Netgate pfSense vs Sophos UTM comparison

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89% willing to recommend
Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary

We performed a comparison between Netgate pfSense and Sophos UTM based on real PeerSpot user reviews.

Find out in this report how the two Firewalls solutions compare in terms of features, pricing, service and support, easy of deployment, and ROI.
To learn more, read our detailed Netgate pfSense vs. Sophos UTM Report (Updated: March 2024).
767,496 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Q&A Highlights
Question: What Is The Biggest Difference Between Sophos and pfSense?
Answer: I'd agree with Karl's comment above. PfSense is a great product but treat it like a firewall and the big bonus is it's free. It's great at what it does. Sophos UTM on the other hand can be a beast as it's an all in one solution and can get as complex as you would like it. We have failover clustering, load balancing and make use of all of their proxies. Very easy to make initial configuration errors until you know the product and how traffic flows etc. It can also be fairly expensive with the subscriptions eg AV, sandstorm etc If you can afford it, go for Sophos but pfSense can also play it's part too.
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 license management is very valuable. You can get a new license each year, or you can enroll every two to four years. You can get the logs, and you will get the information on the risk in your network and the entire organization. With this information, you can take action on your actives, computers, or devices. You can bring your own device as an SSE.""The secure web gateway module and the application control module are valuable. HA operations are very easy.""The solution is extremely reliable.""FortiGate firewalls are easy to manage through a user-friendly web interface. They also have advanced features like DDoS and DLP. However, I wouldn't recommend enabling all of these features on one device because it can cause performance issues.""The Fortinet FortiGate local partners were good. I did not have direct contact with Fortinet support.""The most valuable feature of this solution is the analytics.""It blocks the vulnerabilities that can negatively impact us.""The initial setup is straightforward."

More Fortinet FortiGate Pros →

"The features I have found best are ease of use, GUI, and performance.""The main features of this solution are customization and ease to use.""It is a good firewall with good performance.""It's a good solution for end-users. It's pretty easy to work with.""Its scalability is a strong point.""The solution is fairly scalable when it comes to integrating with other applications and data sets.""Some of the terminologies were more familiar to me than it was when I first encountered Cisco.""The built-in open VPN and the VPN Client Export are the solution's most valuable aspects."

More Netgate pfSense Pros →

"It meets our compliance needs in an elastic computer environment.""Sophos UTM provides security for our network here and access through a VPN connection for our remote users. It also offers the flexibility to create different tools for accessibility.""It is a very good product. The threat monitoring process is the most valuable feature.""Sophos UTM's most valuable features are profiling and its simple configuration.""It now controls all the security aspects of our web servers with Sophos UTM WAF.​""The solution is easy to handle and configure.""​The initial configuration is straightforward thanks to the web GUI. In 30 minutes, you can have a running firewall with UTM protection enabled.​""The solution can scale."

More Sophos UTM Pros →

Cons
"The logging details need to be improved.""The firmware needs improvement because there are bugs when a new release comes through. Sometimes, the configuration changes, and it's a bit harder to see where the fail is. The first time that you have the firmware, it tends to have some issues, and it's better to wait a bit to update the equipment.""I would like to see improvements made to the dashboard and UI, as well as to the reporting.""The logs need to be better. They need to be more visible and easier to access.""The routing capability on the FortiGate devices has room for improvement.""At first glance, the interface for the device is very confusing.""Stability and technical support are the two major issues I have found with Fortinet.""Price, of course, can always be more competitive or better."

More Fortinet FortiGate Cons →

"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.""It's just not listed as FIPS compliant for where we're at now in government, which is an issue.""This product needs improvements with respect to reporting and auditing.""Their support could be better in terms of the response time.""The solution could use better reporting. They need to offer more of it in general. Right now, the graphics aren't the best. If you need to provide a report to a manager, for example, it doesn't look great. They need to make it easier to understand and give users the ability to customize them.""There's a bit of a learning curve during the initial implementation.""Also, simplifying the rules for the GeoIP. Making it simpler to understand would be an improvement.""ClamAV AntiVirus can cause some crashes. That service should be improved."

More Netgate pfSense Cons →

"They could reduce the price.""​This product could use some improvement with web filtering. It takes a lot of time and effort to set up and maintain.​""We didn’t find any issues but I know there have been some in the last few years.""The ease of use could be a bit better.""The only time we face a problem or issues is when we place a ticket. We have found that response is very slow.""When we call support, we get put on hold for a long time.""There's an issue that when we deploy UTM on fiber, it automatically upgrades to the latest version without giving an option to stay on the current one.""There is absolutely no support when using AWS. If you buy the on-premise Sophos solution, you get support."

