Updated August 8 with new information about Keeper’s auto-capture feature. See paragraphs 4 and 5 below.
Keeper is a no-nonsense password manager that puts the security of your login credentials above all else. However, it’s lack of some automated features may limit its appeal for some.
When you sign up for Keeper, you’re prompted to create a master password and select a security question. The latter will be used, along with a verification code and—if enabled—two-factor authentication, to access your data if you forget your master password.
Next, Keeper walks you through a four-step “quick start” checklist: creating your first record, installing the browser extension, uploading your first file, and enabling two-factor authentication. As you complete each step, the checkmark next to the relevant items turns green.
Note: This review is part of our best password managers of 2017 roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.
When I initially used Keeper with the Firefox browser, it didn’t automatically capture my login credentials when I signed into a website for the first time. Rather, I had to click the gold lock icons it places in the username and password fields to create a new record. Keeper prefilled the username field with my email address and the password field with a generated 12-character password as if I was creating a new account rather than just a new Keeper record. I had to delete these and enter the correct credentials.
I later found out that Keeper does indeed automatically capture your login information when you visit a new site, but that feature hadn’t yet rolled out to the Firefox plugin. Using the the KeeperFill plugin with the Chrome browser, I was prompted to save my username and password and assign them to a folder in my vault.
Although Keeper captures your credentials on your initial visit to a website, when you return, it won’t automatically fill the login fields. Instead you have to click the lock icons to access your credentials. When the record for that site opens, you must click an arrow icon next to your username and your password to fill each field. If you’re used to password managers that autofill these fields and autolog you in, these extra steps can feel laborious, even if it is for enhanced security.
Keeper’s password manager surfaces in the password field as a dice icon any time you’re creating a new record, which you can do in the KeeperFill browser plugin or right in your vault. You can generate anywhere from eight- to 51-character passwords using a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numerals, and symbols.
Both Keeper’s web-based vault and the desktop app display your passwords in a list. You can audit your passwords—Keeper gives you a strength percentage rating and lets you know if the password has been used for more than one account. Credit cards and personal data can also be stored in your vault and autofilled into web forms when making payments.
Keeper supports password sharing, but, as an added security layer, only with other Keeper users. If you share with a non-Keeper user, they’ll get an email with a link to set up an account. It also recently added emergency access, which allows you to grant access to up to five contacts, who can log in in the event you can’t for whatever reason.
Keeper is free to use on a single device. To sync across multiple devices, you’ll need an Individual plan at $30 a year. Family plans cover up to five users for $60 a year.
Despite its bare-bones interface, Keeper offers robust password protection. However, it lacks some of the automation prized in most password managers, so it’s unlikely to compete with top tools LastPass and Dashlane. But if you’re merely looking for strong security and don’t mind being more hands-on with your password manager, Keeper won’t disappoint.