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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on September 7, 2022

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

  • Ease of Deployment: Kerio Control users feel its initial setup is straightforward and easy. pfSense has mixed reviews. Most say the initial setup is straightforward, with some users noting some complexity.
  • Features: Users of both products are generally happy with their stability and scalability, with a few mentioning that Kerio Control has issues with scalability.

    Kerio Control users note being particularly satisfied with its firewall, load balancing, bandwidth control, and routing. Some note that they would like the solution to improve the look and feel of the hardware.

    pfSense users say they’re impressed with the solution's documentation, VPN, and ease of use. Some users mention that the product could have improved security
  • Pricing: Some Kerio Control users note that the solution is expensive, while others note that it is reasonable. pfSense is an open source solution, so most users are satisfied with the price.
  • ROI: Users of both solutions mention significant ROI.
  • Service and Support: Kerio Control users mostly report below average support. pfSense users mostly report average to excellent support.

Comparison Results: pfSense has the winning edge in this comparison because it received higher marks in the features, pricing, and service and support categories.

To learn more, read our detailed KerioControl vs. pfSense report (Updated: August 2022).
632,611 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
"I like that Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is reliable. Support is also good.""You do not have to do everything through a command line which makes it a lot easier to apply rules.""With Cisco, there are a lot of features such as the network map. Cisco builds the whole network map of the machines you have behind your firewall and gives you insight into the vulnerabilities and attributes that the host has. Checkpoint and Fortinet don't have that functionality directly on the firewall.""Another benefit has been user integration. We try to integrate our policies so that we can create policies based on active users. We can create policies based on who is accessing a resource instead of just IP addresses and ports.""Cisco's technical support is the best and that's why everybody implements their products.""The most valuable feature is the Intrusion Prevention System.""It's got the capabilities of amassing a lot of throughput with remote access and VPNs.""The most important feature is the intensive way you can troubleshoot Cisco Firepower Firewalls. You can go to the bit level to see why traffic is not handled in the correct way, and the majority of the time it's a networking issue and not a firewall issue. You can solve any problem without Cisco TAC help, because you can go very deeply under the hood to find out how traffic is flowing and whether it is not flowing as expected. That is something I have never seen with other brands."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pros →

"The most valuable features of Kerio Control are the IPS and traffic rules. The traffic rules are very user-friendly and the IPS is working well. Additionally, the anti-virus is effective with quick options, such as filtering.""I have found the most valuable features of Kerio Control to be the IPS and firewall.""It is very comprehensive and simple. It has all the active protections. It's updated. We love that you can set how often it is updated so you can work what is right for you. A large company with a lot of bandwidth can update the virus definitions and security definitions hourly, if they want. A smaller site that's remote, where maybe updating the definitions will eat into the bandwidth, we can schedule those more to go later at night. It's very flexible and works for us in all types of situations. This is great because then we don't have to learn seven different products to be able to work with seven different scenarios.""The installation is straightforward.""The firewall and the content filtering options are valuable.""The solution is easy to manage. Kerio Control is unique compared to other firewalls because it has been around since 2000 when we switched and the name it started with was WinRoute, and then later became Kerio Control. It evolved over time and it is more of a proprietary firewall on its own and has been developed through open source.""The reporting needs to be improved. It is hard to get a domain.""The solution’s firewall and intrusion detection features are quite good because you can see exactly who is attacking you and who is getting blocked."

More KerioControl Pros →

"Technical support is perfect, excellent.""It has a very nice web interface, and it is very simple to use. The way policies are working is also good.""The solution is very easy to use and has a very nice GUI.""At our peak time, we have reached more than 5,000 concurrent connections.""pfSense is easy to use, has user-friendly dashboards, and useful blocking features.""pfSense helped us during COVID-19 because we used OpenVPN to connect from home.""The built-in open VPN and the VPN Client Export are the solution's most valuable aspects.""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."

