The heart of the question was as follows:
I use both online and local vaults and have no problem paying a subscription for actively maintained, critical security software. I will not do so if local vaults will not be supported or maintained. One of the main differentiators between 1P and other pw mangers is this support for local vaults alongside online ones.
It was a great question and I couldn't help doing a deep dive to answer it. Here was my full answer.
Before jumping in I want to say thank you for your kind words, well wishes, and your willingness to pay for a subscription. That means a lot and I appreciate you taking the time to share your kindness. 🤗
Regarding local/standalone vaults, the TL;DR is:
That’s the short version of the story. The longer version of the story is much more interesting, explains how we came to this conclusion, and provides a potential alternative for local vaults that might suit your needs. Please read on as I think you’ll enjoy it.
As I mentioned in the other thread, I’m not known for my brevity and I’m a sucker for nostalgia so please forgive me for not being able to edit this down. 🙂
Let’s start at the beginning…
Before hosting our own service we had what we called standalone vaults. The first of these were introduced in 2008 using the Agile Keychain format. These allowed you to sync your data however you wanted, with the vast majority chose to use Dropbox at the time.
We also had the ability to sync to iPhone using WLAN Sync and later in 2012 the OPVault format was introduced along with support for iCloud.
Users could choose the sync method for each of their vaults in preferences:
This worked quite well for individual technical users living in a desktop-centric world, but as iPhones and Android devices started to become ubiquitous and people expected to be able to share information securely with their teams, businesses, and families, it became clear that we needed to create our own service so we could provide a better experience.
So we did. 1Password.com was launched to the world in 2015 and it provided so much more than just another way to sync your data. Here are just the highlights on what our new service made possible:
Along with all these features 1Password.com also enabled a more intuitive setup across all your devices. None of this was possible with standalone vaults and generic file sync services. We had pushed standalone vaults to their limit and weren’t able to innovate any further without connecting to a server to perform the heavy lifting.
When we released 1Password.com seven years ago we knew it was the better solution but we wanted to give our customers time to learn this for themselves. So when we released 1Password 7 in 2018 we provided the ability to subscribe to 1Password.com as well as the option to purchase a license to continue using Standalone Vaults.
The overwhelming majority of people choose to subscribe to our new service (97% in fact) and many of those who initially purchased a license later changed their mind and traded it in for a membership.
Given the overwhelming popularity of 1Password memberships and how much more capable 1Password.com is than everything else, we decided to design our next generation of 1Password apps to focus exclusively on our new service.
We’re incredibly excited about our next generation of 1Password apps that we’re working on. They’re faster, look great, are equally powerful across every platform and as of today have officially launched on Mac, Windows, and Linux, with mobile being released later this year. 😍
To make this possible we completely rewrote all the underpinnings of 1Password in Rust, a systems language known for safety and performance. While we’re all thrilled about the memory-safety, thread-safety, and incredible performance that Rust provides, the part I love the most is we’re now able to provide an equally great experience everywhere.
As you can imagine, rewriting over a decade’s worth of features across 6 operating systems takes a monumental effort. It forced us to make tough decisions about which features we should carry forward and which features to leave behind to make room for new ones.
Standalone vaults is one of the features that needed to be left behind. As such 1Password 7 will be the last version of 1Password to support standalone vaults.
For all future versions of our client apps, standalone vaults as they existed are gone and won’t be coming back. Our new apps were designed to have a tight integration with our service and this aspect of the design is not going to change.
From our experience over the last 15 years we know that using a 1Password.com account is the best approach for almost every situation. Our service greatly simplifies things across the board, from user experience to customer support to upgrades.
With that said, we know some of our super technical users like yourself prefer doing things themselves and perhaps there are more use cases for standalone vaults than we realize.
It would be great if we all could have our cake and eat it, too. To this end we have been toying with the idea of allowing you to host your own instance of our cloud service. It would be your own personal 1Password service that runs entirely on your machine or within your own cloud that you control.
The big question is how many of our friends need this feature and would they host this themselves if we made the option available?
The reality is we simply have no idea how many of you want this ability. To protect your privacy we have no in-app analytics so we simply don’t know how many people have configured things to keep their data locally within their network.
So we thought we’d ask. 😘
If we made self-hosting of 1Password.com available, would you use it? And how would you prefer to do so? Before we invest in making a standalone 1Password service a reality we want to gauge demand for this feature. If this is something you need please take this survey to help use better understand your use case.
All information you provide will be uploaded to an internal 1Password vault using our new Secrets Automation workflow. This vault will only be shared with a select set of 1Password employees for the sake of this research and will not be shared with any 3rd parties aside from sending email updates to those who opt-in for them.
We will be basing interest in this feature by how many people complete this survey. We’ll also use the survey results to determine what type of solution we should build, if any. Consider it a kickstarter. 🙂
If we hear enough demand to create this feature then we will look into how to fit this into our product road map. It would be longer-term plan this year’s schedule was full before the year even started, and we have some amazing plans already forming for 2023.
In the meantime, for those who need this feature, 1Password 7 was the best version of 1Password we ever had (it’s only second place to our amazing next generation of apps!) and it will continue to support all currently available sync methods. I ask for your patience during this time and I invite you to add your voice to the conversation in the comments below and by taking our survey.
Thank you for your time and thank you for supporting us all these years. Your constant support and encouragement means the world to us. ❤️🤗
Take care and stay safe out there. 🙏