The Bitwarden password manager is an open-source software that offers both a free plan and some of the market’s more affordable paid packages. It was released in 2016 and has since provided individuals and organizations worldwide with an encrypted vault to store their sensitive data. Armed with strong security features, native apps for all major operating systems, and browser extensions, Bitwarden offers full coverage for all devices. We’ll start by reviewing the pricing plans to help you decide whether this password protector is the right option for your needs.
Bitwarden is a good choice for users on a budget. In addition to affordable pricing plans, there is a free option that includes all of the core features. The plans are split into two categories: Personal and Business. The Personal plans are further divided into individual options (Basic Free and Premium) and sharing options (Free Two-Person Org. and Family Org.). The Business plan is split into Teams Organization and Enterprise Organization packages. The core features include:
- Zero-knowledge encryption
- Unlimited devices + syncing
- Unlimited device types
- Browser, Mobile, Desktop apps
- Unlimited vault items
- Store notes, credit cards, identities
- Bitwarden Send
- Secure password generator
- Basic two-step login
- Free cloud hosting
Our Bitwarden review offers a more comprehensive analysis of these pricing plans.
The Basic Free Account is limited to a single user and doesn’t allow sharing through collections. But it has all the aforementioned features, such as the secure password generator and free cloud hosting. It supports an unlimited number of devices and covers all browser, desktop, and mobile apps. It’s often praised as the best and most well-rounded free password management software.
The Premium Account costs $10 per year and adds more flair to password organization. When it comes to the Bitwarden Free vs. Premium showdown, the latter adds encrypted sharing (Bitwarden Send) for both text and files, 1 GB for personal encrypted file attachments, as well as the Bitwarden authenticator, vault health reports, emergency access, priority support, and self-host options.
The Free Organization Account allows two users to share passwords and data while offering the same core features as the Basic Free Account. You’ll also have the option of sharing through two collections for free.
The Family Account is a cost-effective plan that gets you six licenses and personal vaults, priority customer support, and unlimited sharing through collections. The Bitwarden family pricing plan includes all of the features in Bitwarden Premium and adds up to 1 GB of cloud storage for shared items, and all of that for as little as $40 per year. All paid plans come with a 30-day refund policy.
The Teams Organization pricing plan tailors to users who wish to safely share data with co-workers and across departments. For as little as $3/month per user, subscribers get all the core features coupled with the following Bitwarden premium features:
- Unlimited users
- Unlimited sharing through collections
- API Access
- Directory Sync
- Event & Audit Logs
- User groups
- Enhanced Two-step login
- 1GB+ Encrypted File Attachments
- Bitwarden Authenticator
- Personal emergency Access
- Vault Health Reports
- Priority support
Those who wish to pump up the service can upgrade to the Enterprise Organization package that costs $5/month/user. Aside from all the core and premium features, this plan offers advanced SSO authentication, admin password reset, and enterprise policies. The prices for business plans are based on annual subscriptions, and all are refundable within 30 days from purchase.
So how does Bitwarden work? In order to answer this question, we have to look closer at the tools this password software uses to safeguard your data. These include some of the latest and most advanced security functionalities designed to prevent breaches and leaks.
Shielding passwords from bad actors requires the use of top-notch encryption software. During our review of the Bitwarden password security measures, we concluded that the software is reliable thanks in no small part to its unique two-factor authentication method. While standard 2FA normally adds two separate forms of identification to those who wish to access your vault (a password and an SMS confirmation), Bitwarden uses dedicated authentication apps.
Through these third-party apps such as Authy, Google Authenticator, or Free OTP, you can verify your identity for websites and apps that use two-step verification. The Bitwarden Authenticator will generate a six-digit Time-based One-time Password or TOTP for you to use. With this unique Bitwarden authenticator key, you don’t have to worry about your passwords or credit card details being compromised.
Instead of coming up with your own potentially easy-to-break password, you can lean on Bitwarden to create one for you. It has the ability to crank out random strings of digits, upper- and lowercase letters, and symbols, ranging from 14 to 128 characters in length.
The generator offers plenty of customization options, ensuring that all your accounts are impenetrable. The credentials are automatically saved when you find your perfect combination. In addition, the Bitwarden Password Generator can also produce multi-word passphrases that you can use to create an easy-to-remember master password.
This new feature allows users to securely send sensitive data such as passwords, billing credentials, or business documents directly to co-workers or other individuals who aren’t necessarily using Bitwarden. Giving others access to this type of data is a delicate procedure, which is why the information is sent via an encrypted link.
The feature can be used to share single files or text notes, depending on the pricing plan, and you can send fully encrypted data from any browser or desktop application. If you’re on the move, Bitwarden reviews your data and sends it directly through your mobile device.
Family and business subscribers can share files by creating an organization and inviting other members. This method allows you to give others access to your folders or your vault, but the sharing is limited to Bitwarden users. Free Organization and Family Organization users can share items with a total of two and six people, respectively, while Teams and Enterprise pricing plans don’t have limitations.
It’s worth noting that while the Bitwarden Send feature is straightforward, sending items through organizations may be more of a hassle. Still, it allows you to give your family members and other trusted individuals access to your Bitwarden vault or limit each user to specific collections.
Vault Health Reports
Bitwarden offers users insightful reports that assess the health of the vault’s security. These are intended to expose any weaknesses and identify unsecured sites and breached logins to help you reinforce your online shield.
Bitwarden provides six types of health reports: exposed passwords, reused passwords, weak passwords, unsecured websites, inactive 2FA, and data breach reports. The last one checks if your sensitive data or email addresses appear in data breaches via the Have I Been Pwned site.
There are a few rough edges, though. For starters, Bitwarden reviews available data and offers health reports only to paying customers. Free users are left to fend for themselves. The password management software doesn’t have real-time breach-monitoring and won’t inform you automatically if your data ends up on the dark web.
Bitwarden makes sure all your passwords and private information are protected with end-to-end 256-bit AES encryption. Not even the Bitwarden team can access the data in your vault; that can only be done with your master password.
But while Bitwarden takes security very seriously and adheres to the strict zero-knowledge policy, the company’s team won’t be able to restore your account if you lose or forget your master password.