Fortinet FortiGate vs pfSense comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on Apr 20, 2022

We performed a comparison between pfSense and Fortinet Fortigate based on our users’ reviews in five categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.

  • Ease of Deployment: Fortinet Fortigate users overwhelmingly agree that deployment is easy and the initial setup is straightforward. Some pfSense users say deployment is easy while others say it is rather complex.
  • Features: Reviewers of the two solutions say they both have good stability.

    Valuable features of Fortinet Fortigate include a good user interface, great templates and good web filtering, application control, and intrusion protection. Users would like to see better monitoring and reporting, and improved performance and speed.

    Valuable features of pfSense include flexibility and good documentation. Users express that the interface as well as the ease of use need to be improved.
  • Pricing: Fortinet Fortigate users share mixed opinions, with some users expressing they think the pricing is affordable and fair and some users mentioning they think it is on the more expensive side. In contrast, pfSense is open source.
  • Service and Support: Fortinet Fortigate users are satisfied with the service and support they receive. Users of pfSense say they are able to rely on community forums and discussions when necessary.
  • ROI: Users of both solutions report seeing an ROI.

Comparison Results: Based on the parameters we compared, it seems that pfSense is the more favorable solution because it is open source and also offers great features.

To learn more, read our detailed Fortinet FortiGate vs. pfSense Report (Updated: November 2022).
657,397 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"The configuration capabilities and the integration with other tools are the most valuable features. I really like this product. Cisco is one of my favorite brands, and I always think Cisco solutions are very reliable, easy to configure, and very secure.""I love the ASDM (Adaptive Security Device Manager) which is the management suite. It's a GUI and you're able to see everything at a glance without using the command line. There are those who love the CLI, but with ASDM it is easier to see where everything is going and where the problems are.""It is a very user-friendly product.""Since the product is stable, we do not have to spend additional money to buy other firewalls. Once deployed, we can use the product for a long time. Thus, it is cost effective.""I have found the most valuable feature to be the access control and IPsec VPN.""Netting is one of the best features. We can modify it in different ways. Site-to-site VPN is also an awesome feature of Cisco ASA. The biggest advantage of Cisco products is technical support. They provide the best technical support.""We definitely feel more secure. We have more control over things going in and out of our network.""You do not have to do everything through a command line which makes it a lot easier to apply rules."

More Cisco Secure Firewall Pros →

"This version is stable. I don't have any issues with this solution, in our environment, it works well.""The initial setup is straightforward.""From the firewall perspective, the rules and policies are very sufficient and easy to use.""Anti-Spam web content filterinG.""The performance is good.""Fortinet FortiGate protects against internet-based threats, both internal and external. It is scalable, stable, easy to use, and easy to install.""I like Fortinet FortiGate's antispam filter, SPN, and clustering features.""This is an easy solution to deploy."

More Fortinet FortiGate Pros →

"The features I have found best are ease of use, GUI, and performance.""It is a stable solution. It is also easy to install and can be deployed and maintained by one team member.""Is good at blocking IP addresses.""I especially like the VPN part. It works like a charm.""We like the fact that the product is open-source. It's free to use. There are no costs associated with it.""I like the connectivity to the open VPN. It's very smooth.""A free firewall that is a good network security appliance.""Technical support is perfect, excellent."

More pfSense Pros →

Cons
"Web filtering needs improvement because sometimes the URL is miscategorized.""The stability is not the best.""The configuration in Firepower Management Center is very slow. Deployment takes two to three minutes. You spend a lot of time on modifications. Whereas, in FortiGate, you press a button, and it takes one second.""Comparing Cisco solution to others, it is expensive, it would be better for it to be cheaper.""Nowadays, nobody is in the office, so I need to figure out how to put the firewall outside. If I could have a centralized firewall that also receives information from external locations, like peoples' home offices, that would help us consolidate everything into one appliance.""Cisco still has a lot of work to do. You can convert an ASA over to a Firepower, but the competitors, like Palo Alto and Juniper, are coming in. And believe it or not, they are a little bit more intuitive. Cisco has a little bit more work to do. They're playing catch up.""The visibility for VPN is one big part. The policy administration could be improved in terms of customizations and flexibility for changing it to our needs.""Third-party integrations could be improved."

