Not all password managers are the same and some let you to manage your own password vault, store it locally on your computer or phone, and then sync it using a service of your choosing.
Password managers like LastPass, Bitwarden and other services store your passwords and website login details for you in an encrypted vault. That vault is stored online so that it can be synced with other computers, phones and tablets that you need to access your passwords on.
Late 2022 it was revealed that the password vaults of some LastPass users were stolen in a hack. If you are a user of LastPass, your password vault could now be in the hands of a hacker. Don’t panic, vaults are encrypted and extremely difficult to get into, but it is still worrying situation.
This situation could happen to any online password manager service and for this reason, you might want to take control of your password vault and manage it yourself rather than leaving it to a third party. For example, you could decide to store your password vault on your computer or your phone.
This would put it out of reach of internet hackers, although it would still be vulnerable to local malware or even hardware failure of your computer or phone. Nowhere is perfectly safe, but you may prefer looking after your vault yourself.
Here I look at password manager apps that do not provide online storage for your passwords. It is your choice where to store your vault and also how you sync it to other devices.
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Enpass password manager is different to popular password managers like LastPass and Bitwarden in an important way. It does not provide online storage for your password vault. This means that there is no web interface and you cannot access your passwords via the website.
There are Enpass apps for Windows PC, Apple Mac and Linux desktop computers, iPhone and Android phone. You are responsible for storing your password vault and it is kept on the device. However, the vault can be synced using online storage like iCloud, OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, and other services.
The contents of the password vault is scrambled of course, and 256-bit AES encryption is used. This is excellent and it is commonly used for data that needs to be kept private. It is said to be impossible to crack, at least until quantum computers become common.
Enpass does not look after your password vault, so it is only on your phone or computer and the device breaks or is stolen, you could lose everything. However, if you sync through an online drive, and use multiple devices, there will always be a copy on another device. Backups can, and should, be made too.
Enpass has everything you would expect of a password manager and it can store login information for websites, apps and services, credit cards, notes, finance, licence and travel information. It supports categories and tags for organizing everything, favorites, and more. It has a comprehensive range of features.
You can enter information directly into the app, like notes, credit cards and so on, but there are extensions for all browsers that enables Enpass to capture logins and offer to save the website, username and password, so it can then automatically enter them the next time you visit.
Enpass warns you if passwords are weak, if passwords have been compromised in leaks, or if passwords have been used more than once.
Passwords and other information is securely stored in a vault. Multiple vaults can be created, so you could have Work and Personal vaults containing different passwords, or an online vault shared among your devices and a local vault stored only on the device. Passwords can be copied or moved from one vault to another. This can make things a bit more complicated, but you can keep things simple with just one vault.
There are numerous configuration settings spread across eight tabs: General, Vaults, Security, Customize, Backup, Browser, Wi-Fi Sync and Advanced. Wi-Fi sync is interesting and instead of syncing password vaults on devices through an online drive, they are synced between devices when they are on the same Wi-Fi network. Your password vault is therefore never online.
All the features you would expect of a password manager are present and the main difference between this and rivals is that you choose the sync service, like OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive and so on.
A free Lite account is available which appears to be unrestricted for the PC, Mac and Linux, but iPhone and Android apps are limited to 25 items. Paid plans remove this limit and are reasonably priced – neither cheap nor expensive.
If you want to switch from another password manager, Enpass can import from all the most common rivals like LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane, Keepass, Bitwarden, and so on, so it is a reasonably easy transition.
KeePass is another app that is different to other password managers. It is basically a free open source, lightweight database app that is available for macOS, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS and other operating systems.
This is free open source software so anyone can take the code and make their own app. I like KeePassXC. The number of different versions of KeePass is initially confusing, but they all work with the same database, which has become a sort of standard file format.
KeePass databases are encrypted with 256-bit AES encryption, which is regarded as uncrackable, even with a supercomputer and a very long time. This means your passwords and other information you want to keep secret stays secret, even if someone got hold of your KeePass password vault.
KeePass is basically a custom database designed for storing the login details for websites, apps and services. It stores URLS, usernames and passwords, but it is possible to store other information like credit cards, personal or private information, and so on in the notes field. You can also add extra fields to the database if you need to store other information.
Many KeePass apps are not fussy where you store the encrypted database. It can just as easily be in the device’s local storage or in an online drive like OneDrive, iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and so on. Whatever storage your computer, phone or tablet has access to, KeePass can usually use it.
Store the database in an online drive and it can be accessed by all your devices. The encryption means no-one can read it, even if they managed to get access to your online storage. It is easy to make online and offline backups because it’s just one file. Copy it and save it someplace.
A KeePass database has the usual fields for title, username, password, and URL. Items can be organized into groups, tags can also be added, notes can be entered, and you can add extra database fields and file attachments. Expiry dates for passwords can be set too.
Password managers like LastPass, Bitwarden and others are designed to be used with web browsers and phones. KeePass was originally a standalone database app. These days it works with browsers and apps more easily than it used to, but it still is not as seamless as leading password managers.
Extensions for Chrome-based browsers and Firefox on PC, Mac and Linux enables it to fill in login details for websites, but there is nothing for Safari on the Mac or the iPhone. You can always copy and paste passwords from a KeePass app to Safari, but it’s not as seamless as other password managers which can autofill logins.
Both Enpass and KeePass enable you to completely avoid online storage of your password vault. You are in control and you can keep your passwords and other information locally on your computer or phone. Remember to create backups stored elsewhere if you do, in case you drop your phone or the computer’s disk fails.
Enpass is the easier app to get along with and it works everywhere and on everything. The app’s interface looks a bit dated, but there is a good range of features and configuration options.
I like KeePass because there are many extensions and add-ons for it that enable extra features and functions, and it is also like becoming part of a community of enthusiasts. It works well on most devices, but is less good for iPhone owners and Mac Safari users.