I like Windows PCs because of their enhanced protection against cyber-attacks. Windows devices come with Windows Firewall, a built-in program that automatically protects the computer by blocking unwanted incoming IP traffic.
This network security program does a great job of proxying the inbound responses and outbound connection requests on your computer. But it has its limitations too, which is why you’d prefer other alternatives.
To begin with, the Windows Firewall is not so friendly to navigate and use. It’s also host-based, meaning it can only protect your PC. To optimize the security of a network of computers, you’ll need a third-party firewall.
It also fails in monitoring, inspecting, and proxying outbound communication. Any program can connect to whatever IP address on the internet without getting blocked by the firewall. By the time you are prompted for permission, the connection has already gone through.
Here are the best alternatives to Windows Firewall to use.
Best Windows Firewall Alternatives
GlassWire is a third-party firewall that packs loads of features. Unlike Windows Firewall, which focuses on network security, GlassWire is a firewall and full intrusion detection system.
GlassWire has an easy-to-use interface with well-organized functions. It features data usage tracking, network checks, mini graphs, visual network monitoring, discreet alerts, Wi-Fi evil twin detection, lockdown mode, and more.
The program comes with a toolbox consisting of network security checks, including system file change detection, ARP spoofing monitoring, app info change detection, device list change detection, and more.
In its Firewall tab, you’ll find a list of active programs. It will show you the network activity graphs, the hosts your applications are connecting to, and how much bandwidth they are consuming. If you want to block any running program, just click on the icon on the left side and the app will instantly stop accessing the web.
With GlassWire, you’re assured of proactive protection against all online and incoming attacks. It instantly blocks the source of malware without bothering you.
One copy of GlassWire gives you three functions, including threat monitoring, firewall, and networking monitor. Even with these three running, GlassWire will never weigh down the system performance.
TinyWall is a free firewall that protects the system from all sorts of threats from the internet. It is a lightweight but powerful, non-intrusive firewall program with some of the highest levels of security and features.
It has a no pop-up approach that automatically deals with external security issues from the background. You will never experience annoying pop-up prompts and notifications like most firewall programs do.
Its application scanner scans your PC for programs that need to be added to the safelist. You’re also given the option to choose a file, service, or process manually and give it permanent firewall permissions.
If you want, you can run the TinyWall firewall in auto-learn mode to familiarize it with the programs you prefer to access the network. This will allow you to open all these programs then shut down the auto-learn mode before you include all your trusted applications to the safe list.
Besides being a controller, TinyWall performs safety operations without altering the system settings. It has a powerful scanning option, Wi-Fi protection, dedicated LAN controlling options, instant Firewall configuration, real-alerts, customizable options, and more.
TinyWall also offers tampering protection, automatic blocks to harmful content, and more. This program offers you control over your external environment protection system. With TinyWall, you won’t bump into pop-up ads.
Unlike Windows Firewall, TinyWall can be used on any type of computer. Plus, its auto-learn feature allows you to create exceptions.
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Comodo Firewall is another free, Chromium technology-based firewall that comes loaded with features such as Virtual Kiosk, ad blocker, custom DNS servers, and more. With Comodo, it is easy to add programs to block.
Comodo enhances system security by protecting it against internal and external threats. What gives it an edge over similar programs is its ability to protect single PCs and an entire organization’s network system.
Besides protecting against internet hacking, cyber-attacks, and other malicious attacks, Comodo’s internet security suite has anti-malware and antivirus programs. Once you install it, you’re assured of timely controls, ad blocking, and other functions that will enhance your computer’s security.
Comodo Firewall is an exceptional firewall that safely blocks incoming connections. Its up-to-date threat database monitors your device for ongoing threats and ensures they are stopped.
The program tracks and updates you on suspicious documents and programs. It utilizes Artificial Intelligence (AI) to understand your computer activities in order to deliver tailored protection while allowing you to work without any distractions.
Comodo also performs regular scans on your PC for virus threats and malware and checks downloadable files to ensure they’re safe.
It has a user-friendly graphical interface you can configure effortlessly. It also checks your network traffic and will keep all device ports from hackers.
Comodo’s games mode allows apps to operate over the web. Other features include malware blocking and browser cleanup utility.
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Norton’s Free Firewall is a component of Norton Internet Security Solution and Norton AntiVirus. Also known as Smart Firewall, this program utilizes a database of programs to reinforce its network security.
It features advanced protection against cyber-attacks and other external threats, blocking phishing websites, and monitoring and protecting home networks. Norton also authenticates trusted websites and guarantees 100% protection against viruses.
Compared to Windows firewall, Norton offers an advanced intrusion prevention system through the integration of Smart Firewall, IPS, and other technologies. Together, they form a network-based protection system that blocks malicious attacks from infiltrating the computer system.
Smart Firewall protects personal information while intrusion prevention system protects the operating systems and browsers.
Each file you download has to get a reputation review. The Smart Firewall conducts behavior monitoring, and any suspicious behavior will be stopped immediately. It has advanced remediation tools like Norton Boot and Recovery and Power Eraser to destroy malware that is deep-rooted in the system.