More Cisco Secure Firewall Cons →

"In the next release, I would like to see the interface simplified to be more user-friendly.""There are a lot of bugs I have found in the solution and it is difficult to upgrade. These areas need improvement.""Technical support needs to be improved.""Pricing for it is a bit high. It could be cheaper.""Fortinet FortiGate is a firewall solution and once it's deployed, you can rest assured that your system is secure.""It would be a benefit if Fortinet would release a one-stop solution that is better integrated with other products and an automated emergency response system.""This product needs to have an analysis feature, rather than having the analysis done through the integration of a different product.""Fortinet FortiGate needs to improve the logging and reporting. Additionally, the next-generation application's policies should be improved. When they were released they had bugs."

More Fortinet FortiGate Cons →

"The main problem with pfSense is that we have to use proxy solutions.""They can improve the dynamic of the input of IPs from outside.""I expect a better interface with more log analysis because I create my own interface.""The solution could be more user-friendly, and the graphical interface needs some work so that someone without an IT background can use the application. I would like the ability to manage the on-premise appliance from the cloud. When I'm not in the office, it would be great to connect to the pfSense server and administer the network remotely.""The router monitoring needs improvement when compared with Sonicwall.""The interface is not very shiny and attractive.""User interface is a little clumsy.""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."

More pfSense Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "They seem to be at the top end in terms of pricing, but they are worth the price. They are probably a little bit lower than Palo Alto. If the customers are relying on Cisco products and they are thinking more in terms of scaling to another layer in a year, it is pretty much in a good price range."
  • "We're using the smart license for this firewall. The models that we have require licensing for remote access."
  • "There are licensing costs."
  • "I just bought it off the shelf, and I'm using it with my previous one, so I have not spent that much."
  • "The price is fair. It's not the cheapest, but it's not bad."
  • "For me, personally, as an individual, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is expensive."
  • "The product is very expensive."
  • "This is an expensive product, although when you buy this solution, you can do many things so it provides good value for the investment."
  • More Cisco Secure Firewall Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "Fortinet bundles FortiGate with other products and because of this, the price is a little expensive to some SMB enterprises."
  • "When you look at these end security systems and firewalls, these firewalls even five years ago were $50,000 or perhaps $25,000 to implement in some types of customer sites. Now we're talking about tools that are $1,000. In this case, it might have been $500 or something like that."
  • "The price of FortiGate is good."
  • "We purchased a five-year bundle package, which worked out cheaper than competing solutions."
  • "We just pay a flat monthly fee to the vendor for the support."
  • "Its price is affordable and lesser than Cisco. Cisco is expensive. In terms of licensing, there is only one issue. If a customer's license has expired a month ago and they do the renewal after one month, Fortinet renews the license from the start of the previous month. The activation of the product is done from the previous month, not from the date of renewal. The customers usually shout and complain that because they are paying today, the renewal should start from today. The support contract renewals or licensing should be renewed from the date of renewal, but Fortinet starts from the day it had expired. It is a loss for customers. They might have had some problems because of which they did not take the license one month before. Fortinet should work on this. Cisco doesn't do this. Cisco always starts from the day they apply for the license."
  • "Fortinet FortiGate's price can be reduced."
  • "The licensing costs are very low."
  • More Fortinet FortiGate Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "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."
  • "The pricing is lower than some of its competitors."
  • "pfSense is open-source."
  • "We are using the open-source version which is free. We are testing the solution to see if we are going to go to the enterprise version which requires a license and is not free."
  • "There is no license. You don't have to pay anything. It's completely free."
  • "It's open-source and it's free. Anything for free is good."
  • "pfSense is a free solution."
  • More pfSense Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
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    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco ASA Firewall, Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) Firewall, Cisco ASA NGFW, Cisco ASA, Adaptive Security Appliance, ASA, Cisco Sourcefire Firewalls, Cisco ASAv, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
    FortiGate 60b, FortiGate 60c, FortiGate 80c, FortiGate 50b, FortiGate 200b, FortiGate 110c, FortiGate
    Learn More
    Netgate
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    Overview

    The Cisco Secure Firewall portfolio delivers greater protections for your network against an increasingly evolving and complex set of threats. With Cisco, you’re investing in a foundation for security that is both agile and integrated- leading to the strongest security posture available today and tomorrow.

