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LastPass vs. KeePass — Is Local Data Hosting Safer?

Kate Davidson Kate Davidson

LastPass and KeePass are two of the most secure password managers on the market. Both offer very strong basic security,  include impressive extras, and have generous free versions. So I compared both products by multiple criteria including security, basic features, extras, pricing, ease of use, and customer support.

There are some similarities between the two programs — both include 256-bit AES encryption, a password generator, and support advanced authentication options (like TOTP and USB).

However, LastPass and KeePass are very different in most aspects. For one, LastPass is very user-friendly with intuitive apps and browser extensions. It’s also more feature-rich and offers useful extras like multiple account recovery options and password sharing. In contrast, KeePass is an open-source and completely free password manager, but it has an outdated interface that can be very challenging for new users to set up.

It took me a week to complete my comparative testing and analysis of both programs, but I’ve finally settled on a winner.

Short on time? Here’s the final verdict:

  • 🥇 LastPass — Winner in Basic Features, Extra Features, Plans & Pricing, Ease of Use, and Customer Support. LastPass offers strong security, excellent ease of use, and provides great value with extras like password auditing, dark web monitoring, and secure password sharing.
  • 🥈 KeePass — Winner in Security. KeePass is open-source and offers local data hosting, making it very secure. It’s completely free, but its apps are challenging for beginners. I only recommend KeePass for experienced users.

LastPass vs. KeePass: Security

LastPass: Security

LastPass stores your password vault in its cloud servers. Before any data is sent to LastPass’s servers, it encrypts your data locally on your device as per its zero-knowledge policy. This way, LastPass only receives encrypted data that is unreadable even to its staff.

The only way to decrypt the encrypted data is by using your master password.

But in case you forget your master password, LastPass offers multiple account recovery options — more than most competitors. These include one-time recovery passwords, SMS recovery, and mobile account recovery using biometric verification.

LastPass vs. KeePass: Security

LastPass offers a great variety of advanced two-factor authentication options. It supports all major TOTP authentication apps like Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, Duo Security, and more. Plus, it supports USB authentication and fingerprint verification.

The downside of LastPass is that it’s been targeted by hackers several times over the past few years. Hackers were able to breach LastPass’s servers, which is a bit concerning.  However, it’s important to remember that LastPass was still able to prevent hackers from acquiring actual user data thanks to its zero-knowledge policy and military-grade encryption.

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KeePass: Security

LastPass vs. KeePass: Security

KeePass is an open-source password manager, which makes it very trustworthy and highly secure — it has undergone independent audits from many security researchers, verifying its safety.

KeePass uses 256-bit AES encryption to ensure your data remains safe even in the event of a hack. What’s more, KeePass stores all of your data on your device locally rather than uploading it to a company-managed cloud server (though you can connect it to third-party cloud services like Amazon SES, Google Drive, and others). This means that there’s no single cloud server hosting the databases of all KeePass users, mitigating the risks associated with cyberattacks and data breaches.

You don’t get any account recovery options with KeePass. This means that if you forget your master password, there’s no way for you to regain access to your database. The lack of account recovery is usually a good thing for security, but it can be inconvenient because you’ll have to reset all of your passwords and create a new KeePass account. In contrast, LastPass has many account recovery options.

While KeePass doesn’t have two-factor authentication, there are tons of plugins available for KeePass that let you enhance its functionalities, including various 2FA plugins (OTP, TOTP apps, and YubiKey).

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Winner (Security): KeePass

LastPass and KeePass are both very secure password managers. But KeePass is a safer option because it’s open-source, stores your data locally, and has never been compromised in a hack. KeePass also lets you add 2FA for extra security by installing plugins. While LastPass managed to keep user data safe when its servers were hacked, the fact that KeePass has no history of being hacked counts in its favor.

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LastPass vs. KeePass: Basic Features

LastPass: Basic Features

LastPass vs. KeePass: Basic Features

LastPass offers apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. It also has a full-featured web vault that you can access via the LastPass browser extension available for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer, and Opera. LastPass allows you to store unlimited passwords and notes in your vault.

Since LastPass is an online password manager, it syncs perfectly across all of your devices (though you can only use it on multiple device types with its paid plans). KeePass doesn’t have multi-device sync functionality by default, but you can add plugins to sync your database with other computers using various online cloud services.

With LastPass, you can easily import passwords from browsers and other password managers. LastPass walks you through the whole import process with clear instructions, so you can get started very quickly.