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ZoneAlarm is a legendary firewall known widely for its advanced security protection. This free alternative comes with a unique SmartDefence Advisor and free Wi-Fi security settings. The SmartDefence Advisor restricts the number of pop-ups on your computer.
During setup, you have the option to install AUTOLEARN or MAX security. If you choose AUTOLEARN, it will make changes based on your activity and behavior. But if you go for MAX, you’ll have complete manual control of each application setting. Windows Firewall has no such settings.
ZoneAlarm protects your PC from cyber-attacks, identity theft, viruses, phishing attacks, and more. It will prevent unauthorized changes to your system by password protecting the settings or by locking the host’s file.
The ZoneAlarm slider setting lets you adjust the security mode of any private or public network. You can modify the setting from no firewall to high or medium and adjust it so that no one on your network can connect to you. This also includes restricting printer and file sharing on the networks you choose.
The program comes with an anti-phishing system, antivirus program, parental controls, and 5GB storage space. Its pro version gives you identity theft protection for a whole year.
The online backup management system from ZoneAlarm is what you really need to safeguard your data.
The price starts at $39.95 for five devices per year.
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FortiGate is a next-generation network firewall developed by Fortinet. It provides industry-leading business security to ensure real-time defense, improved operational efficiency, and automated workflows.
It has two primary components – the FortiGuard labs and Fortinet security fabrics. Fortinet security fabrics are fully integrated and automated. It protects your system from Cyber-related attacks with advanced features.
FortiGate provides next-generation firewalls, a secure web Gateway, security management, and a secure SD-Wan, among many others. It also offers wireless services, SD-branch, and switching.
Its cloud services surpass anything that Windows Firewall offers. Besides dynamic cloud security, it also provides SaaS application security. The multiple security options will give you peace of mind knowing that your device is fully protected and free from attacks.
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pfSense is trusted widely for its high-grade functionalities. It is not only open-source; you can upgrade this program through the web interface.
pfSense is based on the FreeBSD system and you can have it on your PC or virtual networks. It integrates with other virtual devices too. If you need to extend your connectivity to accommodate other authorized users like employees or customers, you can seamlessly do so through Microsoft Azure Cloud or Amazon AWS services.
This way, you can form a network and share projects and resources in the cloud-to-cloud, site-to-cloud or private connectivity. Conversely, the Windows firewall has no integrations; it works independently to protect your PC.
pfSense is ideal for professionals who need to plan, design, implement, and manage strategies and projects to enhance their business operations and productivity.
If it’s not network security, it is firewall conversions. That is what pfSense is all about. It will deliver practical solutions and give you space to attend to other trivial matters of the business. It has all the tools and functionalities to give you the best firewall experience.
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Total Defense Internet Security Suite is modern internet protection that protects an entire network structure from potential threats. Besides being a firewall, this suite is used for data migration, USB scanning, and parental control.
This internet security suite offers high levels of firewall protection and is available in three different versions – the ultimate internet security, premium internet security, and essentials suite.
With the premium version of Internet Security Suite, you get protection from spyware, viruses, ransomware, and other malware on five different devices. Windows firewall protects only one device.
The anti-phishing feature makes sure you are free from fraudsters, malicious websites, and phishing attacks. Its user interface is quick to set up and use too.
The Premium Internet Suite offers family protection against offensive content, online predators, and identity theft. It also provides 10GB of online backup to keep your data safe. In the event of any disaster, you can access and restore your files with the click of a button.
Whether you are shopping or banking online, you are assured of the protection of your personal information and secure transactions.
Total Defence has three premium versions that cost $29.99, $59.99, and $99.99.
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Filseclab Personal Firewall is another free protection system that lets you create firewalls around your PC’s external environment. It supports the binary and ASCII log files.
Filseclab also supports live updates for traffic graphs, rule definition, Windows Security Center, privacy protection, balloon message, and more.
The program offers powerful protection at no cost. It can automatically block viruses, malicious threats, spyware, and adware from your PC and add double protection. The double filter system ensures double-layer protection.
The program has a digital verification system and seven built-in modes for use in different environments – something that Windows Firewall doesn’t have. These modes allow you to switch among them based on your needs.
You’ll also find a password protection system and advanced monitoring system if you decide to go with Filseclab.
This is a highly configurable program with an interactive rules creator that lets you define your rules of firewall and protection. With password protection, your rules and configurations will be safeguarded.
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SonicWall ensures business data security with a firewall. It uses modern techniques to facilitate the protection and offers insightful resources on precautionary measures to take when faced with a threat.
It has an automated breach protection service that continues to protect the system when you are offline.
With SonicWall, you are guaranteed lifetime data protection. Its notable products include cloud security, secure wireless connections, endpoint security, secure remote access, and email security.
SonicWall offers many features, including network security, advanced threat protection through ATP multi-engine advanced threat detection, and access security through Cloud Edge Secure Access.
