The Best Software Firewall Review & Buyers Guide

The Best Software Firewall Review & Buyers Guide in 2020 rounds up in-depth reviews of the best software firewalls as part of Internet security suites available in the market today.

However, because there are several software firewall solutions out there, we also help you choose and decide with an extensive guide on selecting the most suitable for you based on your available budget and needs. Tips and tricks aside, we also lead you directly to where you can learn more, try, and buy the ideal software firewall and Internet security suite for your personal or business requirements.

The Best Software Firewall Review & Buyers Guide in 2020 is your all-inclusive online destination when you are planning to buy the right software firewall solution for you.


Comparison Of The 5 Best-selling Software Firewall Products

Take a quick look at our list of software firewalls integrated into Internet security suites that can fit into your budget and requirements.

Product Software Firewall Antivirus / Antimalware Intrusion Detection / Prevention System Sandbox Zero Trust
Comodo Internet Security
    
Read Comodo Review
McAfee Total Protection
    
Read McAfee Review
AVG Internet Security
    
Read AVG Review
Avast Premium Security
    
Read Avast Review
ZoneAlarm Pro Antivirus + Firewall
    
Read ZoneAlarm Review

1. Comodo Internet Security

No. 1 Best Choice

Comodo Internet Security suite provides protection with its layers of security applications to make your Internet browser, network, and individual devices safe from cybercriminals from the operating system level and up.

Besides having an advanced antivirus and software firewall functionality, Comodo Internet Security integrates unique tools for enhanced security. With an affordable price tag for less than $20, you get a sandbox environment and a valkyrie system with this suite.

Key Features

  • Auto Sandbox Technology

Comodo Internet Security’s sandbox technology serves as a software testing environment. It is a virtual box where you can browse the Internet without worrying about malicious programs that can alter and infect the system.

  • Defense+ or Host-based Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS)

Defense+ host-based intrusion prevention system (HIPS) monitors executable files. HIPS notifies you about potentially unwanted programs. You can decide whether these apps are unsafe afterward. 

  • Optional Firewall Installation

Unlike other software, Comodo permits you to deactivate the built-in firewall. Nonetheless, you can use the Internet security suite’s other features like its antivirus without having to change anything in your current settings.

  • Secure Banking & Shopping

With Comodo Internet Security, you can do online banking and shopping without worrying. Comodo isolates your Internet browser within a secure container so you are protected from being hacked or monitored by cybercriminals.

  • Valkyrie System

Comodo Internet Security’s Valkyrie system protects you from unknown malware by performing real-time behavioral checks. Comodo’s Valkyrie system employs signature-based detection and trusted certificate validation as scanning techniques.


2. McAfee Total Protection

No. 2 Best Choice

McAfee Total Protection Internet security suite shields you against malware. An award-winning solution, it performs real-time protection from all potential threats and is used by millions worldwide.

The Internet security suite includes parental controls, spam filters, and the perfect ability to secure sensitive files. Equipped with a two-way software firewall system, McAfee Total Protection comes with added layers of heavy-duty protection. It keeps your browser free from unnecessary cookies and temporary Internet files.

Key Features

  • Antimalware

McAfee Total Protection’s next-generation scanning engine guards your devices against the latest malicious threats like rootkits, trojans, spyware, and viruses. This software suite does this without affecting battery life or overall device performance.

  • Cross-Platform, Multi-Device

Arriving in multiple device variants, McAfee Total Protection can support up to ten different devices, popular consumer Internet browsers, and different operating systems. Whether you are on a desktop or a mobile device, you are 100% safe.

  • Data Protection

File Lock feature uses password and encryption techniques to ensure that your private files confidential. Encrypted Storage keeps your sensitive files using 128-bit encryption, while Password Manager secures passwords through multifactor management.

  • Home Network Protection

McAfee Total Protection’s software firewall blocks hackers from accessing your home network. With Safe Web feature, McAfee stops possible attacks before they happen while providing you with notifications about malicious files, links, and websites.

  • Performance Optimization

With the PC Boost feature, McAfee Total Protection keeps your device running like the first time you unbox it. Its performance optimization comes with App Boost for program optimization and Web Boost for smooth Web browsing experience better.


3. AVG Internet Security

No. 3 Best Choice

AVG Internet Security works to protect your devices from malicious threats. Apart from basic antivirus capabilities, it also works as a software firewall and provides a layer of protection even from email threats and phishing sites.

