Are You Looking for a Free Firewall to Protect Your Computer or Device? Read This Review to Select The Best Free Firewall Software for Complete Protection:
According to a recent study by MaketsandMarkets, the Network Security Firewall Market will grow to $5.3 billion by the year 2023. There are several reasons for the growth of the Firewall Market.
However, most businesses today are seeking firewall protection to safeguard sensitive or important data.
What You Will Learn:
- Firewall Protection: An Overview
- List Of The Best Free Firewall
Firewall Protection: An Overview
The types of data breaches that businesses are most concerned about and seek for firewall protection are illustrated in the following infographic:
Looking at the above infographic, we can see that identity theft is by far the biggest concern for businesses seeking cyber and firewall protection today. But, what makes firewall protection so important or in other words ‘so useful’?
Perhaps, the best way to find it out is through the answers to the frequently asked questions about the firewall software which we have covered in the upcoming section.
Frequently Asked Questions About Firewall
Enlisted below are the most commonly asked questions about Firewalls.
Q #1) What is a Firewall?
Answer: A shield or barrier protecting a private network from unauthorized access, a firewall secures devices connected to the internet or another network such as a local area network (LAN).
The purpose of having a firewall installed on a PC, phone, or tablet is to protect users from the data-based malware threats that exist on the internet or other connected networks.
In the cyberspace, data transfers between your PC and servers & routers. This data, which is transferred in packets, is monitored by a firewall to identify and block any unwanted traffic.
The firewall accomplishes this by checking the data packets against the rules that have been set up. If the data packets are in line with these rules, then they are accepted by the firewalls. If they fail to meet the rules, then the firewall rejects or blocks them.
Today, firewalls are helping to protect the PCs and other connected devices across the globe whether they belong to individual users, large corporations, or the government.
Q#2) How does a Firewall work?
Answer: To explain it simply, firewalls work by monitoring the information traffic to accept or allow the ‘good data’ while rejecting or blocking the ‘bad or harmful data’. However, if we get into the details, then the firewall uses one of the three methods or combinations of these to control the traffic that flows in and out of the network.
The three methods used by a Firewall to protect a PC, tablet, or other devices are:
- Packet Filtering
- Proxy Service
- Stateful Inspection
Involving the use of a pre-determined set of rules to create filters, packet filtering is the most basic form of firewall protection. The firewall will not allow a data packet to enter a network if it is flagged by the filters. All data packets, except those that make it through the filters, are discarded.
An application that serves as an intermediary between systems, a firewall proxy retrieves information from the internet and then sends it to the requesting system. The firewall’s application layer is where the Firewall Proxy Servers function.
This is the point where it is mandatory for both ends of a connection to use a proxy to conduct the session. A process that reflects a service that would run on the end host is created and run by the proxy servers on the firewall. As a result, all data transfer for an activity is centralized for scanning to the firewall.
The third and final method used by a firewall to protect a device or system is a stateful inspection. The most advanced firewall scanning, stateful inspection keeps information attributes of each connection for the duration of the session in a database.
Collectively referred to as the connection’s ‘state’, these attributes include important information such as the connection’s port and IP addresses and the sequence in which the data packets are being transferred. Relevant information held in the database is compared to the data being transferred by the firewall.
The firewall allows the information to go through if the comparison yields a positive match. Otherwise, the entry of the information or data packet is denied.
Q#3) What are the Different Types of Firewall Software?
Answer: There are two basic types of Firewall i.e. Appliance Firewalls and Client-based Firewalls. A firewall software, a client-based firewall is installed on a device for tracking the information traffic on that particular device.
On the other hand, the appliance firewall is a physical or hardware-based version of the firewall which includes a device that is placed between a user’s network and an outside network such as the internet.
Often, the appliance firewalls are used for network environments with several devices that share the same network or internet connection. On the other hand, client-based or software firewalls are best for customizing the levels of protection and setting up firewall permissions for individual users or a group of users.
Q#4) How do Firewalls Protect from Hackers?
Answer: Firewalls protect from hackers by blocking their access to your PC via Wi-Fi and the internet.
To access your PC and steal sensitive data such as your browsing history, bank details, passwords, and other such information, hackers make use of the keylogging software and Trojan viruses to record your sessions and monitor your keystrokes. By keystrokes, we mean what you enter onto your PC or another device.
Hackers can run illicit activities using your computer even without your knowledge. The good news is that firewalls can help to stop them.
How can firewalls protect your computer from hackers? By blocking all unauthorized connections to your system.
Additionally, a firewall allows you to choose programs on your computer which can access the internet. This ensures that you never connect to the internet unknowingly. This stops the hackers and other cybercriminals in their tracks as they use a Wi-Fi network or an internet connection to enter your computer.
Q#5) Can a Firewall be Hacked?
Answer: It is a rarity, that a firewall can be hacked. Cybercriminals can easily hack a firewall if it is not properly tuned. Although a firewall is meant to protect your computer from hackers, the security of your system can be compromised if you misconfigure or inappropriately maintain a firewall.
