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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on Apr 28, 2022

pfSense vs Sophos XG

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

  • Ease of Deployment: Most pfSense users say that its initial setup is straightforward, but a small percentage say that the setup is complex and requires a higher level of technical expertise. Sophos XG users agree that initial setup is fast and straightforward.

  • Features: Users of both products are satisfied with their scalability, stability, and VPN features. pfSense reviewers say it is robust and performs well, but its user interface needs enhancements. Sophos XG users like its firewall and intrusion detection tools but mention that it lacks integration options.

  • Pricing: pfSense is an open-source solution and is free of charge. Sophos XG reviewers feel that its price is fair.

  • Service and Support pfSense offers commercial support in addition to free online support forums and community support. pfSense reviewers report being satisfied with the level of support they receive. Sophos XG users give mixed reviews for the product’s support. Some users report being satisfied, while others mention a delayed response time.

  • ROI: Users of both solutions report seeing an ROI.

    Comparison Results: pfSense wins out in this comparison. pfSense performs well, is free of charge, and has superior technical support. One area where Sophos XG does come out on top is in the initial setup category.
To learn more, read our detailed Sophos XG vs. pfSense Report (Updated: November 2022).
655,711 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Q&A Highlights
Question: Comparison between Sophos XG and pfSense as firewalls
Answer: Basically the major difference between Sophos XG Firewall and PFsense is that Sophos is a nextgen firewall based on objects and services and works on layer 7. Instead, Pfsense is a layer 3 firewall based on addresses and ports that is more difficult to block services like Facebook. On Sophos XG firewall you can block these kinds of services easily. There is more information you can find here https://www.sophos.com/en-us/p...
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"They are easy to maintain.""The most valuable feature is the ability to block almost all of the ports.""We find all of its features very useful. Its main features are policies and access lists. We use both of them, and we also use routing.""The VPN feature is the most valuable to us because it accomplishes the task well. We're able to do everything we need to do.""The user interface is very easy to manage and find rules. You can do object searches, which are very easy. Also, the logging is very simple to use. So, it is a lot easier to troubleshoot and find items inside the firewall.""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.""Its Snort 3 IPS has better flexibility as far as being able to write rules. This gives me better granularity.""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."

More Cisco Secure Firewall Pros →

"The solution is very easy to use and has a very nice GUI.""What I like about pfSense is that it works well and runs on an inexpensive appliance.""I have found pfSense to be stable.""It is a stable solution. It is also easy to install and can be deployed and maintained by one team member.""The initial setup was simple and fast.""I like the connectivity to the open VPN. It's very smooth.""The VPN is my favorite feature.""I mostly like all of it. Whatever we use is valuable."

More pfSense Pros →

"The stability of Sophos XG is good, it has good performance.""Orchestration of the firewall is the most valuable feature. It is a fast and agile solution. It is good with protection. It is also very easy to deploy and manage, and its user interface is easy to use.""Sophos is a stable solution, and we haven't had any bugs or limitations.""What I have found most valuable with the Sophos XG is it's a key component of the Intercept X EDR environment. You have to have it to receive the full benefit. If you've you are using Sophos SG firewalls, they're great firewalls and in many ways, I prefer them to the Sophos XG. Since I have set them up, programmed them, and manipulate firewall rules, et cetera, the Sophos SG's a better interface. However, the Sophos XG's very powerful. I prefer it over other solutions I have used, such as Cisco Meraki and SupportNet, I don't like them. They're not very friendly to people who have to set them up and implement them.""The VPN feature is the most valuable. It has come in handy during this period when people are working from home. The filtering feature is also valuable because you can easily filter the sites that you don't want to visit. You can also set timely surfing quotas.""The scalability of Sophos XG is good.""Sophos is a comrehensive solution which allows me to configure all the attendant products, such as Sophos' firewall, Endpoint and Encryption features.""I like the dashboard, the interface, the management console, and the remote login."