More pfSense Pros →

Cons
"One of the few things that are brought up is that for the overall management, it would be great to have a cloud instance of that. And not only just a cloud instance, but one of the areas that we've looked at is using an HA type of cloud. To have the ability to have a device file within a cloud. If we had an issue with one, the other one would pick up automatically.""The only drawback of the user interface is when it comes to policies. When you open it and click on the policies, you have to move manually left and right if you want to see the whole field within the cell. Checkpoint has a very detailed user interface.""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.""Most of the features don't work well, and some features are missing as well.""The maturity needs to be better.""One of my colleagues is using the firewall as an IPS, but he is worried about Firepower's performance... With the 10 Gb devices, when it gets to 5 Gbps, the CPU usage goes up a lot and he cannot manage the IPS.""It would be great if some of the load times were faster.""There is limited data storage on the appliance itself. So, you need to ship it out elsewhere in order for you to store it. The only point of consideration is around that area, basically limited storage on the machine and appliance. Consider logging it elsewhere or pushing it out to a SIEM to get better controls and manipulation over the data to generate additional metrics and visibility."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Cons →

"My experience with the solutions technical support is fine but they could be faster in responding.""There isn't a lot to be improved. It works well as it is, but they can maybe improve the reporting side.""The Kerio hardware devices look cheap and could be improved. Some of our clients are switching to Sophos because their hardware has a more sleek design.""I would like the customer statistics to be more user-friendly. It should explain more what users have been doing throughout the day. Sometimes, it'll just say they downloaded a big file. Meanwhile, they were connected through a VPN.""I would like to see a little improvement in their technical support when you have a problem. I may be a little jaded because I came from Kerio when we could call and get a person on the phone who worked on the product. Every tech had their own demo setup. They had instant messaging capability with the developers. If we found a problem, then we could get a result for it quickly. Now, the product seems to be 24 hours. They have also gone to the model that if you need quicker support, then they now charge you additional for the exact same level of support that they used to give. I am assuming it's the exact same level of support that they say it is. I'm not paying extra for it. That's the biggest flaw with the product.""Kerio Control could improve content filtering.""They don't provide content filtering when it comes to search engine results. We had an incident on the network where a blocked site was showing up in search results. We are in a school environment, so we have blocked a site with some of the explicit content so that kids wouldn't see it. When one of them did a search, the results came on the search engine part. When you try to drill down to the website, it blocks, but when you search by image, it brings up all the images. That's one of the reasons why we are looking at Juniper.""The filtering on the unlicensed version of Kerio Control is inefficient - you have to add each website manually, which isn't feasible."

More KerioControl Cons →

"Many people have problems setting up the web cache for the web system.""It needs to be more secure.""The usage reports can be better.""The stability could be improved.""The technical support needs to be improved.""I would like to see pfSense integrate WireGuard. Currently, pfSense uses OpenVPN, and there's nothing wrong with it, but WireGuard is a lot leaner and meaner.""The access control aspect of the product could be improved.""Their support could be better in terms of the response time."

More pfSense Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "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."
  • "The price is comparable."
  • "It definitely competes with the other vendors in the market."
  • More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "Our clients see ROI with Kerio Control, as they are saving bandwidth costs."
  • "Licensing is easier with Kerio Control. With FortiGate, we realized the licensing is really hectic, because if you skip one year, you have to back pay that year. If you skip two years, you have to back pay two years. With Kerio Control, if a license expires, one year later you can just reactivate and go on."
  • "The price of the solution is reasonable. For additional costs, you can add on more features such as antivirus."
  • "The price is fine."
  • "The price of Kerio Control could be better, it is a bit overpriced compared to other solutions."
  • "I am living in Iran and we cannot buy the product from Kerio because of sanctions."
  • "Its price is fair. There are no additional costs."
  • "I pay approximately $50 for the solution on an annual basis."
  • More KerioControl Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "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."
  • "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."
  • More pfSense Pricing and Cost Advice →

