- Simple, straightforward downloadable manager
- Data sync between devices
- Flawless data import
- Password changer
- Built-in VPN
- Advanced iOS/Android app
- Limited storage in free version
- Manual import from other password managers
- Quite expensive
Responsible internet users know that using multiple strong passwords is the best way to protect yourself on the internet; however, keeping all those passwords in your head or even written down on paper or in a document isn’t exactly convenient. Thankfully password managers come to the rescue, including Dashlane, which can be used for free but also bundles in a number of extras for an insignificant monthly fee. Dashlane is a multi-device program with which you can securely store all your passwords in bank-level encrypted cloud storage or locally on the device the program is installed on. Dashlane also sports some unique features like the password changer, a password generator, a password strength evaluation tool, secure data sharing, and syncing – all of which help achieve complete protection when surfing the web. And we haven’t even mentioned the stellar mobile app, the various authentication methods, continuous security monitoring, and the unlimited data and password storage…
Video Introduction to Dashlane
The browser version of Dashlane’s password manager is limited to providing access to the most necessary information in a more or less editable format. Its complete capabilities and full potential are unlocked in the downloadable desktop app available for various platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chromebook.
Once the simple and straightforward program is installed and the master password is provided, it instantly taps into previously installed browsers to automatically collect existing credentials and save any necessary data when creating a new account. Additionally, the process can be repeated any time, with the addition of manually importing CSV files and data from five other password managers (including LastPass and 1Password).
When it comes to logging into websites, however, the program offers two choices: either an autofill option that displays Dashlane’s logo in the fields, or a toggle-able auto-login feature that can be selected for certain – or even all – websites saved on the program. And as a nice addition, all account credentials can be exported to Dashlane’s archive or a strictly read-only Excel/CSV file, too.
Dashlane has three very distinct categories: the first is “Security” where the health of passwords can be checked as well as see whether any of your accounts have been involved in a security breach. “Contacts”, as you might expect, is where encrypted passwords are shared with others – also useful in case of emergencies.
Then there is the primary category – “Vault” – where personal data, passwords, ID cards, credit cards, PayPal account information, and online receipts are created and kept. Quite interestingly, this vault is available for free users but is limited to storing only 50 credentials in total. Paid subscribers, on the other hand, will enjoy an unlimited vault alongside the automated syncing of their data between devices. Syncing manually without the involvement of Dashlane’s cloud service is possible too, though this is the only option for free users.
Any data in the vault can be searched and sorted either alphabetically or according to various categories, which is especially helpful when looking to maintain the password collection. By double-clicking on an entry within this section, the password can be quickly shared, edited, its associated website opened, or even have its password history displayed. Dashlane helpfully places visual warnings on saved credential that lack either a username or an email address associated with the data in question.
For a somewhat detailed password analysis, though, you need to visit the “Identity Dashboard” tab where the software displays the health score of passwords as well as the number of compromised, reused, and weak logins. These credentials are also listed under the “Password Health” section, each having a link to the corresponding website where they can be duly replaced and then resaved to Dashlane.
Thankfully, this tedious manual process doesn’t have to performed all the time as the software is also equipped with the super quick and effective password changer, which automatically updates your password for selected websites without having to actually visit them. Not all websites and online services currently support functionalities like Dashlane’s password changer, though the share of websites supporting this is growing rapidly.
Apps and Browser Extensions
With the exception of Opera, Dashlane seamlessly integrates into all major web browsers, including third-party programs like Chrome and Firefox or default browsers like Internet Explorer, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. It’s worth adding, though, that the Edge extension is independent from the desktop app, meaning that it’s able to give access to the browser version of Dashlane without the need to launch the desktop app.
However, in order to properly save and store login information, Dashlane always requires the installation of a browser extension. This add-on, which is the same for all browsers, only displays the most necessary data from your account’s “Password Manager” tab: web pages with account credentials, the option to save login information from the site you are on, and the password generator. Additionally, it is possible to access the password changer, the security dashboard, your password history, and the help center, too.
Although the iOS and Android-compatible app doesn’t serve as an authenticator, it is still something to celebrate. It includes everything that the desktop software has, serves as an authentication tool to register Dashlane on other devices and allows users to log into the app with a PIN number or even a fingerprint. The application even provides the option to automatically log into the phone’s compatible apps, plus it has its own in-built web browser that can replace the default one and automatically save login credentials to Dashlane’s cloud storage. To top it all, Dashlane’s mobile version is incredibly secure, too: not only can it be locked as already discussed – and with the master password, of course – but by default it also prevents others from taking screenshots while the app is in use.
