There is a Password Manager built within Firefox by default, which will assist you in storing and retrieving username and passwords automatically for the sites you visit regularly. The advantage of this is, you do not have to remember username and password for any site/s you visit regularly, making life more easier if you visit a lot of sites.
On the downside, the disadvantage is if anyone else uses your computer other than you, then they too will have access to all the password protected data. However disadvantages are not within the scope of this article.
Now, chances are, you might end up losing all the stored username & passwords, if your Firefox/system crashes. System / Firefox crash is not under your control. I currently am using Firefox 3.0.10 and honestly I’ve never had this problem. Even after a system crash the passwords are intact, but once in a while it just doesn’t show up and I don’t think a Firefox crash has anything to do with it.
Though Firefox is pretty much stable, you may not want to be in a situation where you lose all the passwords (as the saying goes ‘Prevention is better than cure’), and in such case you should use Password Exporter Firefox Extension.
With the help of Passowrd Exporter Firefox Extension, you can export all the passwords to a XML file or CSV file (if you don’t know what these are, don’t worry, these are standard formats in which data are stored), and save it in a physical location on your computer.
As you can see, you also have an option to encrypt the username and passwords before exporting them. The password Exporter manager, uses it’s inbuilt encryption technology to ensure the data is secure and is not in human readable format, even if others happen to open the file without your permission.
One best practice would be to keep a back up copy of the exported username/password file in your mail as well, which ensures the second level of back-up, in case your system crashes and you loose all the data on your system.
You can use the import option o import the passwords in case you need to restore / retreive it.