Home PC Firewall Buying Guide

When you connect a PC to the internet, there are many potential dangers that can attack your system. Firewalls act like a barrier between your computer and the internet. Firewalls will prevent unauthorized access to you computer, and they will also hide your computer from view. While firewalls have been used in big companies for quite a long time, they are becoming increasingly popular with home PC users who wish to protect their computers against viruses, worms, Trojans hijacks, and aggressive spyware.

Types of PC Firewalls

There are basically two types of PC Firewalls: Hardware and Softwre.

Hardware firewalls are physical devices that are installed between your modem and your PC. One advantage of the hardware firewall is that it is very easy to use. In addition, users like this type of firewall because it does not have any performance impact on your computer. In addition, the hardware firewall cannot be taken out my any malware that is accidentally installed on your computer like software firewalls can. Moreover, hardware firewalls can be one part of a WiFi router system, making separate purchases unnecessary.. The biggest disadvantage to hardware firewalls is that they are more expensive than the software versions.

Software firewalls are programs that run in the background of your computer. They are typically downloaded after purchase and must be installed and configured on each computer within the network. One advantage to software firewalls is that they are generally less expensive than hardware firewalls. One disadvantage, however, is that they are still susceptible to malware. If malware is accidentally installed on the computer, it can essentially turn off the software firewall program, leaving the computer unprotected from any other malware. These software firewalls, are not as protective as their hardware counterparts.

Pay Attention to

The first thing you need to ask yourself is about the types of protection you are actually looking for. Not all firewalls can do the same tasks and some can perform certain tasks better than others. It is important to take into consideration the types of security and protection you need, so you can be sure that it is included in whatever firewall you decide to use. For example, one firewall may have a great anti-spam product to protect you from viruses in email while another may have adequate spam capabilities but a power web filter. You need to decide if one is more important than the other or if they are both important enough to search for a third firewall that does both tasks well.

Web filters can be very different from product to product. It is important to note how the product filters websites and what types of exceptions can be made within the filters. You will want to know if you can allow specific websites within a category you may block and if certain users can use websites that others may not have access to. In addition, the reporting from the firewall is important. You will want to know if sites are accessed illegally and the top sites that users have been accessing, among others.

Intrusion detection and protection may be important for your system. This type of protection monitors traffic, and it makes decisions to allow or deny access by various traffic to or from your computer. Find out if the software provides DOS (Denial of Service Attack) or DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service Attack). These types of attacks are aimed to hurt your server by overwhelming it with requests that you will not want to encounter.

The firewall protection should include anti-virus and anti-spam software. Since viruses are spread not only through e-mail, you should be sure that the product protects against all types of virus entries. Email, instant messages, social networks, and the web in general are gateways for a virus and should be scanned against known and unknown malware. As far as spam, it has become an increasing problem. The software to protect against spam must be checked carefully to see that it has flexibility and granularity within its features.

Consider all of the extra features and the effect that they have on the performance of each as well as on the computer. In the first place, when a vendor loads the firewall with extra features, some of them may not offer the full protection that is sold separately. For instance anti-spam software that is a feature of a firewall may not be as good as anti-spam software sold in a separate package. Additionally, when too many features are loaded into one package and used all together, they may affect the performance of the computer you are trying to protect. Be aware of these issues before purchasing.

Consider how easy the firewall hardware or software is to install and use. Some software installations are quite complicated. Many firewalls wind up not protecting the PC because they are not fully installed or the user does not fully understand how to use any or all of the features available. There are plenty of products on the market that are easy to use and can be set up quickly. These often protect as good or better than some of the more complicated ones.

Top Brands and Product Lines

McAfee offers superior protection against viuses and privacy threats with premium features for a relatively low price.

Norton offers all-encompassing protection with an impressive features list for a low price tag.

Bullyguard offers great protection with an easy set up for a reasonably low price.

ZoneAlarm is an award winning firewall protection system that is reliable and easy to use. It is low in price.

Avira is very strong protection for your PC that is in the lower price range.

Eset offers user-friendly and innovative protection service both online and offline for a low price.

Trend Micro is feature rich and uses the cloud to maximize protection against malware and more. Priced in the moderate range.

Bitdefender offers maximum security and outstanding performance for a moderate price.