The 7 Best Linux Firewalls as of 2024

Here are the best Linux firewalls right now (from beginner-friendly to extremely sophisticated).

Publish date: 6/17/2024

For Linux users, selecting the right firewall can make a significant difference in safeguarding your system against cyber threats.

And with the plethora of options available, choosing the right Linux firewall for you can be rather complex...

That said, the goal of this article is to simplify that decision.

But first, let's clarify:

What is a firewall and why do you need one?

A firewall is a security system designed to monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules.

It acts as a barrier between your trusted internal network and untrusted external networks, such as the internet.

Firewalls are essential for several reasons:

  1. Threat prevention: Firewalls prevent unauthorized access to your network by blocking malicious traffic and potential intrusions.
  2. Traffic control: They help manage network traffic, ensuring that legitimate data flows smoothly while potentially harmful data is blocked.
  3. Network monitoring: Firewalls monitor all incoming and outgoing traffic, providing insights and alerts about suspicious activities.
  4. Policy enforcement: They enforce security policies by allowing or denying traffic based on a set of predefined rules, guaranteeing compliance with individualized security standards.
  5. Protection against malware: Firewalls can help prevent the spread of malware and other malicious software by controlling access to the network.

In short: given the increasing sophistication of cyber threats, a firewall is a necessity of any security strategy.

Now that we've covered why firewalls are important, let's dive into the comparison:

Comparing the 7 best Linux firewalls

1. UFW (Uncomplicated Firewall)

Overview: UFW, short for Uncomplicated Firewall, is designed to simplify the management of iptables, the default Linux packet filtering framework.

It's ideal for users who prefer a straightforward approach to firewall management.


  • Easy to use command-line interface.
  • Integration with GUFW for a graphical user interface.
  • Pre-configured with common rules to enhance usability.
  • Suitable for both beginners and experienced users.


  • User-friendly, especially with the GUFW GUI.
  • Simplifies complex iptables rules.
  • Widely supported and documented.


  • May not offer advanced features required by power users.
  • Limited scalability for large, complex networks.

Best for: Beginners or users who need a simple, effective firewall solution.

2. Firewalld

Overview: Firewalld provides a dynamic firewall management solution, offering a high level of flexibility.

It uses zones and services to allow or deny traffic, making it adaptable to various environments.


  • Zone-based configuration to segregate network interfaces.
  • Supports IPv4, IPv6, Ethernet bridges, and IP sets.
  • Integration with NetworkManager and libvirt.
  • Provides both command-line and GUI interfaces.


  • Highly flexible and scalable.
  • Real-time management of firewall rules.
  • Zone-based approach simplifies management of complex networks.


  • Steeper learning curve compared to UFW.
  • May be overkill for simple setups.

Best for: Intermediate to advanced users who need a flexible, powerful firewall.

3. IPTables/Netfilter

Overview: IPTables is the traditional firewall for Linux, offering granular control over traffic filtering.

It’s a part of the Netfilter project and provides extensive features for experienced users.


  • Deep packet inspection capabilities.
  • Highly customizable rule sets.
  • Broad range of modules for additional functionality.
  • Direct control over packet processing.


  • Extremely powerful and flexible.
  • Fine-grained control over network traffic.
  • High performance.


  • Complex configuration and steep learning curve.
  • Not beginner-friendly.

Best for: Advanced users and network administrators who need detailed control over firewall rules.

4. CSF (ConfigServer Security & Firewall)

Overview: CSF is a comprehensive firewall solution designed to provide enhanced security with ease of use.

It includes additional security features beyond basic firewall functionality.


  • Integration with popular web hosting control panels.
  • Advanced intrusion detection and login failure detection.
  • User-friendly configuration and management.
  • Real-time alerting and monitoring.


  • Extensive security features beyond just a firewall.
  • Easy to configure and manage.
  • Regular updates and strong community support.


  • Primarily aimed at server environments.
  • Some advanced features may require additional configuration.

Best for: Users and administrators looking for an all-in-one security solution.

