Password managers could be the first step you can take to keep your credentials and personal information safe from cyber theft. But because of lots of choices, it becomes hard to decide which password manager you should go with. In this article, I am reviewing Bitwarden and explain to you why Bitwarden is the best free password manager.
What is Bitwarden?
An open-source end-to-end encrypted password manager that does its basics extremely well and provides lots of cool features even in its free tier. From protecting your credentials in an encrypted vault to providing inexpensive premium features. Bitwarden is one of the safest and budget-friendly password managers.
Bitwarden doesn’t provide a very easy-to-use and intuitive user interface. Users will have to spend some time getting the hang of how to use the features and functionalities of the software. But compared to what it provides, it’s nothing.
It offers great value to those who are willing to spend some time and figure out some of the clunky functionalities.
Free vs Paid
|Features||Free||Paid||Business Plan Paid|
|Sync all of Your devices||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Encrypted File Attachment||No||1 GB Personal||1 GB+ Personal1 GB+ Org item|
|Vault Health Report||No||Yes||Yes|
|Two-Step login||2FA||2FA, YubiKey, U2F, Duo||2FA, YubiKey, U2F, Duo|
|Custom management Role||No||No||Yes|
How Safe is Bitwarden Password Manager
Before choosing Bitwarden, we need to check all the security features that one offers, to be 100% sure and confident that the security features will help us keep our credentials safe.
To my surprise the Bitwarden offers protection through AES 250-bit end-to-end encryption, the strongest encryption currently available. In addition to that, it also provides 2FA features that will only allow administrators to manage and organize the data.
If you are thinking of using Bitwarden in your organization as a password manager. It offers enterprise-grade security and compliance. In simple words, I could say that it has some of the robust security procedures in place to provide protection.
Password Vault: Bitwarden Password Vault holds all your credentials and provides an easy way to manage and organize your account. The password-protected web vault will also help you access your information on any device and or on any browser.
But it also leads to the risk of getting malicious content from the compromised servers into your browser.
Browser Extension: The browser extension comes in very handy and saves a lot of time in saving and adding credentials to the Bitwarden. All the major browsers such as Chrome, Mozilla, Microsoft Edge have a Biwarden app extension, and you will be surprised to know that if you are being anonymous on the web using Brave Browser or Tor Bitwarden offers extensions for them too.
Adding extensions to the browser will allow you to perform some extra tasks in browser extensions like copy password, user name, data, etc. if you consider the interface of the extension, its look and feel is almost similar to a desktop app.
Password Sharing: The password Sharing option in Bitwarden could be very helpful for those who have to share passwords with other users being in an organization. To share your password with multiple users you need to create an organization and add credentials to it that you want to share so that others can’t get access to it.
Unfortunately, this feature comes with limits for free users. You can create an organization for free but you will be able to add only two users to your organization. If you want to add more users you need to upgrade.
2FA (2-Factor Authentication): With the growth of technology hackers have updated themselves, even a strong password is crackable if one has time and computing power. So, to deal with that Bitwarden adds an extra layer of security by adding in 2FA. These may include answering phone calls or entering a one-time password.
Bitwarden free tier users can use email or any third-party authenticator like Authy or Google authenticator. And paid users can use Duo authenticator apps which provide various other forms of 2FA such as Push Notification, text messages, phone calls, YubiKeys, and (U2F) Universal 2nd Factor security keys.
Password Importing: Using a password manager comes with a challenge, that is, to add all credentials to its vault and if a password manager doesn’t have the feature of importing passwords from other sources it is lacking behind. As far as Bitwarden is concerned it does offer a password import feature.
Password Organization: Collecting your password and username and another credential in one place is one thing but keeping it all organized is another. To make this simple Bitwarden offers a password organizer that will help you in keeping your credentials clean and efficient.
You will also be able to organize your saved password into folders by creating and adding passwords to their desired folders. It might look like extra work but you’re going to love the cleanliness and tidiness that you will receive.
Vault Health Report: The one feature which I like the most apart from its security is the Vault health report. With this feature, you will be able to access your Vault Security as well as your credential security strength.
With this, you will be able to collect and assess reports on;
- Exposed Password
- Reused password
- Weak Password
- Unsecured Websites Reports
- Inactive 2FA reports
- Data breach Report
Unfortunately, this feature is only available for premium users, including paid organization members.
