KeePass review: how good and reliable is it?
KeePass is a secure open-source password manager that’s also completely free. It securely encrypts and stores your passwords on your device instead of the cloud, which is a great feature for users, who prefer having full control over their credentials and data.
However, KeePass lacks the key features modern password managers have and is not as user-friendly as the top-leading password manager services in the market. Even though it’s highly-customizable, this password manager requires advanced technical skills, lacks basic functionalities, and is definitely not recommended for beginners.
If you’re not a tech-savvy and would like to check out some easier and more user-friendly password managers, we recommend taking a look at some of the alternative options that don’t require additional plugins or installations to provide good security and usability:
If you’re an advanced user and having an open-source password manager is your top choice – KeePass is definitely an option. Keep reading this article to learn more about this password manager, its security, features, privacy, and all the key functionalities.
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KeePass review – pros and cons
Is KeePass safe?
KeePass password manager is definitely one of the safest password managers on the market. In fact, it’s up to you whether you seek to have the most out of its security or not. If you choose to lock your vault only with a master password, then your vault gets the bare minimum of the protection offered. However, if you choose to add a key file, then you enable two-factor authentication and your items become untouchable.
And with the implementation of SHA-256 encryption (which is known to be the most secure option in the industry), and even the possibility to choose ChaCha20, your vault gets secured at the highest level.
Moreover, KeePass itself has a spotless track record and hasn’t gone through any actual breaches that would allow us to bring doubts about its safety. Consequently, we can agree that KeePass is an extremely safe password manager suitable for storing sensitive files.
KeePass password manager is an incredibly versatile piece of software. Instead of receiving a ready-to-use shiny product, you get software that can be customized by you with the help of plugins (there are over 100 of them). Meaning, you are allowed to greatly extend its capabilities.
If you are ready to take a step in the tech-savvy side of KeePass, then read below and see what features are ready to upgrade your daily browsing experience.
KeePass offers multiple options of user keys. Therefore, you can add several layers of security using a few different methods of authentication at once. Or you can simply use one of them but that means you’d get a lower level of security.
Here you will meet the master password – an industry-standard that will decrypt your whole stored database only for you. For this, you will need to create only one strong and secure passphrase which should be known and remembered only by you.
Then there is a key file that can be added up as an extra user key to your master password (then you have two-factor authentication) or used alone. It’s a file that includes a key and it comes as a physical tool (USB, for example). Consequently, hackers would almost get no chance of breaking into your vault. Just make sure you have at least two copies of it, like a digital and a physical one.
Additionally, you can use your Windows user account, which means that only the owner will be able to access encrypted items in your vault.
KeePass passwords generator
With this provider’s password generator you get to learn to create strong and trustworthy passwords, as it’s insanely highly customizable.
That being said, you get even 9 toggles to enable and disable that allow you to choose types of characters and symbols and the length of a password. You can even use a custom algorithm.
Of course, if you don’t feel like generating a password yourself, then you can use a pre-made pattern that also provides you with a unique password.
KeePass is excellent at being flexible and providing you with the possibility to create or choose already-generated secure passwords that will suit your needs and also protect you from sneaky noses.
We have seen password managers that allow you to store files in your encrypted vault. But KeePass password manager offers you more in terms of what you can store there. It also gives you lots of freedom when it comes to opening and editing stored files inside of the app.
So, the Attachments feature allows you to store not only documents and text files, but also images. And editing them inside of the password manager guarantees that your data remains immune to hackers.
To break the first impression of being an outdated and dull password manager, KeePass presents you with Plugins architecture.
Thanks to it, a user can write plugins for the app or add already existing ones that were also created by the community. And the list of over 100 plugins can be found on their official website.
Every plugin expands the functionality of KeePass, for example, synchronization with various storages (Google Drive, OneDrive, and other online storages), adding another type of encryption algorithm, or auto-type customizations.
All in all, KeePass password manager allows for lots of customization and makes its app as versatile as possible.
The top-tier password managers have browser extensions to capture new logins and fill-in forms. However, KeePass doesn’t offer such functionalities. Alternatively, it offers a feature called Auto-Type, which allows you to define a sequence of keypresses, which KeePass can automatically perform for you.
