Bitwarden Password Manager 2021: Test & Experience Report

To protect their computers and accounts, users like to secure their accounts with one Password manager like Bitwarden, Lastpass or Keypass. These generate a unique and secure password for each online service, which is then encrypted and stored centrally. The protected services can be used with any browser, including Firefox or Chrome.

Bitwarden is such a protection program for the younger generation. Bitwarden is an open source software whose basic program code is openly accessible to the user. We took a closer look at the provider and analyzed whether this password manager is really worthwhile.

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    Bitwarden background

    Bitwarden is an open source Password manager, developed by 8ibit Solutions LLC. In 2016 this service was first published as a mobile application, two years later the protection software was expanded so that it can also be used on desktop computers since then.

    Users who consult a review quickly realize why this comparatively new program certainly does not need to hide from applications that have been on the market for a long time:

    • Because Bitwarden has a Cloud connection it is easily possible to synchronize passwords and all kinds of data between the computer and various mobile devices.
    • It's just as problem-free Access through the browser possible. This is ensured by a plug-in that is tailored to a large number of browsers such as Safari, Chrome or Firefox.

     

    The user interface and ease of use at Bitwarden

    The functions of the personal password center are based on Bitwarden three components distributed. Namely on the web vault, the browser extension and the desktop app:

    Web vaultDesktop appBrowser extension

    The web vault

    If a visitor is looking for special functions that he does not need regularly, he has to call up the web vault. Here he can not only import data but also view various reports on how secure his passwords are. However, you can Premium users only make use of these functions.

    Bitwarden has made the dashboard of the desktop application leaner by accommodating some important functions in the web vault. What is still missing is a shortcut, with which it is easier to switch to the web version in the application.

    The desktop app

    In the desktop application, the user not only has the option to manage his or her data records, but also create new entries. Because the premium features have been housed elsewhere, there are no payment barriers here. The dashboard is therefore extremely straightforward and does not have any unnecessary bells and whistles.

    The browser extension

    In terms of functions, the Bitwarden browser extension slightly more than comparable protection programs, wie zB Avira or North Locker. A special plus is that the user can create new data sets quickly and easily by hand. The fact that the user can open the browser extension in an external window is also extremely practical.

    • Because the slimmed-down version offers almost all the necessary features, it is often not even necessary to open the main program.

    Basically, the protection program is structured in such a way that the Operation extremely easy so that the user can fully concentrate on the actual task of the software. This is also the reason that some functions can only be used in the Web Vault, even if one or the other may find this annoying if they want to use these functions often.

    The advantage that the user can find his way around immediately and hardly encounters any insurmountable obstacles should more than outweigh that.

    The features of Bitwarden

    Bitwarden is also extremely simple in terms of functions, so that the program does not offer any sophisticated functions, but only covers the important areas related to password protection. A Password generator, with the help of which the user can create secure passwords and phrases, is of course not missing.

    • The passwords and phrases have the typical length and contain different characters.

    Under the menu item "Settings", the user has the option of setting a PIN to be determined. He can use this instead of the master password to unlock Bitwarden. The user can also change the design of the program, but the choice is somewhat limited with four themes.

     

    Password sharing

    The function of sharing passwords with Bitwarden differs somewhat from comparable programs. If a user wants to share passwords, he can create "organizations" in his web vault. This is common safesthat are used by several users. He must store data records that he would like to share with others in these organizations.

    This option is now considered a standard function in many programs, but it is in Bitwarden chargeable. Although the administrator does not have to pay anything to create an organization, it can only be used by two users. For other functions, the user pays a price of at least one US dollar per month.

     

    The autofill function

    When it comes to the regular login autofill, Bitwarden does well. All forms on the websites that were tested were correctly filled out by the extension, but this only affects logins. In the case of bank details, for example, it is necessary to copy and paste them from the safe into the correct field.

    The autosave function also has weaknesses. Actually, a small pop-up window should automatically ask whether the protection software should remember the data for the login. If a user wants to use this function, he has to tick this in the menu item "Options". Indeed the autosave function does not always work.

    If a user wants to change his password, he must proceed with the appropriate caution. If the autosave function proves to be unreliable, the user must manually copy his passwords into the corresponding data record so that he does not lose them. Other password managers prove to be better at this feature.

    Bitwarden covers all important functions, but it has to pay extra for some of them. This also applies if a user has a premium subscription. And the automatic saving leaves a lot to be desired, because this is one of the most important features of a password manager.

     

    security features

    The various security features are also not available for free at Bitwarden, so you have to use these functions premium customers only Access. For example, they receive reports of passwords that have been reused, are weak or compromised.

    • Exclusively the Data theft report is available free of charge.

     

    Bitwarden security

    The data is encrypted by the software using AES 356-bit standard. This is considered absolutely safe. Bitwarden works on the principle of zero knowledge. That means: The master password is known only to the user himself, the program is also denied access to it.

    Bitwarden also owns a Two-factor authentication. If you use the free version, you can verify your login via email or use apps like Authy or Google Authenticator. Premium customers have more options. This also includes Duo Security and Yubikey.

