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Fortinet FortiGate vs pfSense comparison

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Fortinet FortiGate Logo
160,462 views|121,922 comparisons
pfSense Logo
79,984 views|64,227 comparisons
Comparison Summary
Question: How do I choose between Fortinet FortiGate and pfSense?
Answer: I will choose FortIGate. It is a complete hardware and software and integrated solution for IT security and threat management
Featured Review
Find out what your peers are saying about Fortinet FortiGate vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
564,643 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"One of the nice things about Firepower is that you can set it to discover the environment. If that is happening, then Firepower is learning about every device, software operating system, and application running inside or across your environment. Then, you can leverage the discovery intelligence to get Firepower to select the most appropriate intrusion prevention rules to use for your environment rather than picking one of the base policies that might have 50,000 IPS rules in it, which can put a lot of overhead on your firewall. If you choose the recommendations, as long as you update them regularly, you might be able to get your rule set down to only 1,000 or 1,500, which is a significant reduction in a base rule set. This means that the firewall will give you better performance because there are less rules being checked unnecessarily. That is really useful.""Web filtering is a big improvement for us. The previous version we used, the AC520, did not have that feature included. It was not very easy for us, especially because the environment had to be isolated and we needed to get updates from outside, such as Windows patches. That feature has really helped us when we are going outside to pull those patches.""It has a good security level. It is a next-generation firewall. It can protect from different types of attacks. We have enabled IPS and IDS.""The most valuable feature is stability.""It is one of the fastest solutions, if not the fastest, in the security technology space. This gives us peace of mind knowing that as soon as a new attack comes online that we will be protected in short order. From that perspective, no one really comes close now to Firepower, which is hugely valuable to us from an upcoming new attack prevention perspective.""The solution offers very easy configurations.""Being able to determine our active users vs inactive users has led us to increased productivity through visibility. Also, if an issue was happening with our throughput, then we wouldn't know without research. Now, notifications are more proactively happening.""One of the most valuable features is the AMP. It's very good and very reliable when it comes to malicious activities, websites, and viruses."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pros →

"It's very fast and easy to configure.""I think that the UTM features are the most value, as it truly protects my infrastructure.""The most valuable feature is the web filter.""Good load balancing feature.""I only deal with it from a security analyst's point of view. I don't really get into the features of the actual FortiGate. From the security point of view, it works, and it does its job.""It's inexpensive compared to some of the other technology out there.""There are great templates, so you don't have to customize them if you don't want to. You do have the option to custom create some folders and some reports, however, with what is there, you don't really need to go through extra effort, as they already give you a lot of predefined views of reports and so forth.""The most valuable feature is the SSL VPN, as it allows us to connect and it separates this product from other firewalls."

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"pfSense allows us to spread the hours of connection and do the filtering on the pfSense site.""The most valuable features of pfSense are the reports, monitoring, filtration, and blocking incoming and outgoing traffic.""The initial setup is straightforward.""A free firewall that is a good network security appliance.""The solution is very robust.""I like pfSense's security features.""The plugins or add-ons are most valuable. Sometimes, they are free of charge, and sometimes, you have to pay for them, but you can purchase or download very valuable plugins or add-ons to perform internal testing of your network and simulate a denial-of-service attack or whichever attack you want to simulate. You can also remote and monitor your network and see where the gap is. Did you forget a printer port? Most attacks at the moment are happening through printers, and they can tell you immediately that you forgot to close the port of the printer. There are more than one million printers that are in danger, and everybody knows that hackers are using them to enter the network. So, you can download plugins to protect your network.""The features I have found best are ease of use, GUI, and performance."

