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Cloudflare vs. AWS WAF vs. open-appsec - Which Security Tool is Best?

Cloudflare and AWS WAF are great security tools to protect your web application and API. But choosing between them can be daunting if you are on a mission to select a security solution that meets your business needs.

In this article, we will examine Cloudflare and AWS WAF in detail and compare the attacks they prevent, the ease of setup and management, and their prices. We have tailored this article to help you make the right decision, save time and cash, and protect your organization's reputation.

Also, as a bonus, we will introduce you to open-appsec, a new security tool that may turn out to be an even better solution to your problem.

Cloudflare vs. AWS WAF vs. open-appsec

The table allows you to easily compare the features offered by Cloudflare, AWS WAF, and open-appsec. Notice how each security compares against the other and how open-appsec ticks yes to all the features listed.


Cloudflare WAF




ML-based. No signature needed




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




API protection










Yes (need integration with Amazon CloudFront)

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









AWS WAF Pros and Cons

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



AWS WAF helps block common attacks like SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and malicious bots.

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

You can use AWS WAF Fraud Control and Account Takeover Prevention to protect against brute-force login attempts, credential stuffing attacks, and other anomalous activities.

You can configure a limited number of rules with AWS WAF.

AWS WAF lets you set rules to filter web traffic and block common web exploits like SQL injection and cross-site scripting.

The price of AWS WAF is high if you use it for a single application.

It can be fully administered via APIs.

Only first 8KB of payload are scanned

AWS WAF is a security service that protects web applications against web exploits and bots that can drastically compromise security and consume excessive resources. It allows you to monitor the request (HTTP/HTTPS) forwarded to your web application and control access to your content based on your specified criteria.

Here are some of the features offered by AWS WAF:

  • Web traffic filtering. AWS WAF enables you to set rules to filter traffic based on various conditions like IP addresses, custom URLs, and HTTP headers and body, giving the website added protection against web attacks.

  • Use rules across several websites. You can create rules that can be deployed across various websites, making it possible to create a single set of reusable rules to be used across applications.

  • Bot control. This service gives you control over common bot traffic that can overload your system, consume excess resources, and cause downtime. Also, you can block pervasive bots or allow common bots like search engines with a few clicks.

  • Fraud prevention. You can use AWS WAF to protect against credential stuffing attacks, brute-force login attempts, and many other malicious login activities.

  • Full API feature. Users can completely administer AWS WAF via APIs, making it possible to automatically create and maintain rules and incorporate them into the development process.

Cloudflare WAF Pros and Cons

These are the pros and cons of Cloudflare WAF from reviews by people who have used it to protect their web applications.



Cloudware WAF prevents SQL Injection and cross-site scripting and removes malware from your application.

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

This security tool is easy to use.

Requires manual tuning and customization of sigantures

Cloudflare protects against DDoS, OWASP Top 10, and malicious bot attacks.

Sometimes there are some performance and latency issues.

It prevents account takeover and credentials theft.

Cloudflare web application firewall protects your web app from common threats like SQL injection, DDoS attacks, cross-site scripting, and forgery requests. It has an advanced rate limiting that prevents abuse, DDoS, and malicious attempts with an API-centric control.

It keeps websites and APIs secure by detecting anomalies, malicious payloads, and bad bots. You can create WAF rules to protect against zero-day and OWASP TOP 10 attacks.

Here are some of the features offered by Cloudflare WAF:

  • Bot and API protection. It safeguards your web application and API from bot attacks, keeping them safe with API Discovery, mTLS, schema validation, anomaly detection, etc.

  • Manage rule sets. Users can enable and adjust the pre-configure Managed Ruleset to get immediate protection from attacks.

  • Prevent account takeover. Cloudflare WAF prevents abusive login attacks and stops attackers from stealing your users' accounts.

  • Customize the rules. You can define custom rules to protect your website, application, or API from malicious incoming traffic.

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 detect and prevent threats through 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.

Integrate seamlessly with modern environments like the public cloud.

It has a small community of users.