While it comes at a high price for an antivirus software compared to its competitors, being able to use it (Multi-Device version) in several devices makes it a good deal. AVG software suite works well with Mac, Windows, and Android devices.

Key Features

  • Enhanced Firewall

AVG Internet Security has a built-in software firewall that tracks your device’s inbound and outbound traffic. The enhanced software firewall works whether you are connected to a wired or a wireless network, keeping cybercriminals at bay.

  • Fake Website Detection

As many banking and shopping transactions happen online these days, more people are prone to phishing threats. These fake websites trick people to put their personal data. AVG avoids these fake websites to ensure your transactions are secure.

  • Multiple Devices

For less than $100, you can run AVG Internet Security on up to ten multiple devices with a one-year subscription. But if you’re just looking for an Internet security solution for your PC alone, you can choose to avail of a one-device plan.

  • Tech & Community Support

The premium variant of AVG Internet Security comes with a call and chat support available 24/7. There’s also a community of AVG users that can help you check out and respond to common questions from other users on the website.

  • Webcam Protection

AVG Internet Security’s webcam protection feature takes away your device from the prying eyes of peeping toms on the Internet. The software suite blocks or disable any potential malware that comes with your downloads for enhanced protection.


4. Avast Premium Security

No. 4 Best Choice

Avast Premium Security exceeds what other software firewalls and antivirus solutions can do. Its array of features includes ransomware shields that block cybercriminals who can hold your private information hostage. It completely scans your whole network for possible loopholes.

Avast also keeps you away from phishing sites to avoid online fraud and has a virtual machine to handle unknown and potentially malicious programs. The all-inclusive Avast Security Premium works well with macOS and Windows.

Key Features

  • Core Shields

Avast Premium Security’s key protection components, Core Shields are activated by default to provide users with optimal protection against threats. The Core Shields consist of Behavior Shield, File Shield, Mail Shield, and Web Shield.

  • Ransomware Shield

This Internet security suite with a software firewall keeps your files away from ransomware attacks. Ransomware Shield scans and protects folders that may have confidential information. Avast lets you identify folders to protect from untrusted apps.

  • Smart Scan

Avast’s Premium Security software suite does comprehensive system scans that can identify malware like spyware, trojan horses, viruses, and worms. It can also detect malicious browser add-ons, network and device issues, and poor search engines.

  • Virus Chest

An isolated space, this feature quarantines malicious and suspicious files and sends them to the Avast Threat Lab for analysis and malware definition updates. Files stored in the Virus Chest cannot run on your system, preventing them from harming your PC.

  • Wi-Fi Inspector

This feature of Avast scans your wireless network for possible exploits and potential security concerns that might cause threats to enter. Wi-Fi Inspector analyzes the status of your network setup and the different devices connected to the infrastructure.


5. ZoneAlarm Pro Antivirus + Firewall

No. 5 Best Choice

Check Point’s ZoneAlarm Pro version Antivirus + Firewall offers an extra layer of security by protecting your personal information safe from cybercriminals. Combining a software firewall and an antivirus in one package, ZoneAlarm makes sure that your network is safe from various types of malware and unauthorized access.

An ideal cloud-based network solution, it keeps your identity safe from hackers, providing full data protection and notifying you through fraud alerts and emails.

Key Features

  • Browser Protection

ZoneAlarm Pro version Antivirus + Firewall performs full system scans on websites. It identifies dangerous and suspicious files and scripts to prevent downloads that can cause harm to your devices and network.

  • Intrusion Detection System

ZoneAlarm’s Internet security suite with a software firewall has a notification system that immediately reports any policy violation or breaches through issues alerts discovered after thorough network and system scans.

  • Two-way Firewall

ZoneAlarm Pro version Antivirus + Firewall blocks both incoming and outgoing attacks without being visible to hackers with its Full Stealth Mode. It also disables any malicious programs that it detects.

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN)

ZoneAlarm uses this technology to create a safe connection over a less-secure network between the computer and the Internet. VPN protects your privacy by making you anonymous on sites that you visit.


What Are Software Firewalls?

Software firewalls are applications that you install on your device. Operating systems come with built-in software firewalls. There is a Linux firewall, Mac firewall, Windows firewall, and Ubuntu firewall. The latest version of Windows OS comes with Windows 10 firewall.

