14 Great Password Ideas

Good passwords are crucial for keeping hackers out of your accounts. And the best ones can even be easy to remember!

Below are lots of ideas for how to create strong yet memorable passwords. Some may appeal more than others but at least one should work for you - ideas 8 to 14 even make use of your existing password.

Whatever you choose, always remember to make your password unique too.


Idea 1: Use a Password Manager

Password managers can help create and store strong passwords

Password Managers can create the strongest passwords of all - far stronger than any of us can remember ourselves!

These software tools take away much of the stress associated with creating and remembering passwords by:

  • Creating new passwords that are extremely strong & unique;
  • Saving & remembering the passwords for you;
  • Automatically logging you into websites.

You just have to remember one single master password and the password manager then takes care of everything else. Just be sure to take good care of this master password!

For further details on these tools (and links to some popular ones) see our dedicated Password Managers page.


Idea 2: Choose 4 random words

Random words can be used to create strong passwords

One of the most simple (yet strong) password choices is to just throw 3 or 4 random words together. As long as it's at least 12 characters in length and the words don’t have a natural flow to them (as say "MyNameIsDavid" would), then this should make for a very strong password.

Some examples of good passwords to use - and how they can be remembered - include:

    SeattleBooksCoffeePlanes

  • Seattle is the birthplace of Amazon, Starbucks, and Boeing
  • LeedsWalkCafeWork

  • Eg remember: "I live in Leeds, and walk past a cafe on the way to work"
  • AileronBeerCatDonkey

  • Note the "ABCD" order which could aid memory
  • BrokersSuitsSharesPorsche

  • Eg remember that Stockbrokers wear posh suits, deal in shares, and own Porsches

If you’re interested in what makes a password strong, and how hackers beat them, then take a look at our "How passwords get cracked" page.

Remember:

You should never re-use the same password across different websites; if hackers break into one website they'll have your password for them all.

Create one password, then learn how to make it unique between websites.

Idea 3: Use entire phrases

Phrases can be used to create strong passwords

If you'd struggle to remember a random sequence of words then how about a phrase instead? Since the words in a phrase flow together then it needs to be quite long but phrases, as long as they're not an obvious or common one, can make extremely good passwords.

You don’t even need to use numbers or symbols either - the single best way to make a password strong is simply to make it longer, which a phrase naturally is. How about these password examples:

    I catch the no. 47 bus 2 work

    Myboysareinthelocalfootballteam!

    Pizzas taste nicer with pepperoni

    TheGriffinismylocalpub

    MiddleLaneRoadHoggersAreIdiots

You can choose whether or not to include spaces between the words, as long as the website accepts them.


Idea 4: Create a passphrase acronym

Acronyms can be used to create strong passwords

Instead of typing out a full phrase why not turn it into an acronym?

For example if you choose the phrase "My daughter was born at Sheffield hospital in 1984", then by taking the first letter of each word ("[email protected]") you’ll end up with a password that's both strong and easy to remember password. Here’s some other ideas:

    IoaVW,wa52p

  • From:   I own a VolksWagen, with a 52 plate
  • P!Tdh2bd2r

  • From:   Passwords! They don't have to be difficult to remember
  • Mi40mwoL^tP

  • From:   Manchester is 40 miles west of Leeds over the Pennines.
  • 05wtyIbmfh!

  • From:   05 was the year I bought my first house!

These may take a little getting used to typing out, but after a while you'll probably remember the password itself without even needing to recall the phrase it's based on.

One important point - make sure it's at least 8 characters long & not based on a common expression. Whilst Shakespeare himself may approve of "Tb,on2b,titq:", it’s one that hackers will try because of how popular the phrase is.


Idea 5: Use the keyboard

You can use the keyboard layout to good effect when creating a strong password

Using patterns of letters from the keyboard, such as asdfghjkl or qwerty, is a bad idea as these are very common & easily guessed by hackers. But there are still ways of using the keyboard to good effect.

Start by remembering something simple such as your children’s names - eg "JaneCharlie" (make sure it’s at least 8 characters). Your password could then use the keys that lie above and to the right of the letters of your password:

    Iwj4Fuw5p94

  • From:   "JaneCharlie"

It might be tricky to type at first, but it will quickly become second nature.

You could even create your own rule for picking which keyboard keys to use, such as using letters to the left or right of your chosen words.

Be aware when travelling abroad however - some foreign keyboards move certain keys around, especially currency symbols and the @ key.


Idea 6: Misspellings

Unlikely mispellings can be used to create strong passwords

Intentionally mispelling words can also create secure passwords if you're careful about it. Try typing words as they sound, such as:

    KryingTeers2Nite

    DubbleTrubbleBubble

    ILykeCheezBurgurs

You'll have to be very careful if using this method since the password lists that hackers use include common mispellings (such as 'acommodate'), so the more obscure you can make it, the better.

One common mistake to avoid is to use something basic and then substitute similar looking letters (eg an "0" for an "o", or a "1" for "i"). The resulting password might look secure - and even meet common password rules - but in reality they’re not secure at all.

