LastPass vs. KeePass: An Overview
LastPass and KeePass are both popular password managers, designed to keep your login details safe. But which is better to use?
LastPass has suffered four security incidents over the past eight years. And I’ve found several apps that have been created specifically to hack KeePass.
So here’s the question: Are you better off without one of these possibly vulnerable password managers?
There are over 70 password managers on the market, but LastPass and KeePass both stand out from the crowd — for very different reasons.
|2-Factor Authentication||Yes||Yes (with plugin)|
|Encryption level||AES 256-bit||AES 256-bit|
|Multi-device sync||Yes||Yes (with plugin)|
|Backup and recovery||Yes||Yes (with plugin)|
|Mobile apps available||Android, iOS, Windows||Android, iOS, Windows (third-party)|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox, Safari,
Opera, Internet Explorer
|As standard — none.
With plugins — Chrome, Firefox,
Safari, Opera, Internet Explorer
|Password Auto-import||Yes||Yes (with plugin)|
|Form autofill||Yes||Yes (with plugin)|
LastPass vs. KeePass: Features
LastPass: Basic Features
First, the basics. LastPass:
- Creates strong passwords.
- Stores them securely.
- Auto-fills passwords as you browse the web.
- Supports unlimited passwords across unlimited devices.
Like many password managers, LastPass also offers multi-factor authentication. You can choose another device — such as your phone or a USB key — to provide an additional layer of security. Even if someone steals your master password, they can’t log in without the additional authentication device.
The extra features provided with LastPass Premium include:
- Priority tech support.
- 1 GB of encrypted cloud storage.
- Emergency access.
- Password sharing with unlimited users.
- Additional multi-factor login methods — for those who want even more protection.
KeePass: Basic Features
In theory, KeePass offers most of the same features as LastPass — if you have the time, energy, and technical knowledge to customize it properly.
The default version of KeePass can:
- Generate passwords.
- Securely store passwords on your device.
- Import passwords from a spreadsheet.
- Sync across multiple devices.
With the assistance of “plugins” (additional third-party software), KeePass can also:
- Auto-fill passwords.
- Integrate with your browser.
- Back your passwords up on cloud storage.
But you’ll need some serious technical skills to make these features work. Otherwise, you’re left with a pretty ineffective application.
A password vault is a secure storage space for your passwords. A good password vault also keeps your passwords well-organized and lets you retrieve them easily.
Although people have exposed vulnerabilities in both LastPass and KeePass, they are both highly secure.
KeePass stores your passwords locally. Some people consider this a more secure storage method. It’s also a method that requires a fair amount of technical know-how to properly use.
LastPass’s password vault is far more user-friendly, but its passwords are stored on LastPass’s server.
A password manager’s browser extension lets you create and manage login credentials and autofill password fields while you browse the web.
LastPass is mostly web-based, and the browser extension is easy to use. You can access most LastPass functions simply by clicking a button next to the address bar.
KeePass doesn’t come with a browser extension. You must install one separately. For the average user, this is a complicated process.
Humans can’t be trusted to create good passwords. A password generator creates strong passwords that hackers can’t crack.
LastPass lets you generate passwords in its browser extension. You can customize passwords according to length and the types of characters they contain (numbers, symbols, etc).
KeePass offers a more advanced password generator, with many customization options. It’s actually a little too advanced for the average user. When you’re dealing with sensitive information, it’s sometimes better to keep things simple and not make yourself confused.
LastPass vs. KeePass: Plans and Pricing
LastPass: Plans and Pricing
LastPass comes in three pricing tiers:
- Families (which offers 6 premium licenses)
LastPass Free allows unlimited passwords across unlimited devices. If you plan to check your email or use Facebook on your phone, this is essential. This makes LastPass Free a much better option than some other free password managers. For example, the free versions of Dashlane and Keeper can only be installed on one device.
LastPass Premium gives you 1 GB of secure document storage. This is ideal for storing sensitive personal information, such as travel documents. Premium users also get emergency access. If you lose access to LastPass, a trusted person can access your account and retrieve secure documents and passwords.
