Is pfSense still the best firewall?

pfSense remains a highly regarded and commonly used firewall solution, especially in small to medium-sized businesses and among home users with advanced needs. It offers robust features, customization options, and strong security measures, all for free since it’s an open-source platform.

However, what qualifies as the “best” firewall can depend heavily on specific needs, the scale of operation, and the resources available. Some alternatives to pfSense that are also frequently used and respected include:

  1. OPNsense: A fork of pfSense, OPNsense offers a more modern user interface and is generally considered more forward-looking in its development and feature integration. It is fully open-source and often compared directly with pfSense.
  2. Sophos XG: This is a commercial firewall solution that offers a free version for home users. It is known for a user-friendly interface and robust reporting capabilities.
  3. Fortinet FortiGate: Fortinet’s appliances are often used in enterprise settings. They are recognized for their high performance, extensive feature set, and accompanying security services.
  4. Cisco ASA: A classic choice for enterprise-level businesses, Cisco ASA devices are highly reliable, supported by extensive documentation and a wide user base, but they can be expensive and require Cisco-specific knowledge.
  5. Untangle NG Firewall: Known for its simplicity and ease of use, Untangle provides a nice graphical interface and a lite package that is free for personal use.
  6. WatchGuard: WatchGuard offers comprehensive security services with their firewall appliances, but they can be on the pricey side, making them more suitable for businesses with bigger budgets.

Each of these solutions has its strengths and weaknesses. For example, commercial solutions often come with support contracts and potentially better integration with other enterprise products but can be significantly more expensive. In contrast, open-source solutions like pfSense and OPNsense can be run on a wide range of hardware and are generally more cost-effective but might require more hands-on management and a higher degree of technical knowledge.

In summary, pfSense is still an excellent choice for a firewall in many cases, but depending on your specific needs and resources, another solution might be the “best” for you.