Best Network Firewall Security Software

Network firewall software is integral for preventing unauthorized access to a private network. A firewall decides whether a connection is permitted or blocked.

The number one goal of a firewall is to block malicious traffic from entering the network

Here is our list of the best network firewall security software: 

  1. SolarWinds Security Event Manager EDITOR’S CHOICE A SIEM solution with real-time firewall management and automated change management. Download the 30-day free trial.
  2. NordLayer (FREE DEMO) This access control and connection security package includes an edge firewall that covers both virtual and physical networks plus remote workers. Access a free demo.
  3. ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer (FREE TRIAL) This security tool interfaces with firewalls operating on a network to coordinate security policies and gathers attack information. Available for Windows Server, Linux, or AWS. Access a 30-day free trial.
  4. Zscaler Cloud Firewall Cloud-based next-generation firewall that has SSL inspection, granular firewall policies, and real-time monitoring.
  5. Barracuda CloudGen Firewall Cloud-based firewall that can detect zero-day threats, with network activity monitoring and VPN load balancing.
  6. GFI Languard KerioControl Network firewall with an Intrusion Prevention System, deep packet inspection, configurable traffic policies, and usage reports.
  7. CrowdStrike Falcon Firewall Management The CrowdStrike Falcon suite of cybersecurity services includes endpoint protection as well as a firewall protection system.
  8. pFSense Open-source firewall that can be installed on any hardware and comes with a web-based GUI with add-ons.
  9. IPFire Open-source firewall with an Intrusion Prevention System, alerts, Stateful Packet Inspection, and add-ons.
  10. SophosXG Firewall Next-generation firewall with a dashboard, automatic threat response, sandboxing, and SSL inspection.

The best network firewall security software

Our methodology for selecting a firewall security system

We reviewed the market for firewall-based security services and analyzed the options based on the following criteria:

  • Systems that can coordinate between several firewalls on site
  • Assistance to formulate a security policy
  • An easy way to translate security policies into firewall settings automatically
  • Protection for firewall configurations to block hacker tampering
  • Fine-tuning for data protection standards compliance
  • A free trial or a demo system that creates an opportunity to assess the tool without having to pay first
  • Value for money from a comprehensive traffic security scanner that is offered at a reasonable price

Using this set of criteria, we looked for firewalls and firewall management systems that provide security protection for businesses of all sizes. Some solutions should manage multiple firewalls so that businesses of all sizes are catered for by the list of recommendations.

1. SolarWinds Security Event Manager (FREE TRIAL)

SolarWinds Security Event Manager - events view

SolarWinds Security Event Manager is a SIEM and firewall management solution. With SolarWinds Security Event Manager you can monitor your firewall and security events in real-time. The software recognizes suspicious activity such as port scanning or when the firewall blocks a device. The platform operates based on firewall rules, which come out-of-the-box but can also be customized.

Key Features:

  • Extracts activity data from firewalls
  • Identifies system breaches
  • Interfaces with all devices
  • Opportunity for automated responses
  • Compliance reporting

Why do we recommend it?

The SolarWinds Security Event Manager enhances your existing firewalls instead of replacing them. The power of a firewall lies in its rules, allowing or denying traffic access to the network. This tool identifies threats and automatically writes firewall rules to shut them down. The package also operates protection for resources within the network.

To discover suspicious activity, the user has custom system filters that control what firewall events and devices show up on the screen. When the system detects a threat, the user has automated change management to change configurations automatically throughout the network. Change management shuts down vulnerabilities as soon as they are detected.

Reports allow you to record security events in more detail. There are hundreds of different default reports that comply with regulations including HIPAA, FISMA, PCI DSS, SOX, ISO, DISA, STIGs, FERPA, NERC CIP, GLBA, GPG13, and more.

Who is it recommended for?

This system is an efficient solution if you already have firewalls in place. Rather than upgrading or replacing your existing systems, you can enhance their threat detection capabilities with this system-wide SIEM. The tool collects data from all around your system, so it doesn’t just operate on firewall data.