More Sophos UTM Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "Fortinet has one or two license types, and the VPN numbers are only limited by the hardware chassis make."
  • "These boxes are not that expensive compared to what they can do, their functionality, and the reporting you receive. Fortinet licensing is straightforward and less confusing compared to Cisco."
  • "Go for long term pricing negotiated at the time of purchase."
  • "Work through partners for the best pricing."
  • "The value is the capability of having multiple services with one unique license, not having the limitation per user licensing schema, like other vendors."
  • "Easy to understand licensing requirements."
  • "​We saved a bundle by not needing all the past appliances from an NGFW.​"
  • "The cost is too high... They have to focus on more features with less cost for the customer. If you see the market, where it's going, there are a lot of players offering more features for less cost."
  • More Fortinet FortiGate Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "PFSENSE turns out to be very economical, the license is free and for little money you get very good support"
  • "Unless they have specific requirements that demand a particular device, I always suggest pfSense specifically because of the absence of pricing and licensing."
  • "Spend at least $300 or more on a good pfSense box. Use a hard drive, and not a USB flash drive for pfSense storage."
  • "It's open source (and free - as in beer and speech), but also has commercial support."
  • "If you need to buy hardware onto which to install PfSense, go with their boxes on their website, they are great."
  • "It works quite well for an open source product."
  • "From Sonic Wall, their price is much higher, because for every feature that you want to add, you have to pay. I can do the same things with pfSense, but everything is included in one price."
  • "There are a few features not included, and when you have to use those features, you have to pay for them."
  • More Netgate pfSense Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The licensing model is very straightforward, it's a bit pricey, but for what you get, it's well worth it."
  • "If you can afford it, go for a small Check Point, as it is easier to manage."
  • "Unless you are in the United States, or you have to use Sophos, you can't contact Sophos directly. You have to use a third-party ​company, and they all have different ways of how they explain their licensing."
  • "Go to a vendor and let them assess your needs so you can get a right-sized device."
  • "Sophos offers free training when selling their products from within the partner portal.​"
  • "I would recommend to follow Sophos’ sizing guidelines for choosing which license and model to use. Sophos has their own way of going about this and supplies partners with all the information required. If you follow their documentation and guidelines, there should be zero questions about licensing and sizing."
  • "For under 50 users, MSP licensing is profitable."
  • "​In the case of a software/virtual appliance subscription, you pay by protecting user/IP addresses. You can do this to as much hardware resources as you like.​​"
  • More Sophos UTM Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Comparison Review
    Anonymous User
    I have used both Sophos and Fortinet products in production and I have found the Sophos UTM appliances (hardware and virtual) to be a better fit most of the time -- with a few caveats which I will touch on below. In both instances, the transition from TMG will be mostly straightforward. The main hang-ups will be with the VIP/load balancing and SSL. For some reason that completely escapes me, both of these vendors make getting valid certificates onto their boxes unnecessarily difficult -- the Fortinet appliances more so than the Sophos UTM appliances. At one point a Fortinet engineer had to write an entire manual on how to get an SSL certificate uploaded successfully on the 4.x firmware Sophos: The one feature that is missing (and this makes some amount of sense) from the Sophos appliance is BITS caching for updates. Other than that, Sophos offers a full replacement for TMG on UTM9. The XG platform also offers a replacement for the TMG; however, some of the rumblings about upcoming releases suggests that Sophos is going to give XG the Apple iOS treatment and "streamline" the interface...potentially cutting out/hiding some functionality. On the effectiveness of the NGFW, Sophos is mostly good but has a few issues blocking all pieces of an application. For instance, we had to build custom blocking rules for OpenVPN (the vpn was being used to bypass the content filter) because the default Application Control wasn't effectively blocking the application. Fortinet: If it… Read more →
    Answers from the Community
    Anonymous User
    Luis Castro - PeerSpot reviewerLuis Castro
    Real User

    pfSense is opensource and has been the last 10 years in the top 10 best
    firewall solutions in the world, it is free, stable, scalable, and easy to
    administer ... and above all very safe, since it is one of the few systems
    that could have been violated. It's free.

    Bob Alfson - PeerSpot reviewerBob Alfson
    User

    In fact, Karl, the 50-IP free version is for home use only, and not even then if it also protects business assets. You did a great job of explaining the difference, so I won't comment further.

    To the original poster, it's cheaper to hire a Sophos consultant to create your original configuration. It costs twice as much to get a configuration "repaired" that wasn't correctly designed. A Sophos Solution Partner that has a Sophos Certified Architect with plenty of experience and good referrals is probably your best bet.

