Just heard about GlassWire https://www.glasswire.com/download/ so decided to install and give it a shot over the Windows FW. However, I’m curious how GW compares to the Windows FW and ZA.
I’ve used ZA a long long time ago back in the day. I just had it installed for maybe 45 minutes then found GW and decided to switch. I noticed the install of GW was way faster than ZA almost as if ZA was installing a bunch of like modules for it or just a bunch of services for ZA itself while GW was plain and simple…almost too simple.
I’ve been using Window FW as I’m on Win 7 and it has been decent. Never really had an issue. I believe in a nice light AV, malwarebytes, and good old common sense to keep you protected and that has been working for me for at least 15 years. I never really focused on a firewall before.
Anyway, please give me a few reasons why I should stick with GW over the Windows FW or ZA
GlassWire keeps a history of your past network activity, so if something happens while your PC is idle you can see it on our graph. I think GlassWire is completely different than the software you’re referring to, and if you care more about network monitoring then you’ll probably prefer GlassWire.
ZoneAlarm is a free firewall with more options and features than Windows Firewall but the protection features are mainly in the paid version, ZoneAlarm PRO.
GlassWire is not technically a firewall. Instead it provides a better interface for using the Windows Firewall. On the other hand it it is much more than a firewall because it also has network and device monitoring.
Do you need a better firewall than Windows Firewall?
If you have a router with a firewall then you don’t really need any more protection than the basic Windows Firewall. It is very unobtrusive. I use paid GlassWire with Windows Firewall and have never considered getting any other firewall. Several third-party firewalls have been discontinued because the developers consider that Windows Firewall is sufficient.
The following forum post on how to choose a firewall is from 2011 but it specifically discusses your version of Windows Firewall on Windows 7:
GlassWire is a great addition because it allows me to see what my computer and its software are communicating with which gives me a better understanding of what is actually happening while continuing to use Windows Firewall.
Free versus paid
ZoneAlarm is only free for personal (private) use and is not free for any commercial or business use. GlassWire free is not restricted for commercial use so anyone can use it.
Both GlassWire and ZoneAlarm are free but their best firewall features are in the paid versions. For example, Ask to Connect is a paid feature GlassWire but ZoneAlarm essentially has this in the free version. ZoneAlarm’s highest level of security is in the paid version.
If you do not want to pay anything then have a look at more free firewall options in this Best Free Firewall article.
Safe web surfing practices are probably more important than having a firewall with advanced featurs like HIPS (what is HIPS). So the fact that all these free products don’t have HIPS may not be an issue considering you are already running HIPS through Malwarebytes. However, if you really want HIPS then the paid ZoneAlarm PRO has a HIPS module.