There is a bunch of software online, and some of it is truly unreal. So great, it feels too good to be true. Today I want to take a look at one of these pieces of software, Bitwarden. Bitwarden is an open source password manager, similar to non-free software such as LastPass or 1Password. To be frank, quite often, open source software is sub-par compared to proprietary software, but Bitwarden stands out from the crowd. In this post, I will cover what Bitwarden is, provide some brief information on it, and explain why I think it is just awesome.
Bitwarden is an open source password manager. The default for most people is to opt for the hosted version, however you can also self-host. The hosted version has a very generous free tier and provides an amazing set of features. There is a premium plan you can pay for, but the features are mostly nice to haves.
With Bitwarden, you can store all of your passwords, autofill them on applications and websites you use, and use it to generate new passwords for new accounts. You can access it on all your devices through either dedicated apps, the web or browser extensions.
All players writing a password manager have security of your passwords as table-stakes. Bitwarden is no different, your password vault is end-to-end encrypted. So, only you and your "master password" can decrypt your passwords. It also offers great security features like 2FA. To read more about their security compliance and to see their third-party audits, see this page on their website.
Free and Premium Versions
The free version, which is also what you get when you self-host, comes with an awesome set of core features, including:
- Unlimited passwords
- Unlimited devices
- Share select passwords with 1 other user
You can upgrade to a premium plan, which features:
- Store up to 1 GB of encrypted file attachments alongside your vault
- Authenticate using extra options such as a YubiKey
- Enable emergency access, which allows someone to access your vault should anything happen to you
Open Source Community
Having an open source community as strong as Bitwarden's is fantastic. It means there are plenty of folks reviewing code, submitting issues and generally working together to make the product great.
As mentioned above, you can run Bitwarden server yourself. However, doing so requires a fair bit of machine resources, which is why one of the popular ways to run Bitwarden yourself is via Vaultwarden. Vaultwarden is an unofficial Bitwarden server clone written in Rust which requires far less RAM to run, and can be run on a bare-bones Linux device (think Raspberry Pi). One of the reasons it is more light-weight is the lack of dependency on Microsoft SQL server, which is not known for being lightweight.
Years ago, I used to love LastPass as a product. But it irked me to no end how capped their free offering was (couldn't use it on mobile + desktop, what?). I did a stint of several years using KeePass, but the product was only really half the solution, you manually had to move your "vault" file between devices using a file sync service. When I discovered Bitwarden, I was blown away at the fact it was open source, free, hosted and supported all the platform and devices I needed. Nowadays, I'm a paying Bitwarden user, but I think I only needed to store one encrypted file in there, I didn't actually need any other features, but I happily pay it because it's just great open source software.
In conclusion, Bitwarden is a fantastic open-source password manager that stands out from the crowd with its amazing features and robust security measures. Whether you opt for the hosted version or self-host, Bitwarden provides an unlimited number of passwords and devices, autofills your passwords on applications and websites, and generates new passwords for your accounts. Additionally, it offers great security features such as end-to-end encryption and 2FA. With its open-source community, you can contribute to the product's development or run your own server via Vaultwarden. Therefore, if you are in need of a password manager, Bitwarden is a truly unreal choice. Try it out today!