Everyone knows what a password is and would generally understand that “passphrase” means the same thing. They’re slightly different though, a passphrase is a password that consists of multiple words, making up a phrase.
The intention behind the wording change is to get users to move away from choosing relatively short passwords. How? By encouraging them to use multiple words as a password, which generally makes them longer and therefore more secure. This method also makes it safe enough to use actual readable words, making it easier to remember or to tell someone.
For example, the random password “vTSPR79ej#ouGcCH” is difficult to type out or tell someone. Conversely, the passphrase “Proofread6-Candy-Football” is a lot easier to use or to communicate if necessary. The extra length of the passphrase also makes it harder to guess via automated methods than the random password.
The password manager Bitwarden includes a passphrase generator that can generate random combinations of words for you to use as a passphrase.
How to generate a passphrase with the Bitwarden browser extension
To generate a passphrase via the browser extension you first need to open the extension pane by clicking on the Bitwarden icon. Next, switch to the “Generator” tab, here you can configure your password or passphrase generation options. To switch to generating passphrases click the dropdown box that says “Password” at the top of the “Options” section and select “Passphrase” instead.
Now you can select the number of words you want to include in your password. You can also configure what character separates the words in your passphrase, if words start with capital letters, and if a number is included.
Tip: We recommend you choose at least four words and use a special character as the separator. We also recommend you enable the capitalisation and number options to generate the strongest passphrases possible.
How to generate a passphrase with the Bitwarden website
To generate a passphrase via the Bitwarden website, you need to open the “Tools” tab, then click on the “Passphrase” radio button in the default “Password generator” tool. This tool has the same configuration options as before. That said, the settings are saved separately, so you’ll need to configure them both.
If you don’t like the generated passphrase, you can click “Regenerate password” to generate a new one. You can click “Copy password” to copy the generated passphrase to your clipboard. If you forgot to save a generated passphrase that you used, you can find it again. Just clicking the clock icon in the bottom-right, labelled “Password history”.
Passphrases use a combination of random words to make longer and more memorable passwords. By following the steps in this guide, you can generate strong random passphrases with the Bitwarden password manager.