Also, regardless of how strong your firewall protection is, hackers can bypass the firewall if there are vulnerabilities in the systems and applications that the firewall protects. For instance, there are several vulnerabilities in Windows which the attackers can utilize to enter into your computer.
All they need to do is convince you to visit an infected web page. This makes it important for you to have an anti-virus and anti-malware software, installed on your PC or systems alongside the firewall.
Also, make sure that all applications and operating systems are patched to the latest version. If you do this, then there’s a little chance of a hacker gaining access to your system.
Q# 6) What to look for in a Firewall?
Answer: With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to choose the right firewall for your needs.
However, you are likely to make the right decision if you consider the following criteria for choosing the best free firewall:
- Protection and prevention from threats.
- Visibility and control of your applications.
- Streamline security infrastructure.
- Real-time alerts
- Excellent customer support.
The above list is not exhaustive and there are several other factors to consider while choosing the best free firewall.
Fact Check About the Firewall Market: According to the Web Application Firewall Market study by ResearchAndMarkets, the web-based firewall market will grow at a CAGR of 16.92% during the forecast period 2019-2024 to reach $6.89 billion by the year 2024. The study also shows that North America is currently the largest market for web application firewalls and the main factors that determine the viability of a firewall for users are cost and performance.
List Of The Best Free Firewall
Enlisted below are the Top Free Firewalls that are available in the market.
- SolarWinds Network Firewall Security Management
- Comodo Firewall
- AVS Firewall
- OpenDNS Home
Comparison Of The Top 5 Free Firewall Software
|Tool/Service Name||Free Version||Features||Our Ratings||Best For|
|SolarWinds Network Firewall Security Management||No||Real-time visibility into network firewall security, Monitoring of firewall protection configuration changes, etc.||4.5/5||Custom filters and sending alerts features.|
|ZoneAlarm||Yes||Free Antivirus + Firewall,|
Multiple security layers,
|5Gb of free cloud backup, |
Integration with many other security programs.
Custom DNS servers,
Windows 7, 8, and 10 compatible,
|Streamlined for security novices, Integration with the Comodo Dragon secure browser.|
|TinyWall||Yes||No pop-up ads,|
Powerful scanning option,
Instant firewall configuration,
Dedicated LAN controlling options.
|No pop-ups, |
The auto-learn feature makes it easy to create exceptions.
|Netdefender||Simple and user-friendly interface,|
Protection against spoofing ARF.
|Simple installation process, |
A single click of button blocks all unwanted incoming traffic.
Data usage tracking,
Visual network monitoring,
Toolbox of network checks,
Wi-Fi evil twin detection,
Lock Down mode
|Easy to use function, |
Ability to block programs with a single click.
#1) SolarWinds Network Firewall Security Management
SolarWinds provides the Network Firewall Security Management Software with Security Event Manager. It has features and functionalities to strengthen your network security.
Its continuous monitoring and real-time event-correlation will catch the suspicious firewall activities and you will get real-time visibility into network firewall security. The tool will help you to detect security violations by using policy checks.
Price: The price of the Security Events Manager starts at $4805. It offers a fully functional free trial for 30 days.
Feature: Real-time visibility into network firewall security, monitoring of firewall protection configuration changes, custom firewall security system filters, etc.
- You will get notifications for firewall changes.
- You can monitor activity from targeted devices.
- It will help you to ensure that only authorized firewall administrators are making changes to firewall policies.
- It has a facility to create custom filters for highlighting specific firewall events based on the default or custom criteria.
- Security Events Manager doesn’t offer a free version.
A firewall that has been around for a long time, ZoneAlarm ensures the protection of your computer from all sorts of cyberattacks including spyware, malware, ransomware, identity theft, phishing attacks, viruses, and much more.
Compatible with Windows 7, 8, 10, XP and Vista, the ZoneAlarm free firewall can prevent malicious changes to your system by locking the host's file. It can also prevent unauthorized changes by password protecting its settings. Using the slider setting of the ZoneAlarm firewall, you can adjust a public or private network’s security mode easily.
- ZoneAlarm Free Firewall: Free
- ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall: $44.95/year
Features: Free Antivirus + Firewall, Multiple security layers, Customizable interface, Online backup, etc.
- 5Gb of free cloud backup.
- Integration with many other security programs.
- No protection for exploit attack.
- Even safe programs are flagged by the highest security settings.
#3) Comodo Firewall
Comodo Firewall is easily one of the best free firewalls that are available today. We say this because the firewall comes with a host of features including a Virtual Kiosk, custom DNS servers, an ad blocker, and much more. Using the Comodo Firewall, you can easily add programs to block.
Also, there is a Rating Scan option which you will find extremely useful if you suspect your computer is infected by some sort of malware.
- ComodoFree Firewall: Free
- Comodo Full Protection: $39.99/year
Features: Adblocker, Custom DNS Servers, Virtual Kiosk, Windows 7, 8, & 10 compatible, Timely controls, etc.
