In the digital world, we can all agree that passwords are a constant source of stress. Different sites often require all sorts of seemingly random password conditions. Some will ask for at least one uppercase letter and a number; others will need a minimum of 8 characters, including one particular symbol, such as $ or &.
Remembering all the variations of your password is neither easy nor secure. Once hackers crack one of your passwords, they will gain access to some of your other accounts. Worst-case scenario, they will get into your email account. From there, they can request a password reset to every single account linked to that email.
Until I started using a password manager, I fell into the mistake of using very similar passwords myself. Even then, it was not uncommon that I forgot whether I set my password with an e, E, € or 3. By the time I figured out, I was already locked out of the account.
Luckily, today we have access to password managers and password apps. First, let's have a look at the best password managers, and then we'll discuss them in detail.
Best Password Managers
The competition is fierce on the password manager market. We have collected the best services and evaluated them so that you can choose the one best suited for you! The prices for these password managers range from $11 to $40 per year. This is a small amount if you consider the financial and emotional implications of your accounts falling in the wrong hands.
Available: Windows Mac iOS Android ChromeOS
One-year subscription: $36
1Password is a pricier password manager, and it doesn’t provide a free plan. However, it does have a trial version though, which could help the user to get to know 1Password’s features before deciding on subscribing
Listing all the features of 1Password would be pretty time-consuming. In short, it's easy to use, has great cross-compatibility, and has fantastic security. However, what really makes 1Password special is that Apple has hired them to provide password management for all 123,000 of its employees. Now, we like to do our research, but we're sure that Apple examined a lot more factors and competitors before choosing 1Password.
It might not be the cheapest on the list but 1Password is the best password manager around in 2019.
Available: Windows Mac iOS Android Linux
One-year subscription: $40
Dashlane is the most expensive option from the list, but it offers a free plan and 30-day money-back guarantee. The free plan may not be viable in the long term as it only allows a maximum of 50 passwords to store and it can only be used on one device.
Dashlane premium includes a limited VPN service, which justifies its relatively high price tag. This grants the user extra security when connected to public wifi. On the whole, Dashlane is very impressive, with a clear dedication to security, a solid runner up.
Available: Windows Mac iOS Android
One-year subscription: $30 ($170 lifetime subscription)
StickyPassword stands out from the password manager crowd for a number of reasons. They offer free, annual premium and a special lifetime premium plan. Even its free plan has biometric authentication as long as the device is equipped with fingerprint scanning.
If you're an animal lover, Sticky Password has started a charitable campaign to save endangered manatees. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that its service couldn't be improved. On the whole though, it's a decent password manager - though we're always wary of companies that offer lifetime subscriptions.
Available: Windows Mac iOS Android Linux
One-year subscription: $11
Zoho Vault is a relatively new password manager (or should we say password vault). It has a 15 day trial on its enterprise plan and if it runs out, they simply move you onto their free plan. No underhanded automatic billing after your trial is over.
There is no limitation how many passwords you can store with Zoho Vault, even in its free version. One of its drawback though is that you can’t manage two-page logins, which might be a minor inconvenience when logging in to Gmail. Another downside is its lack of web-form filling features.
Zoho Vault’s enterprise plan is cheaper than most other password managers’ standard version. It offers, among other things, notification on password events and user group management. Zoho Vault has stepped up its game lately, so you might want to get their annual plan now before they raise their prices.
Available: Windows Mac iOS Android
One-year subscription: $23.88
Roboform is perhaps the longest player in the password manager game, which is an attest to their long-term viability. However, its age also shows in terms of features compared to its competitors.
Due to its age, Roboform has a lot of form and functionality. Unfortunately, they very much seem to be lagging behind when it comes to modernizing. This doesn't mean that they are bad in any way, it's just we're not hopeful for their future. However, while they are around, they're a great password app.
Free Password Managers
As they say "nothing worth paying for is ever free". This is generally the case with password managers as well. Yes, some companies offer a Freemium model, but we all know that those are teasers to get you hooked onto their service.
The one exception for password managers is KeePass. It offers extensive customizability and encryption. Plus, the only limit to how many passwords it can store is your own hard drive! Although you have to download KeePass to use it, it doesn’t necessarily require installation. It is highly portable, meaning you can put it on a USB stick and use it anywhere without having to install it.
Unfortunately, where it fails, is that cross-device syncing is troublesome. You can also achieve additional functionality and utilities but you'll need to install add-ons for anything and everything extra you wish to use.
So yes, it's free, but as a day-to-day tool, it's cumbersome. You can find out more about it in our KeePass guide.
How Password Managers Work
Password managers work by storing all of your different passwords behind one master password. This one password is the only one you need to remember. Both your passwords and your master password is encrypted to ensure absolute safety.
Most password managers offer browser extensions and mobile apps, which auto-fill passwords for you. This is very convenient, especially when using public wifi. here is always the danger of somebody gaining access to your credit card information when you enter it in a public space.
Password managers can also synchronize your passwords across all of your devices. Whether you want to enter your account through your desktop, mobile or tablet device, your trusty password manager will be ready to fill them out for you.
Password managers can be laughably cheap despite being an exceptionally useful tool. The price of a coffee per month really ($1-3). Furthermore, most password managers also offer a trial or a free version. This can be useful when users want to try out the product before placing their money down the table.
Password managers come with a lot of useful features. Here are just a few of the important ones to look out for when deciding on which password vault to use.
A built-in customizable password generator is just one of the many useful features of password managers. After all, free online password generators may not be nearly as trustworthy. Some sites don’t allow special characters in passwords. To get a password without any special characters, all you need to do is to just untick a box before generating.
Most password managers are compatible with all sorts of devices. Smartphones, tablets, laptops you name it! They also sync your passwords and personal data across all devices, saving a lot of trouble and failed logins. Most will also allow you to share passwords between users in your family or company.
Password managers automatically fill in the password for websites. This is a really useful feature, especially for applications that sign you out after a certain period e.g., your bank.
Many password apps now allow you to use your fingerprint or FaceID as the master password. Therefore, when you're using your mobile or tablet, logging into apps and websites is absolutely seamless.
The purpose of password managers isn’t just for convenience - they also provide a great deal of security to its users to keep their password safe.
TFA - Two Factor Authentication
One of the security measures is two-factor authentication. This requires the user to confirm his access on his phone. Even if by some miracle an outsider got a hold of your master password, he still won’t be able to gain access. He would need your phone and be able to unlock it in order to enter.
Encryption also plays a huge role in ensuring that your passwords are safe. It is one of the reasons why you need a strong password. Obviously, besides the obvious fact that it’s harder to guess it.
The stronger the master password is, the more impenetrable is its encryption. A simple 4 digit birth date cannot be encrypted as complexly as a string of 16 random characters. Of course, you need to make sure that the password manager uses strong encryption. If the encryption is weak and hackable, then there's no point to it.
The greatest issue with password security is that you might need to enter them while you are out in public. This can be problematic for a number of reasons. Hackers could inject keyloggers to your laptop or mobile phone through public wifi. People could also simply look over your shoulder in a crowded café while you are entering your password.
Password managers completely fix this problem by auto-filling your details. Keyloggers track your key hits, which is useless if your passwords are automatically filled in. It is also extremely convenient as you won’t need to look up and enter any of your complicated passwords.
All in all, password managers are essential in today’s cyber environment. Both due to security concerns and for convenience. They are so much more than just a digital sticky note for your passwords. Combine that with its low price, there is no good reason not to sue one.