Everyone needs a password manager – and these days they’re ten-a-penny, offering most of the core functionality you need from easy secure password management and generation to integration into your browser and ability to sync across multiple devices.
What makes Bitwarden worthy of your attention then? For us, the fact it’s open-source is a major attraction. That means its code is transparent and easily accessible, but the company also uses professional auditors to reveal weaknesses for it to fix. There are paid solutions for both families (just $1/month) and businesses to help fund it, but ultimately all the major functionality is completely free.
It works across a wide range of devices and platforms. The link above will install the universal app version of Bitwarden, which allows you to browse, manage and easily copy your login information to the clipboard for pasting into other apps including your browser. You can also access your vault online through the web vault – typically when on a shared computer, but as always be careful about how secure that computer is before trusting it.
To simplify browser logins, however, we recommend you install one of the many available browser add-ons, currently available for all major browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge and Opera.
Crucially, Bitwarden seems to have the security aspects right too: your vault is synced between devices over the cloud, but using end-to-end 256-bit AES encryption that deliberately prevents Bitwarden or anyone who tried to compel it to open up your vault. You can also enable 2FA for additional security.
In use, Bitwarden is simple enough to use – the browser add-ons help simplify the process of adding existing items to your vault, but a minor criticism is that you can’t easily link generated passwords to the account you’ve just created – either you must create the login manually, or log out and back in before Bitwarden offers to save it for you. But it’s a minor blemish on a password manager that should be enjoying much greater popularity than it currently does.
Note that this is the portable version of Bitwarden.
What's new in 1.16.6?
- Signature fixes for macOS
If you’re looking for a password manager – or unhappy with your current offering – then Bitwarden is our recommended choice.