The Best Free Password Managers of 2018

Everyone Needs a Password Manager

The Best Password Managers of 2018
Most password managers can generate strong passwords for you; many let you take control of things like password length, and which character sets to use. Enpass Password Manager handles basic password management tasks and now generate two-factor authentication codes. Sticky Password Premium does everything you'd expect from a password manager, though it lacks advanced features such as digital inheritance. Enpass Password Manager Review. Some websites offer to save your address, credit card details, and so on, for convenience. Vast number of features may overwhelm users. Its slick interface and handy authentication abilities make it an excellent option.

The Password Basics

It's best practice to use a different password for all of your online accounts, but remembering them all can be nearly impossible — particularly if you want to use strong logins that are difficult to crack. However, there is a solution to both of these problems: Some password managers and generators store your encrypted login info on your hard drive, while others will upload your details to their own servers, enabling you to access them from any internet-connected device.

Say goodbye to lost password anxiety. LastPass comes in two different flavors — free and premium. The free version of LastPass also offers secure storage for text notes, syncing of credentials across browsers, and access to your secure vault from any internet-connected device via LastPass.

It will refuse to autocomplete forms on known phishing websites, and you can export your data at any time, if you decide to switch to a rival password manager. The premium version adds secure cloud storage for files, advanced multi-factor authentication, and the ability to set up a contingency plan so your loved ones can access your accounts in an emergency. The only downside of LastPass is its popularity, which makes it a popular target for criminals, but exploits are rare and there haven't been any cases of users' encrypted logins or master passwords being stolen.

Dashlane is LastPass's closest competitor and, like LastPass, it's completely worth checking out, featuring one-click password generation, world-class security, breathless ease of use and ability to store notes for future reference. Many commercial password managers take advantage of this similarity and thereby streamline the process of filling forms with personal data.

Not many free password managers offer this feature. When you put all of your passwords into one repository, you had better be really, really careful to protect that repository. Yes, your master password should be as strong as possible, but you really need two-factor authentication to foil any possible hack attack.

Two-factor authentication could be biometric, requiring a fingerprint, facial recognition, or even voice recognition. Some password managers rely on Google Authenticator or apps that emulate Google Authenticator; others use an authentication code texted to your smartphone. Allowing access only from registered, trusted devices is yet another form of two-factor authentication.

Speaking of smartphones, many of us are just as likely to log into a secure site from a mobile device as from a desktop computer. If that describes you, look for a password manager that can sync your credentials between your desktop and the mobile devices that you use. Most password managers use encrypted cloud storage to sync between devices.

A few keep your data entirely local, syncing between databases on different devices without keeping anything in the cloud. In addition to using your passwords on multiple devices, you may find you want to share certain logins with other users. Not all free password managers support secure sharing; many of those that do allow you to share the login without making the password visible.

A very few let you define an inheritor for your passwords, someone who will receive them in the event of your demise. If you're willing to give up a little something, you can use many for-pay password managers for free.

If you see a paid password manager with features you like, check out its conditions. You may be able to get it without paying. For example, some companies let you use all the features of their product for free if you give up syncing across multiple devices. Another common tactic is to let you use the product for free, but limit the number of passwords you can store.

The limit for free usage tends to range between about five and 15 passwords. If you can stick to that, you needn't pay. If not, the company will happily accept your payment for upgrading to the paid edition. Both offer a breadth of features just not found in most free competition. If you're concerned about security, you should also read our best antivirus and best VPN roundups.

Featured Free Password Manager Reviews: Actionable password strength report. Some new personal data types rather complex. No new interface in Opera and Internet Explorer. Some components out of date. Many options for authentication. Secure Wallet fills credit card data, displays card images.

Vast number of features, many of them unique. SMS-based two-factor authentication costs money. Vast number of features may overwhelm users. Browser extensions for any platform. Data stored on smartphone, not cloud. Can only use one smartphone. Doesn't fill web forms using personal data. Password strength report is iPhone-only, no Android. Not all features worked correctly in testing.

Outstanding authentication through facial biometrics, including liveness detection. Predefined templates for popular sites. Password Boss Premium v2. It's definitely worth a look. However, we're not convinced those features are all necessary, and enabling them all makes the p RoboForm 8 Everywhere adds new features like digital inheritance and secure file sharing to the venerable RoboForm's password management and form filling capabilities, but it hasn't quite ca AgileBits 1Password syncs passwords and personal data across all your devices.

