Expensive But Crammed Full of Features
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If you’re looking for a password management tool to keep all of your online accounts secure, you have a lot of options available to you. Sure, free applications from Apple, Microsoft, and Google provide you with the bare essentials. But if you want the best security possible, you’re going to have to go to a premium password manager.
As one of the most popular password managers on the market, Dashlane has a lot to live up to. This service hasn’t been around as long as many of its competitors. However, it’s managed to outpace them in terms of features and subscriber numbers.
But does Dashlane live up to its reputation? And is it worth its hefty annual fee? Check out our Dashlane review to find out for yourself!
Compared to some other password management tools, Dashlane is still very new. The original concept of Dashlane was thought up by Bernard Liautaud, who still serves on the company’s board. Liautaud, along with several cofounders, developed Dashlane Inc. in 2012. Dashlane Inc.
Despite being less than a decade old, Dashlane has gone through some major changes. Back when it first launched, the software was very simple. It simply encrypted passwords and walled them behind a master password. As Dashlane evolved, the developers began adding a ton of extra features.
Eventually, Dashlane moved to a freemium business model, which it continues today. We’ll go over the differences between the free and paid versions later! The service is available with an ongoing subscription.
Dashlane’s growth isn’t over just yet. Currently based out of New York, the company continues to raise investment funds as it grows. It’s considered to be one of the fastest-growing companies in North America. Not bad for a password manager!
At its core, Dashlane is a simple and intuitive password management tool. It performs the same functions as most other applications out there. It saves all of your account credentials, encrypts them on a secured server, and provides access with one master password.
Of course, there are many reasons why Dashlane has become so popular with safety-focused Internet users. Dashlane does things a bit differently and offers a slew of features that you might not find with some of the brand’s competitors. Here are just some of the features worth mentioning.
One-Click Password Changer
Dashlane has a couple of powerful features that can do a lot to make your online accounts secure. This includes the Password Analysis feature and the Password Changer.
Let’s face it: trying to come up with unique passwords for all of your accounts is nearly impossible. In our tech-heavy world, most people use the Internet for everything! Chances are, you have dedicated accounts for every bank, credit card, utility provider, and shopping site that you use. That’s not even including things like mobile apps, cloud accounts, and more.
It’s not uncommon to use similar or weak passwords across all of those accounts. While that might make things easier to remember, it makes you a sitting duck! All it takes is one data breach to put all of your accounts in danger.
Dashlane’s Password Analysis tool lets you see how secure all of your accounts are from one place. It’ll instantly check password health, find weak passwords, and identify duplicates that you may have. The intuitive Dashlane app will alert you to all of these issues so that you can take action.
The Password Changer makes quick work of updating all of your accounts. With one simple click, you can improve your password on over 300 different sites. This feature won’t work on all sites. It’s only compatible with certain sites. However, Dashlane is constantly adding new sites to this list, making it much easier to get secure. Currently, you’ll find many popular sites like Reddit, WebMD, and more.
Virtual Private Network
This is a feature that’s included in paid premium plans. It’s not a necessity, but it makes a lot of sense to include it.
A Virtual Private Network, also known as a VPN for short, is a secure way to browse the Internet. Rather than sending data across standard lines of communication, it’s sent through a VPN first. Think of it as a secure tunnel. Like the password database, this VPN is encrypted from end to end.
This means that no one will be able to intercept your traffic. Even when it comes out the other end of the tunnel, your identity and personal information are virtually wiped! Even your identifying IP address is different. Because your data is traveling through the VPN, your traffic takes on the unique IP address of the VPN.
This provides a couple of perks. First, it’s ultra-secure. No one can use sneaky tricks to find out where you’re located. They can’t figure out your true identity either. Another big perk is that you can access content that’s normally locked behind geographical data. For example, you could set your VPN to say you’re coming from Canada to view a streaming service’s Canadian library!
Now, Dashlane isn’t the only company to offer a VPN service. But it’s a nice perk worth considering. Currently, Dashlane works with VPN provider AnchorFree. Depending on how you use the VPN, it could slow down your connection speeds. Your data is going through an added layer of protection after all. However, using the VPN is completely optional.
Emergency Contacts Feature
Here’s a pretty unique feature that most people don’t think they’ll need until they actually do! Think about what would happen if you were incapacitated and unable to provide access to your accounts in an emergency. With the ultra-secure nature of password management tools, you would be out of luck.
Dashlane aims to address this issue with the Emergency Contact feature. Basically, you can designate emergency contacts. Just add a person’s information on your dashboard. Provide an email address and designate a waiting period. This can be as short as 24 hours. You can also forgo the waiting period altogether for those that you really trust.
