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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.
564,322 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.""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.""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 Firepower+ISE+AMP for endpoint integration is something that really stands it out with other vendor solutions. They have something called pxGrid and i think it is already endorsed by IETF. This allows all devices on the network to communicate.""The most valuable feature is the access control list (ACL).""The feature set is fine and is rarely a problem.""We have not had to deal with stability issues.""A good intrusion prevention system and filtering."

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"Using this product makes the VPN seamless and almost invisible to me in the sense that I don't have to think about it.""The usage in general is pretty good.""We've found the solution to be pretty stable.""The features that I have found most valuable are that it is good to use, and most importantly, the pricing. The customer especially likes the discount when they trade up or something like that.""The solution has very good threat and content filtering switches.""The solution is stable.""Customers are more inclined towards FortiGate because of application control, web filtering, and anti-spam features. The support from the FortiGate team is good, and price-wise, it is affordable.""The most valuable feature is the web filter."

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"I like pfSense's security features.""Is good at blocking IP addresses.""I have found the firewall portion for the blocking most valuable.""The concurrent users are perfect for us.""One of the advantages of pfSense is that it is very easy to work with. It is a very good open-source solution, and it works really well. pfSense provides a complete package. For some features, it could be the first solution in the world. It is a very good alternative in the market for a firewall solution. You don't need to go to Cisco or other brands with expensive firewalls. pfSense also allows us to offer some support services.""The most valuable features are the VPN and the capture photo.""The solution is very robust.""The flexibility of adding new kinds of services without spending any money can't be beaten."

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Cons
"I would like to see improvement when you create policies on Snort 3 IPS on Cisco Firepower. On Snort 2, it was more like a UI page where you had some multiple choices where you could tweak your config. On Snort 3, the idea is more to build some rules on the text file or JSON file, then push it. So, I would like to see a lot of improvements here.""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.""Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall can be more secure.""The Firepower FTD code is missing some old ASA firewalls codes. It's a small thing. But Firepower software isn't missing things that are essential, anymore.""I believe that the current feature set of the device is very good and the only thing that Cisco should work on is improving the user experience with the device.""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.""They need a VTI. I know it's going to be available in the next software version, which is the 6.7 version. However, the problem with that is that the 6.7 is going to deprecate all the older IKEv1 deployment tunnels. Therefore, the problem is that we have a lot of customers which are using older encryptions. If I do that, update it, it's not going to work for me.""Cisco makes horrible UIs, so the interface is something that should be improved."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Cons →

"We have an issue with hotel guest vouchers.""There are some cloud-based features that could be much more flexible than they currently are.""I would like to see a more intuitive dashboard.""Quality control on their firmware versions needs improvement. When they introduce new firmware, there tend to be bugs.""Sometimes you do need to know some CLI commands, so it's a bit harder for technicians or new people that don't know it.""We were not able to build a full-mesh VPN; however, I am not sure if this was the fault of Fortinet FortiGate.""They've become quite expensive.""Some of the software stability could improve."

More Fortinet FortiGate Cons →

"The product could offer more integrated plugins.""The solution requires a lot of administration.""Lacks instructional videos.""Layer 7 advanced firewall features are not included in the solution.""The main problem with pfSense is that it lacks adequate ransomware protection.""There's a bit of a learning curve during the initial implementation.""The router monitoring needs improvement when compared with Sonicwall.""The integration should be improved."

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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    Two of the most common and well recognized firewalls, PfSense and OPNsense both support site-to-site IPsec VPN and… more »
    Top Answer: 
    pfSense is a nice product, and I find that there's a lot of information out there. There are some good tutorials on… more »
    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 Business22%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise66%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business48%
    Midsize Enterprise25%
    Large Enterprise28%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business36%
    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.
    564,322 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.