Easy to set up and manage without constant updates common in most WAFs.

open-appsec is an 'install and forget' open-source, fully automated security solution for businesses that provides state-of-the-art protection without constant monitoring.

It builds on machine learning to preemptively protect web applications and APIs against malicious bots, OWASP Top 10 like SQL Injection, security misconfiguration, broken access control, and zero-day exploits.

One advantage of open-appsec over Cloudflare and AWS WAF is that you can deploy it as an add-on to NGINX, Kubernetes Ingress, Envoy, and API Gateways. As a WAF solution, open-appsec uses a Contextual Machine Learning Engine for detecting and preventing attacks.

This delivers a precise result with few false positives while providing real-time protection and safeguarding your system against zero-day attacks, malicious bots, etc.

Getting familiar with open-appsec is easy. You can learn real-quick using the playground how to protect web applications by deploying open-appsec to an NGINX web server if you are using the NGINX playground or to Kubernetes Ingress if you are using the Kubernetes playground.

Using the playground, you will learn how to:

  1. Attack the web app by doing a simple SQL Injection,

  2. Deploy NGINX as a reverse proxy if you use the NGINX playground or Kubernetes for the Kubernetes playground,

  3. Attack the application to ensure the security is effective,

  4. Connect to the SaaS Web-Based Management.

Notable Features of open-appsec

Here are some open-appsec features that make it stand out from Cloudflare and AWS WAF.

1. Open-Source

It is painless to configure and manage because the code is open-source and available on GitHub for everyone to use and expand upon.

2. Zero-Day Protection

open-appsec is a WAF that uses a machine learning-based security model to detect and stop zero-day exploits before they are known.

3. Easy Integration

open-appsec offers easy integration into modern environments like public cloud storage and CI/CD workflows that support Kubernetes Ingress, Linux Servers, and Docker.

4. Free

open-appsec has a free version with no limits on the traffic it analyzes when integrated with your web application.

5. API Security

open-appsec guarantees your API security by blocking access to malicious usage and preventing abuse. Also, with the premium edition, you can enforce API schema to provide added security.

6. Pre-emptive ML-Threat Prevention

It uses two machine learning models to provide security for your web application. These models easily stop application layer attacks like OWASP Top 10 and zero-day attacks.

7. Web Application Behavioral Anti-Bot

Anti-bot is a measure to protect your web application from illegitimate traffic or uses that can skew analytics and impact your business. open-appsec provides a web application behavioral anti-bot to help identify and prevent automated bot attacks.

8. Intrusion Prevention

open-appsec offers a full IPS Engine that monitors network traffic for suspicious activities and takes steps to prevent it. Also, it offers protection for over 2,800 WEB CVEs.


Now that you have known the features and the pros and cons of the three security tools, it is time to give our verdicts. Before that, always select the best security tool tailored to your business needs.

You can choose Cloudflare WAF if you want something that is easy to configure and use. Cloudflare WAF prevents SQL injection, cross-site scripting, malware attacks, and data loss.

If you want a web application firewall that filters web traffic and offers protection against bots, you can choose AWS WAF. AWS WAF protects your web application against credential stuffing, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, brute-force attempts, and pervasive bots.

If you want a free, open-source WAF that uses machine learning to detect and prevent zero-day attacks and OWASP Top 10, open-appsec is the right solution. open-appsec integrates with modern environments like the public cloud and NGINX, NGINX Ingress, Kubernetes, and Envoy. Also, open-appsec is easy to configure and manage without the constant updates common in most WAFs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Is the Best WAF?

Some of the best web application firewalls you can use to secure your system are AWS Shield, Cloudflare, AWS WAF, and open-appsec. open-appsec provides anti-bot protection, intrusion prevention, ml-based threat prevention, and many other features.

What Are the Alternatives for AWS WAF?

There are several alternatives to AWS WAF that you can use to safeguard your website or application. open-appsec is an emerging security solution that can help detect and prevent threats using machine learning. Others are Incapsula, AWS Shield, Imperva, etc.


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

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