In the event of an emergency, those contacts can request access to your account. Dashlane will then send you an email to verify it. If you don’t respond to that email within the designated waiting period, Dashlane will let that person into your account.
It’s a good feature that can benefit you in the worst-case scenario. It provides a lot of peace of mind and covers bases that most people don’t even consider. The best part is that this is included in both free and paid plans.
Dark Web Monitoring
It seems like huge data breaches are always hitting the news. Major companies have had security breaches in the last few years. Hackers and digital thieves are getting more cunning, so you can never guarantee that your information is safe. Even giant tech companies have had problems!
What happens if you have an account with one of those companies? Your account information could end up in the wrong hands. A lot of times, your account credentials, personal information, and even banking information could end up on the dark web. This opens up a can of worms when it comes to identity theft risks.
Dashlane partners with SpyCloud, which is a dark web monitoring service. The dark web is a place for seedy individuals to buy and sell personal information. It’s not accessible on standard browsers, not that you would want to dive into the dark web anyways.
With the dark web monitoring feature, SpyCloud does all of that for you. It’ll search for your contact information, financial data, and social security number. If something is found on the dark web, you’ll receive an alert immediately. With issues like identity theft, time is of the essence. Having that alert quickly lets you take action to avoid bigger headaches in the future.
With a Dashlane Premium Plus plan, which we’ll go over later, Dashlane includes an Identity Dashboard. This feature includes more in-depth monitoring. It’ll monitor your credit score with TransUnion and notify you of any changes. It’s another tool that can help you spot potential identity theft issues.
Everyone has files that they need to keep safe. Dashlane makes it easy to keep those files encrypted and out of harm’s way. Accounts come with 1 GB of encrypted storage. This isn’t a ton of space, but it’s comparable to other password managers.
Currently, Dashlane does have a limit to file sizes. They must be 50 MB or less. This rules out data-heavy files. But, it’s perfect for secured notes. Dashlane even has a dedicated receipt system so that you can easily keep track of your expenses for tax time.
The most important part of any password management tool is encryption. Your account details can be stored locally or on the cloud with Dashlane. Either way, the encryption protocol used will determine how safe it is.
Dashlane uses 256-bit AES protection. AES-256 is the same encryption protocol used by the military and government officials! Basically, the data is scrambled to prevent hacking. Even if a hacker were able to get ahold of that data, it’d be nothing more than a mess of bits. To unlock it, they’d need the encryption tool. With 256-bit encryption, data is locked on both ends. Thus, it’s very safe.
Now that you know more about some of the unique features Dashlane offers, what about its core features? How does Dashlane stack up against competitors like LastPass and 1Password? To help you get some insight into what Dashlane has to offer, here are some of the things that the service does well.
A zero-knowledge protocol is what you should be looking for if you want the most security possible. It’s fine to save your information on encrypted networks because it keeps that information out of prying eyes. But what if Dashlane’s own security system was breached. If they have access to your master key, hackers could theoretically use it to see everything else.
With a zero-knowledge protocol, that’s not possible. You see, Dashlane doesn’t even keep your master password on file. They have no knowledge of what you use to access your password database. It’s a “trust no one” approach that benefits everyone.
It’s not enough to just have one master password. What if someone found out that password? Again, you have to think about all the possible issues that could come up when you’re talking about online security! Your master password is the key to access your entire database, so keeping it secure is a must.
Dashlane utilizes two-factor authentication to verify your identity. It’s an added layer of protection that could make a world of difference. When you log in to a new device for the first time, Dashlane will authenticate your account using a variety of different methods.
The easiest is simply sending a code to your email or phone. This is something that many websites have. You might have experienced this security method with your bank or utility provider.
The cool thing about Dashlane is that you have several ways to perform two-factor authentication. The service integrates with several third-party applications. You could use Google Authenticator, Authy, or even FreeOTP. If you’re using Dashlane on your smartphone, you can even use a biometric fingerprint scanner or facial recognition camera.
For paid plans, you can use a couple of other methods. Two-factor authentication works with Yubikey, which is a physical USB authentication device.
Wide Device and Browser Compatibility
No Dashlane review is complete without going over compatibility. These days, most people use multiple devices to access the web. You might have a dedicated desktop at home, a separate laptop for work, and mobile devices for browsing on the go. When you choose a password manager, it’s important to have access to the service across all devices.
Dashlane is available for Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, and iOS. With these platforms, you can download a dedicated application to take control of your passwords. The service syncs passwords across all of your devices. So once you have the applications installed, gaining access is a breeze.
Dashlane also works with several browsers through extensions. With extensions, you can use the service without a dedicated application. That’s perfect if you’re running a unique operating system that’s not supported by Dashlane.