5. IPFire

Overview: IPFire is a Linux-based firewall distribution that focuses on ease of use, security, and flexibility.

It's designed to be used as a firewall, proxy server, or VPN gateway, making it a versatile choice for various network environments.


  • Easy-to-use web-based interface.
  • Intrusion detection system (IDS) integration.
  • Supports VPN (IPsec and OpenVPN).
  • Regular updates and patches.
  • Flexible network configuration with zones.


  • User-friendly web interface.
  • Strong focus on security and regular updates.
  • Versatile, with multiple use cases (firewall, proxy, VPN).
  • Community and professional support options.


  • May require more initial setup compared to simpler solutions.
  • Some advanced features may need additional configuration.

Best for: Users and administrators looking for a versatile, Linux-based firewall solution with many security features.

6. Fail2Ban

Overview: Fail2Ban is a unique security tool that provides protection against brute-force attacks by monitoring log files and banning IPs that exhibit suspicious behavior.

While not a traditional firewall, it complements firewall functionality by adding an extra layer of security.


  • Monitors log files for specific patterns and behaviors.
  • Bans IPs that show signs of malicious activity.
  • Supports multiple services (SSH, HTTP, SMTP, etc.).
  • Configurable ban times and detection patterns.


  • Effective against brute-force attacks.
  • Easy to configure and use.
  • Enhances existing firewall rules with automated banning.
  • Lightweight and low resource consumption.


  • Not a full-fledged firewall solution.
  • Relies on log monitoring, which may miss some threats.
  • Requires proper configuration to avoid false positives.

Best for: Users looking to add an additional layer of security against brute-force attacks, complementing an existing firewall setup.

7. CrowdSec

Overview: CrowdSec is an innovative, open-source security solution designed to provide collaborative security against cyber threats.

It uses a crowd-based approach to identify and block malicious IPs, enhancing your firewall’s capabilities.


  • Community-driven IP blocking.
  • Real-time detection and mitigation.
  • Supports multiple services and scenarios.
  • Easy integration with existing firewall solutions.


  • Collaborative threat intelligence.
  • Real-time protection.
  • Enhances existing firewall capabilities.
  • Scalable and adaptable.


  • Relies on community data, which may vary in accuracy.
  • Requires proper configuration to maximize benefits.

Best for: Users and administrators looking to leverage community-based threat intelligence for enhanced security.

Recapping all Linux firewalls

Firewall Best For Pros Cons Interface
UFW Beginners User-friendly, simplifies iptables, GUI available Limited advanced features, scalability issues CLI, GUI
Firewalld Intermediate to advanced users Flexible, scalable, zone-based configuration Steeper learning curve, may be overkill for simple setups CLI, GUI
IPTables Advanced users, network administrators Powerful, flexible, high performance Complex configuration, not beginner-friendly CLI
CSF Users/admins looking for all-in-one security Extensive security features, easy to manage, strong support Primarily for servers, may need extra configuration CLI
IPFire Users needing a versatile, Linux-based firewall User-friendly web interface, strong security focus More initial setup, some advanced features need config Web-based GUI
Fail2Ban Users adding extra security to existing setup Effective against brute-force attacks, easy to use, lightweight Not a full firewall, relies on log monitoring CLI
CrowdSec Leveraging community-based threat intelligence Collaborative threat intelligence, real-time protection Relies on community data, requires proper configuration CLI, Web-based GUI


Choosing the best firewall for Linux depends on your specific needs and level of expertise.

UFW is perfect for beginners, while Firewalld and IPTables offer flexibility and power for more experienced users.

CSF provides additional security features for servers, and IPFire is ideal for many use cases.

Fail2Ban offers valuable protection against brute-force attacks and CrowdSec uses community-based threat intelligence for enhanced security.

They all serve slightly different purposes for different people and use cases.

So, evaluate your requirements, consider your technical skills, and choose the firewall that will provide the best balance of security and usability for you!

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Thanks for reading and here's to stronger security!