Password administrators have become so important that browsers offer built-in solutions. While browser-based password administrators are free, standalone third-party solutions are also available.
But it will help if you do not use the browser’s built-in password manager. And here’s why.
Which browsers have built-in password processors?
Regular browsers offer password management features. No surprises here, since it̵
The list of common browsers with built-in password administrators includes Google Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Brave. These password managers work to some extent in the same way as standalone alternatives. One thing that makes browser-based password managers so attractive is convenience.
They are very convenient with no additional download required, and your passwords are automatically synchronized with your data. You log in to your account and you are ready. Also, browser-based password administrators are free to use, with no restrictions, at least in terms of the features available.
For example, Chrome stores passwords in your Google Account and you can access them by going to passwords.google.com. But if you are not signed in, Chrome stores your passwords locally.
And when you enter a password on a website for the first time, your browser will ask you to save it. Chrome will then provide the login information the next time you want to log in to the specific site if logins are kept in the vault.
Why you should avoid browser-based password managers
Although such a feature is good, you should not use browser-based password administrators. Here are just a few reasons why.
1. Difficult to create a browser switch
The first upside of using dedicated third-party password administrators is platform support. You can use standalone password managers on almost any platform and across browsers. You can not say the same for password administrators in the browser.
Say you have stored your passwords in Opera; you do not have access to them in Google Chrome.
This is a bummer, especially if you frequently change browsers. Standalone password administrators give you autonomy, and best of all, even if a platform is not supported, you can access your vault with the online version.
The only browser that offers some autonomy is Firefox, which renamed Lockwise’s password manager feature and released a standalone app on Android and iOS.
2. They do not include simple and secure sharing options
Standalone password administrators provide a convenient and secure way to share credentials. On the other hand, browser password administrators do not. This can be a problem for some, especially if you share some online accounts with family or friends, be it music and video streaming services like Spotify and Disney +.
Third-party password administrators include family packages that offer shared folders that all members have access to. Shared folders are a typical password manager feature that allows you to share specific credentials easily and securely.
If you update a password, it will be updated for everyone – you do not need to resend the password.
Password administrators also offer two sharing options: one-to-one and one-to-many sharing. It is as convenient as it can get.
3. You can not save more than passwords
Modern password managers allow you to store more than just passwords. You can save photos, videos and documents. And they offer you some gigabytes of secure cloud storage for this purpose. You can also store notes, addresses, debit cards and even a driver’s license.
On the other hand, browser-based password managers do not offer such a thing. You can not save documents, notes or media files. They only support password storage.
Most of them, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge and Opera, allow you to store payment cards. But that’s it. So if you want to store more than passwords and debit cards, you should switch to third-party password administrators.
4. Not as powerful as standalone password processors
Long story short, password managers for browsers are just not as powerful as their third-party options. As an example, let’s look at the password generator feature on Chrome. It automatically generates unique and strong passwords, but it is on their terms.
You can not customize the generated password to suit your needs. Adjusting the password length is not an option, and there is no way to tell Google whether it should contain symbols or numbers, both or none of them. This lack of customization is standard for browser-based password managers.
Unfortunately, this is an important password generator feature that even internet-based password generator sites, just found a search away, offer. With browser password administrators, you also can’t add notes to every saved entry or even alternate top-level URLs with similar credentials.
5. Limits you to using only browser
While some browser password managers like Firefox’s Lockwise now have a standalone app, other browsers like Safari do not. This means that you can not use autofill passwords outside the browser. To log in to your Twitter account via the app, you must copy and paste the password and username.
This is not as convenient as what you get with standalone password processors; not to mention the security implications since some apps have access to the contents of the clipboards.
Of course, if you use Chrome, you can skip all the complications and sign up or sign in to apps through your Google Account. On iOS, there is something handy if you store your app passwords directly or have them on Safari. But besides these two, the remaining password administrators in the browser are impractical for filling in app passwords.
6. Security issues
While browser-based password processors have generally improved on the security front, unlike in previous days, some cyber security experts still feel that they are not secure enough. This is especially true when comparing password managers in browsers with their standalone options.
And for those who are concerned about privacy, it may be a problem to lack an option for their own hosting.
This is not to say that password administrators in the browser are not safe to use. When it comes to security, they are ok.
On the other hand, stand-alone password processors are built with security in mind. They include 256-bit advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption at the bank level and a zero-knowledge architecture. They also have advanced multi-factor authentication using hardware keys along with other security features.
Switch to standalone password processors
Browser-based password administrators offer only a small number of basic features needed. However, you will miss out on the autonomy to switch browsers as you like, fill in passwords on apps, store more than just passwords, and secure credential sharing.
You also miss out on other add-ons offered by password managers such as Emergency Access and advanced security features.
If you are good with basic functionality, there are enough browser-based password administrators, although we do not recommend them. Make the switch to standalone password processors today.
What is the best password management app for your computer, smartphone or tablet? Let’s find out …
About the author