Keeping track of the never-ending amount of unique passwords we are required to remember these days is a challenging task. This is where a password management tool comes in: all your passwords are securely stored in a central location, and you have only one master password to remember.
We’ve hand-picked five of the best free password management tools for you to consider. If you are willing to do without paid features like cloud-based synchronization across multiple devices and priority support, then these free editions should do the trick.
Sticky Password is an easy-to-use password manager with an intuitive user interface that automatically fills forms and passwords, as well as performs automatic logins. It uses military grade AES-256 bit encryption, and includes features such as a built-in password generator, integration with all major web browsers, and the ability to create profiles with information like names, addresses, telephone numbers, and credit card numbers to make form filling quick and easy. You can also create secure memos (e.g. if you wanted to store license keys or server configuration information).
Once installed, a 30-day premium version is activated. It reverts to the free version when the 30 days have elapsed.
To get started, you’ll need to create an account and set up a master password. After this, begin by setting up an identity profile and entering username and password combinations for your most commonly used applications and websites. You can also import username and password combinations from installed web browsers or other password manager applications. Alternatively, you can let Sticky Password learn as you browse.
LastPass is a website password manager that seamlessly integrates with your browser and keeps username and password combinations in the LastPass vault. When you visit a website for which LastPass stores your password and click “Log In” or “Sign In”, it will automatically fill out the username and password fields and log you in.
Features include automatic “back up and sync” on a single device, automated population of logins and forms, audited passwords, a built-in password generator, secure notes, and the ability to share user profiles and passwords. LastPass uses AES-256 encryption and includes an option for multi-factor authentication.
After you’ve created an account, start by entering username and password combinations for your most commonly used websites, or log in to them from a web browser and teach LastPass as you go along.
The LastPass Security Challenge assesses the health of your passwords and recommends changing ones that are weak, reused, old, or compromised. On some sites, LastPass can automatically log in and change the password for you with the click of a button.
KeePass is a lightweight and user-friendly password manager that allows you to store username and password combinations in a strongly encrypted database. Access to the database is protected using a master password or key file.
When you launch KeePass, create a database and set configuration settings such as compression and encryption algorithm. As part of this process you’ll enter the master password.
Next, create and modify groups to keep your passwords neatly categorized and start adding entries to each group. The search function in the top menu bar allows for quick access to certain passwords, which saves you from navigating through each group.
Dashlane is a website password manager that offers a highly intuitive user interface that is easy to install and use. Key features include a security dashboard, a one-click password generator, automatic logins, a personal wallet, and secure notes. Dashlane can be installed and used across a variety of operating systems and browsers. It uses strong encryption (AES-256 and 10,000+ PBKDF2 iterations), supports two-factor authentication, and doesn’t store the master password locally.
Once you create an account and log in, begin by entering username and password combinations for your most commonly used websites, or log in to them from a web browser and let Dashlane learn as you go. The Security Dashboard gives you a snapshot of the strength of your passwords and recommends changing them if they drop below a certain threshold. The Password Changer can log in to some sites and change the password to a stronger one automatically.
The Secure Notes section is where you keep information like software licenses, membership numbers, as well as application and server usernames and passwords. Your Wallet is where you enter information about yourself so that forms can be autofilled.
Password Safe is a no-frills password management tool that uses an encrypted database container to list and store all your usernames and passwords, access to which is only granted by means of a master password. Features include a built-in password generator—which creates passwords using custom-defined policies—the ability to merge, synchronize, and back up the database, and “auto-type” to autofill the username and password entries to log you in quickly.
When you first launch Password Safe, you’ll create a new Password Safe database and enter a Safe Combination that will be used to encrypt the database and allow you access. Right click on a blank area within the main window and choose “Create Entry” to create a new password entry. Here, you’ll be able to store a username, password, and any relevant notes. To organize your password entries, you can create groups by right clicking on a blank area within the main window and selecting “Add Group.”
Tip: CTRL + P brings up the built-in Password Generator, which you can also get to from Manage > Generate Password.