Any time I talk about passwords with people, I always end up recommending password managers. I don’t really expect average computer users to have amazing password practices1 considering just how many different accounts you need for things these days. I’ve been using 1Password for a while, but I’ve been keeping an eye on some of the others (Bitwarden, Dashlane, LastPass, etc) too.

LastPass just recently decided to severely restrict the service’s free tier. Right now, you can sign up for LastPass for free and get access on all your devices. After March 16th, you’ll have to choose between having access on your computers (laptops, desktops, etc) or on your mobile devices (phone, tablet, watch, etc). Full access starts at $3 per month.

From the support page:

As a LastPass Free user, your first login on or after March 16, 2021 will set your active device type. You’ll have three (3) opportunities to switch your active device type and explore what’s right for you. Please note that all of your devices sync automatically, so you’ll never lose access to anything stored in your Vault or be locked out of your account due to these changes, regardless of whether you use computers or mobile devices to access LastPass.

I have no problem with having to pay for the service (1Password has no free tier at all), but springing this kind of change on people who have already been using it feels pretty shitty. It’s clearly not really useful this way since most people with more than one device are probably using one of each of the device types (phone and laptop), so they’re just kicking people off the free service without being direct2 about it.

Most of the people I’m seeing talk about this today are mentioning Bitwarden. It’s free for use on all devices (and has paid plans with more features) and is also open source.

  1. It mostly just comes down to length as far as I understand. The longer your password, the harder it is to crack. Sometimes it’s recommended to use passphrases (just put like 4 different words together) instead of passwords if possible. ↩︎

  2. Obviously there’s no easy way to tell your customers you gotta start charging more, but if it were up to me I probably would have wanted to announce a restructuring of the pricing tier, eliminating the free tier, and lowering the prices slightly and/or adding more value to the other ones. ↩︎