We aren’t always aware of the various connections being made when we are online and the data our computers send over the internet.
Often, there are hidden connections taking place, with trackers sending our data to various servers around the world for the purposes of advertising or even something more nefarious.
A firewall and network monitor like Little Snitch can expose those connections, so you know exactly what is happening when you are online. Little Snitch shows you which connections each application is making and allows you to block or allow them.
It also shows you which servers the applications are connecting to and where they are located.
Unfortunately, Little Snitch is only available on Mac computers. That means that if you are on Windows, you will need to search for an alternative firewall and network monitor.
Unfortunately, many of the articles talking about Little Snitch alternatives include alternatives that are also only available on Mac.
At the same time, Little Snitch has its drawbacks, even for Mac users. For example, it is not open source, nor is it entirely free.
Today, I will be going through 8 alternatives to Little Snitch for Windows for protecting your privacy, discovering hidden connections, and safeguarding your data. Let’s get into it.
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GlassWire is my #1 recommendation if you are looking for a Little Snitch alternative for Windows. It is the most similar to Little Snitch out of all alternatives available for Windows.
With a clean interface that is easy to navigate and configure, GlassWire shows you your current and past network connections, giving you full control over what your computer and its applications are doing.
With simple graphs, you can see how your network activity has gone up or down over time. In the app, you can view a list of applications and processes connecting to the internet and the amount of data they are uploading and downloading.
If you will be away from your computer for a while and need to leave it on, do not worry. When you get back to your desk, you will be able to see exactly what it was doing and how it was connecting to the web while you were gone.
Moreover, you can choose to block all network activity when you are away. Just turn on Lock Down Mode, and nothing bad will happen — you can enjoy your time with your friend or your walk in the park.
You can break down your network connections by IP/host, traffic type, app, and more. Likewise, can see the total breakdown of incoming vs outgoing traffic, both in general and for each specific app connected to the World Wide Web.
Not only will you see which apps are connecting to the web, but you can see which IP addresses they are connecting to, and in which countries those IP addresses are.
Do you want GlassWire to notify you every time a new application tries to access the network? GlassWire can send you an alert every time a new connection is established, and you can decide to block or allow that connection — with Ask to Connect mode turned on, no program can connect without your permission.
You may also set up different firewall profiles for different connectivity situations. For example, while you may be more permissive with what you allow when on your home network, you can be more restrictive and create more limitations when connected to public Wifi.
GlassWire is also excellent for discovering which apps are hogging up your bandwidth, thus slowing down your internet speeds. You can also spot viruses, malware, and misbehaving apps and shut them down right away — GlassWire will notify you of app activity that may indicate malware.
The built-in VirusTotal antivirus tool allows you to scan your files for malware. In addition, you may turn on automatic scanning of network active files to stop malware in its tracks.
GlassWire can even help protect other devices on the network. When a new device connects to your Wifi, and you don’t recognize that device, you can alert other computers connected to the Wifi network, so they can take the appropriate actions to protect themselves.
Set up Evil Twin alerts to be notified when someone sets up a fake Wifi network imitating a real one. For example, if you are staying at a hotel or working in an airport or coffee shop, malicious actors may have set up a network with the same name as the real public network in an effort to steal your data.
While it can be hard to detect such fake networks yourself, GlassWire can detect them using advanced methods and let you know about them.
GlassWire can even be used to monitor remote servers. In other words, you can connect two devices and use GlassWire on one of them to monitor network activity on the other.
There is a free version of GlassWire, but it doesn’t include any firewall features. Instead, it allows you to monitor your network activity, see which apps are using up data, set up alerts when you reach data caps, scan files with VirusTotal, and monitor one computer’s network activity remotely.
A free seven day trial of the premium features comes with the free download, after which the app will revert to the free version.
GlassWire offers affordable pricing at rates not that different from Little Snitch. Licenses start at just $39 and go up to $99, depending on factors such as how many computers you want to install it on, how far back you need your network history to go, and how many remote connections you need.
Check the pricing page for updated pricing information.
NetLimiter is another good alternative to Little Snitch on Windows for network activity monitoring and blocking. Designed for Windows, unlike Little Snitch, it’s one of the easiest tools you will ever use for controlling your bandwidth usage.
To start off with, NetLimiter is a monitoring tool. You can see a list of applications accessing the web and the amount of web traffic they are using.
I’d venture to say that NetLimiter is as simple or even easier and simpler than Little Snitch for network control. You can not only block applications, but you can also set limits and priority levels for different applications quickly and easily.
