What is a firewall
A firewall is a monitoring solution that monitors traffic passing through it. It usually sits at the very edge of the network, protecting everything that rests behind it. Firewalls can be either hardware or software. Hardware firewalls generally protect networks, while software firewalls protect devices or applications. A firewall’s main purpose is to allow legitimate traffic in while stopping malicious traffic.
How does a firewall work
Firewalls’ main job is to inspect incoming and outgoing traffic and determine what is legitimate and not. There are different types of firewalls available, which handle this task in different ways. These different types of firewalls are generally suited to different kinds of setups. Understanding the differences can help you choose the best solution for you.
A stateful inspection firewall inspects traffic by looking at its state, port, and protocol. This is referred to as a traditional firewall and is included in many home network appliances such as wireless routers and Operating Systems such as Windows.
UTM (Unified Threat Management) firewalls combine the powers of a Stateful Inspection firewall with an IDS (Intrusion Detection System) and antivirus. UTM firewalls are considered enterprise-grade; however, you can also find affordable UTM firewalls in consumer-grade electronics.
NGFW stands for Next Generation FireWall. It combines the features of a UTM firewall with application awareness, upgrade paths, and mechanisms to address security threats as they evolve.
WAF stands for Web Application Firewall – a special type of firewall designed to protect web applications. In some cases, WAFs are also referred to as firewalls for WordPress websites. WAFs sit between web applications and the internet and filter HTTP traffic. They can also protect web applications such as WordPress from attacks, including XSS (cross-site scripting), SQL injection attacks, and others.
The benefits of a firewall
When it comes to securing networked devices, firewalls have become a standard for good reasons. They offer multiple benefits and contribute towards the overall security of networks and applications alike.
Firewalls examine inbound and outbound traffic. Whether a rogue application, a malicious user, or anything in between, try to pass harmful traffic, chances are the firewall will flag and block the traffic. Although no firewall is 100% secure, it can also act as a deterrent since they make intrusions more challenging to accomplish.
Firewalls are great at controlling inbound and outbound traffic, giving administrators the ability to take precautionary steps by blocking high-risk traffic. Such controls can also help you mitigate risks such as those prevented by zero-day vulnerabilities, allowing you to take quick action.
Compliance and data privacy laws require adequate security measures to be put in place so that data is well protected. This is something that firewalls are very good at, helping you ensure you have all of your bases covered and data protection systems are in place to help you reach compliance.
How to protect your WordPress website using a firewall
There are several ways you can protect your WordPress website using a firewall. The kind of setup you have will largely determine which type of firewall you can use. Enterprise WordPress administrators managing multiple systems will more than likely opt for a UTM or NGFW solution. On the other hand, administrators managing a WordPress website on a hosted shared server will likely opt for a WAF.
While firewalls play an essential part in securing WordPress websites, they are not an end-to-end solution. A more comprehensive and cohesive approach is necessary to ensure a secure WordPress website.« Back to Glossary Index