Sophos for home users – firewall and endpoint
Our business model of making Sophos products available online to everyone means we get a wide variety of requests every day. They range from small two-man operations, to large companies with multiple locations worldwide. Since virtually 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 functions for private households, some of which can even be used free of charge.
In this post, we’ll give a brief overview of which Sophos products are worth considering for the home and can be used for free.
Sophos Firewall for your home
The Sophos firewalls are already 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 are sometimes somewhat critical of Sophos and are not super satisfied with everything, Sophos firewalls are among the best on the market. Therefore, they are not without reason very popular with SMEs, but unfortunately a bit too expensive for home use.
Many private users therefore not infrequently reach for the inexpensive XG85, but we can’t really recommend it even for their own living room. It is not necessarily the case that the price for the hardware will blow your mind. It is much more the fact of having to pay annual license fees.
Sophos has also been aware of this for a few years now, and the company offers the UTM operating system for private use, as well as the newer SFOS in a “home variant”. Apart from a few minor restrictions, which don’t 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 the two 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 dedicated Intel-compatible PCs or as a virtual machine on Hyper-V, VMware or KVM. So you can download the ISO image from the website and preferably run it on a fanless PC, like the Zotac ZBOX. The other variant 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 on it. The small catch, however, is that the pre-installed Business version cannot read in a license file of the Home version.
But there is a solution: Connect to the box via SSH and execute the command
rm -rf /etc/asg. After that, the OS will accept the home license file. 🤘
Limitations of the UTM Home Edition
- protects up to a maximum of 50 IP addresses
- no Sophos Sandstorm
- Community Support (Forum) only
Download Sophos UTM Home Edition for free
Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition
The SFOS is the newer operating system from Sophos, which comes pre-installed on every XG firewall. It offers broadly the same functions as the UTM operating system. The differences will hardly be noticed in private.
If you would like to have a look at the new operating system in advance, Sophos offers a Sophos Firewall demo for you to try out. → Username: demo / Password: XG@dem0user
Unlike the UTM Home Edition, the SFOS Home Edition cannot be installed on an SG or XG hardware appliance. However, this does not mean that private users have to do without an SFOS in the home network just to avoid having to fiddle around with their own PC hardware. Many of our customers simply order Sophos XG Firewall without a license, as even the basic version includes some features 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 at all.
Limitations of Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition
- no Synchronized Security
- no Sophos Sophos Sandstrom
- Community Support (Forum) only
Download Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition for free
Sophos antivirus software for home: Sophos Home
In addition to a Sophos firewall, you also need good endpoint protection for all the computers on your home network. There is “Sophos UTM Endpoint Protection” on the UTM firewall. This is convenient because you can manage everything through one interface. However, the software has not been developed further since 2014, which is why we also advise everyone against continuing to use this solution. Instead, you should take a look at the successor, Sophos Central take a look at.
Sophos Central is designed for the business sector and is therefore not necessarily intended for private households in terms of price. Sophos has therefore developed the product “Sophos Home” for the home, which is technically based on Sophos Central.
Thefollowing operating systems are supported:
- Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, or Windows 10
- macOS 10.10, 10.11, 10.12 or 10.13
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 (encryption Trojans)
- PUAs – Detect Potentially Unwanted Applications
- Program exploits to prevent infections from the latest threats.
- Support via chat
Meanwhile, Sophos Home is only available as a paid premium version. However, you have the option to try Sophos Home Premium for free for 30 days. To do this, you can simply start a trial via the website.
The premium version is available for:
- 59.99 CHF first year (incl. VAT)
- 49.95 € first year (incl. VAT)
→ Use our promo link and get 20% off Sophos Home Premium!
With this compilation, you have seen that Sophos also provides solutions for private households that don’t cost you a cent. Sure, there are one-time acquisition costs for the firewall that need to be invested in a hardware. However, you can then use the software free of charge and even benefit from further updates.
The only downer, 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 clearly in SFOS, it would have been quite nice to be able to use an original Sophos firewall for the Home Edition as well, just like with the UTM. It is true that the XG already provides many functions for free with the base license, but that is not enough for the real geeks. But at the same time, it is probably not a hurdle for real geeks to get their own hardware or to operate the firewall virtually.