Google Chrome has been the most widely used browser for a while now. Launched in September 2008, it took a bit of time to gain the biggest piece of the market share, but eventually, it went on to overtake both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, the other two big guns in the industry.
Security experts the world over are hoping that password managers will experience the same type of success. They've been around for a while now, but adoption is still relatively low, especially among less tech-savvy users, which is a shame because they are an indispensable tool for the people who take the security of their online accounts seriously.
There's a 60% chance that you're viewing this website through a Chrome browser, and there's an even greater chance that you're interested in the idea of using a password manager. So, what is the best password manager that also supports Google Chrome?
Answering this question is not as easy as you might think. After all, we're talking about different users coming from different walks of life who have different needs. What we'll do know is give you some of the alternatives and hopefully help you find your way. Before that, however, you need to ask yourself the following question:
Do I want to pay for a password manager?
The popularity of torrent trackers and the amount of pirated software that you can find out there proves that plenty of people walk away as soon as they hear that a computer program is paid for. Then again, if you think about it, a password manager can protect your online identity. It's the easiest way of ensuring that all your accounts are protected by strong, unique passwords. In that respect, paying a few dollars every month doesn't seem like such a terrible idea. On the other hand, you've got password managers that are completely free. So, why would you pay for something that you can get for free?
What are the differences between paid and free password managers?
From a security standpoint, they are basically non-existent. The developers of all password managers, both free and paid, know that users rely on their applications to protect them from account hijacking. Hence, all password managers encrypt the data they store and have a number of other protection mechanisms in place that are supposed to keep you safe.
The real differences between paid and free password managers lie with things like support and extra features, and it's up to you to do a bit of research (which is what you're doing right now) and decide which of those features you can (or can't) live without. Various password managers give you various additional features, especially if you go for their premium versions. It all depends on your needs. Some people, for example, want to get a password manager account for all their family or team members whereas others need it for themselves only. Some people want to be able to store payment and personal information whereas others just need to have their passwords organized and nothing else.
I've decided on the extra features I want. Does this mean that I need to dig further into my pocket?
Not necessarily. As you'll see in a moment, there are free password managers that can significantly simplify the way average users go about their everyday lives on the Internet without putting pressure on their wallets. Additional features don't always mean additional costs, which is why going to the higher priced password manager simply because you assume that it's better than the alternatives is not a good call.
There are plenty of password managers options out there, and it's important to do the online equivalent of window shopping before you commit to a single program that is supposed to store all your sensitive information. As promised, here are some of the alternatives you should take a look at.
LastPass is one of the most popular names in the industry. It has a free version which comes in the form of a browser extension (there's no need to install a desktop application), and it can store and auto-fill usernames and passwords, sync the data across devices, generate strong passwords through the built-in password generator, and save credit card details as well as other personal information. For $2 a month, LastPass Premium gives you additional goodies like fingerprint reader support, 1GB of encrypted file storage, and a Windows app that can auto-fill your login credentials in non-web-based programs.
Dashlane is another password manager that comes both in paid and free guise. In addition to usernames and passwords, it can also store personal, payment, and identification information in your encrypted vault, but one of its most notable features is the automatic password changer which lets you change your passwords without having to leave the program's interface. The downside is that the free version won't let you sync your data across your devices. For that, you have to pay $3.33 per month for Dashlane Premium which will also give you backup options, priority customer support, and two-factor authentication with YubiKey.
1Password is heralded by both experts and regular users for its sleek design and functionality. Recently announced, 1Password X is supposed to turn 1Password into an extension-only password manager, which, the developers hope, make the user experience even more enjoyable. On the flip side, 1Password doesn't give you a free option once the 30-day trial is up. The cheapest version costs $2.99 per month, and it gives you 1GB of storage, syncing capabilities, and recovery options.
Whichever one of these password managers you choose, you will be taking a major step towards better securing your accounts and improving your online life. So, do yourself a favor, and get an application that will take care of your passwords for you.