While most modern browsers can save passwords automatically, it makes sense to choose a dedicated password manager. Once set up, these will automatically save and fill your logins, with the best working across Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android. Here, we reveal the best password manager – and how to migrate your passwords to it.
The best password manager browser plugin: LogMeOnce
As the time-honoured cliché runs, “don’t judge LogMeOnce by its website”. While the other services below have slick, come-hither interfaces, LogMeOnce eschews prettiness for practicality.
Its free Password Management Suite takes the form of a browser plugin that only a mother could love. For example, while other services’ “do you want us to remember this password?” boxes are unobtrusive, LogMeOnce fills a third of the screen with a chunky pop-up:
Nevertheless, LogMeOnce handles the bread and butter of the password manager trade – auto-filling login fields – promptly. And, in other areas, it’s comparatively hi-tech: instead of entering a master password on the smartphone app, for instance, you can use your fingerprint or even a photo (“log in with your Selfie”, as the website advises).
My favourite feature, by far, is Mugshot. If someone tries to log into your LogMeOnce account, you will immediately get an email containing their IP address, the name of their device – and a photo of their ugly mug. I put this to the test several times and received a warning email just a handful of seconds after the incorrect login. It’s impressive stuff.
Oh, one last thing: LogMeOnce also tells you what the weather’s like in your area. Why? Why not!
How do I migrate passwords to LogMeOnce?
As you’d expect, moving/migrating/importing passwords to LogMeOnce is easier than finding a beard trimmer in Shoreditch.
First, you’ll need to import your data from your existing manager as a CSV (comma-separated values – essentially a list of data separated by commas) file. Most services make this as straightforward as possible: just look for an “Export” option in the settings menu.
Once you have the precious CSV file, click on the LogMeOnce extension icon in the top-right corner of your browser. Select the orange menu icon in the box that appears and pick Import Application | Import From File. You’ll then be given a list of other password managers (LastPass, 1Password and so on) – choose your previous provider and open your CSV file. Click on Import to finish the process.
The best password manager for slickness: Dashlane
Sounding like a popular 1980s arcade game, Dashlane has been around since 2011 and is consistently one of the darlings of the technology press. But does it actually live up to the hype? Yes – and then some.
When you first set yourself up with Dashlane, you’ll be given the option to “secure passwords in Dashlane”. This grabs passwords saved in browsers, although curiously it only detected Internet Explorer when we tested using a Windows 10 system.
Even better, Dashlane wants you to import your passwords from another manager right off the bat. You still need to export a CSV file (see above), but it really simplifies the process.
Aside from the usual auto-fill password and strong password generator tools, Dashlane marks itself out from the competition by including instant security alerts. These notify you if a site for which you’ve stored a password has been compromised. It will also prompt you to immediately change your password.
What I like most about Dashlane is its simplicity. Need a complex password that fulfils all of the security criteria? Just use the generator tool. Sick of entering your passport or credit card details into website fields? Just tap them into Dashlane and it’ll do the hard work for you. Worried that a family member might need one of your passwords in an emergency? You can easily grant limited access to certain people.
All of this makes the free version of Dashlane perfect for users who are tired of bells, whistles, innumerable icons and sub-menus more labyrinthine than Norway’s coastline.
How do I migrate passwords to Dashlane?
If you didn’t import your existing passwords during the Dashlane setup process, shame on you…
Create a CSV file containing your passwords from a different manager (see above). Once that’s done, open the Dashlane desktop application, click on File | Import and then select your previous service. Upload your CSV file and you’re finished.
The best password manager worth paying for: 1Password
It’s a beautiful irony that the name of one of the best password managers around is also one of the worst passwords you can ever use. It’s like a Michelin-starred restaurant being called “Tripe”.
1Password humbly mentions that it’s “the best password manager”, a claim at which it’s easy to scoff. However, it offers a clean interface and does the job of keeping passwords safe in a vault and auto-filling fields well.