More Sophos XG Pros →

Cons
"The one thing that the ASAs don't have is a central management point. We have a lot of our environments on FTD right now. So, we are using a Firewall Management Center (FMC) to manage all those. The ASAs don't really have that, but they are easy to use if you physically go into them and manage them.""The solution is overcomplicated in some senses. Simplifying it would be an improvement.""I would like to see them add more next-generation features so that you don't need a lot of appliances to do just one task. It should be a single solution.""The graphical interface should be improved to make the configuration easier, to do things with a single click.""We have more than one Cisco firewall and it is difficult for me to integrate both on the single UI.""I would like it if there was a centralized way to manage policies, then sticking with the network functions on the actual devices. That is probably the thing that frustrates me the most. I want a way that you can manage multiple policies at several different locations, all at one site. You then don't have to worry about the connectivity piece, in case you are troubleshooting because connectivity is down.""Cisco makes horrible UIs, so the interface is something that should be improved.""The ease of use needs improvement. It is complex to operate the solution. The user interface is not friendly."

More Cisco Secure Firewall Cons →

"It could use a little bit of improvement in the reporting.""Other solutions provide more scope for growth. For instance, we can have only 10 to 20 employees on VPN, but other solutions can support more users. We also have more capabilities to increase the performance of the solution.""Also, simplifying the rules for the GeoIP. Making it simpler to understand would be an improvement.""The usage reports can be better.""In terms of areas of improvement, the interface seemed like it had a lot. The GUI interface that I had gotten into was rather elaborate. I don't know if they could zero in on some markets and potentially for small, medium businesses specifically, give them a stripped-down version of the GUI for pfSense.""It would be great to add more to security.""Web interface could be enhanced and more user friendly.""More documentation would be great, especially on new features because sometimes, when new features come out, you don't get to understand them right off the bat. You have to really spend a lot of time understanding them. So, more documentation would be awesome."

More pfSense Cons →

"Its user interface is a little bit slow.""Its price should be improved. It should be cheaper.""The response time could stand improvement.""Having a web portal where you could make requests for the categorization of non-categorized items, would be beneficial.""For the moment, managing the Sophos interface is a little bit challenging.""SD-WAN needs to be improved because it often fails at the network security level.""All of the options should be available when I renew my subscription for the year. As it is now, there are some limitations.""They can lower its price. It is very expensive. We are looking for a less expensive solution depending on our budget. They can also improve it in terms of firewall protection."

More Sophos XG Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "If we compare it with FortiGate and the co-existing ASA, FortiGate is better in price."
  • "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."
  • More Cisco Secure Firewall 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 →

  • "It is not very expensive."
  • "We prepaid in advance to get the max discount."
  • "Sophos XG isn't expensive compared to Check Point."
  • "The price is in the mid-range and it is very good for small to medium-sized businesses."
  • "When you compare with Barracuda, Sophos is quite a bit cheaper."
  • "Licensing fees are on a yearly basis."
  • "For our company, the price was reasonable."
  • "It is not that expensive compared to the other solutions. It is about the same price range as Fortigate, which we used previously. Licensing is on a yearly basis."
  • More Sophos XG Pricing and Cost Advice →

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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
    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.

      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."



      Sophos XG Firewall is a complete firewall solution that provides all the real-time security and insights you need to protect your network from ransomware and advanced threats. Sophos XG Firewall provides visibility into suspicious users, unknown and unwanted apps, encrypted traffic, and other threats. With its advanced artificial intelligence capabilities, Sophos XG Firewall immediately identifies potential risks and intrusions on web servers and networks.

      Sophos XG Firewall Features

      Sophos XG Firewall offers a wide range of security features, including:

      • Application control: Prevent widespread infections with XG’s Security Heartbeat. XG Firewall automatically identifies the source of an infection on a network and automatically prevents it from accessing other network resources.

      • Synchronized user ID: Eliminate the need for client or server authentication agents by sharing user identification between the endpoint and the firewall through Security Heartbeat.

