If You’re Not Using A Password Manager, Start Now

If we had to pick one piece of advice to make connected life easier and more secure, it would probably be to use a password manager. This single tool eliminates the hassle of creating, remembering and entering passwords and increases your account security in the process. Remember, password-hunting hackers are usually after personal information that can be financially exploited or sold on the dark web, so good password hygiene is truly a first-line defense against ID theft. If you’re not using a password manager yet, here’s everything you need to know to get started.

How Do Password Managers Work?

A password manager is a tool that stores all of your usernames and passwords in one encrypted database. Think of it as a digital lockbox for all of your online accounts. Instead of a key, you access it using a master password. Once you’re set up, the password manager autofills your login information for the websites and apps you visit. You only need to remember one password (your master password) and you only need to enter it once per session or per device (more often if you self-impose strict security settings).

Benefits of Using A Password Manager

The Best Password Managers in 2019

Have we convinced you? The next step is to choose a service. We’ve included this selection of top password managers for personal use based on reviews, popularity, features and pricing options. Note: All of these services include two-factor authentication, secure password generation tools, the ability to store web form and payment info in addition to passwords, as well as password sharing features.

Last Pass
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Dashlane
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Keeper
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1Password
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Bitwarden
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Starting price $3/mo. Free $2.50/mo. $2.99/mo. Free
Supports one user Yes Yes Yes Family Plan Option Yes
Device usage limit Unlimited 1 Unlimited Unlimited N/A
Password storage limit N/A 50 Unlimited Unlimited N/A
Stores mobile app passwords Yes N/A Yes N/A Yes

Are Password Managers Safe?

Any security pro will be quick to remind you: Nothing that’s connected to the internet is 100% hack-proof. While there is some degree of inherent risk in using a password manager, it’s certainly less risky than lousy password practices. Even the third-party group Industry Security Evaluators (ISE), which published a technical study on specific vulnerabilities of leading password tools, still hails them as “an important and increasingly necessary part of our lives.”

Password Management Tips

Using a password manager is convenient, but it doesn’t completely let you off the hook in terms of cybersecurity. Follow these steps to optimize the safety and utility of whichever password manager you decide to use.