Because the free option is so good, you might not feel the need to upgrade. But LastPass Premium offers really good value — cheaper than many rivals, including Dashlane and 1Password.
KeePass: Plans and Pricing
KeePass is totally free. There’s no paid version.
The basic version of KeePass essentially just generates and stores passwords. Unlike LastPass, it’s not designed to integrate with your browser. It could be a good option if you want additional security for your password-protected files or documents, but it’s not ideal for logging into online accounts.
There are KeePass browser extensions and mobile apps, but you need to rely on separate, third-party software for this. These can be difficult to install, and they might not all be trustworthy.
This is the general run-down of KeePass plans:
- KeePass 2.x — the official sequel to KeePass. KeePass 2.x runs on Mac and Linux via “Mono” and supports plug-ins.
- KeePassX — an unofficial copy of KeePass. KeePassX runs “natively” on Mac and Linux, which many users prefer.
- KeePassXC — a version of KeePassX developed by the KeePass community. Unlike KeePassX, it’s still getting regular updates.
- Third-party mobile versions like KeePassDX (Android) and iKeePass (iPhone).
It’s important to remember that KeePass is not really a consumer product. But it can be a powerful tool when placed in the right hands. Thousands of people have been happily using KeePass for many years, without paying a penny. KeePass deserves credit for this.
LastPass vs. KeePass: Ease of Use and Setup
LastPass: Ease of Use and Setup
LastPass is very easy to set up and use.
Once you’ve set up a LastPass account, you’re taken to your password vault. LastPass automatically provides icons for many websites and organizes them by category. It’s very simple and intuitive.
The LastPass browser extension makes logging into online accounts easy. When you visit a recognized site, you’ll see the LastPass icon in the password field. To enter your password, simply click on the icon.
I did get an error message quite soon after installing the browser extension that left me unable to use it. While I was able to resolve the issue easily, this was a little concerning.
KeePass: Ease of Use and Setup
KeePass’s interface is quite old-fashioned. However, it’s clean-looking and reliable.
KeePass won’t automatically organize your passwords. You have to do it yourself.
KeePass won’t automatically import any passwords you have saved in your browser. However, you can import passwords from an Excel spreadsheet.
To enter a password online using KeePass, you can either copy the password to your clipboard, or you can drag it from KeePass into the password field.
Entering passwords using KeePass isn’t exactly difficult. You can install additional software which will let you auto-fill forms. But like with many things in KeePass, it’s complicated.
LastPass vs. KeePass: Customer Support
LastPass: Customer Support
Customer support is definitely a weakness for LastPass.
LastPass doesn’t offer phone support or live chat — just email and online documentation. And English appears to be the only supported language.
I used the form on the LastPass website to ask them about a technical issue. This was at 08:21 UK time, which is 04:21 in Boston where LastPass is based.
Over 11 hours later, the reply finally arrived. 11 hours is quite slow if there is a serious issue. Premium users have priority support, so free users should expect to wait even longer.
KeePass: Customer Support
KeePass doesn’t have any customer support. Just online documentation. And it’s not easy to understand.
Check out the introduction to this help document, which is about syncing your passwords across devices:
If this looks daunting, KeePass probably isn’t for you.
The lack of a customer support department won’t be a problem for every KeePass user. The online documentation is comprehensive, even if it does require some technical knowledge to understand. And there are people on websites like GitHub and Reddit who will help you out if you get stuck.
The Bottom Line on LastPass vs. KeePass
LastPass offers more features for free than practically any other password manager. And while the extra premium features aren’t essential, they’re offered at a great value if you want to experience the best that LastPass has to offer.
Compared to some other premium password managers, there are a couple of weaknesses. For example, Dashlane has better customer support and is more reliable — but it’s also more expensive.
You should only consider KeePass if you have strong computer skills, and you want a password manager you can adapt to meet your needs.
If you have the skill to set it up properly, KeePass can be a powerful application. But by default, KeePass doesn’t do very much. The complicated interface and lack of customer support makes KeePass an unattractive option for the average user.
LastPass easily beats KeePass for its ease-of-use and out-of-the-box features. This makes LastPass a much better option for the majority of people.