It’s easy to block apps. However, instead of blocking apps, you can also set maximum transfer speeds for applications.
You may also set quotas for the amount of data each application can use. After an application reaches its quota, another rule can kick in — you can limit the speed, or you can block it from further accessing the internet altogether.
In addition, you may also set priorities for different applications. Priority levels include low, normal, high, and critical.
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Why is this important? Sometimes, you will have limited bandwidth, but you will have several applications trying to use that bandwidth at the same time.
By setting priority levels, you can ensure that the most critical applications get priority for that precious bandwidth. NetLimiter will ensure that those with higher priority can access the network first, while those with lower priority will have to give way.
NetLimiter even has a scheduler tool that allows you to schedule rules to take effect at specific times.
You can also monitor your network traffic and see a full list of apps connecting to the internet and their usage. Likewise, can see bar charts and graphs displaying total usage over time and breaking down upload and download bandwidth usage by application.
There is both NetLimiter Pro and NetLimiter Lite. NetLimiter Lite doesn’t have all the features of NetLimiter Pro (for example, it does not let you monitor a remote computer), but it still allows you to monitor your traffic, set priorities, and set transfer speed limits.
Pricing varies based on the number of licenses you need and whether you are using it for commercial purposes or for your home network.
Pricing can be as low as $4.95/license if you’re buying 100+ Standard Licenses of NetLimiter Lite. NetLimiter Pro starts at just $24.95 per license for one Home License or $29.95 for one Standard License.
See full pricing here.
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Are you searching for an alternative to Little Snitch for Windows that is not just free to use but open source as well? Portmaster, from Safing, is just what you’re looking for.
However, it is an alpha software at the moment. In other words, it is still in active development, and it can experience some bugs or glitches while the developers continue to improve the software.
That is why I am not including it first, despite it being open source, unlike Little Snitch. Nevertheless, it remains a great alternative to Little Snitch, allowing you to do much of what LS does.
For example, you can monitor all network activity and see which applications are doing what and when. You can search for a specific application in the list.
You can block certain connections from taking place automatically by setting up custom rules. If you’d like, you can have the software send you a prompt for new connections, so you can approve them in real time.
You can also use lists of domains known to be associated with ads, malware, spyware, ad trackers, and NSFW sites to block them automatically.
There are all types of rules you can set up to take control over your internet usage. For example, you can set up rules to apply across all apps or only for specific apps; you can block certain countries or set up different rules for home and public networks.
While the network monitoring tool is free and open source, Safing does charge for a premium VPN, which is how it can sustain the free software.
Not everyone knows this, but Windows computers come with a built-in firewall already enabled. It is known as the Windows Defender Firewall, the Microsoft Defender Firewall, or simply the Windows Firewall.
Back in the early days of Windows XP, this firewall was not very good. Back when it was known as the Internet Connection Firewall, it was very basic, hard to configure, and did not even come enabled by default.
However, a lot has changed in the two decades since the firewall first came out. It is now a very good firewall that is easy to configure, and it serves as a decent layer of protection by filtering out unwanted connections.
In fact, the Windows Firewall is that good now that most people do not even need a third party firewall. Back in the day, third party firewalls were very popular, as they were necessary to truly protect your network and computer.
Now, however, they have become less popular. Indeed, Windows Defender Firewall comes automatically enabled on new Windows installations, and it has been that way since Windows Server 2012.
So, what exactly can the Windows Defender Firewall do? It allows you to control which programs and applications can access the internet, or only allow each application to communicate with certain addresses.
I admit, the interface isn’t the best, especially when compared to Little Snitch. However, it is free, and it doesn’t require any additional download, unlike Little Snitch.
In addition, it does allow for advanced configuration using the Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security panel, as long as you know what you are doing.
For example, by default, all outbound traffic is allowed. In other words, any request made from your device is not filtered or blocked, but you can change that.
You can enable predefined rules that come with the device or are created when you install a new application, or you can create your own rule allowing network traffic on a specific port number.
The same applies to inbound traffic rules. By default, inbound traffic is allowed when it is not unsolicited or when it is unsolicited but matches a rule for allowed traffic.
You can also use Windows Firewall with Advanced Security to require encryption for all data shared over a network with other computers on the network. You can set up an encryption zone for this, which will also ensure that only authenticated devices can connect and communicate with others.
As a firewall, Windows Defender Firewall is just as good as Little Snitch. In addition, it allows you to get notifications for inbound and outbound traffic requests.
You can also see logs of denied requests.
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This is such a great tool that I am surprised not more people know about it. Released by BinSoft, Windows Firewall Control, or WFC, is a handy little tool for controlling network traffic.