  • Enterprise focused SIEM with a wide range of integrations
  • Simple log filtering, no need to learn a custom query language
  • Dozens of templates allow administrators to start using SEM with little setup or customization
  • Historical analysis tool helps find anomalous behavior and outliers on the network


  • SEM Is an advanced SIEM product built for professionals, requires time to fully learn the platform

The program starts at $4,665 (£3,540). You can download the 30-day free trial.


SolarWinds Security Event Manager is our top choice and is recommended for enterprises that want a simple, reliable SIEM and firewall management solution.

Start 30-day Free Trial:

OS: Windows 10 and later, Windows Server 2012 and later, Cloud-based: Hypervisor, AWS and MS Azure


nordlayer android

NordLayer is a cloud hub for system security that combines access control for resources such as networks and servers with application access controls. One of the elements provided in this package is a firewall. While this security service operates off site, it will protect your LAN from malicious traffic, including DDoS attacks.

Key Features:

  • Creates a Secure Access Service Edge
  • Protects applications and data
  • Block DDoS attacks
  • Protects virtual and physical networks

Why do we recommend it?

NordLayer provides a secure method for users anywhere on any device to access company resources. This creates a virtual network across the internet that extends the company LAN. The whole system is fronted by a firewall to block external attacks. The firewall has three levels of service.

The firewall facility of NordLayer is hosted in the cloud. The subscribing company gets a dedicated IP address that points to the firewall. So, all outgoing requests from company endpoints are sent with that IP address as the return address and any incoming connection requests are automatically blocked. 

Traffic arriving at the firewall is filtered with DDoS attacks absorbed. As it is the endpoint for internet communication, the firewall is able to strip off connection security and implement deep packet inspection. This extends to scans for phishing and spam attempts in emails. The system administrator can adapt this feature to implement a block on a list of URLs, website types, or content keywords. NordLayer also implements a block on known malicious URLs. 

Who is it recommended for?

The network firewall service is just part of the total package offered by NordLayer. Subscribers will be more likely to choose NordLayer as a Zero Trust Access system with a virtual network protected by a cloud firewall than just buying it for the firewall. The package is priced per user with a minimum team size of five.


  • Provides automated threat blocking
  • Options for whitelisting and blacklisting
  • VPNs for backend connection protection
  • Deep packet inspection


  • No free trial

All users access the virtual network through a desktop app, which is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. There is also a mobile app for iOS and Android. You can request a demo of NordLayer; there is no free trial.

NordLayer Access the FREE Demo

3. ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer (FREE TRIAL)

ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer Inventory view

ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer provides a data manager for network firewalls. This system lets you assemble a security policy and then it implements that by updating the rules of all firewalls on the system. The service then collects activity data from firewalls for analysis and compliance reporting.

Key Features:

  • Security policy creation and implementation
  • Protects firewall configuration
  • Threat detection

Why do we recommend it?

ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer is another option to enhance firewalls rather than replace them. This is not a full SIEM and it doesn’t operate on all network equipment. However, it interacts heavily with firewalls, operating as a network configuration manager for those devices, setting up security policies, and ensuring that they are not tampered with.

The policy management system sets up firewall rules and monitors those configurations for unauthorized changes. The tool restores required settings if it discovers tampering. This is a block against intrusion strategies to weaken security.

The Firewall Analyzer collects activity logs from firewalls and compiles information on user behavior, looking for signs of account takeover or insider threats. Security enforcement and monitoring provide compliance with PCI DSS, ISO 27001, SANS, NIST, and NERC CIP standards.

Who is it recommended for?

This tool is an efficient security system because it not only sets up and protects security policies at the firewall but it collects traffic data for threat hunting, so those rules are automatically updated when suspicious activity is detected. The package will also provide compliance reporting.


  • Creates security policies and implements them through firewalls
  • Monitors firewall settings for unauthorized changes
  • Gathers activity data for security monitoring


  • No hosted version

The ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer interfaces with firewalls produced by all the major security system providers, including Juniper, Check Point, Cisco, and Fortinet. The software can be installed on Windows Server and Linux or it can be added to an AWS account from the Marketplace. You can get the Firewall Analyzer on a 30-day free trial.

ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer Access 30-day FREE Trial

Related post: The Best Web Application Firewalls

4. Zscaler Cloud Firewall

Zscaler Cloud Firewall - Overview view

Zscaler Cloud Firewall is a next-generation firewall solution based in the cloud that can inspect HTTP / HTTPS traffic. Zscaler Cloud Firewall works through the user routing traffic to the cloud firewall where it is inspected. There is also an SSL inspection so you can catch attackers who are trying to enter the network through encrypted traffic.

Key Features:

  • Multi-site and remote device coverage
  • SD-WAN option
  • Bandwidth management

Why do we recommend it?

Zscaler Cloud Firewall is part of a suite of tools that can be used to build a range of virtual network services. These include a straightforward remote protection service for networks through to a virtual network, an SD-WAN, a SASE system, or a Zero Trust Access strategy.

The user can monitor security events in real-time. You can break application traffic down into users, locations, ports, and protocols. There is also deep packet inspection for packets including FTP, DNS, and TDS.

To control what traffic enters the network, there are granular firewall policies, which change based on the user, location, application, group, and department. For example, you could configure the network to only allow HTTP / HTTPS traffic for users on guest Wifi.

Who is it recommended for?

Zscaler is one of a group of new system security providers that have arisen to deliver protection for hybrid and virtual systems. Companies that include remote workers in their teams and employ many cloud packages as well as on-site resources aren’t protected by traditional network firewalls. Zscaler takes care of that problem.


  • Operates in the cloud, no compliance onboarding or infrastructure expense
  • Can customize bandwidth allocation on a percent basis, good for larger networks and more granular control
  • Can access the dashboard via browser from anywhere


  • Must contact sales for pricing
  • Limited reporting functionality
  • The interface is simple but lacks details found in similar tools

Zscaler Cloud Firewall is great for organizations that require a firewall that’s low cost and easy to deploy,. To view the pricing information for Zscaler Cloud Firewall you need to contact the company directly. You can request a demo.

5. Barracuda CloudGen Firewall

Barracuda CloudGen Firewall

Barracuda CloudGen Firewall is a cloud-based firewall with VPN load balancing and advanced threat protection capabilities. Barracuda Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) scans incoming connections and files to identify malicious behavior and malware.

Key Features:

  • Intrusion prevention
  • Load balancing
  • VPN management

Why do we recommend it?

Barracuda CloudGen Firewall is an edge service on a cloud platform. It can be used as a gateway to your network or to a virtual network between sites and cloud platforms. The package includes the backend connection protection services between the cloud platform and your own resources.

The software is capable of detecting known and zero-day threats with an Intrusion Detection and Prevention System. The system uses a signature-based section to scan for threats in real-time, including DoS, DDoS, SQL injections, viruses, and spyware.

You can manage the tool through the Barracuda NextGen Admin, which provides you with an overview of network activity. Here you can view a Status Map, Geo Maps, Configuration Updates, File Updates, Sessions, Floating Licenses, Statistics Collection, Scanner Versions, and more.

Who is it recommended for?

This tool is similar to the Zscaler option on this list, except this is purely a firewall package instead of a component of a virtual network. Nonetheless, this service will front for your entire enterprise across multiple sites. Of note is its threat intelligence feed, which automatically defends against attacks experienced elsewhere in the world.


  • The interface is easy to use and scales well when monitoring multiple networks and wide-scale access rules
  • Features a built-in IDS to help alert to port scans and other pre-attack events
  • The NexGen Admin dashboard is highly customizable and offers many different ways to report and visualize firewall insights


  • Suited more for enterprises, many features can be too much for smaller networks
  • No free trial must manually request an evaluation version from their sales team
  • Pricing is not transparent, must reach out to sales for a quote

Barracuda CloudGen Firewall is ideal for enterprises looking to protect multiple sites against both advanced and new threats. The firewall is available on-premises or in the cloud. You can request an evaluation on their website.