In my tests, LastPass always worked reliably to auto-save my new login credentials and fill in saved passwords when logging into sites. I really like that LastPass lets you quickly generate a new password when you click the password field in a registration form.

You can also access the LastPass password generator from its browser extension. The password generator gives you considerable flexibility — for example, you can generate passwords up to 99 characters long and choose the types of characters (numbers, symbols, uppercase or lowercase letters) it should include. In addition, it lets you generate passwords that are easy to say or easy to read.

As well as passwords, LastPass lets you save sensitive information like payment information, bank accounts, secret notes, and addresses.

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KeePass: Basic Features

LastPass vs. KeePass: Basic Features

KeePass is compatible with Windows, macOS, and major Linux distros (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and more). In addition, there are ports available that let you access KeePass via extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

With KeePass, you can store as many passwords as you want in your locally hosted database. Importing passwords into KeePass is a bit complicated, but you can import from over 45 different password managers including LastPass, Dashlane, 1Password, and Bitwarden, as well as browsers such as Firefox and Chrome.

By default, KeePass doesn’t support multi-device sync right out of the box. To enable this functionality, you’ll need to add plugins (which can be a bit inconvenient for non-technical users).

It’s disappointing that KeePass doesn’t automatically offer to save new passwords — you can only store new items in your database manually. LastPass has very good password auto-saving capabilities, as well as generating new passwords for you and saving them on-the-go.

Auto-filling is also not very convenient with KeePass. It requires you to copy and paste your saved usernames and passwords into appropriate login fields when you’re signing in to a site. Alternatively, KeePass has an interesting feature called Auto-Type. This feature can automatically fill out the username and password fields when you’re logging into a site, but you still have to open your vault and find the relevant login credentials for the site you’re visiting and initiate the Auto-Type.

During my tests, Auto-Type worked accurately for single-page logins. But it failed for sites where the login process is split into multiple pages. There is a KeePass plugin that lets you launch a website from the KeePass browser extension and auto-fill your passwords like on other password managers, but setting this up requires extra steps that you don’t need to take if you’re using LastPass.

KeePass’s password generator is highly customizable — more than most other options on the market. It can create passwords up to 30,000 characters in length. Plus, you can choose to include special characters, uppercase and lowercase letters, spaces, digits, brackets, and underline. It also lets you input a pattern, which KeePass then randomizes to generate a unique password. Overall, it’s one of the strongest password generators I’ve tested, but the range of options can be slightly confusing for beginner-level users.

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Winner (Basic Features): LastPass

LastPass handles basic password management functions better than KeePass. Although KeePass has a strong password generator, it lacks other basic functionalities like auto-saving new logins and auto-filling saved passwords, and multi-device sync requires extra plugins and steps to configure. LastPass offers auto-saving and auto-filling, along with multi-device sync and a very good password generator.

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LastPass vs KeePass: Extra Features

LastPass: Extra Features

LastPass vs KeePass: Extra Features

LastPass is well-featured with lots of extras, including:

  • Password vault security auditing.
  • Secure password sharing.
  • Dark web monitoring.
  • Emergency access.
  • Cloud storage (1 GB).
  • And more…

It has a security dashboard which evaluates the overall strength of your passwords and gives you a security score. I like that the dashboard lets you see which passwords are weak or duplicated.

The ability to securely share passwords with other users is superb as well. To share a single password, all you have to do is select the password you want to share and enter the email address of the recipient. This instantly sends an email to the person, allowing them to access the shared item safely (but they’ll need to set up a LastPass account if they don’t already have one). LastPass gives you the flexibility to either keep the password hidden to other users or let them see it. Either way, they can still use your password with the auto-fill functionality.

LastPass has a decent dark web monitoring feature too — it monitors public data breach databases and notifies you if any of your passwords are found compromised in a breach. It’s a pretty good feature, but I like Dashlane’s dark web monitoring service better because it has live agents that keep a close eye on dark web sites and let you know instantly if any of your information has been leaked by cybercriminals.

Emergency access is another very useful feature that comes with LastPass — it lets you assign a trusted contact to get access to your LastPass account. Setting up emergency access is easy — you just have to provide the email address of your contact and choose a waiting period of up to 30 days.

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KeePass: Extra Features

KeePass lacks many extra features that you may expect from the top password managers on the market. For instance, it has no password auditing and you can’t share individual passwords with other users. If you lose your master password, there’s no way to recover access to your KeePass database. It also lacks emergency access, dark web monitoring, and a VPN — extras that you can easily access with options like LastPass or Dashlane.

