These days, all the big browsers come with their own password manager. They’re very convenient to use: just enter your username and password into a website, and the browser will ask you if you want it to remember your details. If you accept, you never have to manually type your credentials again; just visit the login page and your browser does the rest.
However, this doesn’t mean the third-party password manager is dead. In fact, you can install third-party password manager extensions onto a browser and disable the native one. This then raises the question: should you use your browser’s password manager, or is going third-party the way to go?
Using a Web Browser’s Password Manager
The browser’s password manager is the choice that most people use. This is not necessarily because it’s the best choice but because it’s convenient and requires no setup. But what’s so good about your browser’s manager?
For one, a browser password manager is highly useful if you use only that browser. These days, the big browsers have a sync feature that applies your settings across every instance you use.
As such, you can ensure your details are synced automatically regardless of where you are. For instance, if you’re using Chrome on your PC, any logins you save will also sync with your mobile Chrome.
This is especially useful for mobile devices, as third-party managers can’t be installed as an extension. Instead, you’ll likely download a separate app that you’ll have to manually swap to every time you need a password. This is a lot more hassle than the browser remembering everything.
Using a Third-Party Password Manager
A third-party manager, however, has one key element going for it: privacy. When you use a browser’s proprietary password manager, all of the code is hidden away. As such, you have no real idea of what the company is doing with your data. Are they storing it properly? Could an employee potentially see all your details?
Third-party password managers can avoid this. While some of them are proprietary, others (such as KeePassXC and BitWarden) are open source. That means the code is available for everyone to see, so there’s nothing shady about them.
Third-party password managers can also adapt to any browser you use. If you juggle between Chrome and Firefox, for instance, you can install the manager’s extensions on both. That way, you can get at your passwords no matter where you are.
Browser vs. Third-Party: Which Is Best for You?
So which should you use? As you may expect, if you’ve found the right browser for you, you may want to consider sticking with its password manager. It makes changing between computers, tablets, and mobile phones simple, as the passwords sync up with each browser.
However, if you use different browsers, a third-party password manager can save you a lot of trouble. It acts as a cross-sync between all of your browsers, so you always have your passwords on hand. Not only that, but there are open-source managers that respect your privacy and are worthy of your trust.
Managing the Managers
Browser password managers are very convenient, but they’re not the only ones out there. If you like moving across browsers or you just want a little privacy, a third-party password manager is right for you.
Also, it is good to find out the things you should check for when looking for a password manager before you make your decision.