Using strong, unique passwords for your accounts is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself online. But this comes with its own challenges. For example, remembering all of your passwords isn’t easy—password managers help users with that, allowing you to only have to remember master passwords instead of every single one. But for help creating those passwords, a strong, random password generator is an excellent tool.
Benefits of Password Generators
A strong password generator works to automatically generate a unique password that won’t be easily cracked. Many are free, and they save you the mental energy of coming up with a unique password each time you create new online accounts.
They also remove the temptation of using a passcode that involves personal information. Using a pet’s name, your anniversary date, or birthday makes a passcode extremely easy to crack. Use a password generator to create codes that are totally impersonal and, subsequently, more secure.
Password Generator Recommendations
Ideally, you want a strong, random password generator. The password shouldn’t be connected to your personal information at all and it should be nearly impossible to guess. Here are some password generators that work well (and for free).
Avast’s random password generator can be used as many times as needed to generate strong passcodes. It allows you to customize the number of characters you want in the password.
You can also choose what kind of characters you want in the passcode: uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters. The strongest passwords will include all of these. Select “Copy” and use the password wherever one is needed.
LastPass also has a great password manager that can store your passwords, but their password generator can be used by anyone for free. You can generate a random password, or customize one with the characters and length.
Using LastPass’s password manager will provide a built-in password generator if you don’t want to visit their site every time you create a new account, too.
Along with the same features as LastPass and Avast, like customizable length and characters, the NordPass password generator also allows you to create secure passwords without “ambiguous characters.” This includes numbers like 1, which could be mistaken for a lowercase letter L. If you easily mix up characters in your passwords, this feature is especially useful.
Creating Your Own Passwords Without a Password Generator
If you want to create your own passwords, there are a few boxes you should check off for each passcode:
- Make sure to meet the basic password requirements for the website you're creating an account for.
- Don't use any personal information in the password, like names, bank account numbers, or birthdates.
- Never use the same password twice, as it makes you much more susceptible to hacking!
- Don't use a password that's overly simple (like "password," or 1234 for a numerical code).
You can also create a passphrase and throw in some numbers and special characters. For example, for a Star Wars fan, you can take the phrase "May the Force be with you" and turn it into @MtFbWy4823, adding special characters and random numbers. This password would take two thousand years to crack.
Make sure the password is long enough too. At least 12 characters long is a good goal, and the higher up you go—14, 15, even 16 characters—the stronger your password will be.
Although it may be easier to remember a password you created yourself, password generators can still create unique passwords that are harder to crack.
Test Your Passwords
Whether you decide to create your own passwords or use a password generator, testing the strength of your passwords helps ensure that your accounts are secure. The tester tells you how long it would take to crack your password. It also provides notes for improving your password if the risk of others guessing it is high.