      From your data center, branch offices, cloud environments, and everywhere in between, you can leverage the power of Cisco to turn your existing network infrastructure into an extension of your firewall solution, resulting in world class security controls everywhere you need them.

      Investing in a Secure Firewall appliance today gives you robust protections against even the most sophisticated threats without compromising performance when inspecting encrypted traffic. Further, integrations with other Cisco and 3rd party solutions provides you with a broad and deep portfolio of security products, all working together to correlate previously disconnected events, eliminate noise, and stop threats faster.

      Fortinet FortiGate is an innovative line of firewalls that aim to protect organizations from all types of web-based network threats. They come in a wide variety of product types. Fortinet FortiGate’s solutions 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.

      Fortinet FortiGate provides users with next-generation firewall solutions that provide proven protection with unmatched performance across the network, from internal segments to data centers to cloud environments. You can protect every part of your network without exception. Additionally, your protections can be managed from a single central location. This ensures that the task of protecting your network is infinitely easier to accomplish.

      Benefits of Fortinet FortiGate

      Some of the benefits of using Fortinet FortiGate include:

      • The ability to manage your firewalls from a centralized automated control console. Fortinet FortiGate’s FortiManager enables administrators to exercise control of their firewalls in a streamlined manner. Administrators have full visibility and control over their system from a single location. It utilizes automation that collects information in real time, which greatly simplifies and reduces the cost of running various types of workflows. Administrators can free up resources by automating the most basic tasks.
      • The ability to produce uniform, appropriate, and coordinated responses to threats across networks. Fortinet FortiGate’s FortiGuard feature generates system protections in near real time. This allows administrators to address threats to the system with custom-made solutions that can be uniformly enforced.
      • The ability to scale up your security to fit your changing security needs. Fortinet FortiGate’s design allows users to accelerate the transfer of data between users and escalate the number of users that are covered without compromising security of performance. This means that users can grow their networks and continue to collaborate without worrying about the system slowing down or coming under attack.

      Reviews from Real Users

      Fortinet FortiGate’s firewall solutions are cutting edge. They stand out from competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are the robustness and power of their firewalls. Fortinet FortiGate’s firewall provides users with many valuable features that allow them to maximize what they can do with the solution. These firewalls enable users to use a single piece of software to accomplish tasks that often require the use of multiple pieces of software.

      PeerSpot user Eric S., a Solutions Engineer and Consultant at a tech-services company, notes the robustness of this solution when he writes, "One of the nice things about FortiGate is that it can be deployed on the cloud or on-premises. You can actually do both. That's the biggest reason why I stick with this solution as opposed to something like Cisco Meraki. Another nice thing is that I can log directly into a FortiGate or get to it through their FortiCloud access products. They're pretty reliable and consistent. One of the reasons why I started using the product was their single pane of management. I can deploy their line of firewalls in conjunction with their switching and access points, and I can manage the entire network from one interface.”

      PeerSpot user Jim M., a network admin at Penobscot Valley Hospital, notes the power of Fortinet FortiGate’s security software when he writes, "It does a lot for you for intrusion protection and as an antivirus. The threat management bundle is worth the money. You don't need another company to monitor your web traffic for you. You can do everything yourself on the firewall. You restrict your own black list for people on the firewall.”

      pfSense is a free and open-source operating system for routers and firewalls, and is typically configured as DHCP server, DNS server, WiFi access point, VPN server, all running on the same hardware device. It is operated through a user-friendly web interface, making administration easy even for users with limited networking knowledge.

      In addition, pfSense is feature-rich, has a mature platform, is customizable, is flexible by design, and can be used on a small home router as well as run the entire network of a large corporation. pfSense puts you in control of your networking, is regularly updated, and works to promptly patch security issues. pfSense has recently become the favored alternative to the industry leader, Cisco.

      pfSense is:

      • Robust
      • Powerful
      • Easy to use
      • Secure
      • Scalable

      pfSense Key Features

      pfSense has many key features and capabilities, including:

      • Strength and accuracy: pfSense is able to always follow either default or custom rules, making it a stronger firewall than some of its competitors. It also filters traffic separately, whether it’s coming from your internal network of devices or the open internet, allowing you to set different rules and policies for each.