      • Centralized management: Easily manage all activities with Sophos Central. The XG cloud management platform allows users to easily set up, manage, and monitor XG firewalls along with other Sophos products. Some of Sophos Central’s features include alerting, backup management, one-click firmware updates, and rapid deployments of new firewalls.

      • Lateral movement protection: Automatically isolate compromised systems at every point in the network to stop attacks dead in their tracks.

      • Network protection: Protect networks from attacks and threats while providing secure network access.

      • Web protection: Gain clear visibility and control over all users’ web and application activity.

      • Web server protection: Solidify web servers and applications against hacking attacks while providing secure web access.

      • Email protection: Consolidate email protection with anti-spam, DLP, and encryption. XG’s Live Anti-Spam provides protection from the most recent spam campaigns, phishing attacks, and malicious attachments. Data Loss Prevention automatically triggers encryption on sensitive data in outgoing emails.

      Reviews from Real Users

      Sophos XG Firewall stands out among its competitors, among other reasons, for its intrusion detection capabilities, its user-friendly management platform, and in general, for being a complete and robust firewall solution.

      Niranjan P., a network & system support engineer, writes, “Sophos is a comprehensive solution which allows me to configure all the attendant products, such as Sophos's firewall, endpoint, and encryption features. A nice feature of Sophos is that it offers in sync and heartbeat security. When my clients have a perimeter involving Sophos firewall and endpoints with Sophos Endpoint, they can communicate with each other.”

      Antonio D., sales manager at INFOSEC, notes, “The product has a console that is based in the cloud for all their products. In this console, they have email security, firewall security, endpoint security, et cetera. All of the products on offer in the console are very useful for us. The solution is stable. The solution works well for enterprises and large-scale organizations.”

      Antony M., ICT/HMIS supervisor at a healthcare company, writes, “The VPN feature is the most valuable. It has come in handy during this period when people are working from home. The filtering feature is also valuable because you can easily filter the sites that you don't want to visit. You can also set timely surfing quotas”

      Offer
      Learn more about Cisco Secure Firewall
      Learn more about pfSense
      Learn more about Sophos XG
      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.
      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
      Information Not Available
      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
      University12%
      Marketing Services Firm10%
      Comms Service Provider10%
      Construction Company6%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Comms Service Provider26%
      Computer Software Company15%
      Government8%
      Educational Organization5%
      REVIEWERS
      Manufacturing Company11%
      Financial Services Firm11%
      Healthcare Company8%
      Comms Service Provider8%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Comms Service Provider24%
      Computer Software Company19%
      Government7%
      Media Company4%
      Company Size
      REVIEWERS
      Small Business36%
      Midsize Enterprise24%
      Large Enterprise40%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Small Business28%
      Midsize Enterprise19%
      Large Enterprise53%
      REVIEWERS
      Small Business70%
      Midsize Enterprise17%
      Large Enterprise13%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Small Business29%
      Midsize Enterprise21%
      Large Enterprise50%
      REVIEWERS
      Small Business62%
      Midsize Enterprise24%
      Large Enterprise14%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Small Business34%
      Midsize Enterprise21%
      Large Enterprise44%
      Buyer's Guide
      Sophos XG vs. pfSense
      November 2022
      Find out what your peers are saying about Sophos XG vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: November 2022.
      655,711 professionals have used our research since 2012.

      pfSense is ranked 3rd in Firewalls with 52 reviews while Sophos XG is ranked 6th in Firewalls with 134 reviews. pfSense is rated 8.4, while Sophos XG is rated 8.0. The top reviewer of pfSense writes "Feature-rich, well documented, and there is good support available online". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Sophos XG writes "Light and stable with excellent real-time control ". pfSense is most compared with OPNsense, Fortinet FortiGate, Untangle NG Firewall, Sophos UTM and WatchGuard Firebox, whereas Sophos XG is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, OPNsense, Palo Alto Networks NG Firewalls, WatchGuard Firebox and Meraki MX. See our Sophos XG 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.