    report
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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer: When you compare these firewalls you can identify them with different features, advantages, practices and… more »
    Top Answer: The Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is a very powerful and very complex piece of anti-viral software. When one considers… more »
    Top Answer:It is easy to integrate Cisco ASA with other Cisco products and also other NAC solutions. When you understand the Cisco… more »
    Top Answer:The reporting needs to be improved. It is hard to get a domain.
    Top Answer:The price of the solution is reasonable. For additional costs, you can add on more features such as antivirus.
    Top Answer:1. More detailed reporting. 2. Sometimes you get a few challenges joining to a domain. 3. Improved and simplified User… more »
    Top Answer:You don't really specify what type of router you are looking for but if you are talking about a gateway router I… more »
    Top Answer:Fortinet’s Fortigate is a firewall solution we use and are very much satisfied with its performance. We find Fortigate… more »
    Top Answer:Two of the most common and well recognized firewalls, PfSense and OPNsense both support site-to-site IPsec VPN and… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco Firepower NGFW, Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall, FirePOWER, Cisco NGFWv
    Learn More
    Netgate
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    Overview

    Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) is a firewall that provides capabilities beyond those of a standard firewall and delivers comprehensive, unified policy management of firewall functions, application control, threat prevention, and advanced malware protection from the network to the endpoint.

    Cisco NGFW Firewalls include advanced threat defense capabilities to meet diverse needs, from small offices to high-performance data centers and service providers, and are deployed in leading private and public clouds. Available in a wide range of models, Cisco NGFW can be deployed as a physical or virtual appliance. Cisco NGFW firewalls are also available with clustering for increased performance, high availability configurations, and more.

    Key Features of Cisco NGFW Firewalls

    • Breach prevention and advanced security: Prevent attacks before they get inside. Cisco provides its firewalls with the latest intelligence to stop emerging threats and employs filtering to enforce policies on hundreds of millions of URLs. Cisco NGFW offers built-in sandboxing and advanced malware protection that continuously analyzes file behavior to quickly detect and eliminate threats.

    • Comprehensive network visibility: Constantly monitor your network so you can rapidly spot and stop bad behavior. Cisco NGFW provides a holistic view of all activity and provides a clear picture of threat activity across users, hosts, networks, and devices, as well as information on threats and website, application, and VM activities.

    • Flexible management and deployment options: Centrally deploy, customize, and manage all your appliances.

    • Fast detection: Detect threats in seconds and detect the presence of a successful breach within hours or minutes. Cisco NGFW allows you to deploy consistent policy that's easy to maintain, with automatic enforcement across all the different parts of your organization.

    • Automation and product integrations: Seamlessly integrate with Cisco tools and automatically share threat information, event data, policy, and contextual information with email, web, endpoint, and network security tools. Cisco NGFW automates security tasks like impact assessment, policy management and tuning, and user identification.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Cisco NGFW stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its extensive discovery abilities that enable you to constantly see what is happening on your network and take action when necessary, and the high level of protection it provides.

    Mike B., a director of IT security at a wellness & fitness company, writes, "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."

    Zhulien K., the lead network security engineer at TechnoCore LTD, notes, " The most valuable feature that Cisco Firepower NGFW provides for us is the Intrusion policy. Again, with that being said, I cannot shy away from giving kudos to all of the other features such as AVC (Application Visibility and Control), SSL Decryption, Identity policy, Correlation policy, REST API, and more. All of the features that are incorporated in the Cisco Firepower NGFW are awesome and easy to configure if you know what you are doing. Things almost always work, unless you hit a bug, which is fixed with a simple software update. "

    Kerio Control is a popular security product for small and medium-sized businesses. It is a next-generation firewall that provides unified threat management without complexity. Kerio Control provides advanced anti-virus protection and industry-leading web and content application filtering, and has a secure VPN.

    With Kerio Control you can:

    • Preserve the integrity of your network.
    • Manage bandwidth to streamline traffic flows.
    • Improve productivity with filtering capabilities.

