The best password management software do more now than just offer an encrypted, searchable database and an interface to search with. They include things like form auto-fill, multi-device syncing, auto-password changes, and notifications when a site you have an account with gets hacked.
The best password managers come with the flexibility to go single-device with no web or online components at all, or the option to sync across your devices. Some log into sites for you, others audit your passwords to make sure you’re not using the same in too many places. All of them come with features designed to improve your security across the board, while offering their own kind of security to protect your data—yes, even if you have everything stored in one place.
LastPass is clearly the juggernaut here, and for good reason. The service was one of the first well-rounded password managers available, and one of the first that really made it easy to store all of your passwords either online and synced with other computers and devices, or locally on one device. In short, LastPass remembers your passwords so you don’t have to, and makes it easy to audit your passwords, use stronger passwords in general, and even automatically change a password for you if a service has been hacked or compromised. LastPass supports two-factor authentication for your password vault using Google Authenticator, USB devices (using a method we’ve outlined before), or a YubiKey. The service recently received a visual refresh to streamline the UI and make it easier to use, and sports a number of additional features like credit monitoring, secure password and document storage (and sharing), notifications when a site you have an account with has been hacked, tools to autofill forms and streamline online shopping, and more. LastPass supports Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, and has plugins for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Microsoft Edge.
Dashlane launched in beta back in 2012, debuted a UI refresh in 2016, and has since risen to prominence largely because of its attention to its interface (which is sharp and easy to use), simple security, easy auto-login, form auto-fill, and logging of purchases and orders from online shops. It’s picked up a number of updates since then, including support for two-factor authentication, the ability to share passwords with emergency contacts in case you can’t access your accounts, and the ability to change multiple passwords on dozens of websites with a few clicks. Dashlane will also notify you if you have an account on a site that’s hacked, and with its built-in password changer, you can have Dashlane reset the password to a new, unique, strong one without leaving the interface. If you want to change all your passwords at once, you can do that too. The purchase tracking and digital wallet features make it easy to make online purchases even at retailers you don’t have accounts with, and search all of your online orders in one place, while secure note and document sharing gives you a place to store passwords that can’t be automatically filled in.
If free (as in speech and as in beer) and open source are your go-to requirements for a security product, KeePass is perfect for you. Your passwords in KeePass are stored inside an encrypted database that you control, on your own system, and are never synced or uploaded anywhere unless you want to take them from machine to machine. KeePass is also a portable app, meaning it’s super easy to take with you and use on multiple computers, even if that machine is locked down and all you have is a thumb drive. It has its own password generator, to help you change passwords and make sure every one of them is unique and strong.