More pfSense Pros →

Cons
"The initial setup can be a bit complex for those unfamiliar with the solution.""One issue with Firepower Management Center is deployment time. It takes seven to 10 minutes and that's a long time for deployment. In that amount of time, management or someone else can ask me to change something or to provide permissions, but during that time, doing so is not possible. It's a drawback with Cisco. Other vendors, like Palo Alto or Fortinet do not have this deployment time issue.""We cannot have virtual domains, which we can create with FortiGate. This is something they should add in the future. Additionally, there is a connection limit and the FMC could improve.""Cisco makes horrible UIs, so the interface is something that should be improved.""The initial setup was a bit complex. It wasn't a major challenge, but due to our requirements and network, it was not very straightforward but still easy enough.""The intelligence has room for improvement. There are some hackers that we haven't seen before and its ability to detect those types of attacks needs to be improved.""I would like it to have faster deployment times. A typical deployment could take two to three minutes. Sometimes, it depends on the situation. It is better than it was in the past, but it could always use improvement.""Web filtering needs improvement because sometimes the URL is miscategorized."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Cons →

"Technical support is good but the response time could be faster.""There are some license issues. Not every feature must have a separate license. There must be some of kind synergy between the license so we don't have to pay for every individual license that we would like to have.""I would like to see a more intuitive dashboard.""The product does need better support in the cloud environment. It's not exactly cloud-native right now.""We were not able to build a full-mesh VPN; however, I am not sure if this was the fault of Fortinet FortiGate.""If they had better integration with security products, such as Cisco ISE or Rapid Threat Containment, then it would be an improvement.""They are doing good, but they can improve the distributor assignment. The availability of the product and the timeline of delivery are the main things. The distribution should be swift, and the distributor should not reach out to end customers directly. They should work as a distributor. There should also be one more local distributor. Currently, there is only one distributor in Pakistan, and the rest of them are in UAE. It is difficult to work with only one distributor. Sometimes, you don't get along with the same distributor, and that's why they should have one more distributor. Their licensing should also be improved. The activation or renewal of the product should be done from the date of renewal, not from the date on which the license expired.""The visibility of the network can be better. The GUI can be improved for better visibility of the network flow. Other solutions have better GUI in terms of network visibility."

More Fortinet FortiGate Cons →

"Many people have problems setting up the web cache for the web system.""The main problem with pfSense is that it lacks adequate ransomware protection.""The user interface can be improved to make it easier to add more features. And pfSense could be better integrated with other solutions, like antivirus.""If you want to take advantage of all of the solution's options, you need to have a bit of a technical background. It's not for a layperson.""We had training from an advisor for the configuring of this solution and it was not difficult. However, if we were not trained it would have been not as easy.""ClamAV AntiVirus can cause some crashes. That service should be improved.""The stability could be improved.""The router monitoring needs improvement when compared with Sonicwall."

More pfSense Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "Cisco pricing is premium. However, they gave us a 50 to 60 percent discount."
  • "There are additional implementation and validation costs."
  • "Cisco, as we all know, is expensive, but for the money you are paying, you know that you are also getting top-notch documentation as well as support if needed."
  • "This product requires licenses for advanced features including Snort, IPS, and malware detection."
  • "This product is expensive."
  • "For me, personally, as an individual, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is expensive."
  • "The price of Firepower is not bad compared to other products."
  • "The solution was chosen because of its price compared to other similar solutions."
  • More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "Fortinet is the least expensive solution."
  • "It's very affordable."
  • "Setup cost may be not so low, as you expect, because it depends on different factors, but TCO for 5 years may pleasantly surprise you."
  • "The Indian market is different than the European and American markets. When you compare they need to be a bit more aggressive on pricing."
  • "I think that the pricing is fair."
  • "For our organization, the licensing costs are approximately $7,000 per year."
  • "It's an expensive solution."
  • "The price is okay."
  • More Fortinet FortiGate Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "This solution provides enterprise-level features at a fraction of the cost of an enterprise firewall."
  • "It is an open source firewall."
  • "We are using the open-source version, not the commercial one."
  • "It has almost zero cost, and it is open to us. It runs on a small appliance just for a couple of 100 bucks, and I've never had an appliance burn out on me yet."
  • "It is open source."
  • "I spent a couple of $1,000 on hardware, and the OS was free. A comparable firewall would cost me probably 20 grand. It saved a lot of money."
  • "I like the fact that it is open-source."
  • "pfSense is open-source, but the support is something that the customer pays for."
  • More pfSense Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Answers from the Community
    Netanya Carmi
    author avatarLeon Pinto
    Consultant

    PFSense or Fortinet... That would depend on your used case....


