A Linux firewall can be described as a service or solution that regulates, protects and blocks network traffic when it is passing between Linux-based environments. These solutions are vital to ensure secure access for users and customers, as nearly 75% of all servers in the world run Linux. Let’s look at the top products on the market for 2021 and learn the basics of a Linux firewall.
What is a Linux Firewall?
A Linux firewall is a service or solution that manages, protects, and blocks network traffic while it travels between Linux-based environments.
Many Linux distributions, such as Debian, Ubuntu firewalls, and CentOS, come with pre-built firewall services (much in the same way that Microsoft Windows has Windows Defender firewall enabled by default). You can choose from two types of Linux firewalls:
1. A command line or GUI utility
Linux firewall utilities are built on top of pre-built firewall services such as Netfilter, UFW, and FirewallD. These can be configured manually or you could install an additional utility that reveals all the functionality, simplifies configurations, and allows for point-and-click setup. Pre-built firewalls will automatically impose certain default firewall zones such as a trusted zone or demilitarized area. You can further configure these zones, create custom zones and enforce more specific policies according to your requirements using the utility.
2. Linux firewall standalone solution
These comprehensive firewall solutions (services as well as the configuration interface), are independent of Netfilter, Iptables, and other security tools. These solutions are contained in a secure, robust OS that can be installed in any shell you choose – a bare metal appliance, a cloud environment, or a private virtualized shell. These solutions include network management capabilities like traffic routing and monitoring reports, which enable 360-degree network control.
Both types of Linux firewall solutions are compatible with each other. It is a good idea to use the first for single deployments and the second for enterprise use.
Key Must-Have Features for Linux Firewall Solutions
- Easy of Use: It depends on your technical knowledge. You need a solution that combines rich functionality and ease of use. Linux’s pre-built firewalls are very competent. This is why you should install an additional firewall. It provides a great user experience and convenience. There are many factors to be aware of, including a GUI interface, command-line controls, and remote web portals.
- Developer community: Linux firewall solutions are open-source. A larger community is helpful. You can check GitHub for activity and see the number of releases over the past few years. There are also options to use (and contribute) to community-led support.
- Hosting environment: If you choose the second option (i.e., standalone solution), the hosting environment will make a huge difference. You should check for compatibility with existing public cloud providers and the amount of investment required if you need a new shell. Also, make sure that support is available.
- A wide range of configurations: The Linux firewall solution should offer the most diverse configurations possible, including custom network zones, time-bound security policies, and user-specific security configurations. This is more important for enterprise purchases than standalone use where the network environment remains static.
- Nonfirewall capabilities: Linux comes with its own robust firewall service. The solution you choose should include security and network management functions as well as non-firewall functionality. You should also look into bandwidth optimization, Content Filtering, and intrusion detection.
Let’s now learn more about the Best Linux firewalls solution and its key features.
Top 10 Linux Firewall Solutions in 2022
All Linux distributions come with pre-built firewalls. Technically, you can do without any additional firewall software on your Linux system. Prebuilt firewalls are limited in functionality. It helps to have a utility that sits on top of the firewall, which allows you to configure and manage its filtering rules.
Some best Linux firewall distro can also be standalone and are meant to reside on their own hardware or virtualized shells. They act as an end-to-end network security appliance. These solutions are for small to medium-sized businesses that have multiple users who rely on Linux systems every day. Here is a list of the best Linux firewall solutions on the market.
1. Endian Firewall Community (EFW)
Endian Firewall Community is a ready-to-use or turnkey security solution built on Linux. It needs a virtual environment or hardware shell to be installed and provides protection for Linux-based environments. EFW can be downloaded as a limited, free Linux firewall software that you install on an existing Linux computer.
Features: Endian provides the following core capabilities for protecting your systems:
- There are four versions available for home users: network security in small offices; Wi-Fi/BYOD; and IIoT
- A stateful firewall that continuously analyzes data packets in real-time.
- Enhance network performance with bandwidth optimization, network failure over, and other methods.
- Additional security measures include VPN and network gateway antivirus. This prevents intrusions and protects email.
- Historical reports and detailed analytics of web usage
Prize: You can download the EFW Basic software version for free. For custom pricing on its enterprise solutions, you can contact the company.
2. Gufw Firewall
UFW, or Uncomplicated firewall, is a prebuilt firewall that comes with every Ubuntu distribution of Linux. Gufw (Graphical User Interface) is an enhancement that makes it easy to configure UFW according to your needs. No matter your best Linux Firewall distribution (Debian, Mint, etc) Gufw Firewall can be downloaded as a standalone program.
Features: Gufw Firewall offers the following functions:
- It’s a refreshingly simple interface that requires no learning curve
- You can toggle the firewall on/off using allow/deny data traffic and create your firewall profile.
- A GUI-based rules engine
- Logs of all network activity and firewall intervention
- Different networks can have customized firewall profiles
Prize: Gufw Firewall is available for free download.
IPFire, an open-source security tool for Linux developers, is IPFire. It can be used as a proxy Linux server firewall, VPN gateway, or other network protection mechanism. In addition, it is a powerful firewall. IPFire can reside in virtual or hardware shells just like Endian.
Features: With IPFire you can expect these features:
- Network segmentation during installation in Green (safe), Green (risk-prone), blue (wireless) and orange (demilitarized), each with its own firewall rules
- A new IPFire 2.15 Core update 86 version has resulted in an improved GUI
- Available in 7 languages other than English
- Self-protection and blocking unauthorized modifications to firewall rules
- Additional capabilities include VPN, intrusion detection, and web UI.
