What Is a Random Password Generator and Why Should You Use One?

It’s important to create strong passwords, and using a random password generator is a simple way to increase digital security.
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From online banking to social media, email, and online shopping, the internet streamlines much of our everyday lives. But every site or profile gives us another password to remember. And when it comes to online security, your information is only as safe as your password.

Strong passwords protect your accounts from unauthorized access and keep your sensitive information private. The more complex your password, the more protected it is against cybercriminals and hackers. The downside is that complex passwords are difficult to remember.

So how can you enhance your online privacy, safeguard your information, and help protect yourself from identity theft? By using a verified password manager solution to generate, store, and secure your random passwords.

In this article
What is a random password generator and why does it matter?
How to store and manage your strong passwords
The best password managers with random password generators
What does a strong password protect against?
Password security best practices
FAQs
Bottom line: R@nd0m 1s b3st

What is a random password generator and why does it matter?

Random password generators are software programs that instantly create strong passwords for any account you choose. They use strings of random letters, numbers, and characters to create passwords that are less likely to be hacked than manually created ones. You can get a free random password generator (like NordPass, which we review later) or buy a password manager solution, which offers a random password generator feature.

According to the National Cybersecurity Alliance, cybercriminals hack into accounts using common words and phrases. Randomly generated passwords lack a recognizable pattern, therefore increasing the likelihood that your digital data stays safe behind your password.

The challenge of creating strong passwords

We’ve all been there before. You’ve created a new account, and now it’s time to set up your password. Nowadays, nearly every platform requests a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Worried about remembering complex passwords for multiple accounts, you input your tried and true password or a slight deviation of your long-standing password.

Creating all your passwords manually leaves you with exposed personally identifiable information or reused passwords that are easier to crack, making you more susceptible to cybercriminals and hackers. Random password generators help you create stronger passwords, whereas password managers can also help you remember complex passwords for multiple sites.

How to use a random password generator

Using a generator to create strong and secure passwords is simple. To use a free random password generator tool like NordPass, simply input the password requirements and let the software create a unique, strong password that you can then use for your online accounts.

A screenshot of the NordPass free random password generator customization specs.

With NordPass’s free random password generator, you can describe any requirements specified by the platform. Set the desired password length, and indicate uppercase, lowercase, digits, symbols, and ambiguous characters. The password generator will then generate secure passwords.

Interested in using a passphrase instead of a secure password generator? Try Passphrase. With one step above the security of a randomly generated password, passphrases are complex strings of words, including spaces, to further enhance security. Using a passphrase generator is just as simple as using a random password generator. Simply input the specifications you’re looking for (a 4-word, 5-word, or 12-word passphrase with spaces) and let the software run.

Free vs. premium random password generators
Feature NordPass Free Password Generator

NordPass Premium Password Generator

Password length 8-60 characters 8-60 characters
Character types Uppercase, lowercase, digits, symbols, ambiguous characters Uppercase, lowercase, digits, symbols, ambiguous characters
Customization
One-time password (OTP) generation
Passphrase generation
Encryption strength XChaCha20 XChaCha20
Integration with password managers
Advanced security
User interface Easy Easy
Support and updates
Compatibility Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Safari, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, Safari, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Ad-free

11 key features of random password generators

When considering the features and amenities of a password generator, it’s important to look for key distinctions such as password length, character types, customization options, enhanced security features, and encryption.

Remember, premium random password generators come as part of a paid password manager package and not as stand-alone products.

Here are some things to consider when determining which strong password generator is best for you.

1. Password length

The password length determines the number of characters in the generated password. Free generators often provide a standard range of password lengths with some limitations. Premium generators offer more flexibility, allowing you to choose a broader range of password lengths, including longer and more complex options.

2. Character types

Character types specify the characters included in the password, such as uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Free generators typically include basic character types (uppercase, lowercase, numbers, special characters). Premium generators offer more advanced character type options and customization, allowing you to specify which characters should be included.

3. Customization options

With customization options, you can implement password parameters based on specific requirements or restrictions of one account. Free generators have limited customization options with basic parameters for password creation. Premium generators provide extensive customization, allowing you to define specific password strength requirements, such as excluding certain characters or patterns.

4. One-time password (OTP) generation

One-time password (OTP) generation provides the ability to generate temporary passwords for added security. Free generators rarely offer this feature in free versions. Premium generators often include the ability to generate one-time passwords for enhanced security, especially for multi-factor authentication.

5. Passphrase generation

Passphrase generators create passwords based on memorable phrases or combinations of words for increased usability. Free generators may offer limited access to passphrase generation, though this feature is typically absent in free versions. Premium generators are more likely to include passphrase generation, allowing you to create passwords based on memorable phrases.

