Top Barracuda WAF Alternatives in 2023

Posted DateSeptember 22, 2023
Posted Time 8   min Read

The Barracuda Web Application Firewall protects your web, mobile, and API applications against compromise, defends against web attacks, and delivers controlled access and authentication.

This product is an attractive option for SMEs and other businesses searching for an effective WAF at an affordable price point.

Top Barracuda Features and Benefits

Malware Protection and Anti-virus

File upload security encompasses Advanced Threat Protection (BATP) and Virus Scanning. Barracuda’s Advanced Threat Protection is a cloud-based service that offers a comprehensive defense against ransomware, malware, and sophisticated cyberattacks.

Using CPU-emulation-based sandbox analysis, it can identify and block malware hidden deep within files uploaded to websites or web applications. BATP employs multiple malware scanners using different detection techniques to examine uploaded files for anomalies, enhancing security against zero-day attacks.

API Discovery

Barracuda offers API security solutions for various formats, including JSON, REST, and GraphQL. Like AppTrana, Barracuda’s API Discovery functionality leverages your API definition files to automatically generate the necessary rule sets for your API, effectively minimizing administrative workload.

Hybrid WAAP

Is your business leveraging an on-premises private cloud for secure data storage while utilizing the public cloud for less critical functions?

Barracuda WAAP allows users to tailor their security features to align with their specific requirements, regardless of whether their data is stored on-premises or in the cloud.

Azure Billing Cost Optimization

For cloud-native applications hosted on Azure, Barracuda’s WAF-as-a-Service offers an opportunity to reduce bandwidth costs, as it is also hosted within the Azure ecosystem.

Barracuda WAF-as-a-Service seamlessly integrates with Azure, capitalizing on its 50+ regions for data residency and benefiting from its resilience and performance capabilities.

East-West Protection

Barracuda Application Protection introduces a Containerized WAF module in addition to the SaaS model. This module enhances security for East-West traffic within microservices. When deployed alongside application clusters, it protects North-South and East-West traffic, effectively shielding containerized applications from intra-app attacks.

Reasons Why Do You Need to Look For Barracuda Alternatives

Request Inspection Size

Barracuda’s maximum request inspection size is 64KB, which might fall short of requirements, considering the potential for larger attack payloads to be sent.

Support Service as an Add-On

Barracuda Premium Support delivers top-tier 24/7/365 technical support to ensure optimal network performance in mission-critical environments. However, it’s important to note that these services are available as add-ons.

Customers who combine Barracuda Professional Services with Barracuda Premium Support benefit from coordinated operations support.

AppTrana - the best Barracuda WAF alternative

Fifteen Barracuda Alternatives to Consider

  1. AppTrana
  2. Cloudflare
  3. Imperva
  4. Akamai
  5. AWS WAF
  6. Fastly
  7. Fortiweb
  8. F5
  9. Radware
  10. ThreatX
  11. Palo Alto
  12. Azure WAF
  13. Sucuri
  14. Google Cloud Armor
  15. ModSecurity(Open Source)

A Snapshot Comparison of Top 5 Barracuda Alternatives

WAF Feature Barracuda AppTrana Cloudflare Imperva Akamai AWS WAF
Gartner Peer Insights Rating 4.2 4.9 4.5 4.7 4.7 4.4
Gartner Peer Insights Customer Recommendation Rating 72% 100% 93% 92% 88% 90%
DDoS Monitoring Add-On Starts at $399 Enterprise Only Add-On Add-On $3000 per month
Virtual Patching Self Managed Starts at $99 Self service Add-On Add-On
Payload Inspection Size 64KB 134MB 128KB Unknown Starts: 8KB

Max: 128KB

NTLM Support Yes Yes No Unknown No No
Bot Protection Yes Yes Yes Not available in essentials

Add-on in Professional

Bundled in Enterprise Plan

Add-On Basic
Response Timeout Unknown Default: 300 seconds


Max: 300 seconds

Default: 100 seconds
Enterprise: 6000 seconds
Default: 360 seconds

Max: Unknown

Default: 120 seconds


Max: 599 seconds

Default: 30 seconds


Max: 300 seconds

Managed Services Add-On Starts at $399 Enterprise only Add-On Add-On Only through SI partnerships
DAST Scanner Available Bundled in all plans Not Available Not Available Not Available Not Available
Asset Discovery Not Available Bundled in all plans Not Available Not Available Not Available Not Available
Penetration Testing Not Available Bundled in the $399 plan Not Available Not Available Not Available Not Available
API discovery Available Available Available Available as an Add-On Available Not Available
API Security Available Available Available Available Available Basic capabilities through API Gateway
API Scanning Not Available Bundled in the $399 plan Not Available Not Available Not Available Not Available
API Pen Testing Not Available Bundled in the $399 plan Not Available Not Available Not Available Not Available
Workflow-based bot mitigation Add-On Starts at $399 Enterprise only Add-On Add-On Only through SI partnerships
Origin Protection Add-on Bundled in all Plans Limited Not Available Add-on Available