Prize: IPFire can be downloaded for free for use on-premises, and as an AWS-based Linux firewall.
4. Nebero Systems Linux Firewall
Nebero Systems is a leading commercial firewall solution for Linux environments. There are five options available – Basic, SOHO Standard, Premium, and Enterprise depending on what your business needs are. These are all paid solutions that come with unlimited licenses and support for the first year.
features: The following core features are part of Nebero Systems Linux Firewall
- Built on an open-source foundation with regular community support.
- Unified Threat Management, gateway anti-virus, intrusion prevention, and Wi-Fi security
- Better network performance via bandwidth management, virtual LAN, real-time monitoring, etc.
- BYOD environments require additional security
- Business continuity support in all five versions
Prize: Nebero Linux Firewall versions are price strat at 1055$.
5. OPNsense(r), Business Edition
OPNsense (r) is a firewall that uses the FreeBSD Linux distribution. There are two versions: one for free and one for business. OPNsense(r), which has powerful firewall functionality and handy add-ons for creating a secure networking environment, is available.
Features: OPNsense(r), Business Edition’s core features are:
- Stateful firewall compatible IPv4/IPv6
- Visibility into past and blocked traffic on a real-time basis
- Proofpoint uses state-of-the-art technologies to detect intrusions
- Web-filtering, two-factor authentication, SD-WAN configurations
- As part of the Business Edition, a reliable and valid upgrade roadmap
Prize: Open-source versions are free to download. However, donations are welcome. For a quote on the Business Edition, contact OPNsense(r).
Shorewall firewall is an open-source security tool that sits on top of Netfilter, the firewall service that comes with Linux 2.4 or later kernels. Shorewall doesn’t require hardware or virtualization and only provides an interface for configuring your security capabilities. It comes with six packages: the core functionality, IPv4 and IPv6 firewall packages, “lite” administration and full-feature administration, and one package for reacting.
Features: Shorewall includes the following core features:
- A flexible and powerful configuration tool that is ideal for technical experts
- Netfilter’s state tracking feature can help you gain benefits
- If incoming connections are not compatible with firewall rules, effective exception handling
- To prevent log clutter, silence discards certain data packets
- Traffic acceptance is not a default assumption
Prize: Shorewall is free software and can be redistributed, modified or copied in accordance with the GNU Public License.
7. Smoothwall Express
Smoothwall Express is an open-source, free firewall solution for Linux. It includes its own OS. It could be considered an alternative to EFW because it requires a virtualized environment or shell to run in. Smoothwall has an excellent corporate solution that can be used for education, public sectors, and business purposes.
Features: which of the following is a key feature of Smoothwall?
- Open-source community with 18,000+ members that provides support for the regular operation
- Real-time, Content-Aware Web Filtering for Business Use
- A record manager is included to safeguard electronic incidents
- Powered by a partnership between National Online Safety
- Smooth traffic routing with a sophisticated QoS (Quality of Service) feature
Prize: Smoothwall Express is a completely free Linux firewall, while Smoothwall Corporate offers custom pricing that you request based on your needs.
8. Complete Untangle NG Firewall
This Linux firewall solution contains 20+ security applications, both paid and free. Either you can choose to install the free or paid components individually, or opt for the whole package at a fixed cost. Untangle also offers pre-bundled solutions to eligible non-profit and public sector organizations.
Features: Untangle NG Firewall Complete includes the following features:
- Web filter for regulated Based on content type across 32+ million URLs
- Firewall rules that are easy to use and auto-generated reports
- Untangle’s ad-blocking feature ensures safe browsing
- IPsec VPN to secure branch offices (interoperable Avec Cisco, Sophos, and SonicWALL).
- Fully configurable SSL inspector, user/time-based rights administration
Prize: Untangle NG firewall Complete is available at a competitive $25 per month. This includes all 20+ apps. As the solution’s shell, you will need to invest in hardware and virtual appliances as well as Public Cloud (AWS/Microsoft Azure).
OverviewVuurmuur, which is similar to Shorewall and Gufw and a firewall configuration utility, and manager, was built on iptables. This pre-built Linux firewall functionality allows for easy configuration. It is open-source software and has a Linux firewall GUI interface. This allows for both simple and complicated settings. Vuurmuur is also possible to be set up remotely.
Features: The key features of Linux firewall solutions are:
- An admin interface that is simple and can be used even without knowing iptables
- Security policies built-in by default
- Compatible with IPv6 connections
- Log and connection viewing in real-time. Historical log searchable.
- Integration of scripts with other tools is possible
Prize: Vuurmuur is an open-source Firewall Linux and free for use.
VyOS, an open platform for network security, resides on its own bare metal or virtualized cloud shell. It is a Linux router firewall and firewall solution that partners with OEMs, resellers as well as managed service providers, and training organizations to help you through the entire implementation process.
Features: The key features of Some of the most important functions of VyOS are:
- Open APIs and customizable images that fit seamlessly into any environment
- Policy-based routing and support IPv4/IPv6
- Enforcement of firewalls, both zone-based and stateful
- Diverse VPN options available in partnership with WireGuard
- Superior network performance through custom health checks and load balancing
Prize: VyOS’ source code is available at GitHub. Enterprise solutions start at $660 per annum for unlimited router deployment and reach $6600 per annum for the Mission Critical package which includes 24/7 support.
Conclusion – Best Linux Firewall Solutions
These ten Linux firewall solutions address nearly all use cases you may encounter while operating a Linux system on an individual PC or an enterprise server. Most Linux distributions come with strong firewall features built-in. These firewalls add an additional layer of protection and simplify administration to improve network security.