Currently, Dashlane is compatible with the following browsers:
User-Friendly Security Dashboard
Once you sign up for Dashlane, whether it’s a free plan or a paid one, you can download and install the applications. For both computer and mobile devices, the dashboard is very well-designed. It’s easy to navigate and pretty self-explanatory. This is a huge plus. When you’re dealing with things like encrypting and multi-device syncing, the technical aspects can get confusing very quickly.
The desktop app is sleek and well laid-out. You can find the various functions of the service through the menus on the sidebar. There are menus to control your password vaults, your emergency contacts, and more. You can also access the security analysis tools or perform a quick search to find the setting you’re looking for.
Once you download the app, the dashboard will guide you through the setup process. This includes establishing your passwords, downloading browser extensions, and more.
The mobile app isn’t too shabby either. It has all of the functionality you would need. There’s also a couple of extra security measures built right in. For example, you can prevent the screenshot functionality of your phone. This is completely optional, but it’s turned on by default for good measure.
Easy Sharing Abilities
If you need to share account credentials with others, you can do so with Dashlane. This is good for families that share accounts or team members that need to collaborate with others.
When you share access, you’re able to designate which accounts are open and which aren’t. Dashlane lets you have full control over your security needs, which is a huge plus.
While other password managers reserve sharing capabilities to pricier plans, that’s not the case with Dashlane. You can share five password accounts on the free plan. With a paid plan, you can share as many as you need.
Having trouble coming up with a good password? Dashlane has you covered. The built-in password generator is very useful. It goes above and beyond what most people need.
You see, the biggest issue that people have when it comes to online security is choosing an appropriate password that’s difficult to crack. We’ve all seen those security gauges that websites implement. They tell you how strong the password is. In most cases, it’s difficult to create a secure password without implementing a ton of random characters that you won’t remember.
Dashlane creates those random passwords for you. Because Dashlane stores all of your passwords for you, there’s no need to remember what your individual account passwords are. Thus, they can be as random and difficult as you need! This is a huge perk because it allows you to create strong passwords for every account.
Not only that, but you have the ability to change those passwords frequently. Most websites recommend this. However, most people don’t even attempt it because of the hassle involved with coming up with new passwords every month. With the password generator, it’s as easy as a few clicks.
Another great feature is autofill. Not only does Dashlane automatically fill in your password and login credentials, but it can also take care of forms. Within the dashboard, you can save things like contact information, credit card numbers, addresses, and more.
Instead of having to fill all of that stuff manually on online forms, let Dashlane do it for you. Just recall the information and the application will take care of the rest.
Great Customer Support
Customer support is something that many people overlook when choosing a password manager. What if you have issues logging into your database. Without a team to contact, you would have to wait hours or days to get things fixed.
Dashlane has a pretty solid support infrastructure. The team is quite knowledgeable and will answer your questions quickly. There are many ways to contact the support staff.
Email support is available seven days a week. Dashlane also has specialists who are fluent in English, French, and German. If you need assistance in the latter languages, those team members are only available Monday through Friday.
Dashlane also has live chat support. Only a few password management companies (Keeper and RoboForm) offer live chat. This option is available Monday through Friday from 9AM to 6PM. Currently, only English-language specialists are available for live chat.
You can also contact the support team through Twitter.
If you’d rather troubleshoot on your own, Dashlane has a decent knowledge base. There, you’ll find frequently asked questions in English, German, Spanish, and French.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a password management tool that does it all. Dashlane is no exception. While the service has a lot to offer, there are some areas in which Dashlane can improve. Here are some disadvantages of the service you might want to consider.
High Price Tag
Dashlane does come with a higher price tag compared to other tools and services. Of course, you have a free plan that you can try out first. There are no time limitations for the free plan, so you could stick with that for years.
However, only the paid plans come with some of those more robust features. With a ton of extra features comes a higher price tag. We’ll get into the individual plan pricing in a bit. But for now, know that you will have to spend a good chunk of change every year to take advantage of the service.
No Published Audit Results
Dashlane states that the company’s architecture is audited regularly. However, that’s where the transparency ends. There are no published results for these audits. The company doesn’t even disclose which auditors are used. Are they in-house auditors or unbiased third-party auditors. There’s no information about that published!
You may find information about independent studies performed by security groups. But none of those have any affiliation with the Dashlane company. Thus, there’s no way to tell if those groups had full access to Dashlane’s security infrastructure.
This might not be a huge deal-breaker for most people. However, those that prioritize anonymity and online security may not like Dashlane’s lack of transparency in this area.
