How to choose the best password manager for you

Woman protecting password privacy on laptop

You probably have a huge number of passwords to keep up with — everything from your online bank accounts to email and social media sites that require you to create a unique login. It’s no surprise that you may struggle to create and remember strong passwords that don’t repeat across your online accounts. But how do you manage it all when you have so many passwords and have probably forgotten some or reused the same one, leaving yourself open to a data breach?

Thankfully, there’s a solution. Password managers give you a secure place to house your passwords and make the online login process more efficient. In this article, you’ll learn what password managers are, how password management works and how to choose the most secure password manager for your needs.

What is a password manager?

Password managers are programs that can help you store passwords in a single, central location. When you’ve installed a password management program, the password manager retrieves your credentials from each account you access and keeps them safely encrypted on both your devices and in cloud storage. Rather than having to remember countless difficult passwords, you can choose one master password as the authenticator to your password manager, and the program logs you in everywhere else you go.

Password managers are designed to work across desktops and mobile devices and are compatible with all major web browsers, such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari. Many also offer extra features like biometric authentication and dark web monitoring. Some password managers even offer a free version for basic use but provide a paid premium version if you require maximum password security.

Frontier Password Manager is one example of a password management app that can make it much easier to access all your passwords, usernames and credit information with just one master password. Instead of having to remember many different login credentials, Frontier’s password manager stores all your information on both your supported devices and our secure servers using strong encryption.

How do password managers work?

Let’s say you’ve chosen one of the popular password managers out there like Bitwarden, Dashlane or LastPass. You now log into your email for the first time. Even if you have the free tier of the program, the password manager will take in the information you input as your login credentials and begin to autofill that information each time you visit the same site afterward.

As they’re designed for ease of use, most major password manager programs have software to suit any operating system, whether Microsoft Windows, Chrome OS or others. Most password managers appear as a browser extension or as a plugin across your mobile apps. They also often offer an internal password generator that suggests new passwords. Advanced features on some higher-tier programs even offer cool additions, such as file storage or travel mode.

Once you’ve set up your password manager account, the software is capable of syncing across all your devices. You don’t have to reenter information multiple times when you switch from your phone to a desktop app or vice versa. Now, with just one secure password that you select as your master password, you can access all your important accounts easily and securely.

How safe are password managers?

How many times per week do you encounter yet another online roboform asking for your personal data? Whether it’s credit card information or just your name and address, these queries pop up all the time. While many web browsers offer to store your passwords, it’s generally not a good idea because this leaves your sensitive data vulnerable to malware.

Most popular password managers employ internal security architecture or a highly secure VPN to store your essential information. Many of these technologies disallow the password management company from seeing your personal data, which is a security feature you can’t count on when you rely on a web browser to remember your passwords.

Most password management programs also offer multi-factor authentication as an advanced feature to protect and encrypt your passwords. Password managers represent an infinitely safer way to store your sensitive information than just leaving that data up for grabs when using browsers.

Why use a password manager?

Weak passwords can do far more than leaving your messaging programs open to unwanted viewers. They can compromise all your accounts by making them vulnerable to identity theft. Every time you log onto a Wi-Fi network, there is potential for hackers or agents of the dark web to retrieve information about you. When files are placed in web-based locations like Dropbox or Google Drive, there’s a chance they’ll be accessed by uninvited guests.

Password managers do much more than help you create complex passwords and protect the ones you already have. Password management companies offer valuable customer support, protection from identity theft and monitoring of the dark web on your behalf.

Most of the top-performing password management programs, such as Frontier Password Manager, also offer a form-filling feature that interprets online forms and begins auto-filling as you type in information, saving you time and eliminating the frustration of having to type and retype your information.

If you’ve saved different logins and passwords over time for a given site, many password managers will remember them all and offer you a list. Others will only save the updated or most recent version so that you don’t have to store it if you don’t want to. That means no more worrying about trying to remember a password if you haven’t logged into an app for the last six months. With a password manager, you only need to remember one master password to access all your login information.

How to choose the best password manager for you

Picking the right password management program is all about keeping your needs in mind. Not everyone has the same amount or kind of information to protect, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing a password vault or manager.

Consider the following key points when selecting what works best for you:

  • Usage needs: Is the password manager something you need just to keep up with complex passwords, or do you plan to store files and more? Taking inventory of your usage needs can help you to decide on the best program for you.
  • Device and operating system: Do you frequently use an open-source operating system like Linux or one of the older web browsers like Opera? There’s a password manager for that! Not all password management programs work on all devices and operating systems, so it’s important to become familiar with which companies offer options for what you use most. Nearly all will cover macOS and Windows, but a few popular programs work on Linux like 1Password, KeePass and NordPass. Also, make sure to check that programs you’re interested in offer support for any additional security devices you might already have, such as a YubiKey.
  • Budget: A premium plan will cost more, but you don’t have to break the bank to get great service, no matter which password management system you choose. Most major providers offer a family plan for multi-user households and a free plan for those who are budget-conscious. Zoho Vault and Sticky Password both offer a “free forever” option that might be suitable if you’re looking for the best free password manager.
  • Cloud- or device-based: Check whether the password manager stores your information on a physical device or in cloud-based technology. You may prefer one method of storage over another, as there are benefits and drawbacks to each.

Password manager features to look for

Whether you’re an Apple or Android user, there are some key features to look out for in any good password manager. Beyond pricing and storage, you’ll want to check out companies that offer coverage for unlimited passwords. Find a program that has a simple user interface, as well. You might be interested in companies that provide biometric options, such as a fingerprint scan or facial recognition.

Additional points of interest should be the password manager’s ability to store other important documents, such as your health and car insurance cards. You may also want a program that actively encourages you not to reuse passwords by including an internal password generator.

Learn more about Frontier’s Secure Password Manager

In today’s world, a greater portion of our lives takes place online than ever before. Concerns over the safety of your personal data are natural, so finding a suitable password manager is a great way to feel more secure in your internet tasks.

Frontier Password Manager can protect your personal information while making it easier to access your various login credentials. Live life on the internet to the fullest — and more safely. Contact us or connect via live chat to get started today.

Product features may have changed and are subject to change.