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Winner (Extra Features): LastPass

LastPass is the clear winner here because it has a variety of excellent extra features including password sharing, password auditing, dark web monitoring, emergency access, and 1 GB encrypted storage. Unfortunately, KeePass has none of these extra features.

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LastPass vs. KeePass: Plans & Pricing

LastPass: Plans & Pricing

LastPass has 3 different plans: Free, Premium, and Families.

LastPass Free provides a lot of useful features and is a pretty good choice for single users that need essential password manager features. LastPass Free includes:

  • Unlimited password storage.
  • Unlimited computers or mobile devices (not both).
  • Password generator.
  • One-to-one password sharing.
  • Password auto-save and auto-fill.
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA).
  • LastPass authenticator app.

LastPass Premium is super affordable at $3.00 / month. It’s a good plan for single users that need some advanced security features like:

  • Use on unlimited devices.
  • Password auditing.
  • Dark web monitoring.
  • One-to-many password sharing (up to 30 users).
  • Emergency access.
  • YubiKey and biometric 2FA options.
  • 1 GB encrypted storage.

LastPass Families offers all the features of Premium, but it extends coverage to up to 6 different users for just $4.00 / month, making it great value if your entire family needs a password manager.

LastPass Premium has a 30-day free trial and all LastPass paid plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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KeePass: Plans & Pricing

KeePass is available only as a completely free password manager. While you can access all KeePass’s features and plugins without paying a single penny, it’s significantly lacking in features compared to LastPass’s free and premium plans.

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Winner (Plans & Pricing): LastPass

LastPass and KeePass both offer free plans, but only LastPass also has premium plans with extra features. However, LastPass Free offers more features than KeePass. And if you want to upgrade to premium, you get a 30-day free trial along with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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LastPass vs. KeePass: Ease of Use

LastPass: Ease of Use

LastPass vs. KeePass: Ease of Use

LastPass has well-designed apps and browser extensions with a simple interface. When you first get LastPass, it takes you to a quick tour demonstrating all the different capabilities of the app. Besides, all LastPass features are organized neatly to the left of the main screen. Beginner users should have no difficulty navigating to LastPass’s different options and settings.

Generating new passwords and saving them into your vault is extremely easy with LastPass. I was able to create new passwords on the go and have LastPass automatically save new login details into my vault. Auto-filling is also very accurate and easy. All I had to do was click the LastPass logo that appears within login fields to auto-fill my username and password.

It’s also very easy to set up 2FA and emergency access. It took me less than 5 minutes to set up TOTP 2FA (using the Google Authenticator app), and it took roughly the same amount of time to designate a close friend as my emergency contact.

Overall, LastPass is a beginner-friendly password manager that doesn’t require any technical knowledge to access any of its features.

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KeePass: Ease of Use

LastPass vs. KeePass: Ease of Use

KeePass’s app looks very plain and outdated. I’ve tested dozens of password managers over the years, but KeePass is one of the least user-friendly.

When you first launch KeePass, it can take you a while to find its basic functionalities, like creating a new database and storing your passwords within it. I often had to click around various menus and buttons before discovering the option I was looking for.

The default KeePass app is extremely basic and limited in functionality. Where password managers like LastPass offer all basic and advanced features right out of the box, KeePass requires you to first find the right plugin for the feature you’re interested in and then add it to KeePass. This process is time-consuming and frustrating.

Overall, KeePass is a very challenging password manager to use.

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Winner (Ease of Use): LastPass

LastPass is far more beginner-friendly than KeePass by many criteria. From setting up your vault for the first time to using its advanced features, LastPass makes the user experience simple and intuitive. On the other hand, using KeePass is very difficult and it can take you a long time to learn how to use its various features and customizations.

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LastPass vs. KeePass: Customer Support

LastPass: Customer Support

LastPass vs. KeePass: Customer Support

LastPass’s customer support is very helpful and easily accessible. It offers multiple support options, including email support and detailed step-by-step articles explaining how to set up and use different LastPass features.

The support guides and documentation are available in 7 different languages, including English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, German, and Portuguese.

I found the support guides very simple to understand — the steps included with each set of instructions were easy to follow and I was able to resolve my issues without needing assistance from a support representative.

The support section on the website also has several video guides demonstrating account setup and password management features.

The email support team was helpful and responded quickly. I emailed the contact team a question and they came back to me with a comprehensive answer 3 hours later, which is really good. LastPass also has an active community forum where you can get help from experts and other users — I logged into the forum and asked a few questions, and I usually got an accurate response within the same day.

