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Password manager comparison - How to manage your passwords easily and securely

According to a study by the Hasso-Plattner Institute, the The sequence 123456 is still one of the most popular passwords. It's actually unbelievable when you consider how digital life is nowadays.

But with so many accounts and passwords, it's easy to lose track. That is why many users recycle a password for multiple accounts. However, this harbors considerable security risks! Once you know your password, all accounts on which you use it are compromised.

But what to do Even if you create secure and individual passwords for all of your accounts, it is impossible for you to remember them all.

A password manager helps you to create and manage secure passwords.

There are a variety of them Password managers with various solutions and tariff models for private users and companies.

Whether Android or iOS, Mac or PC, there is the right tool for everyone. Below in the password manager comparison I have selected many different services and their functions for you.

How does a password manager work?

In general, there are two methods by which a password manager secures your passwords. Either offline and locally on your device or online in a cloud. You can access your password safe via a browser extension on your PC or Mac or via an app on your mobile device.

Easily explained

Think of it this way: You lock something valuable in a small one Safe that only holds your key can be opened. Now you give the safe to a bank to keep the contents safe. The bank does not know what is in the safe and cannot open the safe. If you need something from the safe, you go to the bank, open the safe with your key, take out what you need and lock it again.

How secure is a password manager?

Password managers save your passwords and store them, with secure 256-bit encryption as an industry standard, on the company's own servers in a cloud or locally on your device.

When creating new accounts, most services will also help you to create a secure password. This consists of a random sequence of letters, upper and lower case, numbers and special characters.

A Master password enables access to the “safe” using saved passwords, which is why you only have to remember one password to manage all accounts.

Choose a special one here strong and unique password.

You can secure your account even further by using the 2-factor authentication activate. Then when you log in you will receive a code either via SMS or the authentication app, which you also have to enter in order to gain access to the vault.

Tips for a secure master password

Your vault is only as secure as your password is strong. To protect yourself from brute force attacks, you should not only use letters but also upper and lower case, numbers and special characters in your password.

A computer only needs about four minutes to try out all combinations of a lower-case, seven-digit password.

A modern computer needs over 750 years for all combinations of an 11-digit password made up of 62 possible characters plus upper and lower case.

Your password doesn't have to be a random string of characters. With a donkey bridge, you can easily remember your password.

For example, just take your favorite saying:

And you already have your secure password. Since you only have to remember one thing, it can be a bit more abstract.

This is of course only an example, you can decorate your password with any special characters, upper and lower case and Leetspeak, the main thing is that you can still remember it. And even if you should forget it, you can still reconstruct it.

Security features to watch out for

  • 2-factor authentication: A code is sent to you via SMS or authentication app when you log in, which you have to enter in order to gain access to the account
  • Avoid duplicate passwords: Most services will notify you if you use passwords more than once
  • Password check: examines your existing passwords and advises you to strengthen them if necessary
  • Zero knowledge security, the provider has no access to your data

Fortunately, almost all password managers have these features.

Which method is best?

Password managers save your data either offline and locally on your device or in a cloud.

Offline storage

Online storage

The alternative method

There are some open source solutions that completely dispense with creating a database to store passwords. Here the passwords are calculated from the given parameters. Sounds strange at first, but think of it like a standard pocket calculator:

The system uses a pure function, that is, a function that always returns the same result given identical parameters. In this case, your name, your master password and the website always result in the same unique password.

So you are independent of an internet connection, synchronization between devices and your passwords are nowhere stored.

You only need access to the tool to calculate the required password from the given information.

But you always have to make sure that you always use the correct domain, as twitter.com, for example, is a different parameter than twitter.com/login.

Paid software vs. open source software

Password managers differ not only in the storage method, but also in the distribution model. There are open source projects, paid software and, more rarely, a mixture of both models.

Open source

Open source software is often kept simple and does not require a complex or user-friendly design. Some features, such as browser plug-ins, only come with extensions that you have to install yourself. Here you can find a lot of help in the mostly very active user forums, which are also the contact point for other problems, as there is little or no support from manufacturers.

However, open source solutions have the great advantage that the source code can be viewed and you know exactly what is happening with your personal data.

Paid software

Paid software is usually designed to be appealing and user-friendly. Extensions such as browser plug-ins and synchronization on all end devices are included in the service.

However, since the source code cannot be viewed, you never know what exactly will happen to your personal data and you have to rely on the provider's discretion.

Which software is right for me?

To make your decision easier for you, I have put together a list of well-known and less well-known providers. So you can compare the password managers and choose the solution that meets your needs or those of your company.

Dashlane

Dashlane is very extensive in functions and has an appealing and user-friendly user interface.

