How to Choose the Right Antivirus and Firewall

Anti-virus and Firewall are very important protection for all systems, home or business.

If you don't have a budget to purchase software, there are some excellent free programs available.  Please note that I am only going to be discussing Windows in this post, as Mac or Linux AV is a completely different subject worthy of a future blog post.

The first product you should consider is ZoneAlarm Antivirus+Firewall.  This lightweight combination is perfect to maximize protection while minimizing performance impact.
However, if you do not want a combination Antivirus+Firewall, it's perfectly acceptable to use ZoneAlarm's standalone firewall product with another antivirus product...but I strongly recommend at a minimum using ZoneAlarm's firewall, as I have yet to find a comparable firewall product for free.

If you're looking for an alternative to ZoneAlarm's antivirus, there are many available.
First on the list is AVG (which you can download directly here)
Second is Microsoft Security Essentials, which requires a legitimately licensed copy of Windows
Third is ClamWin, an open source antivirus program which is extremely lightweight but does not feature an on-access scanner.

If you have a budget to afford antivirus at home, or need to protect your business, VIPRE has written a guide on choosing the right antivirus solution for your business.

By the way, if you'd like to support this blog, feel free to make a purchase through our Software Catalog.


  1. I recommend all users who have the ability to add a "hardware" firewall like Sophos UTM Home Edition (formerly known as Astaro Home Edition) to do so.

    It is right, that the need to protect the Endpoint exists but in my opinion it's more important to protect the whole network to stop attacks before they hit trough i.e. a java vulnerability.

  2. Excellent recommendation! It's worth pointing out that most cable/dsl routers these days also include a firewall, but it is a very basic firewall with limited protection.

  3. As for the firewall after a little research I found a product i used (prior to changing to Linux at home) Comodo Firewall
    Pros: various ranges of settings including in-depth settings
    Cons: kind of complicated and annoying when set to alarm at everything

    Also as I looked at your Software Catalog I noticed the lack of Software^^

  4. I keep hearing good things about Comodo, but also keep hearing about its user-unfriendlyness.

    One of these days once my VM lab is fully operational, I'll have to do a side by side comparison.

    As far as the software catalog goes, if you have an ad blocker installed you won't see anything. All of the software in my software catalog is through "Commission Junction", and I receive a small commission for each sale generated through the links.