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The 5 Best Website Application Firewalls for 2023

A Website Application Firewall (WAF) works as a layer of protection between a website application and the visitors browsing the website. Application firewalls go beyond the metadata of the packets transferred at the network level, focusing on the data that is being transferred. WAFs were created to understand the type of data allowed for each protocol, like SMTP and HTTP. Website owners should add a WAF to their website in order to complement their security measures. WAFs were designed to impede malicious requests from damaging websites. The key difference between various website firewall security solutions is how they are deployed.

Here are the main options of Website Application Firewalls that you can find available on the web:

1 - Sucuri Firewall

Sucuri is a website security company that was created to offer website owners a comprehensive security solution. The Sucuri Firewall is a cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) Website Application Firewall (WAF) and Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) developed exclusively for websites.

What is great about the Sucuri Firewall is that it functions as a reverse proxy. The Sucuri WAF intercepts and inspects all incoming Hypertext Transfer Protocol/Secure (HTTP/HTTPS) requests to a website; then strips the malicious requests at the Sucuri network edge before it arrives at your server.

Another advantage of the Sucuri Firewall is that its WAF includes Virtual Patching and Virtual Hardening engines. The Sucuri Firewall mitigates threats as they happen. The Sucuri WAF keeps the threats far from your website without impacting your website negatively. Quite the opposite, the Sucuri website firewall makes a website up to 50% faster, as it is built on a Content Distribution Network (CDN).

Performance optimization is part of the Sucuri WAF features. The CDN caches dynamic and static content across all nodes in the network to ensure optimal performance around the world.

Moreover, the Sucuri Firewall offers full Domain Name Server (DNS) services.

The Sucuri WAF runs on a proprietary Globally Distributed Anycast Network (GDAN). This unique configuration allows for high availability and redundancy

if anything fails in the network.

To sum it up, the Sucuri WAF:

  • Mitigates Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attacks
  • Prevents Vulnerability Exploit Attempts, such as SQL injections, cross-site-scripting (XSS), remote file inclusion (RFI) and local file inclusion (LFI)
  • Protects Against the OWASP Top 10 (and more)
  • Protects Against Zero-Day Exploits
  • Protects Against Access Control Attacks, such as Brute Force attempts
  • Offers Performance Optimization with its CDN

In order to add the Sucuri Firewall to your website, all you need to do is add a DNS A record or switch to Sucuri nameservers.

The Sucuri Firewall is available in all of Sucuri`s plans, including the Sucuri Website Security Platform.

2- GoDaddy Firewall

The GoDaddy Firewall is very similar to the Sucuri Firewall. It is a Website Application Firewall that offers an intrusion prevention system. It is a layer between the traffic and the website server.

The GoDaddy Website Firewall stops malware before it gets to the website. The WAF aims at preventing infections by intercepting and inspecting all incoming data, then removing it.

The GoDaddy WAF also brings performance optimization. The website loading time is improved by up to 50% when the WAF is activated. Just like the Sucuri Firewall, the GoDaddy WAF also works as a Content Delivery Network (CDN), storing the content of the website on multiple servers around the world.

The GoDaddy WAF is not included in all of their website security plans.

3 -  Incapsula WAF

Incapsula also has a Web Application Firewall (WAF). Like the Sucuri Firewall, it protects websites from application layer attacks. The WAF stands against the OWASP top 10 threats, SQL injections, cross-site-scripting attacks and others, delivering minimal false positives.

Incapsula WAF supports Unicast and Anycast technologies. It has a defense method in the many-to-many format. This way, the WAF mitigates attacks that exploit application and server vulnerabilities automatically.

Very similarly to the Sucuri firewall, Incapsula WAF receives and filters incoming traffic to the web application in order to block malicious visitors and requests.

It is not clear if the Incapsula WAF is included in all their website security plans.

4 - CloudFlare WAF

CloudFlare WAF protects applications, websites, and APIs from malicious traffic. It blocks attacks that target network and application layers. The main focus of the CloudFlare WAF is to maintain availability and performance.

Just like Sucuri (and the other WAFs mentioned above), Cloudflare’s  WAF improves website performance, accelerating its traffic.

The WAF protects websites from DDoS attacks, SQL injection, SPAM, cross-site-contamination, brute force attacks, as well as OWASP top 10 vulnerabilities.

CloudFlare is a company dedicated to improving website performance, so its WAF offers many web optimization features. However, different from Sucuri and GoDaddy, CloudFlare does not offer Two-Factor Authentication.

The WAF is included in CloudFlare website security plans.

5 - Penta Security WAPPLES

WAPPLES is a website security firewall mainly used in the Asia Pacific region. The WAF examines attack techniques heuristically and semantically in order to filter out malicious as well as unknown traffic. The WAF provides: automated updates on system software and signatures, a query system for detection logs, and a function to back up its configurations and data.

This WAF uses Contents Classification and Evaluation Processing in order to avoid false positives.

WAPPLES WAF maintains website performance, but it is unclear if it actually improves website performance.

While WAPPLES is provided both as a hardware and software appliance, its technology also powers Cloudbric, a cloud-based website security service. All of Cloudbric's plans include WAF protection.

After taking a look at five Website Application Solutions, you can see that at the core, WAFs function very similarly. The main goal of adding a website firewall to your website is to prevent infections.

About the Author

Kristina is an experienced tech writer and researcher with a keen interest in cybersecurity for businesses and the general public.

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