Getting Started with Bitwarden Organizations

With the Bitwarden free account, and a free Organization for up to 2 users, you can experience secure sharing in no time!

Introduction

Using a password manager makes it easy to store and access unique and secure passwords across all of your devices. This keeps your online accounts safer than repeating passwords or leaving them exposed in unencrypted formats like spreadsheets, documents, or sticky notes!

To get even more out of your password manager, you can collaborate and share with others. At work, you may choose to share common logins to office wifi networks and online services, or a shared company credit card, or a set of secure notes. Personally you may choose to share a few passwords with a significant other.

Bitwarden enables all types of password and secure sharing through Organizations.

If you would like to try it out, Bitwarden has a free account for individuals, and the ability to set up a free Organization for up to two users and two Collections of secure information.

This tutorial walks you through the setup for two basic accounts and sharing in an Organization.

Note

The free two-user organization is only available in Bitwarden Cloud.

What are Organizations?

A Bitwarden organization is an entity that relates users together that want to share items. An organization could be a family, team, company, or any other type of group that desires to share items in Bitwarden.

For more, please see What are organizations?.

Are Organizations Different than a Premium Membership?

Yes. Organizations are for sharing items across multiple users. Premium membership gives your individual user account additional premium features including:

  • 1GB encrypted file storage
  • Two-step login with YubiKey, FIDO U2F, & Duo
  • Password hygiene & vault health reports
  • TOTP authenticator key storage & code gen.
  • Priority customer support

Set up the First and Second User Accounts

You can choose many ways to create an account at bitwarden.com where you will find:

  • Desktop Apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Browser Extensions for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Vivaldi, Brave, Tor Browser
  • Mobile Apps for iOS and Android
  • Command Line Tools
  • Web access through https://vault.bitwarden.com

For the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll focus on the Web Vault.

1. Create an account for User 1

Create the first account by starting at https://vault.bitwarden.com. Pick a strong master password and write it down in a safe place.

Warning

The Bitwarden security model does not support master password recovery. You can read more in the help article I forgot my master password

Create account for user 1
Create account for user 1

2. Verify Your Email

After you create the account and log in, you will want to verify your email.

Note

Reminder: You will also want to make sure your master password is written down and in a safe place where you can find it.

Verify your email
Verify your email

Once your email is verified you will be back to the main screen of the web vault.

Email verified
Email verified

As noted in the Introduction above, Organizations for sharing secure information are different than Premium membership which offers extra features on an individual account.

Premium features are not required for this tutorial, however we do recommend them to get the most out of Bitwarden.

3. Set up the Second User Account

Follow the same procedures to set up the second account. In our case, we will use [email protected] for that.

Setup and Share with Organizations

4. Create a new Organization

Next create a new Organization via the New Organization button on the right of the screen.

Identify your Organization name, billing name, and plan. In this case we are choosing the free plan which supports 2 users and 2 collections of items.

Creating a new Organization
Creating a new Organization

There are additional choices for family, teams, and enterprise Organizations on this page.

After creating your Organization you will be placed into your Organization’s vault.

View of the Organization Vault
View of the Organization Vault

Be aware that you are now in the context of the Organization as shown above, in our case GOTEST Organization.

However you can get back to your own personal vault at any time by clicking My Vault at the top of the page.

Notice that we now have Collections on the left hand side which represent the logical structure of grouping items for your Organization. Here we have a Default Collection and one Unassigned Collection which is the second one allowed with the Bitwarden free Organization plan.

When we move back to our personal vault, we’ll see that we have Folders on the left which are for our personal items, and Collections for our Organization items.

View of the Personal Vault
View of the Personal Vault

5. Add the Second User to your Organization

Now it is time to add a second user from our Organization admin console, in our case we click back on GOTEST Organization and then the Manage tab.

Adding a user
Adding a user

When adding a new user to the Organization you can set the User Type and Access Control. We also have the ability to choose all items access, or selected collections access based on specific Collections, as well as read-only access. Read-only is helpful to share logins or secure information but not enable Users to change it.

Selecting the User Type and Access Control
Selecting the User Type and Access Control

Once User 2 has been invited, they will receive an email invitation to join the Organization and their status will be reflected in the dashboard.

Inviting User 2
Inviting User 2

6. Accept the Invitation

To ensure a trusted security relationship, User 2 must accept the invitation, and then User 1 must accept the User 2 into the Organization. This sequence is imperative to ensure the highest level of security.

When User 2 accepts the invitation they will receive a message:

Invitation Accepted

You can access this organization once an administrator confirms your membership. We’ll send you an email when that happens

Back at the Organization administration console, User 1 will see the accepted invitation, and have the ability to confirm that user.

Confirming users with accepted invitations
Confirming users with accepted invitations

Keeping with the trusted security model, further confirmation on a unique fingerprint phrase is built into the exchange. For more information on this step visit What is my account’s fingerprint phrase?

Confirming the fingerprint phrase
Confirming the fingerprint phrase

Once the confirmation process is complete, User 2 will have access to the Default Collection we shared earlier. Since User 2 was only added as a User, their Organization Vault has a simplified view.

User 2 Organization Vault view
User 2 Organization Vault view

7. Share within an Organization

Sharing items in an Organization is simply a matter of creating them within the Organization Vault, or creating them in your Personal Vault and then sharing them with the Organization.

We’ll use the example of creating a Secure Note, but the same process applies to a Login or any other item in the vault.

Adding an Item to an Organization
Adding an Item to an Organization
Adding a Secure Note
Adding a Secure Note
Secure Note for User 1
Secure Note for User 1

As expected, the same Secure Note is now viewable by User 2.

Secure Note for User 2
Secure Note for User 2

Congratulations! You have now set up sharing between two users with Bitwarden Organizations!

From here you can share any item using the collaborative capabilities of Bitwarden.

If by chance you have an item in your personal vault that you wish to share, you can choose that option too. Here we have two items seen in the User 1 Vault:

  • A secure note GOTEST Secure Note that has a sharing icon to the right of it indicating that is it being shared within a Collection
  • A secure note User 1 Note for Sharing that is not part of Collection and only within the User 1 vault

However, that second note can easily be shared with an Organization by clicking the drop down menu next to the item.

Sharing Items with Organizations
Sharing Items with Organizations

Continuing with Bitwarden

Now that you have mastered the basics of Organizations feel free to explore all of the possibilities sharing logins and more!

If you’d like to dig deeper into Bitwarden please visit bitwarden.com.

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