It's not quite as automated as many competitors, but it's still a slick, easy-to-use utility. McAfee's True Key password manager handles basic tasks, with a focus on multi-factor authentication, but it lacks secure sharing, password inheritance, and other advanced password management Everyone Needs a Password Manager Passwords are the bane of online existence.

It seems like everywhere you go, every site you visit, you need a password. Some people solve the problem by using simple, memorable passwords. Others just use the same password on every site—simple! Too simple; those folks are just asking for trouble. Simple, memorable passwords are easy for hackers to guess.

And if you use the same password on many sites, even a strong one, a security breach on one site exposes all your logins. That's where the third user type comes in, the people who rely on a password manager to create and remember a strong, unique password for every website.

Don't be a dupe; start using a password manager right away. We've evaluated dozens of password managers so you can compare features and choose the one that's best for you. All of the products in the chart above earned at least 3. If you don't want to spend money and don't want limitations, don't worry. We've rounded up free password managers in a separate article. Most of the free tools lack the most advanced features, but they get the job done. Whether free or paid, a password manager is something everybody needs.

The typical password manager installs as a browser plug-in to handle password capture and replay. When you log in to a secure site, it offers to save your credentials. When you return to that site, it offers to automatically fill in those credentials. And, if you've saved multiple logins for the same site, the password manager offers you multiple account login options.

Most also offer a browser toolbar menu of saved logins, so you can go straight to a saved site and log in automatically. Some products detect password-change events and offer to update the existing record. Some even record your credentials during the process of signing up for a new secure website.

On the flip side, a password manager that doesn't include password capture and replay automation needs to offset that lack with significant other assets. Getting all of your existing passwords into the password manager is a good first step. Next, you need to identify the weak and duplicate passwords and replace them with tough ones. Many password managers flag weak and duplicate passwords, and some offer help with the update process.

The very best ones can automate the password-change process for you. When you create a new secure account or update a weak password, you don't want to strain your brain trying to come up with something strong and unique.

You don't have to remember it. All but one of our top-rated products include a built-in random password generator. Make sure your generated passwords are at least 16 characters long; all too many products default to a shorter length. Fortunately, almost all of our top password managers can sync across all of your Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. A few even let you authenticate on iOS or Android with your fingerprint or face rather than typing the master password.

Most include some form of two-factor authentication, be it biometric, SMS-based, Google Authenticator, or something else entirely.

Since most password managers can auto-fill stored credentials, it's just a small step for them to automatically fill in personal data on Web forms—first and last name, email address, phone number, and so on.

Most of the top-rated products include a Web form-filling component. The breadth and flexibility of their personal data collections vary, as does their accuracy when matching Web form fields with their stored items.

Even if they miss a field or two, the ones they do fill are ones you don't have to type. Think about how many sites you go to that want all the same information; this feature is a huge time-saver. Some websites offer to save your address, credit card details, and so on, for convenience. If you accept that offer, you've put your personal data at risk. Who knows if the site is storing your deets securely? Just let the password manager fill the form each time.

Different products handle form filling in their own ways. Some immediately fill all recognized fields, some wait for you to click in a field, some pop up and ask what you'd prefer. You'll even find products that offer your choice of credit cards using realistic images with the correct color and bank logo! Given that all these products take care of basic password management tasks, how can one product stand out from the pack?

One handy advanced feature is managing passwords for applications, not just websites. Another is provision of a secure browser, designed to protect sensitive transactions and invoked automatically when you visit a financial site.

And of course automating the password change process is a big plus. As noted, these top products let you sync your passwords across all of your devices. Some of them also include a built-in mechanism for securely sharing passwords with other users.

Some let you share a login without making the password visible, some let you revoke sharing, and with some the sharing goes both ways—that is, if the recipient makes a change it will change the original.

On a grimmer note, what happens to your secure accounts after you've died? A growing number of products include some provision for a digital legacy, a method to transfer your logins to a trusted individual in the event of your death or incapacity.

As I mentioned, every product in the chart above earned at least a 3. Those with three stars are still good, but they're not quite up there with the very best. Anything that scored under three stars is just not good enough to make the cut. If you're looking for a particular password manager that isn't in this table, I have probably reviewed it, but found it wanting in some way.

Note that the blurbs below include everything with a three-star rating or better.

Create secure passwords and protect your accounts from attack

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