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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.
563,780 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
"The solution offers very easy configurations.""The Adversity Malware Protection (AMP) feature is the most valuable. It is also very easy to use. Every technical user can operate this solution without any difficulty. The dashboard of Cisco Firepower has every tool that a security operator needs. You can find every resource that you need to operate through this dashboard.""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.""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.""If you compare the ASA and the FirePOWER, the best feature with FirePOWER is easy to use GUI. It has most of the same functionality in the Next-Generation FirePOWER, such as IPS, IPS policies, security intelligence, and integration and identification of all the devices or hardware you have in your network. Additionally, this solution is user-friendly.""The implementation is pretty straightforward.""If configured, Firepower provides us with application visibility and control.""I have access to the web version of Cisco Talos to see the reputation of IP addresses. I find this very helpful. It provides important information for my company to obtain the reputation of IP addresses. The information in Talos is quite complete."

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"We are using the FortiGate 100D series. VPN, firewall, anti-malware, OTM, and intrusion prevention are useful features.""The most valuable feature is the web filter.""The most valuable features are the possibility of having one fabric for switching on security.""Good performance, stability, and virtual domain ability.""The application control features, such as Facebook blocking and Spotify blocking, are the most valuable.""What I like the most is the configuration and that it's simple, and straightforward to maintain.""We use the FortiGate Sandbox to detect zero-day vulnerabilities, such as anomalies or malware, that are unknown and have not yet been discovered.""The pricing is excellent. It's much less expensive than Cisco."

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"The solution is fairly scalable when it comes to integrating with other applications and data sets.""pfSense helped us during COVID-19 because we used OpenVPN to connect from home.""I'm the expert when it comes to Linux systems, however, with the pfSense, due to the web interface, the rest of the staff can actually make changes to it as required without me worrying about whether they've opened up ports incorrectly or not. The ease of use for non-expert staff is very good.""pfSense allows us to spread the hours of connection and do the filtering on the pfSense site.""It's a good solution for end-users. It's pretty easy to work with.""The classic features such as content inspection, content protection, and the application-level firewall, are the most important.""At our peak time, we have reached more than 5,000 concurrent connections.""Good basic firewall features."

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Cons
"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 product line does not address the SMB market as it is supposed to do. Cisco already has an on-premises sandbox solution.""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.""FirePOWER does a good job when it comes to providing us with visibility into threats, but I would like to see a more proactive stance to it.""We're getting support but there's a big delay until we get a response from their technical team. They're in the USA and we're in Africa, so that's the difficulty. When they're in the office, they respond.""On the VPN side, Firepower could be better. It needs more monitoring on VPNs. Right now, it's not that good. You can set up a VPN in Firepower, but you can't monitor it.""The central management tool is not comfortable to use. You need to have a specific skill set. This is an important improvement for management because I would like to log into Firepower, see the dashboard, and generate a real-time report, then I question my team.""Implementations require the use of a console. It would help if the console was embedded."

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"The pricing could be reduced or include the first year warranty.""The user interface could be improved to make it less confusing and easier to set up.""Its filtering is sometimes too precise or strict. We sometimes have to bypass and authorize some of the sites, but they get blocked. We know that they are trusted sites, but they are blocked, and we don't know why.""We have an issue with hotel guest vouchers.""The sniffing packets or packet captures, can be simplified and improved because it's a little confusing.""Application management can be improved.""In the next release, maybe the documentation on how to use this solution could be improved.""The search tool needs improvement. It's very difficult to search for policies right now."

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"Their support could be better in terms of the response time.""The solution could always work at being more secure. It's a good idea to continue to work on security features and capabilities in order to ensure they can keep clients safe.""The technical support needs to be improved.""It's just not listed as FIPS compliant for where we're at now in government, which is an issue.""The access control aspect of the product could be improved.""There could be a way to remote to it through a mobile app. You can always browse through your browser on your mobile phone or tablet, but it would be good to have a dedicated app. I understand that iOS and Android developers are expensive, but there should be a mobile app.""There is more demand for UTMs than a simple firewall. pfSense should support real-time features for handling the latest viruses and threats. It should support real-time checks and real-time status of threats. Some other vendors, such as Fortinet, already offer this type of capability. Such capability will be good for bringing pfSense at the same level as other solutions.""The integration could be improved."

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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 Enterprise66%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business48%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise28%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business35%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    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.
    563,780 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.

    See our list of best Firewalls vendors.

    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.