The Top Five Alternatives to Barracuda: In-Depth Comparison


AppTrana takes a pioneering approach to web application firewalls by adopting a “risk-based” strategy. This methodology begins with an initial scan of applications and APIs utilizing the integrated DAST scanner to pinpoint any vulnerabilities that may be exposed.

Here are some of the advantages of using AppTrana WAF:

Bundled Managed Service

Whether you require DDoS monitoring, virtual patches, or false positive testing, the security research team at AppTrana is consistently at your service. Their expertise lies in conducting and optimizing scans, validating and prioritizing vulnerability findings, and producing actionable reports without false positives.

Unlike Barracuda, even customers on the $99 plan can depend on AppTrana for continuous phone, email, and chat support in the event of an attack.

Request Inspection Size

When inspecting request bodies, AppTrana goes beyond Barracuda with its ability to manage exceptionally large requests. AppTrana can handle requests up to 134MB, whereas Barracuda’s capabilities are more limited with 64KB.

Block Mode that Offers “Real” Protection

AppTrana demonstrates its expertise in false positive avoidance, setting itself apart by guaranteeing a 100% application deployment in block mode, thereby delivering robust application security.

Their approach entails a dedicated solution engineering team overseeing the deployment of every application, with a primary importance on eliminating false positives and misconfigurations during the critical initial 14-day period.

This commitment extends beyond deployment, as they continue to offer ongoing false positive monitoring as a service.

Let’s examine potential areas of improvement in AppTrana:

No Option for On-premise WAAP

Although AppTrana offers the advantages of cloud-based security, such as dynamic scalability and centralized management, it may not align with enterprises’ preferences to maintain their security infrastructure exclusively on their own premises.

Legacy API Support

AppTrana’s API security does not encompass protection for legacy API standards like SOAP and WebSocket.


Cloudflare stands as the market’s leading WAAP, primarily due to its provision of a free plan that greatly benefits SMEs with modest applications and traffic volumes.

By choosing Cloudflare, your business can enhance user experiences with improved speed and top-tier application security, all within a seamlessly integrated and user-friendly platform.

Discover the most common benefits of choosing Cloudflare as a Barracuda alternative:

DDoS Mitigation

While most DDoS solutions from WAAP providers are robust, Cloudflare stands out for potentially avoiding some of the most massive DDoS attacks ever documented. This is a testament to their formidable infrastructure, capable of defending against massive DDoS attacks across all global applications.

Much like AppTrana, Cloudflare boasts a DDoS mitigation system that continually adjusts to user behaviour, ensuring that rate limits are customized to specific needs.

Reduced Latency

Cloudflare’s presence in over 300 cities worldwide ensures that approximately 95% of Internet users benefit from latency levels below 50 milliseconds. This achievement is made possible by streamlining network routes and optimizing traffic pathways, significantly reducing latency and notable enhancements in application performance.

Here are the areas where Cloudflare might have room for improvement:

False Positive Monitoring

Adapting to the constantly evolving threat landscape is essential for security software. While Cloudflare boasts world-class threat intelligence, it faces the task of crafting generic rules for the diverse range of applications on its network, leading to occasional false positives.

Managing these false positives presents a challenge, especially for organizations without a dedicated team of security experts or those unwilling to invest in managed services, which can cost several thousand dollars monthly.

Request Inspection Size

You can inspect requests in the free, pro, and business plans, but they are limited to a maximum size of 128KB. However, this size may not be sufficient, considering how easily payloads can surpass this size.


Imperva reports that over 90% of WAAP deployments are in block mode, like AppTrana’s 100% claim. Imperva emphasizes the importance of full block mode deployment for WAAP, driven by the accurate testing by Imperva Research Labs to reduce false positives.

Imperva is among the few WAAP providers offering Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) capabilities.

Here are common pros of using Imperva WAF:

Hybrid Deployment

Like Barracuda, Imperva offers a comprehensive suite of solutions for organizations adopting a hybrid WAAP strategy. This allows them to implement an on-premise WAF for protecting sensitive user data stored in their local data center while simultaneously employing the advantages of a cloud-based WAF to achieve scalability and agility.