Remember how I just said that Windows has a built-in firewall that allows you to monitor and block network traffic? The problem, as I already mentioned, is that the interface is nowhere near as intuitive as Little Snitch’s interface.
The solution is Windows Firewall Control. It actually extends the built-in Windows Firewall to make it easier to check and block network traffic requests.
You can use it starting from Windows Server 2012, and it has four handy settings available:
- No filtering: Turning on this setting will disable the built-in Windows Defender Firewall. Do not choose this setting unless you are protecting your computer with a third party firewall.
- Low filtering: This allows outbound connections unless you block them, or you set up a rule to block a specific type of connection.
- Medium filtering: The opposite is true here, with most outbound traffic being blocked unless you specifically allow it.
- High filtering: This blocks all inbound and outbound traffic altogether.
To be clear, BiniSoft’s product isn’t actually doing any blocking itself. It’s merely extending the built-in Windows Firewall, which is doing the blocking, and giving you easier access to it.
Not only can you set up rules, but you can set up temporary rules that expire after some time or when you close the program. You can get notifications about blocked connections and view a log displaying all allowed and blocked connections.
Unlike Little Snitch, Windows Firewall Control is completely free, as is the built-in Windows Defender Firewall. Using them together gives you much of the simplicity of Little Snitch, but without the added cost.
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ZoneAlarm is an antivirus and firewall, with built-in network activity monitoring.
As a whole, it offers a lot more than Little Snitch, as it actively protects you against other threats to your PC. You can have the firewall in conjunction with its other products, like the antivirus or the anti ransomware tools.
Not only that, but ZoneAlarm offers a free firewall option, while Little Snitch only offers a limited, demo version that deactivates every three hours. Of course, the free ZoneAlarm firewall has some limitations as well, but it is free forever, and it includes:
- PC monitoring
- Traffic monitoring
- Early boot protection
- Identity protection
- Safe search
- Anti phishing
- Safe document download
With that being said, let’s explore some features of the ZoneAlarm Firewall, both free and paid.
To start, it monitors your PC for suspicious behavior and automatically blocks suspicious threats, including both inbound and outbound network requests. With Stealth Mode, you can hide yourself from hackers.
It’s a two way firewall, so you can monitor traffic going in and coming out of your computer. You can also protect your identity with the built-in identity theft prevention and credit monitoring features.
You can configure your network settings for both private and public networks, allowing you to block or allow certain protocols, packet types, network traffic types, and more.
The Application Control feature detects new network requests made by applications and compares them to a database of known and trusted applications and requests. If it can’t verify that a request or application is legit, it will send you an alert, so no malicious requests get through.
Another good alternative to Little Snitch on Windows is Comodo Firewall. It is affordable, works on Windows, and also includes advanced antivirus protection, which Little Snitch does not.
In terms of monitoring, Comodo is pretty good. You can set up rules for which applications can make connections, and you can monitor inbound and outbound activity and get alerted when there is any suspicious activity detected.
Although there are a lot of configuration options available, Comodo Firewall remains an easy to use software, even for newbies. You do not have to be a tech geek to figure it out.
A cool thing about Comodo is that it learns your habits by analyzing your activity on your computer. That way, it is able to provide personalized protection.
When Safe Mode is on, Comodo Firewall will only allow trusted applications to access the network. These applications are on a special list and are known to be safe.
Other applications trying to access the network will generate an alert. You can then mark them as trusted manually.
You can also choose Training Mode, in which there are no rules and all applications are allowed access by default, or Block All Mode, in which all applications are denied.
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Okay, this isn’t a full alternative to Little Snitch — it doesn’t have its full breadth of monitoring features, nor does it have a firewall.
Nevertheless, Task Manager (formerly Windows Task Manager) is free, unlike Little Snitch, and it is already included in your Windows computer.
Simply open up your Task Manager and look at the Resource Monitor or Processes section. There, under Network, you can see which apps and processes are using up the internet and exactly how much internet they are using.
It’s quick and easy, and you can shut down apps and processes at your whim.
The best Little Snitch alternative on Windows is GlassWire, because it includes a firewall, is easy to use, has a free option, and is the most similar to Little Snitch on Windows.
Ben Levin is a Hubspot certified content marketing professional and SEO expert with 6 years of experience and a strong passion for writing and blogging. His areas of specialty include personal finance, tech, and marketing. He loves exploring new topics and has also written about HVAC repair to dog food recommendations. Ben is currently pursuing a bachelor’s in computer science, and his hobbies include motorcycling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Muay Thai.