6. GFI KerioControl

GFI Languard Kerio Control - dashboard

GFI KerioControl is a network firewall with deep packet inspection. GFI KerioControl supports IPv4 and IPv6 and has an Intrusion Prevention System to keep out attackers. There is also an advanced gateway antivirus that scans web and FTP traffic to stop threats like viruses, trojans, and spyware. The antivirus updates automatically so that it is prepared to block the latest threats.

Key Features:

  • Cloud-based with connection security
  • Intrusion and virus blocks
  • Content filtering

Why do we recommend it?

GFI KerioControl is a combination of services that includes a threat detection system alongside its traditional firewall functions. All of this is delivered on the cloud and it will protect your public-facing Web assets as well as your network-linked infrastructure. GFI makes its complicated technology easy to set up and manage.

The firewall is highly configurable, and the user can configure traffic policies to control which connections are permitted to interact with the network. Traffic policies can be configured to affect specific URLs, types of traffic, applications, types of content, and more.

To stop you from missing anything important, GFI KerioControl has usage reporting. Usage reports let you view user activity and monitor what sites employees are visiting and the search terms they have used on websites. You can schedule the reports periodically so you can regularly check up on user activity. There are also iOS and Android notifications to let you know when security events take place.

Who is it recommended for?

GFI designed this cloud package for use by small and mid-sized businesses, so it is very affordable and easy to set up. The scalable pricing is set per user, regardless of the size or complexity of the network that the package will protect. This is a cloud-based system.


  • The interfaces are easy to learn and navigate
  • Features deep packet inspection tools along alongside the intuition protection system
  • Object-based ruleset makes it easy to build custom access rules based on a variety of metrics
  • Usage reports allow for content monitoring user behavior analytics
  • Four pricing plans make it affordable for nearly all networks


  • It can take time to fully explore all features and options on the platform

There is a range of pricing options available for GFI Languard KerioControl; including Starter, Small, Medium, and Large. KerioControl Starter costs $32 (£25.05) per user and supports 10-19 users. The Small version costs $31 (£24.27) per user for 20-49 users, Medium costs $30 (£23.48) per user for 50-249 users, and the Large version costs $28 (£21.92) per user for 250-2999 users. You can download the 30-day free trial version.

7. CrowdStrike Falcon Firewall Management

CrowdStrike Falcon Firewall - detections view

CrowdStrike produces a complete system security suite, which includes endpoint protection (anti-virus) and firewall features under the Falcon band name. The CrowdStrike Falcon Firewall Management system enables each device to have a separate defense system, while still allowing centralized control. This is achieved by implementing the firewall with an agent on each device, so it is a “networked” firewall, rather than a network firewall.

Key Features:

  • Coordinates third-party firewalls
  • Formulates and implements security policies
  • Tailored for compliance
  • Gathers activity reports

Why do we recommend it?

CrowdStrike Falcon Firewall Management is a competitor to the SolarWinds and ManageEngine tools on this list because it enhances your existing firewalls instead of replacing them. This is a cloud-resident service that helps you create a security policy and then implements it by writing rules into all your endpoint and network firewalls.

The entire protection system is cloud-based, with the console being accessed through a browser. The distributed nature of the firewall – protecting each device – requires some software to be loaded onto each endpoint. However, the on-device software is all coordinated centrally, so it is very easy to standardize settings and create policies for all devices, or groups of devices, they can then be implemented with the click of a mouse.

The cloud-based strategy of Falcon’s firewall removes the heavy processing load that cybersecurity software often creates. It also removes the need to manage an update policy and there is no need to install or manage signature databases on each device because all of the detection processing occurs on the CrowdStrike servers.

Who is it recommended for?

This package is suitable for large businesses with many endpoints on many sites to watch over. It coordinates the detection and response services of all firewalls on your network and provides a sort of internal threat intelligence sharing service. One problem is that this tool doesn’t reach out to Linux systems.