Features of the free account

  • up to 50 passwords
  • a device
  • Auto-complete forms and payment details
  • 2-factor authentication
  • Browser integration via extension

Premium (for 3 € per month)

  • unlimited passwords and devices
  • VPN for WiFi protection
  • searches the dark web for information about hacked accounts and warns users if they are compromised

Dashlane Business (€ 4 / month per user)

  • all advantages of Premium (except VPN)
  • Smart Spaces as a separation of private and business access
  • secure password sharing with groups
  • easy management of the access via the administrator console

Dashlane also offers the option of taking your data from the cloud and storing it locally. All in all, Dashlane is a good solution with many features, but support is only available in English.

LastPass

I've been using LastPass myself for a number of years. The software is clear, easy to use and offers many functions even in the free model.

Free

  • unlimited devices and passwords
  • 2-factor authentication with its own authentication app
  • Auto-complete forms and payment details
  • Apps and extensions for Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, Firefox, Edge, Safari and Chromium-based browsers
  • Zero knowledge security, LastPass has no access to your data

Premium (3 € per month) and families (4 € per month)

  • Share for multiple users
  • Family Management Dashboard
  • advanced multifactor authentication options
  • Preferential treatment for support cases

Business (different models and prices)

  • Administrators dashboard
  • from 5-50+ users

The extensive and free version of LastPass is sufficient for private users.

Customer support is heavily criticized in some reviews.

LastPass also has probably the best working autofill of any password manager.

Kaspersky Password Manager

Kaspersky has a lot of experience with Internet security. However, the company specializing in security software does not offer a free model. The service costs € 13.95 per year.

  • unlimited devices and passwords
  • high standards of passwords
  • 2-factor authentication
  • encrypted digital storage for passport, driver's license, bank details and other important documents
  • Auto-complete forms and payment details
  • Apps and extensions for Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Firefox, Edge, Safari and Chromium-based browsers
  • Account blocking in the event of long inactivity (time span can be set by yourself)
  • extensive support and large knowledge database for self-help
  • Zero knowledge security, Kaspersky has no access to your data

Due to its wealth of experience, Kaspersky has very high security standards.

Since the knowledge database is very detailed, you don't often have to rely on the very good support.

However, Kaspersky does not offer a business solution.

KeePass

KeePass is a free, open source solution in the classic Windows style. The software is simple and structured, but not very appealing in design.

  • large, active user forum to help
  • high password standards
  • viewable source code
  • high security, as the community continues to develop it
  • alternative encryption via Windows account or key file instead of master password
  • high data protection standards
  • no account or e-mail address required
  • Portable program, can be installed on a USB stick and taken with you
  • many additional features created by the community can be installed

Unlike other password managers, KeePass does not warn when passwords are weak or used twice.

The synchronization with mobile devices only works via third-party apps or ports developed by the community, both of which are not officially supported by the developer.

There is no official support, but if you have problems you can always find help in the active user forum. The forum is in English.

Keeper

Keeper was one of the first password managers on the market and has continued to develop since then.

The product has solutions for individuals, families and companies. In addition to the password manager, Keeper also offers an encrypted messenger service and the BreachWatch program that searches the Internet and Dark Web for stolen passwords and notifies you if they are compromised.

Password manager (€ 2.49 per month)

  • unlimited devices and passwords
  • 24/7 support
  • Log in via fingerprint or FaceID in addition to 2-factor authentication
  • Save emergency contacts in case of death
  • secure data sharing
  • Zero knowledge security, Keeper has no access to your data
  • Apps and extensions for Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, Firefox, Edge, Safari and Chromium-based browsers

maxbundle (€ 4.62 per month)

  • all features of the password manager
  • Darknet surveillance tool BreachWatch
  • Keeperchat messenger service

Keeper Enterprise (€ 2.50 per user per month)

  • encrypted safe for all users
  • unlimited devices, passwords and subfolders
  • automated team management
  • advanced 2-factor authentication
  • API access for password rotation and integration in the backend

The above examples are only a small selection. Keeper offers a multitude of possible combinations, too many to list here.

There is no free model, but there is a 30-day trial version for those interested.

There is a 50% discount for students.

North Pass

NordVPN's VPN specialists have also had a password manager called NordPass since 2019.

Free

  • just one device
  • no password sharing
  • Apps and extensions for Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, Firefox, Edge, Safari and Chromium-based browsers
  • 24/7 support
  • 2-factor authentication
  • high security standards
  • Zero knowledge security, NordPass has no access to your data

Premium

  • up to 6 devices at the same time
  • Password sharing
  • 30-day money back guarantee

NordPass offers a 7-day test version for the premium model for anyone interested.

1Password

Originally, you could purchase a lifetime license for 1Password. There are now subscription models for individuals, families and companies.

