The best free password manager and generator 2017

 The best password managers and generators can prevent you from suffering a lot of stress on the internet, while also keeping your online accounts secure. Just think about the last time you had to sign in to a website you hadn’t been to in a while. How many times did you get the password wrong before inevitably having the website lock you out, and having to wait to reset the password to one that you still won’t be able to remember the next time you visit? 

This very struggle leads many of us to create easy passwords that we might use for a inappropriately large portion of the websites we visit. Of course, that’s an easy way to put personal information at risk of hackers and brute force attacks.

A password manager and generator will help make sure that all of your online accounts get a robust and unique password, using lower- and upper-case letters, symbols and numbers. Then it will encrypt and save that information for you, so you only ever have to memorize one password for the password manager itself.

Some password managers and generators store the encrypted login information on their own servers, while others require you to keep them locally on your PC, Mac or mobile device. Here we've pulled together the best of both worlds, so you can find the one that fits you best.

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Download LastPass free

1. LastPass

Free, secure login storage and generation – LastPass is the best password manager around

There are two versions of LastPass – premium and free. They will both generate and store an unlimited number of passwords in a strong vault protected by a master password, use multi-factor authentication, and will even fill online forms out for you automatically..

The premium version can also synchronize across multiple devices, save passwords for desktop programs and will let you share protected folders with other people – with customizable permissions.

One of LastPass’ premium features is its ability to generate strong, difficult-to-guess passwords for all of your accounts, which it will then store for you. There's no need to memorize long, awkward strings of characters, or re-use the same password for every account. It's actually pretty great.

Review and where to download: LastPass

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Download Dashlane free

2. Dashlane

Superb password security with versions for all web browsers and devices

Dashlane is LastPass's closest competition and, like LastPass, it's extremely wonderful with one-click password generation, strong encryption, amazing ease of use and the ability to save notes for future reference.

Dashlane doesn’t just offer a Windows desktop program though, there are also mobile versions and browser plugins. And like LastPass, there's a premium edition of Dashlane that adds unlimited sharing and syncing.

The premium version of Dashlane will run you $39.99 (about £30, AU$50) per year. However, the free edition still includes all the essentials: you get the main password manager, autofill and digital wallet features – all of which work perfectly. Don’t just settle for LastPass without trying Dashlane first, and vice versa.

Download here: Dashlane

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Roboform s free desktop version is strictly limited but you can sync across as many mobile devices as you like

3. RoboForm

An excellent desktop password manager with free mobile apps and support for an unlimited number of logins

RoboForm asserts that it’s the best password manager in the world, and honestly, it's definitely up there with the best of them. After their latest update, RoboForm now boasts an unlimited number of logins that can be stored in the free edition. It even offers multi-platform support, application logins and it permits you to gain emergency access.

The premium version of RoboForm comes with the ability to sync across devices, cloud backup and the ability to grant emergency access to yourself. If you choose to upgrade, a license costs $19.95 or £15.95 (about AU$25) for one year, $49.95 or £39.95 (about AU$65) for three years, and $74.95 or £59.95 (about AU$95) for five years. There are also family subscriptions available for up to five users.

RoboForm may not have the same list of features as Dashlane or LastPass, but it's a very good manager regardless, and the free mobile apps are great. Its password generator is especially robust, allowing you to exclude similar characters and specify which special characters you want to be used.

Roboform is available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, and it’s a good option for anyone who wants an simple and secure way to sync passwords between desktop, laptop and mobile devices.

Download here: RoboForm

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Download Keepass free

4. KeePass Password Safe

An open source password manager with regular updates to maintain security

It might not be the most aesthetically pleasing password manager in the world, but KeePass Password Safe is both free and open source with strong security, multiple user support and a whole ton of plugins that allow users expand and improve the app even further.

Its secure password generator is capable of producing logins suitable for those annoying sites with extremely specific requirements, and it will clearly mark any characters or combinations that may make the generated password weaker.

The password manager is small enough to run from USB without having to install on a PC, it can input from and output to a broad range of file formats and there are tons of customization settings to play with.

The fact that KeePass Password Safe is open source means anyone can inspect the code for potential weak points, which means that any security issues can be identified and fixed quickly by the community. It's a sweet little app, but it might be a little intimidating for absolute beginners.

Download here: KeePass Password Safe

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Download Sticky Password free

5. Sticky Password

Superb password management from the antivirus experts behind AVG Antivirus

Sticky Password comes from the team behind AVG Antivirus, so you can be sure that security is their top priority.

There are two editions of Sticky Password: free and premium. The premium edition adds cloud syncing and backup and costs $29.99 or £19.99 (about AU$40) a year. There's also a lifetime license available for $149.99 or £96.99 (about AU$200) – an option not offered by any other premium password manager.

Both versions of Sticky Password include a generator that can create secure logins for you while you're registering for new online accounts. It's straightforward to use, but doesn't offer as many customization options as the other services here.

The app works on PC, Mac, Android and iOS, supports fingerprint authentication on mobile, is available as a portable USB version and offers lots of sync options including Wi-Fi syncing with local devices.

Browser extensions are also available for Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Internet Explorer, but not Edge.

Download here: Sticky Password