There’s a chatbot in the support section that can help you find a solution by suggesting guides and FAQs, but it’s only helpful for very basic types of problems (like resetting your master password).

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KeePass: Customer Support

LastPass vs. KeePass: Customer Support

KeePass is an open-source community-run project that is not owned by any company, so the only support available includes a help center with product documentation and FAQs, as well as a community forum.

The help center is quite extensive and includes documentation on every aspect of KeePass, from installations to error codes. However, the documentation is fairly technical and beginner users are likely to find these guides hard to properly understand.

Regardless, for a completely free app, KeePass offers enough documentation to help you if you’re persistent and are comfortable with technical language. I relied heavily on the installation guides during the setup process, and I was able to understand and apply most of what I read.

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Winner (Customer Support): LastPass

LastPass offers much more user-friendly customer support options than KeePass. The documentation and tutorials are written in easy language and you can reach out to the support team via email to receive quick help. KeePass only offers customer support with documentation, which is not always simple enough for non-technical users.

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LastPass vs. KeePass: Overall Winner

LastPass is very secure, very easy to use, and includes really good extra features in its premium plans. It’s a program that both beginner and experienced users can comfortably use to securely store and manage their passwords across multiple devices.

KeePass is a completely free and open-source password manager that offers local database hosting for maximum security. However, KeePass is not user-friendly and it lacks several advanced features that LastPass Free offers, including password auto-save, auto-filling, and password sharing. LastPass Premium and LastPass Family also provide useful extras like dark web monitoring, emergency access, and account recovery options, which KeePass does not.

While I like KeePass for its customizability and strong security, I prefer LastPass because it offers more features without requiring you to go through a complicated setup process for each feature.

Even if I compare LastPass Free with KeePass (which is entirely free), LastPass still offers a better user experience and more features.

Finally, LastPass has better customer support, with step-by-step articles, FAQs, an active community, and responsive email support. But if you’re comfortable with technical settings, KeePass is an extremely reliable, customizable, and secure password manager in its own right.

Overall Winner: LastPass

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Comparison of LastPass vs. KeePass in 2022

Password Manager Starting Price Free Version or Trial AES 256-bit Encryption Auto-fill & Auto-save Capabilities Account Recovery Money-Back Guarantee
1.🥇LastPass $3.00 / month ✅(free version and 30-day free premium trial) ✅ (emergency contact, one-time SMS code, one-time password, biometric verification) 30-days
2.🥈KeePass Free ✅(100% free) Limited functionality

Is KeePass safer than LastPass?

KeePass and LastPass are both very safe password managers — they use 256-bit AES encryption and support multiple 2FA options like TOTP authentication and USB keys.

However, LastPass’s servers have been compromised before in data breaches. But it bears mention that hackers couldn’t read any passwords even when LastPass was breached. This is because LastPass only stores encrypted passwords in its servers, which are unreadable without knowing the decryption key.

In contrast, the open-source, locally-hosted architecture of KeePass means that there’s no online database that hackers can attack — your KeePass database exists only in your system. This is why KeePass is slightly safer than LastPass.

Which password manager is easier to use: LastPass or KeePass?

LastPass is much easier to use than KeePass. All LastPass apps and browser extensions have a simple, user-friendly interface that makes it very easy to access all of its features and change settings.

KeePass is very challenging to use for non-technical users. It has an outdated interface that doesn’t do a good job of explaining where all of its different features and options are located. I only recommend KeePass if you’re a fairly advanced user with decent technical skills.

What are the disadvantages of KeePass?

The main disadvantage with KeePass is that it has a very unfriendly user interface. Even if you’re an experienced user, it may take you a while to get familiar with all of KeePass’s features and settings.

Besides, KeePass lacks many advanced features that other competitors like LastPass, 1Password, and Dashlane offer. For instance, it doesn’t have dark web monitoring, password sharing, or auto-saving and auto-filling.

For these reasons, KeePass is not the best option if you need high-level security features.

Can KeePass be hacked?

Yes, KeePass technically can be hacked. However, since KeePass stores your database within your computer by default (rather than on the cloud), you’re only at risk if a hacker directly attacks your system, usually using sophisticated spyware or keylogging malware to steal your password.

That’s why I recommend using a strong antivirus like Norton to protect your device from dangerous malware that can lead to your computer getting hacked.

A hacker could also try to use brute force attacks (where they attempt thousands of password combinations at once). But if you’re already using a strong master password, then this should not be an issue.

About the Author

About the Author

Kate Davidson is a writer and editor with an interest in cybersecurity and online safety. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking Italian food, and doing yoga by the sea.