From obviously important passwords for cryptocurrency wallets and bank accounts to less significant accounts like Snapchat and Netflix, trying to remember multiple log-ins every day can be exhausting.
Is this account the one that required a special character? Oh wait — didn’t I change this one because of a data breach? Unless you’ve got all your passwords written down or are using the same password for everything (please, please, please don’t do either of these things), chances are you’re going to get locked out of an account here and there or go through the password reset process more often than you’d like.
The solution is using a password manager to organize and store all of your login information securely. If you’ve never used one before, it’s going to change your life. A password manager will keep track of your log-in credentials, encrypt that data, and store it in a vault that only you can access with a master password. If you’re logged in to your manager through an app or browser extension, the password manager will auto-fill your log-in information each time you visit a site. Most will also generate strong passwords if you’d like for added security.
While paying for a password service might seem silly — you’ve gotten by this far on your own! — it will save you so much time and grief resetting passwords that you won’t miss the few dollars a month it costs for a subscription. Plus, putting your data in an encrypted vault is more secure than whatever Post-it note situation you’re running right now.
There are a slew of password managers out there but these are our favorites.
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1Password is available across platforms and works for most popular browsers. Like most managers, 1Password generates, stores, and autofills passwords with ease, and that experience is super smooth here. The one thing that sets 1Password apart from the app is its extra features — it can double as an authenticator app for an additional security measure and its Travel Mode lets you temporarily erase your password vault when crossing the border.
1Password costs $2.99 per month for a personal membership and $4.99 per month for a family plan that allows for up to five users.
LastPass is the easiest password manager to set up and use. At installation, LastPass prompts you to import log-in information from sources like other managers you might’ve used or browser-based password saving. It also automatically turns off browser password tools so you aren’t saving your passwords elsewhere by accident.
LastPass has a good tool that lets you save other important information — banking card info, social security information, or tax records — in your vault alongside your log-ins.
LastPass Premium costs $3 per month for an individual plan or $4 per month for a family plan that allows up to six users.
Keeper’s base features have all the bells and whistles offered by other password managers — password generation, easy-to-use apps, great onboarding, etc. — but the real security tools are offered in its higher tiers. Keeper’s bundle plan, which costs $4.87 a month versus $2.91 a month for the basic plan, includes the ability to encrypt up to 10GB in additional files to store in your vault and a program that monitors the dark web for mentions of any of your passwords.
On top of the security, all of Keeper’s apps and extensions look really good and are consistent across platforms. Obviously not a must for a password manager, but a lovely bonus.
Not all of us need multi-factor authentication apps or unlimited encrypted storage. If you’re just looking for a way to store your passwords safely and all in one place, a free Bitwarden account may be exactly what you’re looking for. The free tier offers a password vault, apps across platforms for easy access, and an autofill tool for websites. What more do you need?
While this password manager might not have a big security company look to it, it’s regularly audited by third-party companies to ensure that it’s secure. The nature of open-source programs means there are lots of users probing for bugs and such.
Nord Pass is a relative newcomer to the password manager scene, but its parent company Nord VPN is one of the most popular and reliable VPN providers out there. The app’s design and usage are similar to Nord’s other products, so you’ll feel at home if you’ve used a Nord VPN service. While Nord Pass’ premium subscriptions ($2.49 per month individual or $4.99 per month family) offer some great extras like data breach scans and weak password identification, the free plan it offers for individuals is fantastic and includes all the basics.