  • Doesn’t rely on only log files to threat detection, uses process scanning to find threats right away
  • Acts as a HIDS and endpoint protection tool all in one
  • Can track and alert anomalous behavior over time, improves the longer it monitors the network
  • Can install either on-premise or directly into a cloud-based architecture
  • Lightweight agents won’t slow down servers or end-user devices


  • Would benefit from a longer trial period

CrowdStrike offers a 15-day free trial of all of its Falcon security suite, including the firewall management system.

8. pfSense

pfSense dashboard

pfSense is an open-source firewall product that can be configured through a web-based user interface. pfSense can be installed on any hardware enabling it to adapt to the needs of organizations of all sizes. Through the GUI you can view data on traffic, interfaces, and gateways to manage your network. There is also a reporting feature so you can take a closer look at resource utilization.

Key Features:

  • Free version available
  • Includes virtual network management
  • IP and DNS blacklisting

Why do we recommend it?

The pfSense software is available as a free firewall package and it is frequently deployed on academic systems for network management training courses, so many network administrators will become familiar with it before they even reach a level of responsibility for network security. A notable feature is its extra modules.

One of the reasons why pfSense is so widely used is its packages. Packages like Squid, pfBlockerNG, SquidGuard, Darkstat and Snort add additional features and functions to the program.

For example, pfBlockerNG blocks ingoing and outgoing traffic based on IP address and domain name. You can also use pfBlockerNG to implement IP and DNS blacklisting to stop suspicious users from being able to connect to your site.

Who is it recommended for?

This package can be downloaded and hosted for free on your own server. So, this firewall software is appealing to small businesses. Larger organizations would be more interested in paying for a professional support package and accessing the firewall as a cloud service or a network appliance.


  • Open source firewall application with a free and paid option
  • Integrates well into popular security tools such as Snort, Darkstat, and pfBlockerNG
  • Interface makes it easy to push out bulk additions to blacklists based on captured data


  • Users must rely on the community forums and knowledge base for support on the free version
  • The interface can be challenging and take a while to navigate

If you’re looking for a low-cost, open-source firewall solution that’s easy to configure then pfSense is a product that’s worth considering. You can download the Community Edition of pfSense for free (you can also purchase additional support from NetGate if you require extra assistance). Download pfSense for free.

9. IPFire

IPFire dashboard - System logs view

is an open-source firewall for Linux. The firewall has a mixture of QoS and security settings so your network can stay secure while keeping performance high. To identify threats the software uses an Intrusion Prevention System that can identify and block online threats such as DoS attacks. The system alerts you during an attack and blocks the attack automatically.

Key Features:

  • Intrusion prevention
  • Traffic management
  • Automated responses

Why do we recommend it?

IPFire is a free firewall software and it is a rival to the pfSense system. You can run it on a server for free or buy the package on a network appliance. The appliance route will get you professional support. The tool can implement QoS traffic management measures as well as security. The software is only available for Linux.

The user can also configure the platform to filter DOS attacks at the firewall so that they don’t affect network performance. IPFire also uses Stateful Packet Inspection to filters packets for malicious content. The user can also create custom configurations and security policies to determine which connections to allow.

The tool is also regularly updated so that it can defend against the latest threats. Graphical reports provide the user with a comprehensive view of the network. In addition, there a range of add-ons that enable the user to use IPFire as a Wireless Access Point, health management tool, or backup solution.

Who is it recommended for?

The market for IPFire is exactly the same as that for pfSense. There are a few points that give pfSense the edge over IPFire. The IPFire software hasn’t been updated since 2019. There isn’t a cloud version of this tool and its appliance options are more expensive than the pfSense devices.


  • Free open-source platform
  • Offers traffic shaping and QoS features alongside firewall settings
  • Utilizes stateful packet inspection to mitigate threats such as DDoS attacks
  • A large number of community-built add-ons


  • No paid support option
  • The platform has a steeper learning curve than similar tools
  • The interface feels outdated and clunky, making administration tasks cumbersome

IPFire is a solution for enterprises that want to protect against cyberattacks without compromising network performance. SME’s are also supported given that the program can be downloaded for free. You can download the platform for free.

