Sophos for home users: Firewall and endpoint
Our business model of making Sophos products available to everyone online means that we receive a wide range of inquiries every day. They range from small two-man companies to large companies with several locations worldwide. As almost anyone can buy Sophos from us, home users are also frequent guests in our online store.
Although Sophos is primarily active in the business environment, it also offers enough features for the home, some of which can even be used free of charge.
In this post we’ll give you a brief overview of which Sophos products for household use come into question and can be used free of charge.
Sophos Firewall for your home
Sophos firewalls are a great thing. But what else can we say about it, after all, we deal with it every day. 😅 No, but seriously, even if we’re a little critical of Sophos sometimes and not happy with everything, Sophos firewalls are at the top of the market. For this reason they are very popular with SMEs, but unfortunately a little too expensive for home use.
Many home users therefore often choose the inexpensive XG85, which we cannot really recommend even for their own living room. It’s not necessarily the case that the price of the hardware will blow your mind. It is much more the fact of having to pay annual licensing costs.
Sophos has been aware of this for a few years now and offers the UTM operating system for private use, as well as the newer SFOS in a “home version”. Except for a few small restrictions, which do not really matter, the home user can use both operating systems completely free of charge. We will come to the restrictions later.
With the free home versions of both operating systems (UTM, SFOS) you can protect your network with technologies such as anti-malware, web security, URL filtering, application control, IPS, traffic shaping, VPN, reporting and monitoring. Sophos access points can also be used without restrictions.
Sophos UTM Home Edition
Officially, Sophos UTM Home Edition runs on special Intel-compatible PCs or as a virtual machine on Hyper-V, VMware or KVM. You can download the ISO image from the website and preferably run it on a fanless PC, such as the Zotac ZBOX. The other option would be to install a server with ESXi or Hyper-V and run the VM on it.
Unofficially, it is also possible to use Sophos UTM Home Edition on a UTM or SG appliance. Theoretically, the Home and Business versions are exactly the same operating system. You could simply order an SG Appliance from us and unlock the UTM Home Edition. The problem is that the pre-installed Business Version cannot read in a license file of the Home Version.
There’s a solution: Connect to the box via SSH and execute the command
rm -rf /etc/asg. Then the OS accepts the home license file. 🤘
Restrictions of the UTM Home Edition
- protects up to 50 IP addresses
- no Sophos Sandstorm
- Community Support only (Forum)
Download Sophos UTM Home Edition for free
Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition
SFOS is Sophos’s newer operating system and comes pre-installed on every XG firewall. It basically offers the same functionality as the UTM operating system. The differences will hardly be noticeable in the private environment.
If you want to preview the new operating system, Sophos offers a Sophos Firewall demo to try. → Username: demo / Password: demo
Unlike the UTM Home Edition, SFOS Home Edition cannot be installed on an SG or XG hardware appliance. But that doesn’t mean that private users have to miss out on an SFOS in their home network just to avoid having to tamper with their own PC hardware. Many of our customers simply order Sophos XG Firewall without a license, as some features are already included in the basic version for free:
- Create firewall rules
- SSL VPN for external VPN access
- Sophos Wireless to manage all Sophos access points
- Free updates
These features are already sufficient for most private users. Functions such as IPS, WebFilter, Web Application Firewall, MTA, which require a license, are often not in demand.
Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition limitations
- no Synchronized Security
- no Sophos Sophos Sandstorm
- Community Support only (Forum)
Download Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition for free
Sophos antivirus software for the home: Sophos Home
In addition to a Sophos firewall, you also need good endpoint protection for all computers on your home network. There is Sophos UTM Endpoint Protection on the UTM firewall. This is convenient because everything can be managed from a single interface. However, the software has not been further developed since 2014, which is why we advise everyone against continuing to use this solution. Instead, look at the successor, Sophos Central.
Sophos Central is designed for business use and is not necessarily priced for home use. Sophos has therefore developed Sophos Home, which is technically based on Sophos Central.
The following operating systems are supported:
- Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, oder Windows 10
- macOS 10.10, 10.11, 10.12 oder 10.13
Sophos Home Sophos Home is available in a free and a premium version. The premium version includes a few more features of Sophos Central, such as:
- CryptoGuard, which protects you against Ransomware
- PUAs (Detect potentially unwanted applications)
- Program exploits to prevent infection by the latest threats.
- Support via Chat
The Premium Version is available for:
- 51.35 CHF first year (incl. VAT)
- 40 € first year (incl. VAT)
→ Use our promo link and get 20% off Sophos Home Premium!
With this compilation, you’ve seen that Sophos can provide solutions for the home that won’t cost you a penny. Of course, there are one-time acquisition costs for the firewall that have to be invested in hardware. However, the software can then be used free of charge and even benefit from further updates.
The only drawback, in our view, is the lack of support for Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition on a Sophos XG appliance. Since we personally see the future of SFOS, it would have been nice to be able to use an original Sophos firewall for the Home Edition, just like the UTM. It is true that the XG already provides many functions for free with the base license, but that’s not enough for the real geeks. But for real geeks it is probably no hurdle to get their own hardware or to run the firewall virtually.