If you decide to additionally enhance your Joomla website you will definitely hear about Akeeba Admin Tools or RSFirewall! but how to decide which one to use? Read this article and decide what is best security solution for you.
In this article we will compare RSFirewall! and Akeeba Admin Tools Pro versions. With Admin Tools you can get the taste of what are you getting with free version but many features are not available unless you buy subscription plan. With RSFirewall! there is no free version available for you so it is not possible to choose and compare them unless you buy both of these security extensions. But RSFirewall! is highly respected and it wouldn't be here if it was bad even if we do not have free version, so we can play with it.
Concerning price they are both pretty much in the same price range.
Now let us start with RSFirewall! installation is easy and component is regularly updated and user interface is nicely organized. We have noticed that when compared with Admin Tools Pro it is much more automated as component and yes it has overlapping functions such as: Web firewall, Blacklist/White list, Exceptions, Country Blocking, System checking such as File Permissions, Lock Down mode and logging. Database repair (it is performed when you click on Scan/Check), File uploads, POST and GET data both for js and php files, Administrators accounts protection, Joomla Install Manager protection and Reporting to administrators
So compared with Admin Tools Pro all major sections related to security are covered and available in both products.
Check how the RSFirewall! administrator interface looks (click on the image thumbnail to see all images):
View the embedded image gallery online at:
Now let us talk what RSFirewall has and Admin Tools does not.
First thing we noticed that when Clicking on System Check button we are able to set custom php.ini with rules for some common security problems such as disabling: allow_url_include, popen, proc_open, expose_php and setting open_basedir url and to be honest those functions are good. Scan is divided in 3 parts: Joomla Configuration, Server Configuration and File Integrity. While Admin Tools has scanner for files RSFirewall! has done this better since it is comparing your files with Joomla file hashes available on their server and it is done better by our opinion. Important thing is after scanning is done if any issues are found you will get possibility to fix them by applying RSFirewall recommendations or ignore them if you decide so.
Also what we liked is how exceptions are added If you go to Admin Tools Pro you will instantly get confused if you are not used to things like this. While in RSFirewall! it is somewhat nicer and easier to use.
Now let us go to Admin Tools Pro and beside those overlapping functions (They are named differently in few sections) Admin Tools Pro has some additional functions such as HTACCESS generator which is great addition to security.
Also what needs to be mentioned is that Admin Tools Pro has one unique function like 404 Shield where you can add parts of urls which should be automatically blacklisted for example if someone tries to access to your admin url but thinks you are using Wordpress it would be good idea to block such users as they are trying to do something illegal and inappropriate probably.
But let us talk about user-friendliness when compared to RSFirewall! Admin Tools require you to go on learning curve as it is not that much automated but documentation is good and detailed. Concerning RSFirewall! it is also well documented and from our experience their support is great.
What is also good with Admin Tools Pro is that you can change admin url to secret one and add additional layer of protection to your Joomla website while RSFirewall! will not change url but will add additional layer where you have to enter password you set in its configuration and in that manner prevent brute force attacks.
What you need to know that if you use Akeeba Admin Tools free edition half of the functions will not be available to you or they are gonna be limited. In this review we will not describe functions which are available to you related to things other than security which Admin Tools has because we are speaking about security.
Here is how Admin Tools Pro administration interface looks like (click on the image thumbnail to see all images):
View the embedded image gallery online at:
Final verdict about these extensions is:
Major security concerns are covered by both extensions but RSFirewall! is more user-friendly and it is easier to set it up while Admin Tools Pro requires you to know what you are enabling or disabling. But as we mentioned they are both well documented.
In our experience when we installed RSFirewall! and just activated it we rarely got issues, while with Akeeba Admin Tools we had to adjust it to work without conflicts with site. But in general those issues were not significant.
One thing we need to mention and it is related to Admin Tools Pro HTACCESS generator if you do not allow access to for example Google verification file if you used that method for Google Webmaster Tools it will block it, next thing is favicon icons and similar files so you need to make sure and test your website after setting it. If you are using some Page Builders such as SP Page Builder you will be stopped while accessing front end editing mode (SP Page Builder 3.X) also we noticed that this happens with JA Page Builder naturally it can be fixed by disabling few options in Admin Tools Pro but it can be annoying after few times. With RSFirewall! those extensions work without custom settings.
So yes if you use Admin Tools Pro you will have to be more careful when setting it and activating compared with RSFirewall! .
We hope that this will help you decide what you will use for your site between these two extensions. They are both good extensions and will protect you to an extent since you know that there is no absolute protection on internet.
If we are to choose for you this is our recommendation: If you are tech knowledgeable use Admin Tools Pro since it requires to be set up properly, if you are not that much tech savvy use RSFirewall! as it will provide you with same level of protection but with less headache when setting it up.
So let us summarize:
Akeeba Admin Tools:
More control over extention
Ability to change administration url to secret one
If you do not know what are doing will make conflicts on your site
Heavy limitations with free version
System check option with good recommendations and easy way for fixing issues
Less chance to get conflicts
Better user interface flow
Need ability to change administration url not just adding another layer of password for preventing brute force attack
Links to official sites:
If you want us to set them up for you feel free to contact us or post on our support forum.
As creator of Admin tools pro wrote:
Security-related components, like this, are not designed to offer 100% protection of your site against any attack
imaginable and –even though they do increase the security of your site– in no case shall they replace a functional
human brain and security fine-tuning customised for your site.
At the very least, make regular backups and keep an eye for abnormal site behaviour on top of using this software.
Tell us what do you think in comments below or if we missed something.