6. Encryption strength

Encryption strength specifies the level of encryption used to secure generated passwords. Free generators utilize standard encryption methods. Premium generators tend to invest in robust encryption algorithms, providing higher security.

7. Advanced security features

Advanced security features include additional security measures, such as protection against various types of attacks or secure transmission of passwords. Free generators only have basic security features to protect against common threats. Premium generators may include advanced security measures, such as protection against sophisticated attacks like brute force or advanced encryption protocols.

8. User interface

The user interface describes the design and layout of the application, emphasizing ease of use. Free generators typically have a simple, user-friendly interface. Premium generators may provide a more polished and intuitive interface with additional features and settings.

9. Support and updates

Support and updates provide you with customer support, documentation, and regular updates to the software. Free generators have limited support options. Premium generators generally come with dedicated customer support and regular updates to address security vulnerabilities and add new features.

10. Compatibility

Compatibility specifies the platforms and devices on which the password generator can be used. Free generators may have limited compatibility with specific platforms. Premium generators tend to offer broader compatibility, supporting various devices and operating systems.

11. Ad-free experience

An ad-free experience indicates whether the user experience is free from advertisements, often a consideration in free vs. paid models. Free generators are often supported by ads to generate revenue. Premium generators typically provide an ad-free experience as part of the premium package.

How to store and manage your strong passwords

So now that you’ve created strong passwords with a random password generator, how do you remember all these complex passwords? Enter the password manager. Password managers offer a range of benefits that help make managing and storing passwords easy and secure.

Password managers generate strong, unique passwords for each account, helping to reduce the risk of data breaches due to reused or weak passwords. Passwords are stored in one encrypted location, so you only need to remember one master password to access the manager.

In addition to providing the convenience of one master password, many password managers offer autofill passwords or automatic login features, helping save you time and effort. Finally, using a password manager offers an enhanced layer of security with features like two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA).

What’s the difference between free and paid password managers?

As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Random password generators are free services that may also be included in premium products like password managers. Password managers offer the ability to create, store, and secure your passwords, whereas free random password generators simply offer you passwords — with no way to keep track of or secure them.

Many free password managers provide a basic level of password generation, while paid password managers — which include a random password generator — offer more security features like 2FA or MFA, as well as advanced customer support.

With a paid password manager, you can generate passwords using more specific parameters, including length, character types, and more. Additionally, paid password managers can generate one-time passwords (OTPs) and passphrases.

A free random password generator tool is better than manually creating dozens of passwords. Still, if it’s in your budget and interest, we recommend splurging for a premium password generator with more features and amenities.

The best password managers with random password generators

The efficacy and security of using randomly generated passwords are unmatched. Not only are your online accounts less likely to be hacked, but password generators use cryptographic entropy to enhance security further.

What is password entropy? In layman’s terms, it’s a measurement used to rate how predictable or unpredictable a password is and how susceptible it may be to hacking. To best secure your password and digital data, using a random password generator in conjunction with a password manager is best. Below, we recap some of the top password managers.

  • NordPass: NordPass’s password generator offers customizable passwords based on character count and symbols, letters, and numbers, allowing you to create a password of up to 60 characters or a 10-word passphrase. In addition to NordPass’s password generator, you can expect a full suite of password manager features, including two-factor and multi-factor authentication, XChaCha20 encryption, and biometric passwordless authentication.

Get NordPass | Read Our NordPass Review

  • Keeper: Keeper’s password generator randomly generates passwords of up to 100 characters, including letters, numbers, and symbols. In addition to the amenities offered by other password managers, Keeper offers secure file storage that protects photos, videos, and other documents in an encrypted Keeper vault.

Get Keeper | Read Our Keeper Review

  • Bitwarden: Bitwarden’s password generator is more customizable than most, allowing you to specify the requirements needed for the password. Choose password requirements like length, minimum numbers, special characters, uppercase, lowercase, or a combination, and let the algorithm work its magic. Additionally, Bitwarden can also generate random passphrases and usernames.

Read Our Bitwarden Review

  • 1Password: 1Password’s integrated password generator is unlike others in that you simply install an extension on your browser, and the extension automatically populates a password you can save to your password vault. In addition to the standard features of the password manager, 1Password also offers unique features like Travel Mode, which automatically removes vaults when you cross country lines.

Read Our 1Password Review

We recommend splurging for a paid password manager with a password generator if your budget allows. For a full review of how two top brands compare, see our NordPass vs. LastPass review.

What does a strong password protect against?

Putting any personal details or sensitive information online poses a risk, and creating a strong password is the first step in protecting yourself against cyberattacks. It’s important to note that while strong passwords are certainly an added layer of protection against security breaches and hackers, these measures should be complemented with additional fortifications such as MFA, regular password updates, and possibly identity theft protection.

