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Passphrase vs. Password: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 5, 2023
"Passphrase" typically refers to a longer sequence of words or characters for security, while a "Password" is a shorter series of characters used for authentication.

Key Differences

Passphrase and Password serve the same fundamental purpose: authentication and security. However, a Passphrase is generally a sequence of words or a phrase, making it lengthier and often easier to remember. In contrast, a Password is a shorter set of characters, often a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols.
In terms of strength and security, a longer Passphrase can provide increased protection against brute force attacks compared to a short Password. This is because the added length introduces more possible combinations, making it harder to crack. However, a Password can also be secure if it’s complex and uses a diverse set of characters.
From a usability standpoint, Passphrases can be more user-friendly. People find it easier to remember a phrase or a combination of words rather than a jumble of characters. On the other hand, Passwords are more commonly used, especially in older systems, and users are often more familiar with the concept.
When setting up security measures, it's crucial to weigh the pros and cons of both Passphrases and Passwords. While Passphrases might be lengthier and can provide increased security due to their length, they should still avoid common or easily guessable phrases. Similarly, Passwords should steer clear of easily hackable choices like "123456" or "password."
It's essential to understand the environment in which one is operating. Some systems might not support longer Passphrases, sticking strictly to Password requirements. Regardless of the choice, ensuring a combination of unpredictability and complexity is key for both.

Comparison Chart


Sequence of words or a phrase
Series of characters


Typically longer
Typically shorter


Easier to remember due to phrase structure
Can be tricky if complex

Common Use

More modern security methods
Traditional authentication systems


Harder to brute force due to length
Vulnerable if not complex enough

Passphrase and Password Definitions


A sequence of words or characters for authentication.
SunshineOverRainbow is a memorable passphrase.


Utilized in many traditional online platforms.
Upon signup, she was asked to create a strong password.


Longer than traditional passwords.
Instead of P@ssw0rd, she chose the passphrase ChocolateIsMyFavorite.


Can include letters, numbers, and symbols.
It's good practice to use a mix in your password, like M0n3y$ave.


Provides robust security when chosen wisely.
TheQuickBrownFox is a passphrase harder to crack than a simple password.


Typically shorter than passphrases.
P@ss123 is a short password with a mix of characters.


Often based on memorable phrases.
EveryGoodBoyDeservesFruit is a passphrase derived from a music mnemonic.


A set of characters used for authentication.
Tr0ub4dor is a commonly used password format.


Used in modern security protocols for enhanced safety.
For their encryption, they recommended using a passphrase instead of a password.


A secret word, phrase, or sequence of characters that must be presented in order to gain access or admittance. Also called pass phrase.


(computing) A password that comprises a whole phrase.


A word relayed to a person to gain admittance to a place or to gain access to information.
Only if a would-be visitor knew the password du jour could he pass; the guards allowed no exceptions.


A string of characters used to log in to a computer or network, to access a level in a video game, and so on; archetypally a word#Noun but nowadays often an alphanumeric#Adjective string or a phrase#Noun.
A strong password has a mixture of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and punctuation marks.


To protect with a password.


A word to be given before a person is allowed to pass; a watchword; a countersign.


A secret word or phrase known only to a restricted group;
He forgot the password


Essential for safeguarding personal information.
To protect his account, he regularly updates his password.


Why are passwords commonly used if passphrases are safer?

Passwords are traditionally used in systems, and many users are more familiar with them.

Can numbers and symbols be included in a passphrase?

Absolutely, adding variety can strengthen a passphrase further.

Is "password123" a good password choice?

No, it's easily guessable and lacks complexity.

Is length the only factor that makes a passphrase secure?

Length helps, but unpredictability and complexity are also vital.

Can I use a sentence as my passphrase?

Yes, sentences or combinations of words can make strong passphrases.

How do I make a strong password?

Use a mix of characters, avoid common words, and consider length.

Is a passphrase more secure than a password?

Generally, a longer passphrase is harder to crack than a short password, but both need to be chosen wisely.

How often should I change my passphrase or password?

Regularly, especially if there's a potential breach.

Are there tools to check the strength of my password or passphrase?

Yes, many online tools evaluate password and passphrase strength.

Can a password be a phrase?

Technically yes, but then it's often considered a passphrase.

Why are some passwords rejected by systems?

Systems often have criteria for complexity to ensure security.

What's a common error people make with passwords?

Using easily guessable ones like "123456" or "password."

Why shouldn't I use the same password everywhere?

If one account is breached, all your accounts could be at risk.

Is a passphrase the same as a recovery phrase for wallets?

Not exactly, but both are sequences of words. A recovery phrase is specifically for crypto wallets.

Do all systems support passphrases?

Not always. Some older systems may have character limits or other restrictions.

How can I remember a complex password or passphrase?

Use mnemonics, patterns, or password managers to assist.

What's an example of a complex password?

"jK8!zL$1" is complex due to its mix of characters.

Why are passphrases becoming more popular?

They can be both secure and user-friendly, making them a preferred choice in many scenarios.

Can a passphrase be a quote or lyric?

Yes, but avoid famous lines as they might be easier to guess.

Should I avoid writing down my password or passphrase?

Ideally, yes. If you must, keep it in a secure location.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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