    Bitwarden was externally audited by Cure2018 in terms of security at the end of 53. No significant hazards were observed. In any case, the fact that the provider is willing to undergo such an audit shows that he has the Takes the privacy and security of its customers extremely seriously.

     

    The mobile use of Bitwarden

    The mobile version of the program is similar to the desktop version very strong. All collections, folders and records are displayed in the main window. In the lower area of ​​the screen there is a menu via which the user can switch to the settings or to the password generator.

    The software does not have an integrated browser. Instead, the data sets open in the browser that the user regularly uses. The reliability of the However, the autofill function is not always guaranteed here, which was not the case in other apps.

    Bitwarden can also be used so that the user does not have to constantly enter the master password by fingerprint or PIN to unlock. Despite the weaknesses in the autofill function, the Bitwarden app basically leaves nothing to be desired for mobile use.

     

    How is Bitwarden set up?

    Bitwarden is available for numerous different platforms:

    Step 1: Users who want to download Bitwarden in German have to do so for the Download select the correct install file in the first step.

    Step 2: A free account You can then create it on the provider's website or alternatively do this in the desktop client. For this, the user defines a master password, which serves as a key to all of his other passwords.

    As soon as the user has entered the master password, the program checks the security level of the password. If you are afraid of forgetting your master password, you can also insert a note on the correct password here.

    Step 3: As soon as the user has registered, he will be sent to the Dashboard forwarded.

    This is classically organized, namely according to the three-column structure: In the left column is the main menu with folders, data record types and shortcuts. In addition to the search function, the middle column also contains the various data record entries. Further information on the entries that the user selects can be viewed in a window. If the user wants to create a new entry, all he has to do is click the plus sign.

    • So the interface is conceivable kept simple, so that the user can find his way around there quickly and does not have to search long for certain functions.
    Only the Importing is a little tricky solved: Because importing data is only possible in the web vault, i.e. in the browser version. However, for example, LastPass .csv files can be imported very well in the test. Both the passwords and the user names have been assigned to the correct fields. Bitwarden also takes over the categories defined in LastPass as folders in the main menu.

    Since there is no automatic installation of the browser extension, the user has to add it manually, which he did in a very short time. With this extension, too, Bitwarden is based on tried-and-tested concepts so that it can be used as a small version of the desktop app can be viewed.

    However, Bitwarden has a little more features than other programs. Here, too, the user can add new entries and he has access to his entire vault. Another small peculiarity is that the user can use the Extension with a click in a separate window can open.

    • Bitwarden is a relatively new password manager, but the programmers have based themselves on established programs in all important points. All applications can be operated intuitively and the functions are self-explanatory so that even newcomers can quickly find their way around.

     

    The support at Bitwarden

    The support is at Bitwarden not in German. However, the most important questions are answered by the Help Center in an FAQ. There is also a forum in which users can ask individual questions. If a user wants to get in direct contact with the support team, he can do so by email. However, this provider does not have a live chat or ticket system.

    For this, the mails with questions from the user answered extremely quickly, in the best case, even on the same day.

     

    Bitwarden's price

    This program is compared to other protection programs extremely cheap. The premium version, with which there is additional data storage as well as security features and better support, costs less per year than many other programs per month.

    You can book Sharing functions would like to use, however, you have to pay every month. Individuals and companies can buy the program at different rates.

     

    Those are the pros and cons of Bitwarden

    • The user-friendly applications are very well thought out.
    • The security is good, which is also confirmed by external audits.
    • The support provides valuable assistance.
    • The price is low.
    • the autofill performance is disappointing
    • the user has to pay for some basic features

     

    The conclusion to Bitwarden

    Some programs are so reliable and good that any errors are all the more obvious. At Bitwarden, this applies in particular to the Reliability for autosave and autofill. These are far removed from the otherwise excellent offer of the program.

    • Experience has shown that a big plus is that Bitwarden is fast and secure and serve yourself intuitively.
    • The small deficits, however, ensure that the users Extra steps have to do, which not only means more effort, but also causes unnecessary frustration in the long run.

    Because Bitwarden is still a young program, the weaknesses that can currently be identified can be eliminated as soon as new versions appear. Except for these small flaws Bitwarden fully convinces - especially since the price is extremely cheap.

    If you still want to fall back on a sophisticated and extensive password management program, you can use the application LastPass well advised. With the free version, almost all aspects of a password manager are fulfilled, whoever Test the premium version for one month without obligation can do this and convince yourself of the quality of LastPass.

     Best password manager 
    LastPass logo
    • Extensive functions: Password generator, emergency access, security tests, multi-factor authentication and much more.
    • High usability: Fast setup & autofill function
    • High security measures: AES-256 encryption standard
    • Top price-performance ratio: Comprehensive free version & very affordable premium version

    About Kevin Seeberger

    Kevin Seeberger is a graduate economist with a focus on e-commerce & marketing. He takes care of various topics related to computer security, cryptocurrencies and reviews.