    Kerio Control Features

    Some of Kerio Control’s most valuable features include:

    High availability, deployment flexibility, deep packet inspection, advanced routing, usage reporting, quick administering, intrusion detection and prevention (IPS), gateway anti-virus, VPN, web and content application filtering, and centralized administration with MyKerio.

    Kerio Control Benefits

    • Eliminate downtime risks: Because Kerio Control offers high availability and failover protection, you can eliminate the risk and cost of connectivity or threat protection downtime.

    • Detailed reports: Kerio Control makes it easy to view individual users’ internet activity through detailed reports.

    • Traffic monitoring: Traffic monitoring allows you to manage bandwidth and makes it possible for you to control access to streaming video and peer-to-peer networks.

    • Server protection: Using Kerio Control’s advanced networking routing and deep packet inspection, you can protect servers.

    • Easily create policies: With Kerio Control, you can create both inbound and outbound traffic policies, and can also restrict communication by specific URLs, applications, traffic type, content category, or even time of day.

    • Snort-based analysis: Kerio Control gives you the ability to add a transparent layer of intrusion prevention with snort-based analysis along with a database of rule and blacklisted IP addresses that is regularly refreshed.

    • Optionally integrated anti-virus: WIth this feature, you can prevent viruses, Trojans, or spyware from entering your networks.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Here is some feedback from some of our users who are currently using the solution:

    PeerSpot user Brian C., Senior Technology Specialist, VP at Unified Technology Solutions, writes "It is very comprehensive and simple. It has all the active protections. It's updated. We love that you can set how often it is updated so you can work on what is right for you. A large company with a lot of bandwidth can update the virus definitions and security definitions hourly, if they want. A smaller site that's remote, where maybe updating the definitions will eat into the bandwidth, we can schedule those more to go later at night. It's very flexible and works for us in all types of situations. This is great because then we don't have to learn seven different products to be able to work with seven different scenarios."

    Andy D., IT Manager at Flare Technologies, praises how easy it is to use and says, "One thing we use quite a lot, as well, is the DHCP Server, because we do a lot of work where all our devices need to have static IP addresses. Rather than going around and configuring every box, we do it all through DHCP reservations. It's easier. We've got a record of it. We can manipulate it if we need to change something or change some hardware. It's all easy. Even guys who are not used to using it can pick it up quite quickly."



    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 Firepower NGFW Firewall
    Learn more about KerioControl
    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
    Triton Technical, McDonald's
    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 Provider19%
    Financial Services Firm17%
    Government13%
    Manufacturing Company6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company19%
    Comms Service Provider18%
    Government8%
    Educational Organization5%
    REVIEWERS
    Computer Software Company21%
    Comms Service Provider11%
    Transportation Company11%
    Financial Services Firm11%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider33%
    Computer Software Company20%
    Educational Organization5%
    Government4%
    REVIEWERS
    University12%
    Comms Service Provider10%
    Marketing Services Firm10%
    Energy/Utilities Company6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider29%
    Computer Software Company15%
    Government7%
    Educational Organization5%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business39%
    Midsize Enterprise26%
    Large Enterprise35%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise19%
    Large Enterprise53%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business83%
    Midsize Enterprise15%
    Large Enterprise2%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business30%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise46%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business70%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise13%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise49%
    Buyer's Guide
    KerioControl vs. pfSense
    August 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about KerioControl vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: August 2022.
    632,611 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    KerioControl is ranked 17th in Firewalls with 12 reviews while pfSense is ranked 2nd in Firewalls with 58 reviews. KerioControl is rated 7.8, while pfSense is rated 8.6. The top reviewer of KerioControl writes "Through the ease of how quickly we could roll out the VPN to everybody, we had whole companies remotely working overnight". On the other hand, the top reviewer of pfSense writes "Feature-rich, well documented, and there is good support available online". KerioControl is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, OPNsense, Sophos XG, Sophos UTM and Cisco ASA Firewall, whereas pfSense is most compared with OPNsense, Fortinet FortiGate, Sophos XG, Untangle NG Firewall and Check Point NGFW. See our KerioControl 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.