    We are using pfSense for the past two years and it does mostly what you would expect of a firewall... Captive portal, site-to-site VPN, TLS based VPN, IPsec VPN, SNORT, Suricata, ACME, port forwarding, NAT, CA, DHCP, DHCP relay, VLANS, Bridges, LAGG, LACP, etc... etc... 


    Most of all, no paid licenses anywhere as it is open source and free... Support can be purchased but I personally never needed it so far...


    The only downside is that you need to be highly technical to get it working as per your needs...  Also, a lot of docs in Google/YouTube (though a bit of scouting and navigating through bugs is required) to get things moving assuming you already know firewalls as a concept...  


    With a Fortinet, in case you have the money to pay and justify the need for it, then it's worth going for because they will support you as long as they keep getting paid... In our case (in our small SMB), I have not yet come across a need to move away from pfSense because it basically does what it is supposed to do... 


    It has been running with us for almost two years with no reasons for complaints... Again, it's my own personal opinion...

    author avatarRichard Benfatto
    User

    PfSense is the only product that would perform in a Symmetric NAT. Painful but OS-fingerprinting and impossible to do UDP NAT hole punching. Skype, Zoom uses that and even Kerio Operator, but that is all.


    It is a very broken product and when you need IPS (the " free one" is 30 days old database) you need to pay Cisco for Snort... I would not use pfSense on its own. Period.


    Fortinet is one of the best products. Lots of other things rely on one CPU to do the job. Sophos & pfSense (just to name a few) when you start adding inspection modes it is like having a 3 tonnes car with a 2 cylinder engine. The CPU goes to 90%.


    Fortinet has been ultra clever from day number one to have custom chips to do the work in hardware, so throughput with all protection features can happen without suffering speed of service to users, compare to others.


    The new OS7 is very good.


    So, I would not touch pfSense. It Is like comparing a Toyota Yaris to a Kia K 900 car. Sort to speak.

    author avatarJoão Garcia
    Real User

    Many people said that depends on your needs, and I agree.


    Fortinet and many other vendors are more than a set of level 2 or level 3 rules. They also have IPS, Antivirus, SSL Inspection, stateful inspection.


    If I have to choose between Fortinet and pfSense for my company, I would think twice. Fortinet.

    Questions from the Community
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    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco Firepower NGFW, Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall, FirePOWER, Cisco NGFWv
    FortiGate 60b, FortiGate 60c, FortiGate 80c, FortiGate 50b, FortiGate 200b, FortiGate 110c, FortiGate
    Learn More
    Netgate
    Video Not Available
    Overview

    Cisco NGFW firewalls deliver advanced threat defense capabilities to meet diverse needs, from
    small/branch offices to high performance data centers and service providers. Available in a wide
    range of models, Cisco NGFW can be deployed as a physical or virtual appliance. Advanced threat
    defense capabilities include Next-generation IPS (NGIPS), Security Intelligence (SI), Advanced
    Malware Protection (AMP), URL filtering, Application Visibility and Control (AVC), and flexible VPN
    features. Inspect encrypted traffic and enjoy automated risk ranking and impact flags to reduce event
    volume so you can quickly prioritize threats. Cisco NGFW firewalls are also available with clustering
    for increased performance, high availability configurations, and more.
    Cisco Firepower NGFWv is the virtualized version of Cisco's Firepower NGFW firewall. Widely
    deployed in leading private and public clouds, Cisco NGFWv automatically scales up/down to meet
    the needs of dynamic cloud environments and high availability provides resilience. Also, Cisco NGFWv
    can deliver micro-segmentation to protect east-west network traffic.
    Cisco firewalls provide consistent security policies, enforcement, and protection across all your
    environments. Unified management for Cisco ASA and FTD/NGFW physical and virtual firewalls is
    delivered by Cisco Defense Orchestrator (CDO), with cloud logging also available. And with Cisco
    SecureX included with every Cisco firewall, you gain a cloud-native platform experience that enables
    greater simplicity, visibility, and efficiency.
    Learn more about Cisco’s firewall solutions, including virtual appliances for public and private cloud.