10. Sophos XG Firewall

Sophos XG Firewall dashboard - control center view

Sophos XG Firewall is a next-generation firewall that can detect suspicious traffic and advanced threats. The tool uses a combination of deep learning and an intrusion prevention system to detect new threats.

Key Features:

  • Blocks intrusion and malware
  • Automated threat response
  • Traffic performance monitoring

Why do we recommend it?

Sophos XG Firewall provides a full system security service through the gateway. It includes a data gathering service and a threat detection module, so it is a lot more than a straightforward firewall because of its network-based intrusion detection system (NIDS). It also provides user behavior analytics.

After discovering a problem, Sophos XG Firewall uses an automatic threat response to automatically respond and isolate the compromised system. Sandstorm sandboxing helps to quarantine the threat and stop it from spreading.

To detect threats hidden in encrypted traffic, Sophos XG Firewall uses SSL inspection. SSL inspection makes the program ideal for fighting off the encrypted attacks that have become increasingly common.

The program also has a dashboard where the user can see an overview of systems, network attacks, traffic, user and device insights, and alert messages. Visualizations and graphs allow you to monitor security events at a glance. For example, you can view a graph of web activity to spot any unusual fluctuations in traffic.

Who is it recommended for?

Sophos’s market niche is catering to mid-sized businesses and this firewall product pushes at the top end of that market. The system could also cater to larger, multi-site businesses. Naturally, all of the extra features of the XG Firewall push the price up and also make the service more complicated to administer.


  • Great interface, excellent use of color to highlight critical insights
  • Utilizes artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms to identify new threats not picked up by signature-based detection
  • Offers SSL and deep packet inspection for encrypted attacks and malicious malformed packets
  • Highly customizable and visual dashboards are great in a NOC environment


  • Multiple locations could be combined into a single tab to avoid having to tab back and forth
  • Could benefit from more integrations
  • Could use more training resources for new users, videos, and KB articles

Sophos XG Firewall is a great choice for organizations in search of an advanced firewall solution that can detect encrypted attacks. Features like deep learning and SSL inspection help to detect even the most sophisticated attacks. Contact the company directly for pricing information. You can start the 30-day free trial.

Choosing network firewall security software

Defending against online attackers is impossible without a firewall. A firewall is necessary to block unauthorized or suspicious traffic from entering your network. Network firewall security software stops persistent cyber-criminals from disrupting or breaching your service.

Companies with a reliable firewall can rest easy knowing that they are equipped to discover and address the latest threats. There is a tremendous range of firewall tools that can help to thwart online attackers.

Firewall management tools like Tufin Orchestration Suite, SolarWinds Security Event Manager, and modern firewalls like CrowdStrike Falcon, ManageEngine Firewall Analyzer, Zscaler, and GFI KerioControl are all top proprietary firewall software products that can help you configure your defenses and shut down attacks.

There are also open-source alternatives like pFSense and IPFire which are also highly effective with add-ons and vast configuration potential.

Related post: Next-Gen Firewalls

Network Firewall Security FAQs

What's the difference between a consumer firewall and a network firewall?

Consumer firewalls are designed for home-users to protect single devices and use content/packet filtering to block basic cyber attacks.

Network firewalls, also called enterprise firewalls, use packet filtering but also incorporate more advanced features like SSL inspection, threat intelligence, and antivirus capabilities.

These platforms are more scalable and are designed to stop more sophisticated attacks. For example, many enterprise firewalls use SSL inspection to detect more advanced encrypted attacks that cunning attackers are using to sidestep less advanced defenses.

What's the difference between network firewalls and website application firewalls?

Network firewalls control access to your network to keep out unwanted traffic. Website Application Firewalls (WAFs) prevent attacks on websites and applications. WAFs primarily prevent SQL injection attacks, application layer attacks, and malware that compromise online services.