Here’s another area that could concern those worried about security. Dashlane has a zero-knowledge protocol, which is a huge plus when it comes to security. No one has access to your master password. But, there are some terms in the fine print that are a bit questionable.
On the terms of service agreement, Dashlane states that the company owns usage statistics and activity logs. None of that information includes personal data that could identify you. But, there’s no clarification about what services are included in that stipulation. Is it for the password storage or does it also include the VPN?
Dashlane also states that nothing in the terms of service limits their rights to cooperate with authorities. Privacy laws in the United States, where Dashlane is based, are a bit of a sour topic for those concerned with privacy. By law, it’s perfectly legal for Dashlane to provide any information they have about you voluntarily.
Plans and Pricing
Dashlane offers several plans. Each one comes with a set of features that are catered to different needs. Thus, it’s easy to find a suitable plan that fits within your budget. We’ll go over the free plan in a bit. For now, let’s look at the paid plans.
Individual Premium Plan
Price: $3.33 per month, billed annually at $39.99
With the Premium Plan for individuals, you’re getting all of the core features. This includes all of the standard encryption technology and safety features. You’re also getting Wi-Fi protection with the VPN, unlimited passwords, and unlimited devices.
Individual Premium Plus Plan
Price: $9.99 per month, billed annually at $119.99
This plan comes with everything from the Premium Plan. However, you’re also getting some high-quality extras. It includes credit monitoring, identity theft insurance, and identity restoration support if something should go awry.
Premium Family Plan
Price: $4.99 per month, billed annually at $59.99
With the family plan, you’re getting five individual private accounts under one membership. You can create different password vaults to control sharing. Plus, there’s a special family dashboard to control billing and security parameters.
Premium Plus Family Plan
Price: $14.99 per month, billed annually at $179.99
Like the individual Premium Plus plan, you’re getting credit monitoring, identity theft insurance, and identity theft support. However, this coverage extends over all five family accounts.
Price: $4.00 per month for each user, billed annually based on user count
This plan is specifically catered to businesses that need some extra security. It includes all of the features in the individual premium plans. However, it does not include VPN use.
With a business plan, there’s also an Admin console. It provides greater control over the individual accounts. You can manage sharing, create smart spaces for work, add additional authentication measures, and more.
What Does the Free Version of Dashlane Include?
For most password managers, free plans are pretty limited. Dashlane limits feature on the free version as well. For example, you have password limitations and can only use the application on one device. But, the free option is far more capable than some other free password managers out there. You’re getting a lot of functionality without having to pay a dime!
These plans include:
Storage for 50 passwords
Form & payment autofill
Ability to share five passwords
Basic two-factor authentication
Emergency contact feature
Storage for secure notes
Custom security alerts
The free plan does come with a 30-day free trial for the Dashlane premium plan as well. But, there is no obligation to upgrade. You can stick with the free plan if it fits your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Dashlane
Where is data stored at Dashlane?
Dashlane gives you a couple of options. You can store your passwords locally on your device. In this case, Dashlane would use the cloud only for authentication purposes. Remember, they have a zero-knowledge protocol, so your master password isn’t stored on the cloud at all.
Alternatively, you can choose to store your password database with Dashlane. The company uses Amazon Web Services as its cloud infrastructure, which is known for its safety and monitoring.
Can passwords sync across devices?
Whether you choose to store passwords locally or on the cloud, you can sync that data across your devices. This is completely optional and can be changed in the settings on the dashboard.
What if I forget my master password?
Because Dashlane doesn’t store your master password anywhere on its servers, you have to take measures to remember it. Dashlane can’t restore your account. If you’re on an Android phone or iPhone and have the feature enabled, you can use biometrics to reset your master password.
Your other option is to set up emergency contacts who will be able to access your account in the event you forget your master password.
Aside from those two options, you’re out of luck! If you forget your master password and don’t have those measures in place, your only choice would be to reset your account.
Does Dashlane support multiple users?
For business and family plans, you can have multiple users under one account. The family plans allow for five individual accounts with one membership.
That said, there is password sharing among accounts. Even free plans let you share five passwords.
Is there a free version of Dashlane?
Dashlane does have a free plan option. It’s limited to a single device and can only store 50 passwords. However, it does include some good features like the password generator, secure note storage, emergency contacts list, and more.
All in all, Dashlane is a feature-rich password manager with a lot to offer. It’s not hard to see why it’s considered to be one of the best password managers available. Even with a free plan, you’re getting a ton of functionality. Upgrade to the Premium or Premium Plus plan and you’re getting tools that take your online security to a new level.
With things like dark web monitoring, VPN access, and robust encryption techniques, you can rest easy knowing that your accounts are safe from prying eyes.