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Azure WAF vs. Cloudflare vs. open-appsec - Which Should I Choose?

Choosing the best security solution for your web application or API is a priority if you don’t want to compromise your users’ data and create a bad business reputation.

Azure WAf and Cloudflare quickly come to mind if you are looking for great security tools to safeguard your resources. But selecting the best can be a challenge if you want a tool that is open-source, budget-friendly, and easy to manage.

In this article, we will compare the features of Azure WAF and Cloudflare and highlight their pros and cons to enable you to make the right decision.

Also, we will introduce a new web application security tool called open-appsec.

Azure WAF vs. CloudFlare vs. open-appsec

Before we get into a detailed comparison of these tools, here is a quick overview of Azure WAF, Cloudflare, and open-appsec features. Note how open-appsec compares to Azure WAF and Cloudflare.


Azure WAF

Cloudflare WAF



ML-based. No signature needed




Zero-day protection (Text4Shell, Log4Shell, Spring4Shell, etc.)




API protection











Yes (premium feature)


NGINX, NGINX Ingress, Envoy Add-On




Kubernetes Ingress




Gateway VM for AWS, Azure, and VMWare



Enterprise version


Declarative configuration and deployment




SaaS Web-based Event Management & Dashboards








Code and Price









Azure WAF Pros and Cons

These are the pros and cons of Azure WAF from reviews by people who have used it.



Azure WAF offers comprehensive protection against OWASP Top 10.

No Zero-Day pre-emptive protection as it based on signatures

It gives you real-time visibility and security alerts to deter threats.

Very high false positive rate. Requires manual tuning process to get rid of false positives.

Azure WAF offers REST API support to automate DevOps processes.

Can detect and block malicious bots and DDoS attacks.

Azure WAF is a cloud-native service that safeguards APIs and web applications from web-exploits techniques like SQL injection and cross-site scripting. It allows you to create a WAF policy that can be applied to Application Gateway or Azure Front Door to manage rules and control access to your web application.

Users can deploy Azure WAF in minutes with pre-configured managed rules that extend beyond OWASP Top 10.

Here are some of the features of Azure WAF:

  • Enable bot management rules. The Azure WAF bot protection rule set categorizes bots based on whether they are good, malicious, or unknown. It will block bad bots and allow good bots like search engine crawlers.

  • Protect your web application with managed rules. When combined with an updated ruleset, the WAF will increase security, reduce false positives and improve performance.

  • Agentless deployment. You can easily deploy the Azure Web Application Firewall without using any software agent. Create a rule set that meets your security needs and apply them to safeguard your application.

  • Improve security and performance. You can deploy Azure WAF in Azure Front Door for advanced security features and scalability and speed up the delivery of apps to your users worldwide.

Cloudflare WAF Pros and Cons

These are Cloudflare WAF pros and cons from reviews by people who have used it.



Cloudflare WAF is easy to configure and use.

Setting custom rules can be difficult for beginners.

You can use Cloudflare WAF to protect your web application from SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and malware.

Requires manual tuning process to get rid of false positives.

It offers protection against DDoS, OWASP Top 10, and malicious bot attacks.

No Zero-Day pre-emptive protection as it based on signatures

Cloudflare WAF prevents account takeover and credentials theft.

Cloudflare WAF protects your website or application from common vulnerabilities like SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and forgery requests. Also, it keeps your application and APIs secure and productive and detects anomalies and malicious payloads while monitoring for browser chain attacks.

Cloudflare Managed Ruleset protects against zero-day vulnerability and OWASP Top 10 attack techniques while offering protection against bot attacks. It has an Advanced Rate limiting that stops abuse, DDoS attacks, and malicious attempts with API-centric control.

Here are some features offered by Cloudflare WAF:

  • Rate limiting rules. Users can define rate limits for incoming requests that match an expression and the action to take when the limits are reached.

  • Managed rule set. You can enable the pre-configured Managed Rulesets to get immediate protection and adjust the behavior of managed rules.

  • Custom rules. Users can create custom rules to safeguard their website, application, or APIs from malicious incoming traffic.

  • Stop account takeover. With Cloudflare WAF, you can prevent abusive logins and attackers from taking over your user accounts.