However, this feature is not the most user-friendly like with Keeper or NordPass. It requires more technical knowledge to perform it, command use, and is not ideal if your preference is having a fast and intuitive autofill.
Ease of use and setup
When it comes to KeePass' apps, interface, and ease of use, this password manager is quite behind the market leaders. There are lots of functionalities you need to customize yourself and the setup is not ideal for beginner users who are looking for an easy password management solution. Whether you get KeePass on your Windows, macOS, or mobile devices, the installation process itself is quite easy. However, it's worth mentioning that there isn’t an official app for mobile devices but you have an option to install third-party apps.
As you start using this password manager, it might get more complicated as its developers have put so much work on the app being strongly functional that the interface seems to be left behind. To be clear, after you install the app, you get no guidance that would introduce you to the program. You instantly receive tools to work with on your own, so the usability can get pretty complicated.
If you are not a tech-savvy person, the gray background and the aura of the 90s would be the first thing that would surprise you. Generally, there are no clear instructions in the app that would enlighten you on what steps you should take. Nevertheless, those instructions can be found on the official website of KeePass.
Moving further, this password manager is open-source software that every tech-savvy user can customize. Basically, if you are tech-oriented, then you can take all the best from KeePass and make it as functional as possible. On the other hand, if you're a beginner – this can get a tough nut to crack, as the apps require some prior knowledge before actually using it.
The application itself doesn’t have any clear buttons that would allow you to take some actions, except for the menu bar. Yet, right after you do some surfing inside the application and some digging in the KeePass forum, you get to know how much configuration you can do.
Overall, KeePass is easy to set up but moving further it becomes a tough nut to crack if you are only a casual user.
KeePass doesn’t offer a regular browser extension that we are already used to seeing. To make your browser compatible with this password manager, you would need to download extra plugins that will import your credentials from various browsers, allow auto-typing into websites, and more.
From the plugins and extensions list, you would need to pick the add-ons for your preferred functions. After you pick and download them, it’s quite easy to set them up. The most important action is moving the downloaded file into the password manager and restarting the application.
In conclusion, you can use KeePass on all popular browsers, as well as not-so-popular ones. With it, you may enable the autofill feature, configure the app to fill specific text boxes, and even more. Just, once again, keep in mind that every wanted feature is added as a plugin.
Unfortunately, KeePass doesn’t have any official app for mobile devices. Therefore, you would need to choose a trustworthy third-party app.
When it comes to Android, there are 5 top apps that are able to bring the best out of KeePass for you: KeePassDroid, KeePassMob, KeePass2Android, KeepShare Lite, and KeePass2Android Offline.
iOS also gets a list of applications, which include KeePassium, MiniKeePass, Strongbox, and so on.
Every mobile application comes in different designs and capabilities. So you would need to do some research on them and find the most suitable for you.
But are they more informative and easier to use than a desktop application? Not really, keeping in mind that apps for iOS look similar to the official desktop app. Plus, these are not official programs, so it would be naive to expect to receive a fully functioning program.
KeePass password manager is a completely free program. It doesn’t matter how many plugins you add – there are no fees.
The only way you could sacrifice your money for this password manager is by sending them a donation fee. As KeePass says itself “Donations to KeePass support the development of the project”.
You can make a donation by using your credit card or PayPal. All the instructions are provided on their official website.
However, if you are only going to use an app for your mobile device, keep in mind that some of the apps require you to pay in order to get the Premium features. One of them is called KPass, which can be found on the Google Play Store. As soon as you wish to use a password generator on it, you would have to pay $10.
All in all, staying with the official desktop app and providing KeePass with a donation might motivate them to improve the app’s interface.
As password manager customers are used to getting help via chat or email, seeing that KeePass doesn’t offer you these privileges might be disappointing.
Still, help is surely available. Even though there’s no live chat or email support, you can find a very informative FAQ, help center, and even KeePass’s local Wiki that is created for its users.
Additionally, there’s a forum where users can help each other.
Backup and password recovery
KeePass doesn’t offer a built-in backup and the reason behind that is that they leave you to decide what type of backup you need for your data. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no option to store your data and recover it when needed.
To backup your database, key file, Windows user account, and your KeePass configuration, you can count on a free Windows feature.