- Streamlined for security novices.
- Integration with the Comodo Dragon secure browser.
- No protection for exploit attack.
- Default settings with automatic sandboxing are disabled.
Website: Comodo Firewall
One of the best free firewalls for Windows 10, TinyWall will protect your system from every kind of threat on the internet. The firewall protects the ports of your computer from hackers and blocks harmful or malicious programs that might expose your sensitive data over the internet.
Features: No pop-up ads, Powerful scanning option, customizable options, Wi-Fi protection, Real-time alerts, Instant firewall configuration, Dedicated LAN controlling options, etc.
- No pop-ups.
- The auto-learn feature makes it easy to create exceptions.
- Not protection for exploit attack.
- The need to create exceptions for the web-based programs that you use.
If you’re looking for a free firewall that is easy to use and has simple settings and options, then you should go for Netdefender. The Netdefender free firewall comes with all the basic functions of a firewall and has an extremely simple installation process.
However, the best thing about this firewall is that you can block all unwanted incoming traffic with a single click of a button.
Features: Simple and user-friendly interface, No pop-ups, Port scanner, Easy setup, Protection against spoofing ARF, etc.
- Simple installation process.
- A single click of button blocks all unwanted incoming traffic.
- A few buggy features.
With the Glasswire free firewall, you can protect your computer proactively against all types of online and incoming attacks. The Glasswire firewall starts to protect your operating system from the moment you install it on your computer.
The firewall won’t bother you when every time a malware shows up. Instead, it will instantly block the source without disturbing you.
Features: Discreet alerts, Data usage tracking, Visual network monitoring, Toolbox of network checks, Wi-Fi evil twin detection, Lock Down mode, Mini graph, etc.
- Simple installation process.
- A single click of button blocks all unwanted incoming traffic.
- Not all are free to use.
- The inability to block all apps at once.
If you’re looking for a firewall that does it all, then PeerBlock should be your automatic choice. This is because it offers the highest levels of security against all types of online and incoming threats. The PeerBlock free firewall will immediately block any harmful spyware, ads, etc.
Features: Easy- setup, Allows the users to create their blocklist, Defend against unwanted traffic, Easy to use the platform, etc.
- Easy to switch toggle on and off.
- Blocks most pop-ups and ads.
- Not supported or updated.
- Basic IT knowledge is required to set it up.
#8) AVS Firewall
This free firewall protects your computer from both internal and external connections. Additionally, the AVS firewall protects your system against malicious ads, pop-ups, flash banners, and changes in a registry.
Features: Parental control, Easy-to-use interface, AD blocker, Registry cleaner, Internet traffic control, Windows 7, 8, XP, and Vista compatible.
- Free firewall software.
- Ability to control internet traffic even when you have limited access to the internet.
- Can flag even safe programs as a threat.
Website: AVS firewall
#9) OpenDNS Home
If you’re searching for a robust free firewall to install on Windows 10, then OpenDNS home is a great option. This is because the firewall comes with advanced security features that monitor threats closely so that they don’t make their way to your computer through social media websites or other similar online platforms.
Features: Simple and easy to use interface, Excellent control over internet behavior, Many filtration options, Automatic blocking of non-trusted content, etc.
- Award-winning firewall.
- All traffic is routed through the OpenDNS network.
Website: OpenDNS Home
The best thing about Privatefirewall is that it allows you to easily switch between the rules of the firewall and unique settings.
Additionally, you can instantly filter or block traffic without clicking too many buttons or prompts. With this free firewall, you accomplish many things including disable access to custom sites, reject access to a network, block specific IP addresses, etc.
Features: Process monitor, Applications monitor, port tracking, etc.
- Anomaly detection
- Detailed help file with links.
- Easy to configure.
- Text-heavy interface.
- The need for updates.
The Norton Free Firewall is a part of the Norton AntiVirus and Norton Internet Security solution offered by Norton. Also called Smart Firewall, the Norton firewall uses a database of programs to block or flag programs.
Features: Advanced protection against cyberattacks, Blocks phishing websites, Protects and monitors the home network.
- 100% guaranteed protection against viruses.
- Authenticates trusted websites.
- Poor protection against spyware.
- Parental control for Mac and IOS devices is missing.
All free firewalls that we have listed above come with their pros and cons. While some of them are great for features, security, and privacy, the others have an edge on pricing.
For optimal protection and prevention from threats, we would recommend you to go for ZoneAlarm, Comodo Firewall or Glasswire.
If you want visibility and control of your applications, then go for Private Firewall, Peerblock, or Tinywall. The best firewall options to streamline your security infrastructure include OpenDNS home, Glasswire, and Netdefender.
For real-time alerts, go for Tinywall, Glasswire, or Private Firewall. Finally, if affordability is what you seek, then you have several options to choose from including Tinywall, Netdefender, Norton, Private Firewall, OpenDNS home, AVS firewall, Peerblock, and Glasswire.