As I revealed a few weeks ago, LastPass is going to be making some pretty serious changes to it’s service that will make it very unattractive to users of it’s free tier package. Starting March 16, if you are a free LastPass user you will have to make a hard choice: choose to use LastPass on your mobile devices only or use it on computer devices only. You can no longer have it both ways.
I have relied heavily on LastPass to help me use unique and strong passwords on each site/service I have an account with. However, I think our relationship has run it’s course. I am not going to be forced to choose between using LastPass on mobile or desktop only.
I have chosen instead not to not use LastPass at all. For the past two weeks LastPass has been nagging me to upgrade my account so I will not have to make the choice but the simple truth is I cannot afford it. With a pandemic out there, my income is simply not what it used to be and incredible as it sounds US$30 is a bridge too far for me.
I am going with Bitwarden
My new password manager of choice is Bitwarden and to be honest the real reason I chose Bitwarden is because it is the closest thing to LastPass according to my research. There were a lot of contenders but in the end, Bitwarden won. Here are some of the managers I looked at and why Bitwarden stole my heart.
- KeePass– this is an open-source solution but it comes with a yester-year uninspired interface. Being open-source doesn’t mean you have to ship with a clunky washed out interface that looks like it was done by a primary school kid… Configuring it seems like a lot of work too and I have to do my own syncing. Again that sounds like too much work so that was a big no.
- Dashlane-you can only store up to 50 passwords if you want to use the free plan. I already had about 800 in LastPass, what can I say, I spent a lot of time online.
- 1Password-no free plan at all. So worse than LastPass
- NordPass-I just don’t trust Nord for some reason and their free plan is worse than LastPass’s plan
You get the idea, I went through lots and lots of managers and after kissing a lot of frogs I found a prince in Bitwarden. It’s open source but has a modern interface, has almost the same features as LastPass, I can use it freely on multiple devices, I can save as many passwords and card numbers as I want and it comes with a migration tool that allowed me to move from LastPass. A week later and I am in love.
How to migrate from LastPass to Bitwarden?
- First, you need to go to Bitwarden and sign up for an account
- Now go to LastPass’s website and sign in to the vault
- Inside the vault go to Advanced Options
- Go to the Manage Your Vault section
- Click on Export
- Most likely your data will be shown on the screen inside the browser
- Just go to that screen and use Ctrl+A to select everything followed by Ctrl+C to copy everything
- Open a real text editor: something like nano, Notepad, gedit or kedit. Do not use MS Word here. Create a new blank file named export.csv and use Ctrl+V to paste everything. Then save using Ctrl+S
- Now go to Bitwarden
- Log in to the Bitwarden Web Vault it’s not very different from LastPass’s Vault
- Select Tools from the top navigation bar
- Select Import Data from the left Tools menu
- Select LastPass (csv) from the format dropdown.
- Select the Browse… button and add the file exported from LastPass in our case we chose to name it export.csv
- Select the Import Data button to complete your import
A word to the wise, during the export process all your passwords are in clear text and therefore extremely vulnerable. It’s the sort of thing hackers dream of. So please do this process on a computer you own. The paranoid me actually booted into a pristine Ubuntu Live USB for this. Then I not only deleted the file export.csv file, but I also shredded it i.e. overwrote with with random bytes. Make sure you dispose of this file correctly you have been warned!
I did not delete my LastPass account although you can do that, but you might want to wait. Who knows maybe they change their mind or you will not like Bitwarden that much. A little caution never hurt anyone. Plus you don’t want to discover that your important key which you use on your cryptocurrencies is now lost forever as it was not imported correctly in Bitwarden. I have 800+ passwords as I mentioned before, I am not sure they were all imported correctly yet.
I also use Chrome so the next step was installing Bitwarden clients on my phone and in Chrome. In Chrome I also needed to pin the add-on so that it is visible to the right side of the address bar. I do have a lot of addons. You also need to actually turn on auto-fill otherwise you will have to manually click auto-fill every-time you want to auto-fill username and password fields.
Apart from these few tweaks Bitwarden is just as good as LastPass and soon you will forget about LastPass as I have.