It’s called Windows Task Scheduler, and it allows you to schedule how often the automatic backup should be done. For that, you need to create a new folder outside of KeePass where the data is stored. Additionally, you can store your backed-up items in physical storage (USB, for example).
Alternatively, you can get special backup software that will copy your KeePass data, encrypt it, and transfer it to the cloud server. It can also make a copy that you can store on your device or other secure storage.
In fact, KeePass itself can export your data, but it will be stored as a plain text file. Of course, you can also find plugins for this, yet they appear not to always work correctly.
Keep in mind that it’s suggested that you backup your data every time you add a new item to your vault. Also, it would be smart to make at least two copies of it. Once you backup your data, you will always be able to recover your passwords in case your device crashes or if you forget your master password.
Most common KeePass issues
Even a seemingly perfect password manager can have some room for improvement. Now, let’s look at what issues KeePass brings along:
- False cyber-attacks. It has been reported several times that KeePass is experiencing a cyber-attack through different vulnerabilities. For example, header authentication, timing side-channel attack, and KeeFarce. However, all recent false attacks have been solved or denied.
- Automatic update issue. It’s common for KeePass to be downloaded through unofficial sources. Thus, many unofficial apps perform automatic updates. Meanwhile, the official app version doesn’t have automatic updates as it’s an open-source program, leaving the decision for you.
Check out the Keepass review and tutorial on the installation and a setup in a video format:
Best alternatives to KeePass password manager
It’s very understandable if you don’t feel like using KeePass after getting to know how different it is and what it takes to learn using it.
Obviously, there’s nothing to worry about. The password manager market is full of great products that are more than capable of providing you with security and comfortable browsing.
Below you will find our top two choices that we would go for.
A reliable and secure password manager alternative is Keeper. This password management solution offers a great opportunity to try its services for free. You can opt out for a 30-day money-back guarantee to experience all the premium features.
The features you get with Keeper include: 2FA, password generator, data breach checker, password evaluation, safe messaging app, deleted password recovery, offline mode, and more. Moreover, you can use Keeper on all major operating systems and browser extensions.
In terms of security and privacy, Keeper uses AES-256 encryption to make your data in your vault private, has undergone third-party security audits, and ensures compliance with data protection requirements.
Learn more about Keeper in our review.
If you are looking for an incredibly user-friendly password manager – NordPass is what you should choose. And ease of use isn’t the only thing it can offer. That being said, this password manager has implemented next-gen encryption called XChaCha20 that is extremely secure and doesn’t interrupt your device’s performance.
Speaking of security, NordPass uses zero-knowledge architecture, meaning no one except you knows what’s stored in your vault. And the vault itself is locked with a master password, plus multi-factor authentication is available.
NordPass is able to offer you both a free version and a paid one. If you choose to pay for its services, then my oh my, you receive all the essential features that a password manager should have. For example, autofill, password generator, password health reports, and even a data breach scanner.
Get to know more about NordPass on our website.
Overall, it’s undeniable that KeePass is a highly-customizable password manager. Starting with its design that has the powers of a time machine and takes you back to the 90s, and ending with unlimited possibilities of customizing the program.
Once you install this password manager, you can instantly feel that there will be some work to do to get the best out of the software. But at the same time, many limits fall off with the help of plugins that provide you with a wide range of features. After all, it’s an open-source program that allows for lots of freedom. However, it's not the most user-friendly password management solution.
If you are a tech-savvy individual and looking for a free but incredibly secure and versatile password manager, then KeePass is going to be the right fit for you. If you're a casual user who is looking for a modern, intuitive, and easy-to-use password manager with more functionality, then you should take a look at recommended alternative password managers, such as NordPass or Keeper.
More password manager reviews from Cybernews:
Is KeePass password manager free?
Yes, KeePass password manager is completely free. However, there is a way to donate money for it, so that the program could be constantly improved. Also, third-party apps for mobile devices can be paid ones.
Is KeePass safe to use?
Yes, KeePass is very safe to use. This password manager allows you to encrypt your vault with military-grade encryption or ChaCha20, you can lock your vault with multiple user keys, and your data doesn’t get stored on the cloud.
Can KeePass be hacked?
KeePass can be hacked if your device is infected with malware. But thanks to types of encryption, this password manager becomes almost indestructible. Moreover, locking your vault with a key file will surely guarantee you top-level protection in other cases.