    Cesar Reza - PeerSpot reviewerCesar Reza
    Reseller

    With Sophos is easy to configure and you have the support from the frabicant, with pfSense you have to learn from the community and learning curve is a little hard, last occasion with pfSense it don't have support for vpn dynamic, with Sophos they have RED equipment that is an extension from the core, only you need the serial number from the remote equipment and you have the vpn , both are great equipment and software, depend of the budget, pfSense is free and they have support if you pay the license very cheap

    Karl Hart, Acse, Ceh, Chfi, Cissp - PeerSpot reviewerKarl Hart, Acse, Ceh, Chfi, Cissp
    Real User

    pfSense is just a basic firewall with VPN and Captive Portal functionality but does its job great. Only needs minimum resources to function. Price is right (FREE)
    Sophos UTM is much more, hence the UTM. It does firewall, advance threat protection, VPN, Secure web gateway, email protection (AV, Spam, Encryption, and DLP), endpoint protection, Mobile Device control, Web Application Firewall, User Portal, built in reporting, and central management. It does require more resources but you get a lot more out of it. Two options depending on the size of your office, commercial version or the Free version that you can build on your own hardware. The free version is restricted to 50 IP addresses. (https://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools/sophos-utm-home-edition.aspx)
    I have used both and both have their place but using Sophos in my environment just because it offers a lot more functionality, nice dashboard, reports, and easy to use through the GUI.

    FrankWhite - PeerSpot reviewerFrankWhite
    Real User

    One other big difference is that pfSense is FreeBSD based while Sophos UTM is linux based. It is also worth having a lool on cacheguard which is a proxy oriented product and also Linux based.

    reviewer772704 - PeerSpot reviewerreviewer772704 (IT Manager with 51-200 employees)
    User

    I´m afraid I am not able to help in this matter. We´ve decided to for FortiGate as services, based on our relationship with our IT security provider and the FortiGate reviews available on the net.

    We used to use pfSence for one particular open network but let the full control on de FortiGate. During the investigation and analysis period we thought of Sophos but felt more comfortable going for FortiGate pretty much based on price and our relationship with our IT security provider. Hence my experience wouldn´t help in this case.

    My best advice would is to refer to the article available on:
    https://www.itcentralstation.com/products/comparisons/pfsense_vs_sophos-utm

    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer: When you compare these firewalls you can identify them with different features, advantages, practices and usage at… more »
    Top Answer:From my experience regarding both the Sophos and FortiGate firewalls, I personally would rather use FortiGate. I know… more »
    Top Answer:As a solution, Sophos UTM offers a lot of functionality, it scales well, and the stability and performance are quite… 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 »
    Top Answer:The Sophos UTM is a UTM and Sophos XG is the NGFW. First, you must know about the difference between a UTM and NGFW… more »
    Top Answer:The most valuable feature of Sophos UTM is the endpoint protection feature.
    Top Answer:You cannot really say that the solution is expensive, given the protection it gives.
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    FortiGate 60b, FortiGate 60c, FortiGate 80c, FortiGate 50b, FortiGate 200b, FortiGate 110c, FortiGate
    Astaro
    Learn More
    Netgate
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    Overview

    Fortinet FortiGate enhances network security, prevents unauthorized access, and offers robust firewall protection. Valued features include advanced threat protection, reliable performance, and a user-friendly interface. It improves efficiency, streamlines processes, and boosts collaboration, providing valuable insights for informed decision-making and growth.

    pfSense is a powerful and reliable network security appliance primarily used for security purposes such as firewall and VPN or traffic shaping, network management, and web filtering. It is commonly used by small businesses and managed service providers to protect their customers' networks and enable remote access through VPNs. 

    The solution is praised for its stability, user-friendly interface, scalability potential, open-source nature, free cost, easy installation, firewall capabilities, security features, flexibility, and simplicity. Overall, pfSense is a cost-effective solution for enterprises that need a VPN for their employees.

    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."



    Sophos UTM is a unified threat management platform designed to protect your businesses from known and emerging malware including viruses, rootkits and spyware. The solution provides a complete network security package with everything your organization needs in a single modular appliance.