Pros and Cons
|Remarkably easy to use||Not much importance is given to UI|
|Cheap Premium Version||Data is stored in 5 Eyes country|
|Open Source||Autofill is not much smooth|
|Extension available for almost all browser|
|Compatible in all devices|
Pricing & License
Bitwarden is very rich in providing the level of upgradation to your account if you are exceeding the limits or you want to use its premium features. Bitwarden various licenses which are best suitable for different levels of users.
The main category in which Bitwarden License is divided is Personal Plan and business plan, and in that it offers three levels of upgradation as per user need.
In its personal plan it offers:
Basic free Account: 00 $ / Month
Premium Account: $ 1 / Month
Family Organization Account: $ 3.33 / Month
In its Business Plan it offers:
Free Organization: $0 / Month
Team Organization: $3 /Month
Enterprise Organization: $5 / Month
The minimum requirement to run Bitwarden on your system is a decent processor with a clock speed of more than 1.4 GHz, 2 GB RAM, and a minimum of 10GB storage.
If you are planning to host Bitwarden on your server then with a minimum of 2GB RAM and storage you also need a Docker engine minimum requirement is Engine 19+ and Compose 1.24+ Docker Version. So make sure you choose a hosting plan which fulfills these requirements.
Bitwarden is a cross-platform application that can be hosted on either Windows, Linux, or Mac OS machines. Its Android and iOS apps let you share the passwords securely across multiple devices. And it also offers a web vault that hosts your data on the Bitwarden cloud Web Vault protected by the master password.
Impact On System
Bitwarden has no significant noticeable impact on the system, like all others, I have tested running Bitwarden on my old PC having a dual-core processor and just 2 gigs of RAM and the application runs just fine.
Why Bitwarden is better than LastPass
Some of the key features which make Bitwarden better than any other password managers are:
- It is open-source which lets other people dig into the code and find any vulnerability before it becomes a problem.
- Bitwarden offers a self-hosted feature which is very crucial for any password manager
- It is less costly compared to LastPass, 1Password, NordPass, etc.
- Offers much more features in its free plans than others.
Bitwarden offers a 7-Days free trial for its Enterprize plan.
How to use Bitwarden
Create an account:
To get started with Bitwarden the first step is to create an account with Bitwarden.
To create an account just head over to Bitwarden’s official website and click on Get Started.
If you want to self-host all the credentials then I would suggest you, download the Desktop App and Mobile app, and when done click create account button.
While creating the account you will be asked to provide a master password make sure you remember it because Bitwarden zero-knowledge model means you can never see or change your master password.
Managing your Vault:
To add credentials to your vault you can simply click on the type of credential you want to add and fill in the details, like name, username, password, URL, etc.
You can generate a new strong password and update it, Bitwarden maintains a Password History of the last 5 passwords for every Login item, so you need not worry if something goes wrong.
If you have passwords saved to other places like LastPass or Google chrome, then with import data to your vault you can import them in bulk. Importing data to Bitwarden can only be done from the Web Vault or CLI.
Setup 2FA login:
To add an extra layer of security you must enable a two-step login for Bitwarden to do that:
- Download any one of the authenticator apps like (Google Authenticator or Authy).
- Click on Two-step login from the Bitwarden menu bar.
- Select the type of 2FA you want.
- You will be prompted to fill in your master password and then a QR code will be shown.
- Open your authenticator app and click on add account. Scan the QR code.
- Fill in the 6 digit verification code and click enable.
- Note down the recovery codes they will be helpful if you lose your smartphone or the app.
Is Bitwarden Password Safe?
Yes, it is one of the safest password managers, because it is open-source. People are continuously testing for any vulnerability and improving it considerably.
How does Bitwarden compare to other password managers?
Compared with other password managers Bitwarden is one of the most secure password managers that offer very cheap premium plans and open-source software with lots of features even for its free users.
Which is the best password manager?
Comparing it with other password managers I would say Bitwarden clearly stands out by its bundle of free features, security, and cheap paid plans.
Bitwarden is the best password manager for both individual users or group users, Apart from the user interface there is no way any other password manager can stand with Bitwarden. With its key features like self-hosting, open-source, cheap plans, and availability of browser extensions for any browser it is the best password manager in the market.
It is one of the safest password managers in the market. The most intriguing feature of Bitwarden is it's being open source and budget-friendly. With Bitwarden you will be secured and will be getting a lot of features at a minimal cost.
Price Currency: USD
Operating System: "Windows", "Mac", "Linux", "Android", "iOS"
Application Category: Password Manager