|Impressive free features||Costly compared to the competition|
|Solid (if somewhat dated) user interface||Poor customer support|
|Automatically syncs between all devices|
|Strong security and encryption framework|
|Has conducted a third-party audit of internal processes|
We surveyed the five most significant features of a password manager: security and encryption, app compatibility, usability, password sharing and price. We provide a breakdown of LastPass’ performance in each of these areas below.
One of the most important features of a password management provider is a strong security policy. Advanced threat detection and encryption are the key to keeping your passwords and credentials safe.
LastPass performs strongly on this metric, using 256-bit AES encryption to provide end-to-end data protection, with the added feature of Transport Layer Security to guard against in-transit attacks. LastPass doesn’t store your master passwords or authentication keys locally or on its servers, making it impossible for anyone including the company itself to remotely access your data. LastPass provides transparent protocols for incident response and gets the community involved with checking for bugs and software weaknesses through its bug bounty program. It also provides for multifactor authentication.
LastPass is compatible with the most recent versions of the most popular web browsers. Its desktop app is compatible with both macOS and Windows. The only potential gap incompatibility is that while LastPass can be run in virtual environments, it isn’t presently supported for use in such environments, so customer support wouldn’t be available. This, however, is unlikely to be a sticking point for most average or even advanced users. Otherwise, you can expect it to work on most devices and in most operating environments and to run smoothly in all of them.
|Other||Lollipop browser for Android; Windows RT; Windows Phone|
LastPass is particularly powerful and flexible in web browser extension form and provides seamless password management through its browser extensions for major platforms. Its single sign-on technology is especially convenient, auto-filling passwords and other credentials at known sites once the user enters their master password. LastPass makes it easy to import passwords from other browsers and password managers and sports a convenient auto-change feature that makes updating large numbers of passwords a single-click affair.
The desktop app provides a convenient hub for the management of your account settings and data. Downloading is simple on any platform, and LastPass provides biometric login options for your convenience. Logging in is as simple as providing your biometric information or your master password.
The LastPass user interface is easy to navigate, making it intuitive for users to organize their information by sorting different kinds of data into different menu options. Working and syncing across multiple devices and browsers is seamless, with little or no lag when syncing data. Its rich feature set offers powerful password generation, emergency access via SMS codes (if you specifically activate this feature) and emailed recovery passwords and one-touch login. The LastPass Security Challenge is a useful feature that audits the strength of your passwords and alerts you to potentially weak password choices.
But the company’s customer support — which operates by email only — is attracting a reputation for slow response times and ineffectiveness. These developments put a major asterisk beside LastPass’ claims to usability; software that’s only usable when everything is going right but that isn’t capably supported when something goes wrong can be a serious problem.
One area where LastPass provides a particularly notable amount of streamlining and ease-of-use is in password sharing. The Sharing Center allows free users to accept and view shared folders and provides folder creation and editing access for premium users, all laid out in an easy-to-follow format. The user interface for password and folder sharing is similar enough to Google Drive’s filtering criteria that most users should be able to recognize the design principles and basic functions at work. On the whole, LastPass’ password sharing features are both secure and elegant, eliminating guesswork from the process and saving time.
LastPass‘ free version is available only for individual users. It includes secure notes and form fills and, in general, provides an extraordinary amount of functionality for free software, rivaling other well-known free password management options like Bitwarden. The free version no longer includes unlimited syncing with all device types or customer support via email, though.
At the Premium level of service, enhanced sharing and multifactor authentication tools become available. The Family service package provides per-user saving with six licenses, full Premium features and a family dashboard with group sharing for $4 a month in total. The Premium price has increased fairly sharply in recent years; users will have to determine whether the rising expense is being justified by added features or improved performance.
The robust sharing tools, integrations and reporting at the Teams, Enterprise and Identity service tiers, combined with LastPass’ capacity to scale up to meet the needs of almost any size of business, are generally worth the added expense. At the Enterprise and Identity levels of service in particular, LastPass certainly isn’t a cheap solution, but the security benefits it offers are undeniable. At the Enterprise tier and above, for example, businesses can access hundreds of pre-integrated single sign-on apps, and at the Identity tier they can make use of adaptive and biometric multifactor authentication designed for business environments.
|Free version?||Yes (plus 30-day premium free trial)|
|Individual||$3 per user / month|
|Family||$4 / month|
|Teams||$4 per user / month|
|Enterprise||$6 per user / month|
|Identity||$8 per user / month|
LastPass has stayed reasonably current in its offerings for user convenience, ease of setup and advanced, highly secure approaches to data protection and password sharing. The table below summarizes how LastPass handles some of the most common password management tasks.
|Functionality||How LastPass Works|
|Setting up the vault||Import data from browsers and other password managers; accounts added upon log in|
|Logging into accounts||Login information filled in on page load; select account from a list|
|Creating passwords||Use password generator when creating passwords; audit password strength using LastPass Security Challenge|
|Changing passwords||“Auto Change Password” automation feature or use password generator when on change password screen|
|Sharing logins||Family, Team, and Enterprise have robust shared folder features; all plans can share with individual users outside your team|
|Recovering account||Password hint, SMS codes (can be disabled), one-time emailed recovery passwords (tied to machine and browser)|
|Advanced security features||Two-factor authentication, security check, emergency access, restrict to countries|
LastPass‘ ease of use and customer support still earn praise from many users, one of whom says: “I like LastPass [for its] user interface and how [it] functions . . . the LastPass UI and UX are as good as it gets in this genre of software. [LastPass’ UI is] very clean and easy to use and its functionality far exceeds most of the other top entrants in this category . . . I’ve received nothing but top-notch and fast responses from LastPass . . . Most email ticket responses arrived in less than 16 hours (including some on weekends) and the longest time I waited for a reply was 21 hours.” Another user praises its stability across multiple devices: “I’ve been using it for years. It works for me across multiple devices (MAC, PC, iOS, etc.) without any major issues.”
On the other hand, it’s impossible to avoid the increasing numbers of users who report frustration with poor customer service using LastPass, especially over the last couple of years.
LastPass has a sound approach to security and encryption and promises solid functionality at every tier of service, with an advanced features list that’s still competitive with the industry’s best, especially in the free version. It still has many loyal users based on that free offering’s well-rounded performance in particular, and it still enjoys the reputation benefits of a strong long-term track record for best-in-class performance. However, the poor tech support experiences will clearly need addressing if LastPass hopes to retain its leading position in the marketplace. For now, the positives still seem to outweigh the negatives, but users will have to review their specific needs and make their own judgments about whether these potential signs of overreach make a less compelling case for LastPass.