Using Dashlane for the first time is a piece of cake. The software automatically starts downloading and installing to the default program folder on your computer, after which a valid email address and a master password is all that are required to start importing various account credentials from both your browser and various devices. Thankfully the import is fully automated when the desktop software or app is first launched, but even after the first batch of passwords are safely stored adding new ones into the software remains pretty simple, too.
This is courtesy of a number of smart tools: the Dashlane add-on that automatically integrates into your browser; the mobile app that basically provides almost as much as the desktop version; and the app’s own browser that stores account credentials without any major intervention from the user.
Admittedly the setup process is far from ideal since Dashlane will only work flawlessly with web browsers and its own tools. This means that importing data from the five other password managers can cause a few problems: since directly importing is not supported, passwords need to be exported from your previous password manager first and then be imported into Dashlane. As for files not created by a password manager, Dashlane can only import login credentials when they’re in a generic CSV format – which is odd considering that the program is capable of exporting your passwords as a simple Excel file too.
Security and Privacy
Dashlane takes user security and privacy very seriously, which is proven by several facts – primary among them being the company’s U.S. patent for its extra safe security architecture. The most important security feature – aside from storing everything in the cloud – is the AES-256 bank-level encryption that Dashlane uses, with which it is ensured that your master password – which, interestingly, can be replaced by your Windows Hello PIN code – and any passwords gathered from other sites are only known and can be modified by you and nobody else. In fact, the only way for others to see your passwords is if you choose to share them via the sharing feature that further encrypts each of your account credentials before sending them out to the designated person.
Dashlane evaluates each of your passwords and warns of any that have to be replaced by a stronger password either manually or via the software’s own tools, including the password generator and the password changer. Additionally, the program and the app can only be accessed from devices that are authenticated, while the two-step authentication adds an extra level of security by requiring the master password and either a PIN code sent by email or the use of a secondary authenticator (Google Authenticator or U2F YubiKeys). And as a couple of cherries on the top, Dashlane comes with a built-in VPN to protect users from unsafe Wi-Fi networks and continuously monitors each and every site where passwords have been saved, immediately presenting a warning if those websites have been compromised or should your passwords end up leaked onto the dark web.
While Dashlane does provide many useful features to securely store your passwords, this wide range of functions also comes with an equally high cost for both its personal and business customers. Admittedly, the free forever version contains core features like security monitoring and alerts, the password generator, and so on, but upgrading to the pay-only Premium subscription comes with numerous worthwhile benefits. In addition to the obvious such as extras like password sharing, syncing on multiple devices, and online backup or less common additions like the built-in VPN and two-step authentication, the biggest reason for Dashlane Premium being a worthy upgrade is simply the unlimited storage of password and data that it comes with.
Unfortunately, Dashlane Premium is a bit pricey, costing $39.99 per year ($3.33 per month). Thankfully, Dashlane provides a 30-day money-back guarantee on the premium version as well as a $20 coupon reward as part of its refer a friend promotion. There is also a business edition, the appropriately named Dashlane Business that costs $4 per month per user and provides such extras as an admin console, unlimited password sharing, and a customer success manager if the number of employees exceeds 50.
Although it’s not a 24/7 service and it lacks phone contact, Dashlane’s customer support is pretty decent – and, as a nice extra, is available in French and Spanish as well. Aside from the live chat, the main source of support is a highly detailed FAQ where all information regarding the use of the software and app can be found. Additionally, customers can visit the company’s YouTube channel for tutorials, read online security and company related articles on the blog or contact the staff directly via Dashlane’s regularly updated Twitter account. As for the email support (via an inquiry form), it is mostly reserved for Premium subscribers – since they will receive quicker responses than those who don’t pay.
Dashlane is one of the best password managers on the market and after our thorough testing there can be no doubts about that. Although there are some criticisms – such as the free version being quite limited and the importing of passwords being far from perfect – Dashlane still manages to easily compensate for these mistakes with plenty of advantages.
With the simple and straightforward desktop client all of your passwords can be managed with ease across multiple platforms or even have new ones generated quickly and securely for yourself. The bank-level encryption ensures strong protection for all data entered into Dashlane’s cloud storage, while the advanced application further secures your passwords with its various authentication features. Additionally, there is the unique password changer feature that automatically changes weak passwords to secure ones on selected sites. Though Dashlane is not the most affordable solution, it is still a convenient means for full-on password protection and is well worth the price.