The thing that rankles is the price. Or to be precise, that you have to pay anything in the first place. $2.99 per month may not be outrageous, but when its rivals are free you have to wonder why you’d bother?
Well, after a generous 30-day free trial, your money gets you: apps for all of the major platforms, unlimited password storage (useful if you only log into a site once in a blue moon), 1GB of document storage, the all-important two-factor authentication and 1Password’s Travel Mode.
This last feature is particularly useful if you frequently have to travel overseas, or within the UK for that matter, for work. Once you enable Travel Mode, password vaults that haven’t been marked as safe for travel will be removed from your vault. That’s particularly useful if, say, the US Border Agency demand your passwords: you can supply them without being accused of holding anything back.
Unless this last feature is key, though, I recommend holding onto your pennies (or cents, in this case) and opting for a free service instead.
How do I migrate passwords to 1Password?
Again, migrating existing passwords to 1Password should only take a couple of minutes. After you’ve put together a CSV file (see above), open the 1Password application, click File | Import | Other | Import a CSV File. Select the file and wait as 1Password ingests your logins.
The best password manager that everyone’s heard of: LastPass
LastPass is the Manchester United of password managers: everyone’s heard of it. And, by and large, it’s excellent at what it does. However, just like the Mancunian club, it’s not quite the best of the best at the moment.
Why? While LastPass handles all of the basics without complaint, extra features a rather thin on the ground for free users. What do you get? Auto-filling fields, two-factor authentication, emergency access for friends or relatives and local-only encryption, to name the big four. But there’s not as much here as there is with, say, Dashlane.
That said, the Security Challenge tool is interesting. This analyses all of the passwords you’ve stored on LastPass and gives you an overall security score, before offering advice on how you can improve. For tech-savvy users, it’ll be nothing new, but it could prove invaluable to beginners.
Overall, with its excellent smartphone apps and user-friendly interfaces (we particularly like the way that logins are arranged in tiles in the vault), LastPass is a good choice for people who just want a simple tool to do all of the work for them. It’s also great if you want the extra level of comfort that comes with using a familiar big-hitter – but bear in mind that you’ll get more tricks elsewhere.
How do I migrate passwords to LastPass?
Simply click on the LastPass icon in the top-right of your browser, select More Options | Import, choose the file type (for example, CSV) and then upload your file…
… at least, that’s what the LastPass website says. In reality, I found that clicking on the Chrome extension option didn’t bring up a “More Options” listing. Instead, I clicked Open My Vault and, once I was in, picked More Options from the left-hand toolbar, selected Advanced and then, finally, clicked on Import.
Either way, importing passwords shouldn’t take more than the time it takes to make a cuppa.
The best open-source password manager: Bitwarden
The open-source Bitwarden may not be the most famous or feature-laden password manager, but it offers everything you need in an easy-to-understand bundle that doesn’t cost a penny. In fact, it’s now my password manager of choice.
That might sound odd, given that I’ve just criticised the free version of LastPass for its lack of features. However, I like Bitwarden because it makes no bones about what it is – it’s a password manager that manages passwords very well. It has two-factor authentication and a secure password generator, but that’s about it for extras.
It has applications for Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as extensions for Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Vivaldi, Opera, Brave and, intriguingly, the Tor Browser. All of these are easy to install and unobtrusive, too. While other services – *cough* LogMeOnce *cough* – bring up a huge box when you enter a new password, Bitwarden unfurls an elegant banner at the top of the window.
Yes, Bitwarden may be basic, but it’s a fine virtual keychain that’s easy to set up and use. All hail.
How do I migrate passwords to Bitwarden?
Bitwarden’s import function is in keeping with the down-to-earth theme: head to your web vault, click on Tools, select Import Data and then either upload a file (CSV, XML, 1PIF, JSON and so on) or copy and paste the file contents directly into the box. And that’s it.
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