Password managers such as Dashlane and 1
To help you choose a password client, we’re going to list browser-based password managers, free solutions like LastPass and NordPass, and paid password clients like 1Password and Dashlane. We will learn what customers can do and why one solution may work better for you than another.
By the way, most password managers have import / export buttons, so you can quickly transfer passwords from one client to another. You can even export passwords from your browser to a dedicated client, although you’ll need to look up the process depending on which browser you’re using and which client you’re migrating to.
Let’s start with that.
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Browser-based password managers are limited but usable
In essence, a password manager is just a tool that allows you to generate and store passwords. So why over-complicate things with a premium password manager when you’re already baked into your browser?
Well, dedicated password managers offer more security and quality of life features than their browser-based counterparts. They also work on any operating system or browser, so you don’t have to be stuck with Chrome or Firefox on every device you own. Dedicated password clients are much better at their job than browser-based administrators, and since there are free options like LastPass, it’s hard to find a compelling reason to stick with a browser-based solution.
But the limitations of a browser-based manager may not be important to you, and that’s okay. A browser-based client is better than nothing at all, and it may be the most useful solution if you only browse the Internet on one computer. Make sure to use a unique password for each site and set a “master password” to keep prying eyes away.
Here are some of the features that are common in browser-based password managers:
- Save and sync: You can sync passwords on all devices as long as you use the same browser on each device.
- Generate passwords: Browsers will ask if you want to generate unique passwords when you sign up for a website. (Dedicated password managers give you more control over the length and content of randomly generated passwords.)
- Credit cards and addresses: You can store your credit cards and addresses in a browser-based password manager for quick checkout.
- Master password: You can program your browser to ask for a master password before allowing access to your saved passwords. This option is rarely enabled by default and is not available in Microsoft Edge at the time of writing.
- Google and Apple: Google Password Manager and Apple Keychain are the most robust browser-based password managers as their capabilities extend to Android / Chrome OS and iOS / macOS for software and app support, respectively. Better yet, these password managers can use your fingerprint scanner (or Face ID on iPhone) as a ‘master password.’
- Special Features: Some browser-based password managers have special features usually reserved for paid software. A notable example is Google’s Password Checker, which can warn you about weak, repeated, or compromised passwords.
Browser-based password managers are super simple, which is all some people need. You should be safe using your browser’s password manager as long as you set an effective master password and use unique passwords for each site.
That said, web browsers don’t have the best security record (Chrome and Firefox stored passwords in plain text), and the lack of enforced security measures in browsers, such as two-factor authentication, suggests that these browsers prioritize convenience. about safety. For more peace of mind and password synchronization across all your devices and applications, you need a dedicated password manager. Fortunately, dedicated password managers are not that expensive, and free versions of clients like LastPass or Dashlane can serve your needs just fine.
Can you get by with a free password manager?
If you want to access your passwords from any browser or operating system, but don’t want to pay a monthly fee, then it’s time to sign up for a free password manager. Yes, you’ll miss some of the neat features that come with a paid client, but the free versions of NordPass, LastPass, Bitwarden, and other password managers are far more robust (and potentially more secure) than their browser-based counterparts.
Here are some features common to free password managers:
- Save, sync and generate passwords: Free password managers have all of the basic password storage and generating features that you get with a browser-based manager, along with a few extra features such as the option to choose the length or content of a generated password.
- Credit cards and addresses: Like browser-based password managers, free password managers can store your payment information for easy checkout.
- Saving other private data: Your dedicated password managers can store more than just passwords. It can also store Wi-Fi passphrases, private notes, bank account numbers or important files such as tax documents.
- Share: Some free password managers allow you to share your login information through secure encrypted links. But this feature is more common with paid customers, who often cater to families.
- Password checking and Warnings: Free password managers will warn you when passwords have been compromised and warn you when you reuse passwords.
There are many free password managers, but LastPass or NordPass will likely appeal to most people. They can store an unlimited number of passwords or secure notes (such as credit card information) and support one-to-one secure password sharing (paid password managers allow you to share your data with groups, a sort of Dropbox link).
Those tech-savvy should consider using Bitwarden, an open-source password manager that allows you to store an unlimited number of passwords or secure notes on a local server. You can of course also use Bitwarden to store data in the cloud.
You can also ask your employer to pay for a password management ‘business plan’, which gives you free access to a premium password client. And if you’re a journalist, you can get a 1Password family plan for free.
What do you get with a Premium Password Manager?
Premium password managers don’t reinvent the wheel; they use the same password generation and storage features that you get with a free LastPass (or similar) membership. If that’s all you need, I recommend trying a free password manager to see how you like it. Premium services only come into play if you want extra account security, a password client for your whole family, nice features like dark web scanning, or a faster, more intuitive user interface than what LastPass or NordPass have to offer.
This is what you get with a premium password manager:
- Enhanced Security: Password and Dashlane are our favorite paid password managers because they require a complex “security key” when logging in to a new device and enforcing two-factor authentication. Other password managers, including LastPass’s free and paid tiers, lack this feature.
- Save all: Store as many passwords and secure notes as you want. Premium password managers are also good for storing and sharing important documents, although they usually only offer a few gigabytes of storage space.
- Share everything: With paid password clients, you can securely share an unlimited number of passwords, secure notes and documents.
- Family support: Most paid password clients have a “family” or “business” level to protect your loved ones on the Internet. Everyone with your family plan has their own account, although you can choose to share certain passwords or documents with all accounts.
- Password checking: Premium password managers will notify you when a password has been compromised or when you reuse a password. They can also scan the dark web to see if bad actors are sharing or selling your private information.
- Emergency access: Premium password managers allow you to set up something of an emergency contact – someone who can access your passwords and secure notes in the event of a disaster.
- Special Features: Each premium password manager comes with unique special features. 1Password has a “travel mode” that keeps important data off your phone or laptop as you travel through airports, and Dashlane comes with a free VPN.
- Improved interface: In our experience, free password managers have a less intuitive and less responsive interface than premium alternatives. We recently discovered that 1Password and Dashlane require fewer manual passwords and accurate autofill passwords more often than LastPass, NordPass and other clients.
Paid password managers only cost a few dollars a month, but provide all the features you and your family need to keep your passwords and private information secure. Still, they are not that different from free password managers. If you don’t need premium features like password sharing or family support, then there’s really no reason to pay for any of these customers.
We recently made a rundown of our favorite password managers, highlighting 1Password for its low price ($ 3 per month), advanced security features, immaculate track record, and user-friendly interface. Dashlane’s $ 5 per month premium plan is also great and includes a VPN, which allows you to access region-restricted content to keep your information secure from public Wi-Fi networks.
While browser-based password managers provide the basic password storage and generation features you need to safely navigate the Internet, we recommend using a dedicated password manager for more security and convenience. Start with a free LastPass or NordPass membership to secure and share your passwords and credit cards on all devices, or upgrade to a paid service like 1Password or Dashlane for enhanced security and family features.