Creating memorable, difficult to guess passwords

Many issues can come from forgetting passwords. It takes time you weren't planning on, to recover and sometimes losing information or files in the process. While it is difficult to suggest to anyone something that would be memorable, because each individual perceives this topic with varied importance and creativity, here are some suggestions that will improve both with retention and difficulty for others to guess (even machines).

First, what are the most common requirements of a password:

  • Minimum of 8 characters
  • Alphanumeric (numbers and letters)
  • Symbols (?,;:"'-_÷=!+) [This greatly depends on the site/software, but you'll notice some commonly accepted throughout all of them]

Knowing this, we can begin formulating our password.

Everyone has a default password they go to in order to create an account. Something you personalize and rarely ever want to change. Most accounts (online or local) recognize the difficulty for people to remember different passwords, so limit the requirements of changing them. In order to maintain a safe account (one that is difficult to break into) and keep those requirements as they are, you should be using a 15+ character passwords. How is this possible? How can anyone expect me to remember passwords that long? It's not nearly as difficult as you think.

Considering your default password, count how many letters are in it. Do you capitalize it any particular way? This is going to be your base. Yep, I said it... the base of your password. Why can't a password be a compound construction that is unique to you and easily remembered?

I'll use my forum handle as an example (in no way are any of my passwords based with this...I use it to often publicly to do so. It also defies some password requirements because it starts with numbers instead of letters. The first character is usually required to be a letter).
So, 337harvey is my example default password. Capitalization at the normal place (the H of harvey) would help make it a little stronger. Already at nine characters. Not a bad base. Does 15 characters seem unobtainable?

Now we're going to add something personal to me... let's go with my birth year (you can actually add 4 more characters with the day and month, but I'm not giving out my birthday). Now I have a password that is thirteen characters and comprised of:


Using a birthday is not bad practice. Using it alone is. It doesn't have to be your birthday, it can be your anniversary, kids birthday, your mentors, anyone that you are close to and can remember without any thought. It also doesn't have to be a date, any number that is important to you. Zipcode, last four of your social, last four of your phone number... anything. It's not like you're sharing this with anyone. Just don't use it by itself... it's a part of a bigger picture.

What else can you add? I could go into my hobbies:

  • Drawing
  • Coding
  • Gaming

This is not an all inclusive list, but gives me something to work with. I'll go with gaming. I only need one character to meet the 15 minimal I recommend, but so what if we go over. I'll go with my favorite gaming console:


I could remember this easily. It's very personal and memorable to me. That's the point. But I'm not done. Why not, because in the near future this won't be long enough...I also said this is the base to build on. I'm going to add art to it as well. But this doesn't meet most of the requirements of passwords.


The last thing needed is a symbol. I use this as the separator. You'll understand in a minute. I'll use the semicolon.


The symbol doesn't have to be your separator. It can be a letter or number... but you'll want some separation from your base and the account you are creating. Huh? Keep going, it'll make sense.

Now my base is ready. I'm going to use this in every account password. What do I mean by this? I mean, if you are signing up for Google you would use:


Yep. Each password has the company / software / site name that you are signing up to. You don't have to forget the base and the last part after the separator is the service you are creating the account for. Another example:


What account is this? If you guessed Facebook, you're right.

Difficult to guess, easy to remember passwords are not hard to come up with, it only takes a little effort on your part. Yes, now you have to change all of your account passwords once again... but then you will never need that recover password button ever again. You won't get locked out of your computer, bank account, mail, streaming service( how many of these do you have that this will help organize and remember?). Between this and the browser's password managers... you'll never enter it and you'll remember.

This is not a definitive how to. Change it up, put the service first, in the middle... make it yours. This guide is to help you create something that is secure and memorable. This guide is to trigger your creative process. Make it yours and don't share your base with anyone!