      • Flexibility: pfSense can work both as a basic firewall and as a complete security system because it gives you the flexibility to integrate additional features as code where necessary.

      • Open-source: Because it is open-source, not only is pfSense free to use, but community members can contribute to the code to make it a better software.

      • User-friendly: Usually firewall products are not user-friendly because they often include complex settings, options, and features that require fine-tuning. pfSense’s interface is simple, direct, and easy to use.

      • WireGuard Support: Instead of building your own VPN using pfSense, or settling for a commercial VPN provider, you can directly integrate WireGuard with the pfSense firewall.

      • Speed Management and Fault Tolerance: pfSense’s multi-WAN feature allows your system to continue operating in case components fail.

      • Well-supported: pfSense regularly has security and feature updates. It also has a documentation site and a well-informed and knowledgeable support forum.

      Reviews from Real Users

      Below is some feedback from PeerSpot Users who are currently using the solution.

      Bojan O., CEO at In.sist d.o.o., says, “The classic features, such as content inspection, content protection, and the application-level firewall, are the most important."

      Another PeerSpot user, a chef at a media company, explains what he finds most valuable about pfSense: "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."

      T.O., a VP of Business Development at a tech services company, mentions, "What I found most valuable is the cost of the platform, the flexibility of the platform, and the fact that the ongoing fees are not there as they are with the competitor."



      Offer
      Learn more about Cisco Secure Firewall
      Learn more about Fortinet FortiGate
      Learn more about pfSense
      Sample Customers
      There are more than one million Adaptive Security Appliances deployed globally. Top customers include First American Financial Corp., Genzyme, Frankfurt Airport, Hansgrohe SE, Rio Olympics, The French Laundry, Rackspace, and City of Tomorrow.
      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
      Financial Services Firm16%
      Comms Service Provider13%
      Computer Software Company9%
      Government8%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Comms Service Provider20%
      Computer Software Company19%
      Government7%
      Educational Organization5%
      REVIEWERS
      Comms Service Provider16%
      Financial Services Firm10%
      Computer Software Company9%
      Manufacturing Company7%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Comms Service Provider23%
      Computer Software Company19%
      Government6%
      Educational Organization5%
      REVIEWERS
      University12%
      Marketing Services Firm10%
      Comms Service Provider10%
      Manufacturing Company6%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Comms Service Provider26%
      Computer Software Company15%
      Government8%
      Educational Organization5%
      Company Size
      REVIEWERS
      Small Business35%
      Midsize Enterprise24%
      Large Enterprise41%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Small Business28%
      Midsize Enterprise19%
      Large Enterprise53%
      REVIEWERS
      Small Business46%
      Midsize Enterprise24%
      Large Enterprise30%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Small Business30%
      Midsize Enterprise20%
      Large Enterprise50%
      REVIEWERS
      Small Business70%
      Midsize Enterprise17%
      Large Enterprise13%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Small Business29%
      Midsize Enterprise21%
      Large Enterprise50%
      Buyer's Guide
      Fortinet FortiGate vs. pfSense
      November 2022
      Find out what your peers are saying about Fortinet FortiGate vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: November 2022.
      657,397 professionals have used our research since 2012.

      Fortinet FortiGate is ranked 1st in Firewalls with 131 reviews while pfSense is ranked 3rd in Firewalls with 52 reviews. Fortinet FortiGate is rated 8.4, while pfSense is rated 8.4. The top reviewer of Fortinet FortiGate writes "A reliable and consistent solution that allows us to manage the entire network from one interface and supports on-premises and cloud deployments". 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 Sophos XG, Check Point NGFW, Meraki MX, WatchGuard Firebox and SonicWall TZ, whereas pfSense is most compared with OPNsense, Sophos XG, Untangle NG Firewall, Sophos UTM and WatchGuard Firebox. 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.