RASP, an integral part of Imperva’s top-tier application security solution, revolutionizes the concept of defense-in-depth. By delivering insights at the application layer, RASP equips SOC teams to make faster, well-informed decisions and slashes the investigation time. The outcome is precise threat detection, all while minimizing the possibility of false positives.

Let’s explore what could have been better in Imperva:

API Discovery as an Add-on

This limitation could slow down identifying and reacting to security threats or vulnerabilities that target APIs.

Some Imperva alternativeslike AppTrana, include API discovery as a standard feature. Additionally, AppTrana distinguishes itself by offering penetration testing for API endpoints, a specialized service that sets it apart from most WAAP providers.

No Bundled VAPT

Combining an embedded vulnerability scanner with penetration testing can provide confidence in threat detection that reaches 100%. In contrast, using Imperva WAF means no integrated bundled VAPT requires organizations to engage separate VAPT providers for DAST scanning and compliance reports.


As one of the pioneering WAF solutions, Akamai remains vital to the current WAAP landscape. It stood at the forefront of CDN technology early on and remains a dominant force in content delivery.

Here are the important features of Akamai WAF:

Adaptive Threat Intelligence

Akamai’s top-tier security researchers use advanced machine learning and data mining methods to analyze more than 303 TB of daily attack data. This proactive strategy enables them to automatically enhance security measures, guaranteeing that your system stays safeguarded against the most recent threats.


Akamai’s cloud-based DDoS protection platform, Prolexic, is a robust defense against potential attacks by taking defensive action before they can target applications, data centers, or internet-facing infrastructure.

With proactive mitigation managed by Akamai’s 24/7 global SOCC, Prolexic guarantees customers an unmatched 100% uptime SLA. Deployed across 32 high-capacity scrubbing centers worldwide, Prolexic neutralizes attacks nearer to their source, enhancing user performance.

Edge DNS

Akamai, a prominent frontrunner in the DNS market, has a remarkable history of adeptly managing substantial traffic loads and repelling attacks. Their state-of-the-art cloud-based DNS solution guarantees continuous DNS availability, enhanced responsiveness, and formidable protection against even the largest DDoS attacks.

Now coming to the cons of Akamai WAF:

Unmetered DDoS Protection is an Add-on

While it’s true that Akamai offers always-on DDoS protection, this feature may not always measure up to the comprehensive unmetered DDoS protection provided by Barracuda and other Barracuda alternatives like AppTrana.

Akamai typically provides metered protection, where you pay based on the traffic volume they mitigate. This means Akamai might have cost implications during massive DDoS attacks, while Barracuda and AppTrana offer predictability.

Payload Inspection Size

Akamai’s WAF imposes a higher maximum payload size limit of 128 KB. Akamai’s WAF can handle larger web request content sizes compared to Barracuda. Even with this increased limit, these inspection sizes may still prove insufficient when dealing with substantial data payloads or larger applications.


AWS, the forefront player in hyper-scale cloud computing platforms, delivers an extensive range of enterprise-ready service offerings. Amazon’s cloud security services include AWS WAF, AWS Firewall Manager, and AWS Shield.

Here are the most common benefits of AWS WAF:

Flexibility in Deploying Security Rules

AWS WAF offers users pre-packaged, built-in managed rules and an extensive selection of rulesets accessible via AWS Marketplace. Leading providers such as Fortinet, F5, and others offer AWS-specific rulesets that provide enhanced security compared to AWS’s default rules. Utilizing these rulesets requires a minimal subscription fee, with additional billing dependent on the volume of inspected traffic.

Regulatory Compliance

Ensuring compliance with your data privacy regulations is remarkably convenient with AWS WAF, as AWS is accessible in more than 25 regions across the globe.

Here are some limitations of AWS WAF:

API Security

AWS WAF provides a limited range of API security solutions, offering only essential rate-limiting features accessible via the API gateway. Unfortunately, more advanced functionalities like API discovery are not currently available.


AWS WAF operates on a fully flexible pay-as-you-go model, with charges tied to add-ons like AWS Shield, custom rules, bandwidth utilization, and similar supplementary components. For smaller deployments, the typical monthly cost typically hovers around $30.

However, organizations with a significant online footprint may face considerably higher expenses, primarily driven by the necessity for an extended array of web ACLs and rules to attain their desired level of protection.


AppTrana distinguishes itself through its risk-based approach, managed services, and inclusion of DDoS protection in all its plans, offering a cost-effective, flexible, and all-encompassing security solution.

When seeking a fully managed WAF, AppTrana, Akamai, and Imperva stand out as excellent choices to explore. To make the most informed decision, consider initiating a trial and closely observe how their respective WAFs perform with your specific application.

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