How strong is my password?

Knock before entering

We’re living more and more of our lives on the Internet. It’s easy to end up with online accounts for everything from your monthly bills to your favorite social networking sites.

Each of those accounts requires a user name and password. You might be tempted to simplify things and use your dog’s name and birthday as the password for all of your accounts — how else are you supposed to remember all of those passwords?

Resist that urge, and ask yourself, “How strong is my password?” We have some rather painless solutions that will keep your accounts safe.

Why do you need a strong, unique password for each account?

How Strong is My PasswordIf you use the same, weak password for multiple accounts, it won’t take long for a hacker to crack your password and access your personal information. That’s why it’s important to use a different, secure password for each account.

Also, avoid dictionary words and words and numbers easily associated with you, such as your pet’s name and your birthday.

What comprises a strong password?

In general, a strong password contains a mixture of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Some accounts have stricter password requirements than others. The longer and more complex your password, the better.

For example, Fido77 is a weak password, whereas MM4P.Iwb@! is a strong password.

Pro tip: Hackers know that when most people attempt to create strong passwords, they usually start with capital letters, use lowercase letters in the middle, and end with symbols or numbers. Try to mix it up and avoid that formula.

So, how can I remember all of my passwords?

Consider creating multiple passphrases, or use variations of the same passphrase for your different online accounts. A passphrase turns a memorable sentence into a secure password that looks random.

Also, consider using a password manager. These programs securely store all of your passwords in one online account. You only have to remember one password — the one to your password manager.

Lastly, most websites offer password recovery options. It’s a good idea to set those up. That way, if you forget your passwords, you can easily retrieve them.

Andrea Rowland
A former small business owner and newspaper journalist, and a published nonfiction author, Andrea Rowland helps craft compelling communications for small businesses and web pros through her work as managing editor of the GoDaddy Garage. When she's not writing or editing, she likes to experiment with baking, travel, read, and dip her toes in the ocean.