  • Bot and API protection. Cloudflare protects against bot attacks that can harm your web application. Also, it keeps APIs safe with API discovery, mTLS, anomaly detection, and schema validation.

open-appsec Pros and Cons

Are you looking for a way to block attacks on your web application before they happen? open-appsec uses machine learning to continuously detect and preemptively block threats before they can do any damage. Our code has also been published on GitHub, and the effectiveness of our WAF has been successfully proven in numerous tests by third parties. Try open-appsec in the Playground today.

open-appsec Pros

open-appsec Cons

Automatically detects and prevents threats using machine learning.

It is a new security product.

Offers a full IPS Engine that continuously monitors traffic to prevent intrusion.

There isn't a lot of information about it on the internet.

Integrates seamlessly with modern environments like the public cloud.

It has a small community of users.

Easy to set up and manage.

open-appsec is the third web application firewall we will compare in this blog post. It is a fully automated WAF and API security solution that uses machine learning to automatically detect and prevent attacks like OWASP Top 10, zero-day attacks, and malicious bots.

Its ML-based engine continuously analyzes HTTP/S requests and filter traffic as they visit your website.

Also, it blocks attacks like Text4Shell, Log4Shell, and Spring4Shell by default, with no updates required due to its preemptive nature. open-appsec is free to use and expand upon since it is open-source, and the code is available on GitHub. Premium support and features like an anti-bot and log storage in the cloud are also available.

You can easily deploy it as an add-on to Kubernetes Ingress, Envoy, NGINX, and API Gateways to provide web app and API security with complete protection and easy management required by modern workloads.

Getting started with open-appsec is easy. You can play around the playground to learn how to test and deploy the tool.

Depending on your environment, you can use the Kubernetes or NGINX playground to learn how to:

  • Attack the demo web application by doing a simple SQL injection.

  • Deploy open-appsec on the NGINX or Kubernetes environment.

  • Attack the web application again to ensure the security is implemented and effective.

  • Connect to the SaaS Web-Based Management.

Features of open-appsec

It has all the features of Cloudflare and Azure WAF and offers additional features for your web application protection.

1. Zero-Day Protection

open-appsec is a machine learning based WAF that detects and stops zero-day exploits before they cause damage to your web application.

2. Open-Source

The code is available on GitHub for anyone to use. open-appsec open-source nature makes it easy to configure and manage.

3. Integration

You can integrate it with modern environments like public cloud storage and CI/CD pipeline that support Kubernetes Ingress, Docker, and Linux Servers.

4. API Security

open-appsec blocks access to malicious usage and stops the abuse of your API. Enforce API schema with the premium version to provide added security.

5. Free

The free version is available and has no limit on the traffic it analyzes. Also, the premium version gives you additional features like anti-bot and log storage in the cloud.

6. Intrusion Prevention

open-appsec continuously analyzes and monitors network traffic for suspicious activities. Also, it offers protection for over 2,800 WEB CVEs.

7. Anti-Bot

To protect your web application from illegitimate traffic that skews analytics, open-appsec provides a web application behavioral anti-bot to help detect and stop bot attacks.

8. ML Threat Prevention

It automatically detect and prevent application layer attacks like OWASP Top 10 and zero-day exploits.


This blog post highlights the pros and cons of Cloudflare WAF, Azure WAF, and open-appsec. The three are fantastic security tools to help protect your web application. So, which should you choose?

You can choose Azure WAF if you want a WAF that protects your website or API from bad bots and malicious attacks like OWASP Top 10. Azure WAF offers protection from web exploits like cross-site scripting and SQL injection. Also, you can create a WAF to manage rules and control access to your resources.

If you want a WAF that is easy to use and offers out-of-the-box solutions for lots of security issues, you can choose Cloudflare WAF. Cloudflare safeguards your web application from zero-day vulnerability, OWASP TOP 10 attacks, cross-site scripting, malicious bots, etc.

You should choose open-appsec if you want a security solution that integrates with the modern environment and prevents zero-day attacks and OWASP TOP 10. open-appsec presents a better option because it is free and open-source, making it easy to use and expand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Cloudflare a CDN or WAF?

Cloudflare offers a CDN and a web application firewall. The CDN helps distribute your content globally, while the WAF protects your web application and API from DDoS attacks and bots and detects anomalies.

Is Cloudflare WAF SaaS?

Cloudflare is a SaaS that allows you to link firewall rules, create rate-limiting rules, and manage rules to provide more control and keep your domain safe from malicious traffic.

How Good Is Azure WAF?

Azure WAF protects web applications from attacks by checking incoming requests. If it detects something malicious, it blocks the request and allows only genuine ones. through


Experiment with open-appsec for Linux, Kubernetes or Kong using a free virtual lab

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