How to securely store your passwords
Are you using the same password for every account you have? If so, this post will help you greatly improve your password security while keeping your sanity in tact! That’s what we call a win-win.
Writing down passwords isn’t a good idea
I’ve seen it all ...
- ... post-it notes with login details neatly framing a desktop computer. (Helllllo bank account information accessible to everyone!)
- ... notebooks full of username + password combinations. (Perfectly organized access to your entire online life.)
- ... files saved to the desktop containing all passwords. (One-click access to all account information.)
While some of these would get points for creativity, none of them are the least bit secure. Plus, the risky systems above aren’t helpful to you. Slips of paper + post-it notes are easy to lose, speaking from personal experience. What happens when it’s time to change your password? Do you swap out sticky notes? If not, it’s not long before you're confused about which login details are correct. (Don’t get locked out of your account trying the different options you have framing your computer!)
Secure storage for your secure password
Protecting your WordPress website (along with your personal life) from threats includes keeping your passwords safe + sound. Going through the work of creating a secure password is a wasted effort if you aren’t securely storing that password.
This is where password vaults come in to save the day! A password vault is a nerdy name for software that keeps your information private + protected. You import your username + password combinations, along with any details worth noting (like the login URL), then set a master login for your entire vault.
Whenever you need to access a login, you type in that master login + have instant access to all of your secure passwords. If your computer is stolen, or being used by someone other than you, your account information is protected by that master password — which you’ll want to make as secure as possible, but also memorable. The best part, beyond the security, is that you only need to remember a single password. That will free up brain space for more enjoyable things.
Picking a master password
When it comes to setting that primary login, I always recommend picking a long + seemingly random password that would be as close to impossible to crack as you can get. One way of doing this is by picking your favorite quote + using that as the base for your password.
Let’s say you love the saying “Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.” If you pick the first letter from each word, you would end up with dwyhtduycdwywtd, which would be a pretty secure password. You could swap out the word “to” for the number + get dwyh2duycdwyw2d. Throw in an uppercase letter at the start + maybe an exclamation mark at the end, + you’ve got yourself a super strong password that isn’t too hard for you to remember — Dwuh2duycdwyw2d! — or maybe you alternate uppercase + lowercase to add even more security to it.
If you aren’t much of an inspirational quote fan, pick a favorite song lyric as a starting point. Or a movie quote that you can’t help but know by heart.
Password vault options
There are oodles of password vaults to pick from, but I typically recommend KeePass + 1Password.
KeePass is free, easy to use + straight-forward. It’s the software that I started with when I realized that I had a minimum of six passwords for each project that I’m involved with.
After a few months of KeePass, I upgraded to the paid option 1Password. It’s still easy to use, but you also get great features that the one-time price tag covers. One of those is that it will tell you which of your passwords aren’t strong + which accounts have the same password. That way you can systematically improve your user account security one login at a time!
1Password also has browser extensions for painless logging into online accounts. (Bonus: this is also good for security because you aren’t seen, or keyboard stroke recorded, typing in your passwords when using public WiFi.)
Password vault benefits
In case you weren’t already sold on using a password vault, let’s recap the perks of doing so.
- no more having to remember dozens of passwords
- cleaner desk + / or desktop
- organized account information
- cleaner bookmarks (password vaults store the links)
- protecting your business, your identity + your sanity
So check out 1Password, KeePass, or LastPass (another popular option) + start storing your secure passwords in a secure location.