We’ll start from your computer because usually it’s easier to create the account there. Then we’ll continue to your smartphone. But the very first thing you need to do is grab a piece of old fashioned paper.
Step 1: Write a password and a 6 digit code.
Get a paper. Yes the traditional one!
Write 20 or more random numbers and letters, both lower and capital. Something like 6xTzHx41jKQ3yg48FeR9sAb. This will be your password.
You don’t need to remember this.
In the same piece of paper write 6 random numbers. DO NOT USE ANYTHING REAL OR EVEN CLOSE TO IT LIKE YOUR BIRTHDAY OR YOUR POSTCODE OR YOUR PHONE, NOT EVEN CHANGED. This will be your unlock code.
This code will be the one and only thing you need to learn by heart.
Keep this paper safe in your desk at home but NOT in your computer -don’t take a photo of it or write it in a Word file.
Step 2: Create your Bitwarden account
On your computer, go to bitwarden.com and click “Get started”.
Fill in the form, it’s really simple. Use the password you wrote on the paper.
Step 3: Install the browser extension
Still on your computer, open your favourite browser -Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Opera, whatever- go to the bitwarden extension and install it.
Here it is for Firefox
Here for Chrome
Here for Microsoft Edge (you’re not still using Internet Explorer, are you?)
And here for Opera.
In case you’re using anything else, just google “bitwarden <browser name>” and you’ll find it.
NOTE: As you’ll see, about the only annoying thing with Bitwarden is that if you click outside of it before you save your changes, it closes and loses your input. There’s a solution for this: you can click the “Pop out” button” and then it opens as a separate window. The “Pop up” button is this one:
When the extension is installed, you’ll get the Bitwarden shield icon on the top right corner of your browser. Click it and fill in your email and password.
Once you log in you see your list of passwords. This a called your “vault”. For now, it’s obviously empty.
Click “Settings”, then “Unlock with pin”. Enter the 6 numbers you wrote on the paper and uncheck the “lock with master password…” check box.
Step 4: Store your credentials
If you’ve done so far, great job! Now it’s the time to start storing your passwords, one by one.
Click the shield icon of Bitwarden, then the plus icon on the top right corner.
Start with your email. Enter the name, username and password -the ones you have already. Add also the URL you use to access the site. Then click “Save”.
One by one, add all the sites and other services you have. This will probably take some time; my list has more than 400 entries 😊
Step 5: Try it
So all of this is supposed to help you right? Here’s how it helps you login. Say you want to log in to your email for example.
Click the shield icon of Bitwarden, click “My vault” and click the little arrow of the site. You’ll see that it takes you there.
In your email site, click “Sign in” or “Login” or whatever it has. Right click in the username or password and select Bitwarden > Auto-fill > your site name. Then click Next or Login or whatever it has.
If for whatever reason right click doesn’t find the site, there’s another way that’s not as easy but works every time. From “My vault” click the head icon to copy the username, then paste it in the site, then click the key icon to copy the password, then paste it in the site.
After doing it a few times, you’ll get the hang of it; it will feel very easy very quickly.
Step 6: Change your passwords
Until now you’ve done great, but we’re still using our old passwords. Now it’s the time to make them big and hard 😉
The exact process differs slightly for every site, obviously, but not much. In this example, I’ll use a popular e-shop, Zara UK.
Go to your profile and go to change password:
In the bitwarden “My vault” click the key icon of the site (see above) to copy the existing password. Paste it in the “Current password” box of the web site.
Then go in the bitwarden “My vault” again and click somewhere in the middle of the site name. This will open the entry. Click Edit on the top right corner.
Click the double arrow next to the password and click “yes” in the “overwrite password” question. Slide the length of the password to something over 17, click “regenerate” and then “select”.
Click “Save” to save the new password.
Now go to “My vault” again, click the key icon to copy the new password, go to the web site and paste it twice. Then click “Update password” or whatever button is there.
The first time you do it will be cumbersome, but after the first 2-3 sites, it will feel really easy.
If you’ve reached this far, congratulations 🥳🎉👏 You’ve done the hard work! The last thing to do is install the app on your smartphone so you can use it there too. Let’s go!