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Free v Premium LastPass - Is the Free Version Secure?

Eric Goldstein Eric Goldstein

Millions of people hand over their most valuable and confidential information to LastPass. But have you heard that LastPass only provides its most secure login methods to paying users? With this in mind, you need to know that you can trust the free version. We’ve looked in detail at the differences to help you decide whether you need to upgrade.

LastPass offers its users both convenience and security. LastPass will generate and store super-strong passwords for each service you use. It can do all this for free, even without ads. That’s because so many LastPass users pay for extra security and features.

Why some Password Managers are Free and Others Are Not

A good password manager does four main things:

  • Generates strong passwords that no hacker could crack
  • Stores them in a secure vault using advanced encryption methods
  • Lets you log into any service in a secure and convenient way
  • Provides instant access to a support team in case something goes wrong

If you can’t trust a password manager with any one of these things, you’re better off using a notepad and pen.

But good products rarely come cheap. If a company is willing to hold all this private data for free, you have to wonder what their motivation is.

Years ago there was no free version of LastPass. But the company realized that offering a free version of the software would help spread the word. LastPass hopes that you’ll realize that the paid version is worth the upgrade once you see what it has to offer.

What are the Risks of Using a Free Password Manager?

You must think carefully before you trust any company with your account credentials.

Each password manager has a unique method of keeping your passwords safe. Even the best applications have some vulnerabilities. But hackers will focus on the programs with the weakest security. And if a reputable password manager offers better security to its paying members, users of the free version might make easy targets.

Password managers require you to create a “master password”. You would not want your master password stolen. This could mean you lose control over your bank accounts, email, and private documents.

If there are any issues with your password manager, you need to be able to speak to tech support immediately. If you don’t have access to your password manager, you won’t be able to get into your online accounts. Free password managers often don’t provide priority tech support or emergency account access.

What are the Benefits of Using a Paid Password Manager?

Leading developers and engineers create and maintain the best password manager programs. They don’t work for free.

Paid password managers use high-grade encryption methods. They will permanently erase any trace of your password from your hardware.

Paid password managers also offer cutting-edge secure login methods. And they do so without inconveniencing users. In fact,  secure login methods like fingerprint authentication are inherently more convenient.

What are the Pros and Cons of the Free Version of LastPass?

The free version of LastPass is a great product. LastPass has a good reputation and you can be sure that they’re looking after all their users.

Free LastPass – Pros Free LastPass – Cons
Access on all devices Back of the queue for tech support
One-to-one sharing No one-to-many sharing capabilities
Save & fill passwords Certain secure login features unavailable
Password generator No emergency access
Secure notes No secure storage
Security challenge Only works on browsers
Multi-factor authentication
No ads

Free LastPass

Free LastPass lets you use all the basic, essential functions of the program. It’ll generate strong passwords, store them for you, and auto-fill forms. You can use it across all your devices and browsers.

Perhaps you’re only interested in these basic features. Or perhaps you don’t regularly use desktop applications with password access. In this case, free LastPass might be a good option for you.

For the average user, the biggest drawback is the lack of emergency access. If you need a password but don’t have access to LastPass, this could be a problem.

What are the Pros and Cons of the Paid Version of LastPass?

Paying for LastPass grants access to the full range of security, sharing, and access features.

Paid LastPass – Pros Paid LastPass – Cons
One-to-many sharing No monthly payment option
Emergency access Only one user (unless you upgrade to the “family” package)
Advanced login options
Priority tech support
Works with Windows applications
1GB encrypted file storage

Paid LastPass

As a paid user you get 1GB of ultra-safe storage. This isn’t a large amount in itself. But this storage isn’t for your holiday photos. You can use it to securely store items that you might not want to keep in other cloud storage services. This might include copies of your passport or insurance documents.

Sometimes you’ll need to reveal credentials and important documents to others. A group chat or SMS message is not a safe way to do this. Paid LastPass allows you to securely share your passwords and secure items with multiple people.

If you access confidential data on your device, check out the paid version’s multi-factor authentication. This lets you log in with an extra layer of security, including via fingerprint authentication.

The Premium version of LastPass is only for one user. If you want more licenses, consider the Families version.

The Bottom Line on LastPass

There’s one major thing about the free version of LastPass that puts it ahead of many competitors. It’s available across all your devices. This beats other password managers, such as Roboform, whose free users are restricted to one device.

Paid LastPass is great value. It’s one of the cheapest password managers available. But some more expensive options provide more perks. For example, paid Dashlane users get extra internet security features to prevent hacking and ID theft.

LastPass lacks these flashy bonus features. But you could look elsewhere for these. For core features related to password management, LastPass is a fantastic option.

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About the Author
Eric Goldstein
Eric Goldstein
Senior Editor

About the Author

Eric Goldstein is an internet security researcher and IT journalist. He provides updates on the latest trends in cybersecurity so readers can have a safe and secure online experience. In his spare time, he enjoys working out, relaxing on a beach with his family, and playing with his dog.