Knowing how cybercriminals attack is one way to ward off hackers. Below, we outline some common attacks and how having a strong password protects you from these digital threats.

  • Brute force attacks: Attackers attempt to guess passwords systematically by trying all possible combinations until the correct one is found. Strong passwords with a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters significantly increase the complexity and make brute force attacks less successful.
  • Dictionary attacks: Attackers use prebuilt dictionaries or lists of commonly used passwords to attempt a login. Strong passwords that are not easily guessable, even with common words or phrases, can thwart dictionary attacks.
  • Credential stuffing: Attackers use username and password pairs obtained from previous data breaches on other websites to gain unauthorized access to other accounts where users have reused passwords. Strong, unique passwords for each online account help prevent compromise in such scenarios.
  • Phishing attacks: Strong passwords are an additional layer of defense against phishing attacks. Even if users unknowingly provide their credentials to a phishing website, strong passwords make it harder for attackers to exploit this information.
  • Rainbow table attacks: Attackers use precomputed tables of hashed passwords to look up the original password quickly. Strong passwords with a good hashing algorithm make it more challenging for attackers to use rainbow tables effectively.
  • Keylogging: Strong passwords can protect against keyloggers — malicious programs that record keystrokes on a user's computer. Even if a keylogger captures the password, its complexity can make it harder for the attacker to use the information.
  • Man-in-the-middle attacks: Strong passwords help protect against man-in-the-middle attacks, where an attacker intercepts communication between two parties. Without the correct password, the attacker may be unable to authenticate and access sensitive information.
  • Offline attacks: If an attacker gains access to a hashed database, strong and complex passwords are more resistant to cracking attempts using techniques like offline password cracking.

Password security best practices

When tightening up your password security, there are a few best practices to keep in mind to bolster your digital privacy.

  • Don’t reuse the same password or slight variations of an old password. Avoid using personal information like your address, birthday, ID numbers, phone numbers, pet or family member names, or maiden names. These are likely passwords; hackers can quickly decipher even a complex version of your dog’s name.
  • The ideal strong password is between 12-16 characters, with a minimum of 10 characters. Include a variety of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Avoid easily guessable variances where numbers or symbols resemble letters — for example, using 3s as the letter E or the @ symbol in place of the letter A.
  • Don’t use predictable words or easily recognizable patterns in numbers or letters like 123, qwerty, password, etc.
  • Strive to update all passwords every three months.
  • Keep your passwords private. If you must share login credentials, do so using a password manager.
  • Use two-factor or multi-factor authentication as an additional layer of security whenever possible.
  • When using other devices, log out of all online accounts, and avoid logging into sensitive accounts (e.g., bank accounts) when using public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Review saved passwords on your operating system, web browser, or mobile devices.
  • Disable autofill passwords on your web browser or password manager.
  • Turn off that Google password manager. Avoid using the Internet browser’s built-in password managers. Select “No” when prompted.
  • Use a strong password manager to encrypt and store passwords.
  • Import your passwords to a secure password manager.
  • Use a VPN to hide your IP address and encrypt your data.

FAQs


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What should I do to protect my password?

Create a strong, unique password using a random password generator. Once your random password is created, store passwords in a password manager for the best protection.


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What makes a password strong?

A strong password has a few characteristics that make it secure. Length, complexity, unpredictability, and randomness are all commonalities of strong, secure passwords.


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How do random password generators work?

Random password generators use algorithms to create strings of random characters, letters, numbers, and special symbols, resulting in hard-to-hack passwords.


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Are strong password generators safe?

Password generators are safe for creating random passwords, but storing your randomly generated passwords in an encrypted password manager is best.


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Aren't random passwords much more difficult to remember?

Remembering strong passwords can be a challenge, but that complexity is the appeal of random passwords. Hackers rely on people using easily guessable passwords to hack into accounts. It may be hard to remember random passwords and feel like a hassle to use a password manager, but random passwords are a key component of staying safe online.


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How often should I change my password?

As a general rule of thumb for best password practice, you should change or update your password every three months.

Bottom line: R@nd0m 1s b3st

Implementing a strong, unique password is easiest when you implement a random password generator that can assign patternless passwords to your accounts.

Remembering a multi-character password for multiple sites is nearly impossible, and we strongly encourage using a password manager as a basic form of online protection. Not only do password managers keep track of your passwords, but they offer increased security features. For a comprehensive list of our recommendations, see our best password managers guide.

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Author Details
Courtney Daybell is a professional writer interested in online privacy. With a bachelor's degree in communications from Brigham Young University, she has written for more than 15 years with a strong foundation in print journalism.