What Is The Difference Between a Password And a Passphrase?

6 July 2023



Many people think a password is meant to protect them from someone targeting them specifically. In reality that’s not how many people get their accounts hacked.

When an online account is created, the company stores your password in encrypted form on its servers. If hackers get their hands on that password database, then it’s only a matter of running password-guessing programs against the list to see if they match to hack into your account. There are computers that can guess hundreds of billions of passwords per second, though companies typically use encryption methods that slow down – but can’t stop – the process of guessing them.

What is a Password?

A password is a string that usually contains a combination of special characters, letters, and numbers with variable lengths, most are around 10 characters. It is required to access a system.

Passwords are a common method for encrypting or securing data, and confidential, proprietary, and personal information. Different sites and programs have variable requirements for passwords, a minimum length, the inclusion of both numbers and letters, the use of upper and lowercase letters, and special symbols.

A password can look like this: eechie3IeN2e

What is a Passphrase?

Almost everyone knows what a password is but a passphrase is not that well known. A passphrase is basically composed of a sentence or mixture of words, it is a more secure form of a password, and usually consists of at least 14 characters. Passphrases are used for the same reasons and in the same way as a password. A passphrase is typically longer and contains spaces. A passphrase can also contain symbols, and it does not need to be grammatically correct.

It is often best if the words in the passphrase are completely random. The passphrase meaning should not be easy to guess or a typical or common phrase. Using a random phrase makes a passphrase stronger. A passphrase should be easy to remember but hard for hackers to crack or guess.

An example of a passphrase can be “think rock understanding boat”

Key Differences between a Password and a Passphrase


The main difference between a password and a passphrase is their lengths, where a passphrase is usually longer in terms of characters used. These extra characters make it harder and very time consuming for a computer to guess.


A password is usually more complex because it's a randomized mixture of characters that usually is not comprehensible by humans, but this does not necessarily mean it is more secure.


A passphrase is usually easier to understand and memorize because it is basically a sentence or a mixture of clear words rather than characters that are organized in a random manner. A password can only be harder for a human to remember but not that hard for a computer to guess.

Final Thoughts

Most people usually struggle with remembering passwords because of the huge number of services that require it and the necessity of having an account to use these services.Another reason that makes passwords hard to remember is that users are prone to choose a random mixture of letters and symbols for each account. That is why it is recommended to switch to passphrases due to ease and simplicity that makes them more memorable without losing any security of a typical password. Hopefully cybersecurity experts will come up with another way of securing accounts before we start using passparagraphs.