I was going to talk about something different this week, but I felt that I needed to say my piece on this. If you use LastPass as your password management solution like me, you’ll have likely received an email or notification stating that LastPass are making changes to the free plan and these changes are far from welcomed.
When I signed up for a LastPass account back in 2017, I did so for three reasons… The first being that LastPass was a big name in the password manager market and there were few competitors, either less-known or known for the wrong reasons i.e. previous history of bad security practices. Security is a crucial component when it comes to password managers and although LastPass has had its fair share of security issues in the past, by 2017 they had cleaned up their act a bit, being audited by various security professionals and whatnot. The second reason being that LastPass was available on all my devices, my smartphone, personal computers and shared work computer, with a feature that allowed me to log out of my vault remotely in the event that I had forgotten to logout at the end of my shift (it happens). The final reason… all of this was free! I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Fast-forward to February 2021, where LastPass has just announced that they will be dropping multi-device support for users on the free plan by March. A classic case of pressure selling by a corporate company… limiting features in an attempt to get users to cough up the cash. Poor show LastPass! This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced commercial bullying, oh no, HP’s InstantInk programme started off having a free plan with a limit of 15 pages a month. Last year, HP threatened to axe this plan and force users to upgrade to the £1.99 a month plan. I was happy with the free plan and didn’t mind paying an extra £1 in the odd month where I’d print over 15 pages (I don’t print much so this is quite rare). However, HP made a U-turn on these plans when several customers made complaints and started cancelling their accounts (I was going to do the latter), only for HP to send an email a few weeks later saying they had changed their mind and the free plan was going to stay. The popular URL shortener Bit.ly did a similar thing too, only that they have removed custom domain support for new users, not existing users on their free plan.
So back to LastPass… I really hope they also change their mind about this sudden punch to the face, since I imagine many others are seeking other password manager alternatives as we speak. But I bet you’re wondering, why have they done this? Their excuse is that they are “adapting their offerings to keep up with the constantly evolving digital world”. While it can be expensive for tech companies to scale up and introduce new services, they should raise the money through better marketing, not by forcing their loyal free users to pony up the dosh. Free users can sometimes be as valuable as paid users, take for example referrals and recommendations, I used to recommend LastPass all the time. I guess times have changed.
Speaking of changes, what am I going to use now for my password manager? Well, I’ve been keeping an eye on the Google Chrome built-in password manager and while basic, it does what it says on the tin and quite well. They have certainly upped their security over the years as well. I also use Chrome on all my devices so this looks like the way forward for now. However, I heard another tech blogger mention Bitwarden, a self-hosted solution. I love tinkering with self-hosted stuff (I plan to put out more posts about this in the future) so will definitely check it out at some point.
I may put out a post about my experience with the Chrome password manager once I’ve had a few weeks to try it, we shall see.
As always though, thanks for reading if you made it this far!