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Difference between Hardware Firewall and Software Firewall

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A firewall is a network security system or shielding layer that lies between the internet and the computer networks. A firewall typically set up a barrier between a trusted network and an untrusted network. An Internet firewall is a device or software which is designed to protect your computer from data and viruses that you do not want. 

1. Software Firewall: 
A software firewall is a special type of computer software that runs on a computer/server. Its main purpose is to protect your computer/server from outside attempts to control or gain access and depending on your choice of a software firewall. A software firewall can also be configured for checking any suspicious outgoing requests. 


  • Helpful in blocking particular sites
  • Juniors and parental controls can be supervised
  • Ease in maintenance
  • Valuable for home users
  • Assignment of different levels of access and permissions to the user can be done with ease


  • Installation and up-gradation are required on individual computers.
  • Slow Performance of the system.
  • Due to its installation, system resources are consumed.
  • Does not work on smart TVs, gaming consoles, etc.

2. Hardware Firewall: 
It is physical piece of equipment planned to perform firewall duties. A hardware firewall can be a computer or a dedicated piece of equipment which serve as a firewall. Hardware firewall are incorporated into the router that is situated between the computer and the internet gateway. 


  • Independently run so less prone to cyber-attacks.
  • Installation is external so resources are free from the server.
  • Increased bandwidth enables the handling of more data packets per second.
  • Reduced latency.
  • VPN connection is also supported for increased security and encryption.


  • Hardware devices can take extra space
  • A skilled IT person is required
  • Upgradation challenge as it is not cost-effective because multiple devices need to be replaced

Difference between Hardware and Software firewall: 

S. No.ParametersSoftware FirewallHardware Firewall
1.Operates onA software Firewall operates on the system.Hardware Firewall do not operate on the system.
2.ConfigurationConfiguration of a software firewall is easy.Configuration of hardware firewall is not easy.
3.WorkingIt is installed on individual devices like computes and phones which results in blocking users or devices from accessing the individual components of the network. It basically inspects the packets and then blocks the unauthorized access.It is required to install the device between the computer and the Internet so that it will not be easily accessible. The installation requires a connection of network cable with the firewall rather than directly connecting to the router. Hence, a barrier is formed for blocking the incoming and outgoing data packets between the network and the Internet. It protects against viruses, malware, spyware, email spam, and other similar attacks from outside.
4.CostIt is less expensive to install though the cost may increase in case of variation in computers.It is more expensive than a software firewall as an initial investment is required based on the protection level.
5.FlexibilityIt is flexible i.e., you can choose which application has to be installed.It is not flexible like software firewall.
6.InstallationIt is installed inside the individual system.It is installed outside the system.
7.ProtectsIt protects one system at a time and is not enabled for smart TVs, gaming consoles, and other devices.It protects a whole network at a time.
8.PerformanceIt makes the performance of computers slows down.It doesn’t affect the performance of the computer.
9.RequirementIt is needed to be installed on every individual system on a network.It needs only one hardware to be installed for a whole network.
10.BlockingIn software firewall, content based on keywords can be blocked.A domain or website can be blocked using hardware firewall.
Last Updated : 19 Jan, 2023
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