What Are the Types of Firewalls

Ronan Short
July 10, 2024

Are you confused to make the right choice of firewall for your network security? A firewall is like a security guard for your computer's network, checking everything that comes in and goes out to make sure no threats sneak through.

It follows strict rules to monitor and control network traffic, ensuring that nothing harmful gets through to threaten your digital data. Firewalls are essential for protecting sensitive information and maintaining the overall security of your network, making them crucial in our increasingly digital world. 

In this blog, we'll help you to explore the different types of firewalls from advanced to specialised; and learn how to choose the right one to protect your network from cyber threats.

Ready to learn the different types of firewalls and how they protect us? Let's start exploring!

What Are the Different Firewall Types?

By exploring these types, you can better understand how firewalls work to protect your network.

Packet filtering firewalls 

These are the most basic types of firewalls. They check each piece of data—called a packet—that tries to enter or leave your network against a set of rules. If the packet matches the rules, it's allowed through; if not, it's blocked.

This type is fast and effective at enforcing basic access controls but doesn’t check if the content of the packets is harmful beyond the rules it’s given.

Stateful inspection firewalls 

These are smarter than packet filtering firewalls. They not only examine each packet but also keep track of active connections. T

his means they can spot if an incoming packet is part of an existing, approved conversation or connection, offering a deeper level of security. They’re great for catching sneaky attempts that basic packet filters might miss.

Proxy firewalls 

Proxy firewalls act as the middleman for requests from inside your network to the internet, and vice versa. They make connections on behalf of your network's devices and can inspect the content of incoming data before deciding whether to block it or allow it through.

This provides a high level of data integrity and security, protecting against various threats.

What Are the Advanced Firewall Technologies?

As the cyber threats continue to evolve, understanding and using advanced firewall technologies like NGFWs and UTMs becomes crucial for protecting your network.

These technologies not only enhance security but also streamline management, allowing you to focus more on your business operations.

Next-generation firewalls (NGFWs)

Next-Generation Firewalls, or NGFWs, are a step up from traditional firewalls. They do more than just block or allow traffic; they thoroughly inspect the data passing through, looking for any malicious activity.

NGFWs can identify and stop advanced threats by examining the details within each packet of data. This includes checking for malware and applying filters based on applications, not just IP addresses.

They are particularly useful in defending against complex security threats that require deeper inspection beyond basic header information.

Unified threat management (UTM)

Unified Threat Management systems combine the functions of a firewall with several other security features in one solution. This includes antivirus, spam filtering, intrusion prevention, and more.

UTMs are designed to provide comprehensive security, making them an ideal choice for small to medium-sized businesses that need multi-layered security but have limited resources to manage separate systems.

By merging multiple security functions, UTMs simplify the security management process and reduce the complexity of protecting against a wide range of threats.

What Are the Specialised Firewall Options?

As we explore these specialised firewall options, it becomes clear that the right choice depends on the specific needs of your network environment. 

Web application firewalls (WAFs)

Web Application Firewalls (WAFs) focus specifically on monitoring and protecting the traffic to and from web applications. They act like gatekeepers, ensuring that only safe interactions reach the applications.

This is particularly crucial for websites that handle sensitive data, such as e-commerce sites or personal data forms, as WAFs can prevent attacks that traditional firewalls might miss, such as SQL injection or cross-site scripting (XSS).

Cloud-based firewalls (FWaaS)

Cloud-Based Firewalls, or Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS), offer a modern twist on traditional firewall security. These systems are hosted in the cloud and managed remotely, which allows them to provide scalable and flexible security solutions.

This is especially beneficial for businesses with remote workers or multiple locations, as it simplifies security management and ensures consistent protection across all endpoints.

Whether it's protecting a dynamic web application or ensuring uniform security across a distributed network, these advanced firewall solutions can provide the targeted protection you need.

How to Choose the Right Firewall?

Deciding on the right firewall for your needs is crucial. Start by evaluating the specific risks your network faces. Do you handle sensitive customer data? Are you frequently targeted by cyber threats? Understanding your environment's security needs will guide you in selecting a firewall that provides the appropriate level of protection.

Consider the size and complexity of your network as well. Smaller businesses might find a unified threat management (UTM) firewall sufficient, as it combines several security functions and is easier to manage.

Larger organisations or those with more complex network structures might require the strong features of next-generation firewalls (NGFWs), which offer advanced protection mechanisms like intrusion prevention and deep packet inspection.

When choosing a firewall, think about the future too. Will your network expand? Are there upcoming technology integrations that could affect your security needs? Opting for a scalable solution, like cloud-based firewalls, might provide long-term benefits, allowing your security measures to grow alongside your business.

After exploring the different types of firewalls and understanding how to choose the right one, it's clear that the decision should align with both current and future needs. 


We've explored the various types of firewalls—packet filtering, stateful inspection, proxy, and more—each tailored to meet different security needs. Understanding these types, from traditional to next-generation firewalls, helps in choosing the right one based on your network’s complexity, size, and specific security requirements.

Whether you manage a small enterprise or a large organisation, selecting the right firewall is crucial for protecting your digital assets against ever-evolving threats.

If you're unsure about which firewall best fits your needs or how to implement it effectively, reach out to IT Support 4U. Our experts are ready to help you enhance your network security with the right solutions tailored just for you.

Get an IT Plan Today!

Call Us Today To Discuss Your IT Needs & Get a Plan Tailored To Your Business Needs!
Get A Free IT Audit

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a packet filtering firewall?

A packet filtering firewall is the most basic type of firewall. It inspects each data packet that passes through the network, allowing or blocking it based on predefined rules such as source and destination IP addresses, protocols, and ports​​.

What is a stateful inspection firewall?

Stateful inspection firewalls, also known as state-aware firewalls, monitor the state of active connections and make decisions based on the context of the traffic. This allows for more dynamic and secure traffic filtering compared to simple packet filtering firewalls​.

What is a proxy firewall?

A proxy firewall, or application-level gateway, acts as an intermediary between users and the internet. It filters traffic at the application layer, providing enhanced security by inspecting the actual content of the packets, not just their headers​.

What is a next-generation firewall (NGFW)?

Next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) combine traditional firewall features with advanced functionalities such as deep packet inspection, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), and application awareness. They offer comprehensive protection against a wide range of threats​​.

What is a circuit-level gateway?

A circuit-level gateway firewall operates at the session layer of the OSI model. It monitors TCP handshakes and sessions to ensure that the session is legitimate. This type of firewall does not inspect individual packets, making it faster but less secure than more advanced firewalls​.

What is a software firewall?

Software firewalls are installed on individual devices or servers and provide security at the endpoint level. They are easy to configure and manage but can consume system resources and may be less effective in a network-wide implementation compared to hardware firewalls​​.

Get a FREE Quote

Fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you!

Check - Elements Webflow Library - BRIX Templates

Thank you

Please check your inbox to download your Free EBook!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Contact IT Support 4U

Contact IT Support 4U today to inquire about our Managed IT Solutions. We usually get back within 24 hours.

Company Size:
Check - Elements Webflow Library - BRIX Templates

Thank you

Please check your inbox to download your Free EBook!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
*FYI, parts of this blog post were drafted by artificial technlogy. But rest assured, it's been thoroughly researched, edited, reviewed and me & my team.
Ronan Short
Founder @ IT Support 4U

Ronan Short, the founder of IT Support, is a trusted authority in the IT industry, passionate about providing top-tier tech support at IT Support. Dedicated to solving complex problems with simplified solutions, catering to all your SME IT needs with cost-effective solutions.