Passwords are a necessary evil. It is recommended to create a strong and unique password for every online account. The problem is it’s difficult to remember the random string of letters, numbers and symbols for every one of your site log-ins. That is why we strongly recommend the use of a password manager, as it can quickly generate and store strong and secure passwords without you having to remember any of the passwords (other than the master password).
The next issue is that with so many password managers out there, it can be difficult to find out which one is suitable for you. Below we will discuss some of the free password managers that you can use, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs.
1. Password Gorilla
Password Gorilla is a very simple password manager. It runs on the big 3 operating systems (Windows, Linux and Mac OS X) and also has a portable version. I have a flash drive I keep with me most of the time with different apps on it. Password Gorilla is one of them. The database containing your passwords and information can live in your Dropbox, though you’ll need a portable version of Dropbox, too. This will let you share your database over several computers and portable apps.
Password Gorilla doesn’t have a lot of fancy features. You can group different entries together to keep your information a bit more organized. You have the option to choose the number of characters in the password and what types of characters will be in it. For the user with basic needs, Password Gorilla will work great.
A popular password manager is KeePass. KeePass is mainly a password manager for Windows, but there are several port-over versions for other OSes (including iOS and Android) that will work with the same .kdbx database. It comes with addons available to access your information on your mobile device. Make sure you read the compatibility of the mobile app you’d like to use before you start. Some apps will only work with certain versions of the desktop software.
A notable feature of KeePass is the added security of a key file. This file needs to be present for KeePass to work. The key file can be used as a replacement or in combination with a master password. The key file is random bits making it hard to duplicate.
If you are a Windows user, this is probably the best free password manager for you.
We have covered Enpass before when it was still in its early stages of development, but now it has matured to a stable and useful password manager. Enpass is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, as well as iOS and Android. The desktop version is free, but the mobile version requires a one time $9.99 license fee.
Enpass comes with browser extensions as well, so you can have it autofill your passwords on any site. It stores your password database locally but comes with options for you to sync with various cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, iCloud and OneDrive. One of its best features is the built-in OTP support for individual login so you don’t need a separate authenticator app for your 2-factor authentication.
Dashlane is yet another popular password manager that is available for multiple platforms. It is available for Windows, OS X, Android, and iOS and integrates with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. Dashlane is free to download and use, but if you want to sync your data across devices, it will cost you $40 per year.
Even though it is free, Dashlane comes with plenty of useful features. You can easily and quickly change your passwords with a single click, and the security dashboard shows you the weak passwords that are stored in your password vault and prompts you when your accounts may have been compromised.
5. Sticky Password
Sticky Password is very similar to Dashlane. The free version allows you to use all its features on one machine, and you have to pay to sync your database across devices. Sticky Password is available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android and integrates with Safari and Chrome.
It doesn’t seem to support Firefox at the moment. It supports Firefox and a few more browsers too, though it only shows up in the Windows version of the app.
Like Dashlane, your database is stored locally, but you can sync it with its server (requires a premium account) so you can access it across multiple devices.
Sticky Password is rather simple and easy to use. Other than your passwords, you can also add secure memos and credit card details. Some of its unique features include the bio-metric authentication that allows you to use your fingerprint to unlock the database. For the premium version, if you are concerned about your database stored in a remote server, you can also use setup synchronization over local WiFi so your encrypted data doesn’t leave your devices.
Honorable mention – LastPass
LastPass is probably the password manager that most people are currently using. While its web-based model makes it universally accessible, the fact that there have been several incidents of security breaches makes it really hard for us to recommend it to everyone. Nevertheless, as a password manager, its features are still top-notch.
Personally, I am using Enpass as I have to switch between different operating systems regularly, and it is the only one in the list above that has a wide support for (almost) all operating systems, doesn’t store my password vault in its server and still allows me to sync with various cloud storage services. What is your preferred password manager?