These for example are not secure passwords:

Criminals know about the most common letter substitutions and in some instances can test billions of password variations each second.


Idea 7: Create a formula

Formulae can be used to create strong passwords

If you’ve got a mathematical mind then basing a password on a formula or other logical statement could perhaps be an option.

It's not for everyone, but passwords of this form can be very strong as they're often fairly long and use mathematical symbols which are rarely seen in passwords.

Some examples of these include:

    Dog+Cat=8legs

    Children+Xmas=Excitement

    2Weeks=14Days

    1947-1943=Four

  • Eg use the difference between your parents’ birth years
  • OneCarHas4Wheels

    Two+2=4-Zero


Make your current password stronger...

The ideas so far have been for creating new passwords. But do you have a favourite password you already find easy to remember? The following are ideas of how to make any existing password much stronger.


Idea 8: Add spaces

Help strengthen your current password by adding a space

Did you realise that spaces are often (although not always) a valid character in passwords? They’re rarely used by people - which makes them a great way of strengthening passwords. How about taking your current password and splitting it up into chunks of letters with a couple of spaces in there?

If your password was "Bristol98" you could make it "Bri sto l98" by adding a space every 3rd character. This will make your password longer, add a new character set, and possibly break up any dictionary words at the same time. Win-win-win!

  • Was:      Bristol98
  • Now:     Bri sto l98

Idea 9: Use brackets

Help strengthen your current password by adding brackets

Similarly to spaces, you could add brackets around part of your current password. Again these characters are normally (although not always) allowed in passwords too.

So a password of "SeattleHuskys" could become "SeattleH(us)kys". Try other types of brackets too, such as {} or []. And if you’re feeling really wild, maybe mix them up - use {] or (}.

  • Was:      SeattleHuskys
  • Now:     SeattleH(us)kys

Idea 10: Add a random word

Help strengthen your current password by adding random words

Another way of lengthening your password is simply to add another word; the more unusual the better. And if you deliberately misspell the word, even better still.

Say your existing password is based on your wife and her year of birth, "Sarah1974". Why not add something else that’s memorable, such as your hometown, but which is deliberately misspelt - eg "Sarah1974Bristul"

  • Was:      Sarah1974
  • Now:     Sarah1974Bristul

Idea 11: Repetition

Help strengthen your current password by repeating it

If your password is too short or easy to crack then one of the easiest ways to strengthen it is to simply repeat it. Using our previous example of "Sarah1974", we could instead have the password "Sarah1974Sarah1974".

  • Was:      Sarah1974
  • Now:     Sarah1974Sarah1974

Idea 12: Turn it into an email address

Help strengthen your current password by turning it into a fake email address

A fairly unusual password format is that of an email address. Since this is a password (and not your contact details) then it doesn’t need to be a valid email address - your imagination is the only limit!

If your current password is "Apples" for the website Amazon, then why not use "[email protected]" as your password? This way your password is memorable, it’s longer, has unusual characters (an @ and a .), and can be made unique for each website.


Idea 13: Swapping letters

Help strengthen your current password by swapping some characters around

If your existing password is made of 2 or more words already, could you just swap the first letters of each word around?

In this case, "SeattleHuskys" would become "HeattleSuskys". Be careful though that you’re not accidentally going from 2 common words to 2 other common words, like "LongSocks" to "SongLocks".

  • Was:      SeattleHuskys
  • Now:     HeattleSuskys

Idea 14: Add punctuation

Help strengthen your current password by adding punctuation

We’ve mentioned adding spaces or brackets into your password but there’s plenty of other punctuation you could use too. Not all websites allow all characters but you can play around to find what they do allow. Try these ideas:

  • Was:      Sarah1974
  • Now:     Sarah£19.74

  • Was:      SeattleHuskys
  • Now:     Seattle/Huskys/

  • Was:      Bristol98
  • Now:     Bristol+9+8

How strong is your password?

When you create a new online account some websites will try to rate the strength of your password with a visual "strength meter".

These can't always be relied on to give accurate results though - they rarely check how predictable a password is, only it's length & the character types used. [email protected] is obviously poor yet many tools still rate it as "Excellent"; likewise for [email protected].

One superb way of checking your password strength is to use the website Have I Been Pwned?. This is a great tool, created and run by the security researcher Troy Hunt, that compares your password with hundreds of millions of others gathered from various data breaches to see how unique it is. You might be surprised at how common your "unique" idea of a password is!

But as long as your password is...

  • At least 8 characters long (preferably more)
  • Truly random - not composed of keyboard patterns or fewer than 4 recognisable words
  • And has a range of character types (upper case, lower case, numbers, and punctuation)

...then it should be pretty good.

If you’re interested in why this matters then take a look at his page to see how hackers crack passwords.

Once you have a secure password, you should try to make it unique on each website. You don't have to remember lots of different passwords though - see our tips on the next page for ideas to make your password unique.


Have any feedback on this page? Let us know - [email protected]