    The FortiGate family of NG firewalls provides proven protection with unmatched performance across the network, from internal segments, to data centers, to cloud environments. FortiGates are available in a large range of sizes and form factors and are key components of the Fortinet Security Fabric, which enables immediate, intelligent defense against known and new threats throughout the entire network.

    Providing comprehensive network security solutions for the enterprise, large business and SOHO, pfSense solutions bring together the most advanced technology available to make protecting your network easier than ever before. Our products are built on the most reliable platforms and are engineered to provide the highest levels of performance, stability and confidence.
    Offer
    Learn more about Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
    Learn more about Fortinet FortiGate
    Learn more about pfSense
    Sample Customers
    Rackspace, The French Laundry, Downer Group, Lewisville School District, Shawnee Mission School District, Lower Austria Firefighters Administration, Oxford Hospital, SugarCreek, Westfield
    Pittsburgh Steelers, LUSH Cosmetics, NASDAQ, Verizon, Arizona State University, Levi Strauss & Co. Whitepaper and case studies here
    Nerds On Site Inc., RKC Development Inc., Expertech, Fisher's Technology, Ncisive, Consulting, CPURX, Vaughn's Computer House Calls, Imeretech LLC, Digital Crisis, Carolina Digital Phone, Technigogo Technology Services, The Simple Solution, SwiftecITInc, Rocky Mountain Tech Team, Free Range Geeks, Alaska Computer Geeks, Lark Information Technology, Renaissance Systems Inc., Cutting Edge Computers, Caretech LLC, GoVanguard, Network Touch Ltd, P.C. Solutions.Net, Vision Voice and Data Systems LLC, Montgomery Technologies, Techforce, Concero Networks, ASONInc, CPS Electronics and Consulting, Darkwire.net LLC, IT Specialists, MBS-Net Inc., VOICE1 LLC, Advantage Networking Inc., Powerhouse Systems, Doxa Multimedia Inc., Pro Computer Service, Virtual IT Services, A&J Computers Inc., Envision IT LLC, CommunicaONE Inc., Bone Computer Inc., Amax Engineering Corporation, QPG Ltd. Co., IT 101 Inc., Perfect Cloud Solutions, Applied Technology Group Inc., The Digital Sun Group LLC, Firespring
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider22%
    Financial Services Firm16%
    Manufacturing Company8%
    Non Profit8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider33%
    Computer Software Company21%
    Government7%
    Manufacturing Company4%
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider14%
    Computer Software Company10%
    Financial Services Firm9%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider37%
    Computer Software Company20%
    Government5%
    Educational Organization4%
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider10%
    University10%
    Marketing Services Firm8%
    Energy/Utilities Company6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider44%
    Computer Software Company15%
    Government6%
    Media Company4%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business43%
    Midsize Enterprise28%
    Large Enterprise29%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business21%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise65%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business48%
    Midsize Enterprise25%
    Large Enterprise28%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business35%
    Midsize Enterprise25%
    Large Enterprise40%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business70%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise13%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business56%
    Midsize Enterprise14%
    Large Enterprise30%
    Find out what your peers are saying about Fortinet FortiGate vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: January 2022.
    564,643 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Fortinet FortiGate is ranked 1st in Firewalls with 98 reviews while pfSense is ranked 3rd in Firewalls with 60 reviews. Fortinet FortiGate is rated 8.4, while pfSense is rated 8.6. The top reviewer of Fortinet FortiGate writes "Stable, easy to set up, and offers good ROI". On the other hand, the top reviewer of pfSense writes "Feature-rich, well documented, and there is good support available online". Fortinet FortiGate is most compared with Cisco ASA Firewall, Check Point NGFW, Meraki MX, Sophos XG and SonicWall TZ, whereas pfSense is most compared with OPNsense, Sophos UTM, Sophos XG, Untangle NG Firewall and Zyxel Unified Security Gateway. See our Fortinet FortiGate vs. pfSense report.

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    We monitor all Firewalls reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.