Windows Firewall doesn’t handle email security so well like SonicWall. Most times, you’ll get overwhelming spam messages and eliminate them manually. But SonicWall has an advanced Email Security Protect feature that blocks threats in your inbox.
Besides email security, you’ll also have cloud security and endpoint security from SonicWall. It enables firewall capabilities in the cloud and prevents unwanted and unsecured web content that may damage your system.
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11. AVS Firewall
This free firewall safeguards your computer from hacker attacks. Not only does this firewall protection program help to secure your device against malware, but it also filters apps, preventing unauthorized intrusions.
One of the computer’s parts that hackers target most is the registry. Once they change the registry’s contents, they are in control of your PC. Fortunately, AVS Firewall protects the registry from any attempts to alter the contents.
Sometimes, you just want to browse smoothly without being interrupted by pop-ups or banners. Not all browsers have ad blockers. Do you want to create your own firewall rules for each application? This program makes that possible.
Like Windows Firewall, AVS lets you enable the parent control feature and create a whitelist of websites and URLs that you’d wish to view or keep working with. Further, you can use this feature to apply a content filter, limiting access to particular sites.
Besides, if you’ve got limited internet traffic and wouldn’t like to pay extra, this firewall enables you to view and have control over the amount of traffic. What’s more, you can see alerts whenever any app attempts to connect to the internet from your computer.
This enterprise-standard firewall is used to keep tabs on the firewall activity constantly. This way, IT teams can quickly identify abnormal activities, such as when the firewall rules deny a connection or an intrusion activity, such as port scans.
When using Solarwinds firewall, you can work with the preconfigured rules or create your own so you can perform robust intrusion detection in a more flexible fashion. Using these rules, you can easily identify the association between unrelated events, such as denied traffic counts or user login failures.
The Security Events Manager ensures that only an authorized administrator can alter the set firewall policies. This allows admins to create a strong firewall protection standard. Additionally, you can automate configuration changes on multi-vendor devices thus eliminating the need for CLI commands and complex scripting.
The automation feature allows you to receive real-time notifications whenever there are policy violations or configuration changes. I haven’t seen this feature on the Windows firewall.
The other interesting capability of this firewall is that it allows you to create custom filters, which highlight particular firewall events based on custom or default criteria. The custom filters let you monitor specific activity and get useful insights on traffic emanating from targeted devices. Generally, the custom filters give you more control over the firewall network protection.
The pricing starts at $2,613 and there’s a 30-day free trial.
The program helps to administer firewall policies and rules into multiple firewalls. The tool can delete, modify, or add network or service objects. It can also modify, delete, or add firewall rules.
Firewall software like the Windows firewall can’t analyze the possible implications of suggested firewall rule modifications, but Firewall Analyzer does it.
This firewall application is effective when it comes to firewall monitoring; it monitors logs, rules, configuration, and alerts. Monitoring is paramount to ensure there are no loopholes that hackers can detect and exploit. Firewall Analyzer provides various monitoring reports to help secure your firewall.
The reports include the activity status of every configured firewall device, including the device type, vendor name, and device status.
It also offers a high-level overview of every user that has accessed the net via the configured firewall devices. Besides, it shows the configured devices’ interfaces and triggered rules.
Firewall Analyzer is also a VPN monitoring tool that lets you fetch VPN logs from the firewall and produce insightful security and traffic reports. These reports help with VPN bandwidth management, real-time session duration and consumption, capacity planning, and security.
The cost of this firewall tool starts at $395, but you can try things out with the free trial that lasts 30 days.
14. Sophos UTM
Sophos UTM is an ultimate internet security program that protects your network in a very simple, but smart way. It has machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help you detect both known and unknown malware.
It has advanced ransomware and targeted attack protection visibility and analysis to help in blocking evasive threats effectively.
Its intuitive user interface is better than that of Windows Firewall; it makes it easy for you to manage daily tasks.
Sophos UTM is built on Intel multi-core technology, accelerated in-memory content sharing, and solid-state drives. That’s why the program has the fastest operation speeds.
Signing up with Sophos UTM guarantees protection against sophisticated threats and attacks to your wireless protection and network. Besides offering comprehensive protection, this internet security system provides full SMTP and POP message protection for emails.
Its UTM 9.4 offers advanced next-generation cloud sandboxing technology.
The all-in-one protection system features web, mobile, DLP, and endpoint email encryption. You can manage and secure your wireless networks using its built-in wireless controller.
It has powerful policy tools that ensure you receive comprehensive protection from web threats. Your web servers and applications will be free from hacking attempts while you’ll be able to access external users through reverse proxy authentication.
Sophos UTM has built-in reporting that tracks user activity, fixes problems, and boosts network performance. It provides detailed reports and graphs to show web activity and usage trends.
My preferred Windows Firewall alternative is Comodo. If you’re looking for a firewall that packs a punch when it comes to features, Comodo will do you justice.
It’s not just a firewall, it also monitors your computer behavior through artificial intelligence to tailor protection.
Comodo protects single computers and enterprise network systems. Its threat database monitors threats and stops them before they attack. The browser cleanup utility clears your browser from unwanted data.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.