1Password ($ 2.99 per month)

  • Apps and extensions for Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, and Chromium-based browsers
  • 2-factor authentication
  • unlimited devices and passwords
  • 1 GB encrypted document storage
  • 24/7 email support
  • Travel mode, removes confidential data from your device and restores it on arrival with one click
  • Zero knowledge security, 1Password has no access to your data

Business ($ 7.99 per month)

  • all features of the standard tariff model
  • Report on failed login attempts
  • Firewall rules to block specific locations or IP addresses
  • Define rules for master password
  • 5 guest accounts for limited sharing
  • Admin dashboard for controlling and managing permissions
  • VIP support
  • free family accounts for all team members
  • Activity log to track changes

Here, too, there is a large number of models that would go beyond the scope of this article to run.

1Password does not offer a free version, but there is a 30-day trial version that interested parties can take advantage of.

Psono

Even the free basic version of the German open source solution Psono has many important features that other password managers have behind a paywall. Psono is developed by one person and despite that it is safe and respected software.

Free

  • mobile support with responsive design
  • Extensions for Firefox and Chromium browsers based on them
  • 2-factor authentication
  • PGP encryption, possibility to encrypt and decrypt PGP messages
  • PGP Mail Provider Integration for Gmail, outlook.com and yahoo mails
  • API access for integration in startup scripts, backend, etc.
  • Recognizes whether your password is part of a known breach
  • Emergency contacts in the event of death or other emergencies
  • Possibility to host the database on your own server

Business (free up to 10 users, from 25 users $ 3 per month)

  • Single sign on
  • Compliance and auditing function
  • Enforce rules for users, e.g. ensure 2-factor authentication or prohibit export

Psono is the first solution in my research that also provides a free solution for business customers. And this is even more extensive in functions and features than some other paid tools.

Although Sascha Pfeiffer developed the software alone, the solution gives a very trustworthy impression thanks to its open source, transparency of technical details and comments from the developer on portals such as Reddit.

LessPass

LessPass works very differently than most password managers. With the free open source solution, no passwords are saved and synchronized, but calculated.

The parameters for the calculation are your master password, the website, login and saved options.

You can take a closer look at the process here.

The tool is available for Android, Chrome and Firefox.

Master Password

MasterPassword is another tool that generates your password with the help of a pure function. The parameters here are your name, your master password and the page.

MasterPassword has an app for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android. If you should be excluded from all your devices, there is also a "computer" on the web.

Here you can read how the system works exactly.

Bitwarden

Bitwarden is another open source software that is sold commercially. The solution sets high data protection standards, is very user-friendly and, even for free users, has plenty of features that other password managers only have in the premium model.

Free

  • unlimited number of devices and passwords
  • 2-factor authentication with authentication apps
  • Apps and extensions for Mac, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, and Chromium-based browsers, but also the Tor Browser
  • 100% open software, the server code, code for the extension and app can be viewed on Github
  • Option to host the cloud on your own server
  • easy and uncomplicated import of the vaults of other password managers
  • high data protection and security standards

Premium ($ 10 per year)

  • 1 GB encrypted storage for documents
  • Preference for support cases
  • Alternative 2-factor authentication methods

Business teams ($ 5 per month with 5 users, each additional user $ 2 per month)

  • unlimited users and passwords
  • Dashboard for administrators to manage access
  • Preference for support cases

Business Enterprise

  • all features of business teams
  • API access for connection to in-house software or similar.
  • Premium account for users

Bitwarden not only has more than sufficient features for users who do not want to spend anything, but also comparatively cheap tariffs for premium and business solutions.

The support, a user forum and the IRC chat with the developers can help with problems.

My experiences and recommendations with password managers

I've been with for a few years now LastPass. The provider was recommended to me by a friend at the time and did not disappoint. Super easy to use and with one great autofill function fitted. LastPass is also popular and used here in the editorial office.

In the course of the research, I'm up Bitwarden and also moved my vault there. I didn't have to manually transfer all of the 100+ passwords, but could simply export the entire vault from LastPass to a .csv file and import it into Bitwarden.

The decision to switch was a purely personal one, the service from LastPass was and is great, but Bitwarden has the same features and is one more Open source solution. So I keep them Sovereignty over my data and does not have to lose any of its functions. Only the autofill function is not quite as good as with LastPass.

If you have a German tool want to use, you are with Psono well advised. With many functions and features that Free of charge even for business customers up to a certain team size Psono is a solution that can satisfy many needs.

Conclusion: secure yourself better with a password manager

A password manager does a lot of work and memory work for you.

He helps you your many Organize and manage passwords securely. It even helps you to generate new and secure passwords.

A password manager is the best way to secure your digital presence.

At the end I have a tip for that extra bit of security: Since user names and e-mail addresses are the same for many services and accounts, I make a note of them or just save them under abbreviations or donkey bridges in the password manager.

Even if your vault is compromised, your data sets are a little more complicated to decipher and harder to abuse.

What is most important to you in a password manager? Write us your opinion and experiences directly here in the comments and start an interesting discussion with us!