If you have issues with account security, whether for your online banking or insurance accounts, social media, or anything else, you’re not alone. You need long and complex passwords to ensure that hackers and criminals cannot access your accounts and steal your info, money, or identity.
However, the issue is that the better and stronger your passwords are, the less likely you will remember them, especially if you have many accounts. This is where a password manager such as LastPass comes into play. Password managers such as LastPass are designed to generate extremely secure passwords that no one could guess.
However, instead of using individual passwords, LastPass allows you to create your own master password.
When entered into the individual accounts’ password section, LastPass will automatically retrieve the corresponding password for that account from your secure password vault. In essence, it’s a way for you to have the most secure passwords without actually having to remember them.
There are various LastPass accounts or packages from which to choose. Most people, for single and personal use, will choose either LastPass Free or LastPass Premium. We will do a side-by-side comparison of LastPass Free and LastPass Premium to determine which of these options is best suited for you.
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How Pricing Works – Free vs. Premium
As the name implies, LastPass Free is totally free. It comes with only a basic set of features, but it’s still better than not using a password manager. However, with LastPass Free, you will get a one-month free trial of LastPass Premium when you create an account.
This way, you can use LastPass Premium for a full month to test it and see if it is worth paying. LastPass Premium costs $3 per month, and it’s billed annually for a total of $36.
You might wonder if it is worth paying for that upgrade. It depends on what you need LastPass for and how secure you want to be. Still, as you are about to see from the features sections below, the Premium account when compared to the free version, has quite a few additional password management features, security protocols, and more.
What You Get with LastPass Free
Before we start talking about the great features that come with LastPass Premium, let’s look at everything you get without having to pay a single penny.
LastPass Free might not cost anything, but it’s still a great password manager to have in your corner. We want to note that both LastPass Free and Premium are designed for single users, not families or businesses
Secure Password Generator
The first feature is the secure password generator. This is a unique tool that automatically generates long and complex passwords that are much stronger and more secure than you are likely to come up with on your own.
These passwords consist of random number, letter, and symbol sequences to make it as hard as possible for criminals to gain access to your accounts.
Access on All Devices
When you activate LastPass Free, you get access to this password manager and all of the included functions on all of your devices.
Whether you are using your phone, tablet, or computer, you can sync everything for functionality. It is a very convenient way to manage all of your online security needs using a single application.
Secure Password Vault
Perhaps one of the very best features of LastPass Free is the secure password vault. This vault features state-of-the-art security protocols and encryption to ensure that nobody can access your passwords or sensitive information.
Another security feature is AES-256 encryption. This type of encryption is the gold standard of encryption at this level. It’s the No. 1 type of encryption, which is why it is used by governments, banks, and militaries alike.
Another way your passwords are kept safe is by using a zero-knowledge approach. All your information is locally encrypted on your device; the owners and operators of LastPass don’t have access to your passwords or data.
Save and Autofill Passwords
One of the most convenient features of LastPass Free is the save and autofill feature. When you log in to one of your accounts, you don’t have to know the individual passwords that have been generated by the password generator.
Instead, you will create your own master password, which you will use to log into all of your accounts. In essence, instead of having to remember individual passwords for accounts, you just have to remember your one master password for LastPass.
Once you enter your master password, LastPass will automatically retrieve the correct password for the corresponding account and fill it in. It’s a safe, secure, and easy way to theoretically use a single password for all accounts without only using a single password.
The next feature is one-to-one sharing. This means you can share your password and other sensitive information with one other person, so they also can access your accounts. Just make sure that any information is only shared with trusted people.
With LastPass Free, you also get another feature known as secure notes. This feature allows you to save more than just passwords. It includes things like addresses, passports, identification documents, credit card details, and more. This way, whenever you need to log in to an account or input necessary info, such as your credit card, LastPass can do it all for you.
LastPass Free has multi-factor authentication. This is a feature that adds a second layer of defense for all of your accounts.
Instead of just entering your master password, you can then choose to have a unique code texted to your phone or emailed to you, which you also have to enter to gain access to your accounts.
This way, even if someone else gets hold of your password(s), without the authentication code that can be sent only to your device, those criminals still will not be able to access your info.
What You Get with LastPass Premium
Now that you know what you get with LastPass Free let’s look at the additional features you get with LastPass Premium for $3 per month.
One thing you get with LastPass Premium, which is not included with the free account, is one-to-many sharing.
Instead of sharing your LastPass info, passwords, and whatever else with one other person, the Premium account level allows you to share with many people. It’s a good way for families and friends to access the same accounts, as long as you trust those people.
One of the best features included with LastPass Premium, that you don’t get with the free version, is the security dashboard. This feature allows you to take a closer look at all of your passwords in one spot, kind of like an all-in-one command center. You can evaluate your passwords and be given alerts if any are not secure and need improvement.
Dark Web Monitoring
Another great feature with LastPass Premium is dark web monitoring. This feature keeps a close watch on your email and all accounts related to your email address. If there is a security breach, you will immediately be sent an alert, along with instructions for what to do next.
Advanced Multi-Factor Authentication Options
LastPass Free has multi-factor authentication, but it does not have the advanced multi-factor authentication features that LastPass Premium does. This allows you to use either your fingerprint or your Yubikey as a second line of defense for all of your accounts.
Yet another advanced feature you get with LastPass premium is emergency access. You never know, you might forget your master password and lock yourself out of all of your accounts, or something might happen to you.
Either way, this emergency access feature allows you to nominate somebody or multiple people who can access your account(s) in the event of an emergency.
Self-Guided and Email Support
Something you don’t get with LastPass Free that Premium has is email and self-guided support. You never know; things can go wrong. There might be bugs; you might have password issues, account issues, or just general questions. When you pay for LastPass premium, support is ready to help you at a moment’s notice.
1 GB Encrypted File Storage
The final feature is a full GB of encrypted file storage. LastPass free lets you store some info other than just passwords, but not nearly as much as LastPass Premium. You get 1 GB of securely encrypted storage so you can create a full backup of all of your sensitive information and documents.
LastPass Free vs. LastPass Premium – An Overall Comparison
As you can see, even though LastPass Premium only costs $3 per month or $36 annually, a very low cost, it has many additional and advanced features that you do not get with LastPass Free.
Just for a quick rundown, for that $3 per month, with LastPass Premium, here are the additional features you get that aren’t included with the free plan.
- One-to-many sharing
- Security dashboard
- Dark web monitoring
- Advanced multi-factor authentication options
- Email and self-guided support
- 1 GB of encrypted file storage
- Emergency access
If you just need a password manager to access a couple of accounts, the free version of LastPass could be more than enough. However, you get quite a bit more with LastPass Premium for just a few dollars per month, as you can see from the list above.
We think the dark web monitoring feature, the emergency access feature, and the extra 1 GB of encrypted file storage are all invaluable features you may want to consider.
LastPass Free vs. Premium: Which One is Right for You?
LastPass is a great password manager, one of the best, and we definitely recommend giving it a shot.
If you are unsure about paying for the Premium account, no worries; when you sign up for the free version, you get a one-month free trial for LastPass Premium.
This way, you can test it out for 30 days to see if it is worth the $3 per month. Personally, we think that you will want to stick with the Premium account because it comes with so many useful features that you don’t get with the free account.