It’s not as feature-packed as some rivals, nor as cheap, but LastPass does a great job of taking the pain out of password management
- Very easy to set up and use
- Versatile auto-fill and autologin options
- Do everything from the browser
- Pricey compared to the competition
LastPass is a versatile password manager that plugs into all major web browsers. It’s designed to work in Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, but you don’t need to install standalone apps as you can manage your account entirely from a desktop browser.
LastPass will automatically generate, remember and fill in credentials for any number of websites, and can also take care of addresses, payment and banking details, and private notes. You can share selected passwords with other LastPass users, too, without having to tell them what your login credentials actually are.
The only catch is the annual fee. For many years you could sign up and use the core features for free, but in March 2021 the publisher introduced new restrictions that make the free service largely useless.
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LastPass review: What do you get for the money?
A Premium subscription to LastPass costs £31.20 per year for one user and lets you synchronise unlimited passwords across unlimited devices, up to a maximum of a gigabyte of information. You can also share individual passwords with other LastPass users.
The Family bundle, costing £40.80 a year, provides all the same features for up to six users, and adds the ability to create secure shared folders of credentials, so you can easily share curated collections of information with your friends and relations.
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The free service still exists, but we recommend you give it a miss. Previously, it provided basic password management across all your devices, but it’s recently been downgraded; now you can use it on either desktop or mobile devices, but not both, which means it’s not a realistic option for most people.
LastPass review: Is it good value compared to the competition?
LastPass is a little on the pricey side compared to its commercial rivals. 1Password costs around £26 a year for individuals or £35 for families – although individual 1Password accounts don’t include sharing capabilities.
Dashlane is slightly cheaper for individuals, too, costing around £29 for a personal subscription or £43 for families. That price includes Dashlane’s built-in VPN, which LastPass lacks.
Meanwhile, open-source challenger Bitwarden supports unlimited passwords and devices for free, while a Premium subscription costs just £7.20 a year, and a family account for up to six users works out to £29 per annum.
LastPass review: Is it easy to use?
Getting started with LastPass is effortless. Once you’ve installed the browser extension or mobile app, you can choose to import passwords from your browser, or just start surfing the web as usual. From now on, each time you enter a password (or other bit of personal information), LastPass will pop up and offer to remember it, and automatically fill it in next time. If you’re signing up for a new site, LastPass will volunteer to generate and store a new, secure password for you. You can optionally tick a box to enable autologin for any site, which tells LastPass to enter and submit your details as soon as the page loads for zero-touch authentication.
The main interface also provides the Security dashboard, which lets you review passwords that are reused or weak. Next to each one there’s a link to visit the site to change your password, and for some big names – including Amazon, Facebook, Gmail and Twitter – LastPass can automatically change your password for you. There’s no way to do this en masse as with Dashlane, however.
LastPass review: Is it safe?
LastPass won’t expose or fill in any of your stored data until you enter your master password. It also requires email verification the first time you log in from a new device, so even if someone finds out your master password, they won’t be able to get into your account – assuming they haven’t also got access to your inbox. Geographical restrictions can be applied, too, so that it’s only possible to log in from specified countries.
Once you’ve confirmed a device, you can categorise it as “trusted”, in which case you’ll only be asked to reconfirm your master password on that device once every 30 days. Trust can be revoked at any time, and for particularly sensitive sites you can set the option to require your master password every time you visit.
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For maximum security, you can enable multi-factor authentication, which requires you to use LastPass’ own authenticator app – or one from a third party such as Google or Microsoft – to confirm login attempts. On mobile devices you can require biometric authentication, too.
LastPass review: Could I get locked out of my account?
Owing to the way LastPass works, you can’t just reset your password if you lose it. However, you can create and store a hint to remind yourself what your password was, or you can reauthenticate using biometrics on a mobile device, then set a new master password.
You can also get a reset code via SMS if you’ve set this up in advance. And if you’ve recently changed your password, you can still use the old one to log in within 30 days – although, for security reasons, any new passwords you’ve added after the change will be lost.
If you decide to leave LastPass, the browser extension lets you export a CSV file containing all your stored passwords, which you can import into another password manager or just use as a handy reference. It goes without saying that you should keep this file somewhere very safe and ideally securely delete it as soon as possible.
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LastPass review: Should you buy it?
Now that the free cross-platform service has been axed, you’ll need to pay to get the best of LastPass. And, to be honest, it’s not a stunning value proposition: Bitwarden gives you the basic service for free, while Dashlane adds a VPN and a handy bulk password changer while still managing to slightly undercut LastPass on price.
Even so, we love LastPass’ handy autologin feature, its full browser-based management and its straightforward interface – not to mention the reassuring spread of security and account recovery features on hand. If all that sounds good to you, LastPass isn’t a bad investment at all.