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What Is a Password Manager?

The Tool You Shouldn’t Live Without In your Digital Life

We recommend using a password manager. Unambiguously so. But what is a password manager, and why is it so significant for making passwords secure? It performs a relatively simple service, but our digital lives are so complex that they can be a little complicated to learn and use. Still, it’s a privacy and security tool that will make your life easier MUCH easier if you take the plunge to set it up and learn how to use it.

Let’s break down the three main functions of a good password manager. (they’re not all good; More on that later.)

1. It Remembers Your Passwords (So You Don’t Have To)

This is why you need one – so you don’t have to remember passwords anymore (and can therefore use strong and unique ones.)  Along with each password, they store your username, the URL of the site where it’s used, and any associated information. You can add all your existing passwords, and they can automatically add new ones as you create them.

This solves the headache of trying to remember all the different passwords you use on your different accounts.

2. It Enters Passwords For You

This is the most convenient function—when set up properly they not only remember your password they automatically enter them when needed.  With the right setup, it will auto-enter passwords in your browser, on your phone, and on your laptop. And when it doesn’t auto-enter the password, you can quickly use the Password Manager to cut and paste it—which is still a lot easier than typing them in.  

This will save you a lot of time and make the log-in process a matter of a few clicks rather than an ordeal of having to type a nonsensical string of characters and symbols.

3. It Creates Secure Passwords For You

When you’re trying to use a unique password or passphrase for your most important account, you may find yourself overwhelmed trying to create a password that’s different from your other ones while staying unique and complex enough for account security.

Fortunately, password managers will create a password for you that is both long, strong, and full of complexity so they can’t be guessed via data breaches or an automated password guesser.

What Password Managers Are Best?

There are a lot of password managers, but we recommend 1Password, LastPass, or DashLane. We don’t advocate that you use the built-in password managers in Google Chrome or FireFox. The Apple Keychain password manager is great if you only work on your iPhone and Mac, but we still would use one of the fuller Password Managers for your complete password collection.

It does take some time to install, populate, and learn to use a Password Manager. But it’s well worth it. Start with your most important accounts—banks, email, file storage, and the like. Add the million little accounts you use over time.

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

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