Free is always nice, and when a free app is no longer free (or when the free version becomes so limited it is virtually useless), then you have to decide whether to pay up or move on. This happened with the Evernote note manager almost five years ago, and now it is time for users of the popular password manager LastPass to make the same decision. LastPass is changing its free version so that it will only work on one type of device — either your computer or your mobile device. If you, like most of us, use both a phone and a computer, then you will have to either start paying $3 a month or find an alternative.
If you’d rather not pay at all, there are other password managers out there that have free versions that may work better for you. And there are, of course, other alternatives. Most browsers, such as Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox, have their own password managers. In addition, many security apps such as Norton offer their own password managers, so if you already subscribe to one, you may have a password manager on hand.
But if you’d rather use an independent password manager, here are a few that are currently available. We have not yet tried them out; this is just a brief look until we have a chance to make recommendations.
Bitwarden is a well-known open-source password manager that offers a solid selection of features, including saving unlimited items, syncing across devices, and generating passwords. For day-to-day password usage, Bitwarden could be a good alternative.
Other pricing: For $10 a year, you can add 1GB of encrypted file storage and two-step login, among other extras.
Zoho Vault, which is one of Zoho’s wide variety of productivity apps, has a free version that includes unlimited storage of passwords and notes, access from both computers and mobile devices, two-factor authentication, and password generation, among a fairly impressive number of other features.
Other pricing: Zoho’s paid plan, which starts at $1 / month per user, offers business options such as password sharing and expiration alerts.
KeePass is another free open-source password manager, but judging from its website, it may be a little difficult for less technically adept users to adopt. Nothing is kept in the cloud, so while that can be more secure (you can store your passwords in a master key-locked encrypted database), it is also less convenient. However, if you don’t mind manually transferring your password database from one device to another, this could be worth a try. (Note: Since this was published, I’ve received several emails from KeePass users who say that they successfully keep their passwords synced using cloud storage services such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox.)
Other pricing: None
LogMeOnce’s free version provides unlimited passwords and use on unlimited devices, along with autofill, sync, password generation, and two-factor authentication. LogMeOnce uses ads to fund its free version, so that could be a setback, depending on your tolerance for advertising.
Other pricing: Additional features start at $2.50 a month and include emergency access, additional password sharing, and priority technical support, among others.
NordPass has a free version that includes unlimited passwords and syncing across devices. While there is no limit on the number of devices you can use, only one can be active at a time — so, for example, if you use it on your phone, you will be logged out of your computer’s version.
Other pricing: The premium version of NordPass lets you have up to six active accounts running at a time, and it includes secure item sharing and a data breach scanner, among other features.
RoboForm has been around for a while, although it’s never been as well-known as LastPass or 1Password. Its free version offers unlimited passwords, form filling, and emergency access, among other features. However, it does not sync across devices, which can be a definite inconvenience.
Other pricing: RoboForm Everywhere costs $18 for a one-year subscription, and it lets you sync across devices, perform cloud backup, and use two-factor authentication, among other features.
Update February 17th, 9AM ET: This article has been updated to include additional information about syncing KeePass.