The best PC firewall for a home user is one that protects the data on the computer while not impeding the use of the home's Internet connection. While a great many people now make use of software-based firewalls such as those by Norton, Zone Labs, and others, these software firewalls are not foolproof. Some, such as in the case of the computer firewall that comes with Windows XP are only able to block traffic in one direction. To truly lock down and secure a home computer or a home network, the best PC firewall to use is a hardware firewall.
Routers Make the Best PC Firewalls
If a home computer user connects to the Internet through a cable or DSL modem this allows for essentially an unrestricted path from the Internet to the computer that any hacker can attempt to exploit. Because of this one of the best things a user can do to secure their computers is to place a device called a router between the modem and the computers.
A router essentially takes all of the data coming in from the Internet and feeds it out to the various computers on the home network. Routers therefore have the added benefit of allowing users to connect more than one computer to the same Internet connection. The best part of using a router however is that it can function as a hardware based firewall and effectively hide the computers inside the home network from the prying eyes of the outside world.
By activating the firewall on a router all incoming attempts at connecting to a PC are blocked (unless the user specifically allows them). The best PC firewalls can also be configured to block outgoing traffic to only the ports that the user's favorite games and other software utilize. If a computer becomes infected with a virus or malware this outgoing firewall may prevent unauthorized data from being transmitted.
Turning on the Firewall Using the Router's Administration Menu
To activate the hardware firewall in a PC's router often requires navigating to a special IP address. Try typing in the IP address 192.168.0.1 into a web browser that is connected to a router to see if it is possible to connect in this manner. If it is not, check the documentation that came with the router to find out how to administer the router and turn on the firewall.
Turning on the computer firewall built into a router is one of the easiest and most effective ways to safeguard the data on a computer. As soon as a new router is hooked up and even before it is connected to the Internet, make sure to activate the built in firewall function to protect the home's network from many hacking attempts.