    Sophos UTM Features

    Sophos UTM has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:

    • Web and Email Filtering
    • General Management
    • Network Protection
    • Network Routing and Services
    • Advanced Threat Protection
    • Authentication
    • Email Encryption and DLP
    • Web Policy
    • End-User Portal
    • VPN IPsec Client, VPN SSL Client, and Clientless VPN
    • Web Application Firewall Protection
    • UTM Endpoint Protection and Management
    • SEC Endpoint Integration
    • Logging and Reporting

    Sophos UTM Benefits

    There are many benefits to implementing Sophos UTM. Some of the biggest advantages the solution offers include:

    • Simplifies your IT security without the complexity of multiple point solutions
    • Intuitive interface to help you quickly create policies to control security risks
    • Provides clear, detailed reports to give you the insight you need to improve your network performance and protection
    • Complete control to block, allow, shape and prioritize applications
    • Two-factor authentication with one-time password (OTP)
    • Integrated wireless controller
    • Allows you to connect remote offices with easy VPN and Wi-Fi

    Reviews from Real Users

    Below are some reviews and helpful feedback written by PeerSpot users currently using the Sophos UTM solution.

    PeerSpot user Dana B., Network Administrator at a manufacturing company, says “The web and email filtering are the two biggest and most valuable aspects of the solution for us. The solution overall has just been a good, cost-effective solution for us. The solution offers a lot of functionality. The solution scales well. We've found the technical support to be helpful. The stability and performance are quite good.”

    A Technical Director at a security firm mentions, "Sophos SG UTM had all the basic functionality that you needed. It is user-friendly and easy to manage for any integrator."

    Marek M., Senior Network Engineer at a computer software company, comments, “Sophos UTM is the simplest of these products to set up. If you follow the instructions using the wizard, which is just a few steps, then you will have a firewall to protect you and your customer.”

    A Software Sales Manager at a tech services company explains, “The overall visibility of the console is what I find most valuable, plus it's very user-friendly. It can be integrated with other solutions such as SOAR, SIEM, etc., even when you have an existing firewall. I really like that the console can be integrated. You'll see everything on the same window, and the single window feature of the machine is so good. These are the features I really like.”

    James D., IT Manager at Manual Workers Union, states, “The fact that it's on the cloud means we don't have to administer it on our network or deal with a physical machine, which saves us money. The solution has many great features. From the console, we can start different scannings on different machines. We enjoy the centralized reporting part of it. The initial setup is simple. We enjoy its general stability. The solution can scale. So far, the solution has been problem-free.”

    Sample Customers
    1. Amazon Web Services 2. Microsoft 3. IBM 4. Cisco 5. Dell 6. HP 7. Oracle 8. Verizon 9. AT&T 10. T-Mobile 11. Sprint 12. Vodafone 13. Orange 14. BT Group 15. Telstra 16. Deutsche Telekom 17. Comcast 18. Time Warner Cable 19. CenturyLink 20. NTT Communications 21. Tata Communications 22. SoftBank 23. China Mobile 24. Singtel 25. Telus 26. Rogers Communications 27. Bell Canada 28. Telkom Indonesia 29. Telkom South Africa 30. Telmex 31. Telia Company 32. Telkom Kenya
    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
    One Housing Group
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider16%
    Computer Software Company9%
    Financial Services Firm8%
    Manufacturing Company7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Educational Organization20%
    Computer Software Company15%
    Comms Service Provider8%
    Manufacturing Company6%
    REVIEWERS
    Manufacturing Company9%
    University9%
    Marketing Services Firm8%
    Comms Service Provider8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider14%
    Computer Software Company14%
    Government8%
    Educational Organization6%
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider12%
    Manufacturing Company12%
    Financial Services Firm10%
    Computer Software Company9%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company18%
    Comms Service Provider10%
    Government8%
    Educational Organization6%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business48%
    Midsize Enterprise23%
    Large Enterprise30%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise32%
    Large Enterprise41%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business69%
    Midsize Enterprise19%
    Large Enterprise12%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business33%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise49%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business58%
    Midsize Enterprise20%
    Large Enterprise21%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business36%
    Midsize Enterprise19%
    Large Enterprise45%
    Buyer's Guide
    Netgate pfSense vs. Sophos UTM
    March 2024
    Find out what your peers are saying about Netgate pfSense vs. Sophos UTM and other solutions. Updated: March 2024.
    767,496 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Netgate pfSense is ranked 1st in Firewalls with 128 reviews while Sophos UTM is ranked 1st in Unified Threat Management (UTM) with 110 reviews. Netgate pfSense is rated 8.6, while Sophos UTM is rated 8.4. The top reviewer of Netgate pfSense writes "User-friendly, easy to manage the firewall, rule-wise and interface-wise". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Sophos UTM writes "It's a highly stable platform with very few hardware issues". Netgate pfSense is most compared with OPNsense, Sophos XG, KerioControl, Cisco Secure Firewall and WatchGuard Firebox, whereas Sophos UTM is most compared with Sophos XG, OPNsense, Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls, Cisco Secure Firewall and Untangle NG Firewall. See our Netgate pfSense vs. Sophos UTM 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.