While Android doesn’t have a native firewall, many Android firewall options are available for download. Third-party software firewalls can also be installed on other OSes as well.

Equipped with more advanced features, software firewalls provide greater granularity of control. They can filter all traffic, including encrypted ones like HTTPS. These firewalls analyze data based on content including keywords.

Outside operating systems, software firewalls come as a built-in feature among third-party applications known as Internet security suites. Apart from integrating a software firewall, these Internet security suites come with other features like antivirus or antimalware, quarantine, and safe browsing for online banking and shopping.

Why Do You Need A Software Firewall?

While operating systems like Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS come with an integrated software firewall, you’ll still need a software firewall as a component of an Internet security suite.

Windows Firewall and macOS application firewall work well as a software firewall but has the same limitations as a standalone hardware firewall solution.

Installing a third-party software firewall that comes as part of an Internet security suite with a built-in antimalware feature remains crucial in spite of the effectiveness of a built-in operating system firewall as a firewall solution.

Internet security suites can stop and remove viruses and other types of malware like worms, trojan horses, spyware, and adware.

Can I Get A Software Firewall For Free?

Software firewall solutions can be downloaded and installed for free as a trialware, freeware, or an added feature within another security software or hardware device.

Trialware variants of software firewall applications can remain active for up to 30 days or a month. With trialware, home and business users have a chance if a software firewall solution can go well with their network requirements. After the trial period, users may opt to keep on using the application by paying a subscription fee or uninstall it.

You may also get a software firewall as part of another software. For example, paid operating systems Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS have built-in software firewall features, namely Windows Firewall and Mac firewall.

Meanwhile, select wired routers and wireless router models can serve as hardware firewalls with built-in software firewall features running on their network management console.

Lastly, there are free standalone software firewall solutions that can be downloaded as freeware from online sources as well. Similar to their fee-based counterparts, these free software applications also come equipped with advanced features that can block different types of online security threats from getting into your device at no cost.

Apart from being free, these software firewall options provide you with easy-to-use user interface and real-time protection against cybersecurity threats. In addition, they can go compatible with your device’s operating system without hogging its resources and making it run slow.

Interested to learn more about these firewall freeware that you may download and install on your device? Jump to our review of some of the best free firewalls this 2020.

However, if you’re more comfortable using a subscription-based software firewall solution, see our dedicated software firewall review and buyers guide session above.

You might also need other security software solutions, so better check antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-Trojan, and Internet security suites review and buyers guide as well.

Things To Consider When Choosing A Software Firewall

If you are buying a software firewall as a homeowner or a network administrator of a company’s IT department, there are pointers and features that you should take into account before arriving at a decision and spending money.

Antimalware 

Your security software must be equipped with a sophisticated scanning engine that can guard your devices against the latest malicious threats and different types of malware like rootkits, trojans, spyware, and viruses.

File Encryption

As your personal files and information are the most valuable things stored on your device, your Internet security software suite must have a feature that allows you to encrypt them. Encryption prevents unauthorized access and data theft.

Multi-device, Multi-OS 

Today, Internet security suites have variants that can support up to ten different devices, popular consumer Internet browsers, and different operating systems. Choosing the right one ensures 100% security, whether you are on a desktop or a mobile device.

Sandbox Technology

In computer security, a sandbox serves as a software testing environment where you can browse the Internet and run programs without the risk of them changing and potentially infecting the system.

Secure Online Banking & Shopping

Because online banking and shopping have become a common activity on the Internet, your security software should have a feature that protects you when doing financial transactions online. Your software firewall should be able to block fake websites.

Optional Firewall Activation

As operating systems like Windows and macOS already come with a built-in software firewall, you must have an option to activate/deactivate the third-party software firewall of your Internet security suite. Running two software firewalls may slow down your device.

Performance Optimization

Apart from not slowing down your device, your security suite must include features that allow you to keep it running smooth and snappy. Not only focusing on the entire operating system, but it also includes individual applications and your Internet browsing experience.

Aftersales Support

While these security applications are easy to use, some users might have additional concerns or are unfamiliar with running them. The companies behind these programs must have adequate aftersales support through FAQs, documentation, and technical support staff.

Reasonable Price

The last but not least, price is always a factor when it comes to choosing the right software firewall and Internet security solution. It’s important that you think about not only how much something costs but how it will fit into your budget.