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Best free password managers 2019: Secure all your passwords to ensure you're never hacked

Alex Lee Sherwin Coelho
24 May 2019
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You don't need to remember long, complicated passwords ever again. Here are the best free password managers this year

The well-worn advice to never use the same password is accompanied by a mind-numbing headache. Now we’re trying to juggle a dozen different passwords for various services around the web and it’s all very difficult to remember.

We don’t memorise phone numbers anymore, so it’s no wonder we can’t remember a long string of lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, punctuation symbols, emojis, cats and whatever else either.

Enter the trusty password manager. A great piece of software that means we can just delegate the job of memorising impenetrable passwords to a computer. Perfect.

How does a password manager work?

Password managers usually come in different forms. Some work as a website and PC program, but most also have separate browser plug-ins, and apps for Android, iOS and Macs. This means you can store all your credentials on one device, then easily access them across any of the others.

Most people resort to using passwords that are easy to remember, but this means that it's equally easy for a hacker to crack them and access all your valuable data. Password managers come to the rescue by generating strong passwords that will be a challenge for even seasoned experts to crack. Most good password managers will flag up your weak passwords and recommend you replace them with stronger ones it suggests.

The benefits of password managers are obvious but the problem is, there’s just way too many to choose from. So which ones are the best? We’ve separated the wheat from the chaff so you don’t have to spend hours searching for a password manager that’s half decent. All of these managers are free of charge but also have a premium plan for those that want that extra bit of security and functionality.

Without further ado, here’s our roundup of the best password managers...

The Best Password Manager

1. LastPass - Best password manager overall

LastPass was the first password manager to implement security password auditing, giving you the ability to test the strength of your passwords and change them as appropriate.

LastPass has a whole suite of PC and mobile apps, and browser extensions. It provides the most comprehensive feature-set among all the password managers on this list. Apart from your login passwords, you can store your credit card and online shopping details, Wi-Fi passwords, driver's licenses, passport and even secure notes that only you can see.

There is a Premium plan that costs £2.33 a month for a single user, and you can try this free for 30 days to see if its features are worth it. This plan lets you give someone access to your passwords in the event of an emergency, gives you priority technical support, and more advanced multi-factor authentication options.

Its premium plan is much better than Dashlane's but, to be fair, you probably won’t even need it because the free version should cater to all of your password management needs. In short, LastPass is clearly our favourite password manager in 2019.

Download LastPass now


2. Dashlane: Best password manager for ease of use

Dashlane is one of the simplest and easiest password managers to use. It looks clean, tidy and up until LastPass updated its interface, was the most polished platform around.

Features include password strength testing, automatic password changes, cross-device password syncing, and a warning system that alerts you if any of your passwords may have been breached in a cyberattack. There’s also a digital wallet feature which can hold all your payment details. Like LastPass, it also lets you nominate someone to receive all of your passwords in the case of an emergency.

The free version does have its limitations, though. For example, you can only use Dashlane on one device and store 50 passwords on it, which might just be enough for some people. To get the most out of the service, though, you're better off upgrading to the Premium plan, which costs £2.55 ($3.33) per month. This unlocks Dashlane's entire potential giving you unlimited password storage, a safe place for any sensitive files and even a VPN to securely connect to dodgy Wi-Fi networks.

Download Dashlane now


3. KeePass: Best free password manager

KeePass is the best free, open-source password manager. You basically put all your passwords in one database, and then secure this using a master key or a key file.

Compared to LastPass and Dashlane, KeePass has a steep learning curve because the interface is not intuitive and it doesn't capture new credentials automatically. Your passwords are stored on your device and not in the cloud, which means you have to manually sync it to every device you install it on. A good idea to make your KeePass data portable is to install it on a USB stick, so you have your passwords with you at all times.

KeePass is open source meaning it is constantly checked for potential weaknesses and whether its algorithms are implemented correctly. Any potential issues are instantly resolved and fixed. You can expand its functionality dramatically using free KeePass plugins that let you customise the password manager to your heart's content, but again this takes some getting used to.

KeePass is the best free password manager, but its interface is not very intuitive, so we wouldn't recommend it if you're a novice to using password managers.

Download KeePass now


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