterious company. The website doesn’t list its founders, executives, or key technical personnel, and despite the name’s Nordic roots, the only mailing address we could find is in Panama City. Even the firm’s LinkedIn page is sparse.
Get it here
Note that all the above password managers are free to use but have the option for upgrade to add additional features at a fee.