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What is a password manager?

It’s best practice to use a password manager, but what is one exactly? And what features should you look for in a good password manager? In this guide we detail everything you need to know about the services.

A password manager is a dedicated online service or locally installed software that stores all your passwords for you. It should be protected by a strong master password that you need to enter to gain access to all your other passwords.

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Kaspersky Password Manager – Now 80% off

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Browser based password managers

The “remember this password” feature built into most web browsers and smartphones is an example of a password manager, but not a good one, as they’re often tied to a single browser, don’t log you out of your password collection by default and provide limited password management features.

A browser-based password manager can be viable, but you’ll want to spent some extra time setting it up. Unfortunately, Google Password Manager is a particularly bad choice due to its very limited features, even though it’s the one people are most likely to be using.

Writing passwords down in a book isn’t actually a horrible approach, assuming you can trust the people you live with. However, it’s not very practical if you need to access your usual websites when you’re away from home, can potentially be lost or destroyed in a crisis, and might encourage you to engage in unsafe password storage behaviour, such as saving passwords in your browser with no real protection set up for them.

What is a good password manager?

A good password manager will be accessible whether you’re currently connected to the internet or not, with strong encryption, from any device you need it on, able to generate passwords and give them to you for entry into any service or website you need. Look for two-factor authentication options for extra security.

We strongly recommend that your password manager not be tied into any other service or subscription, because you need it to keep working even if you change your preferred web browser or switch to a different antivirus provider.

Many password managers integrate with browsers or smartphones and can optionally auto-fill your passwords into any site they have stored, while others have an “auto-type” feature that you manually control and with makes it less likely for websites with “leaky forms” to collect login and password data that you haven’t even submitted.

However your password manager handles credential entry, unless you’re addressing a specific accessibility issue, you should configure it to request the entry of login credentials rather than auto-filling them.

Kaspersky Password Manager – Now 80% off

Kaspersky Password Manager – Now 80% off

Your digital activities made simple

Keep your passwords and documents in a secure private vault – and access them with one click from all your devices.

USE code: K80off22 to receive 80% off

  • CODE: K80off22
  • Was £10.49 per year
  • £2.10 per year
Buy now

We regularly update our choices for the best password manager to help you choose the right password management solution for you. You can also read my guide, Why you need a password manager, for more information on what features you should be looking for.

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