Zorp GPL

The security middleware.


Zorp GPL is a next generation, open source proxy firewall with deep protocol analysis. It allows you to inspect, control, and modify traffic on the application layer of the ISO/OSI model. Decisions can be made based on data extracted from the application-level traffic (for example, HTTP) and applied to a certain traffic type such as users or client machines. It ensures that the traffic complies with the particular protocol standards, and allows you to perform specific actions with the traffic.

Why choose it?

  • Free license and active community support
  • Network traffic analysis in 7 protocols
  • Encrypted channel control
  • Content filtering and optional modification
  • Modular, highly flexible configuration
  • The only answer to many unique problems
  • Established project with a 10-year history


Access control

Access control in Zorp GPL has a lot more possibilities than average firewalls. It is based on zones instead of hosts or IP ranges and besides “who” and “what”, it can also limit “how”. For example, clients arriving from one zone can only read a given FTP server, whereas others have write privileges.

Information leakage prevention

Information leakage prevention helps to keep sensitive information inside your network. For example, HTTP data flow could include internal IP addresses, the URL of a previously visited website (referrer), or browser and operating system information (agent). Zorp GPL is able remove or change this information.

Content filtering

Content filtering is done by using external applications, like virus scanners, spam filters and URL checkers. Connections can be accepted, rejected or just simply logged. Suspicious content can be quarantined. Zorp GPL can integrate with all popular antivirus engines, such as NOD32 or AMaVIS.

Supported protocols:

  • wildly used procols: HTTP, FTP, SMTP, POP3
  • rarely used: Finger, Whois, Telnet
  • secure: HTTPS, FTPS, POP3S, SMTPS

Audit of all events is possible, even requests and responses of a protocol, as proxies work at the application level. This can prove not only what happened, but also what did not, for example an old version of a file was deleted, but never uploaded again.


Interoperability helps in a world where not all protocol implementation is created equal. Zorp GPL is able to hide protocol features, like compression from HTTP, translate between different encryption standards, and other changes to make clients and servers interoperate more easily.


Flexibility is a key feature of Zorp GPL. It is easily extendable by additional modules and customizable to solve specific security problems.

Linux support

Zorp GPL administrators can compile and run the product on several Linux-based operating systems. Besides that, pre-compiled binaries are readily available on various Linux distributions, which greatly simplifies its installation on these platforms. Currently binary repositories are available for the following distributions:

  • Debian: squeeze, unstable; (i386, amd64)
  • Ubuntu: from 10.04 (i386, amd64)

Brief Explanation

Briefly Zorp is an open source proxy firewall with deep protocol analysis. It sounds very sophisticated at first, however, the explanation below will make it easy to understand.

Protocol analysis

Resulting from their functionality firewalls can analyze the network traffic to a certain extent, since without it, it would not be possible for the administrators to control the traffic. This is not different with Zorp. The difference between the firewall applications result from the depth of the analysis. For instance when administrators use Netfilter traffic can only be controlled up until layer 4 (traffic) of the ISO/OSI model. In contrast to that Zorp allows analyzation of even the topmost (application) layer, and can make decisions based on data originating from that layer. Decisions can be applied a certain traffic type, for example full access can be set to an FTP server for a group of users, or only a subset of commands can be granted to implement a read-only access.

Proxy firewall

Almost anything that comes to your mind can be applied on Zorp. First of all the fact that a proxy server makes independent connections with the participants of the network communication and relays messages between them separating the clients and the servers from each other. In this regard Zorp is better than its competitors as the analysis can take place at the application level, either firewall is used as a forward or a reverse proxy. To perform that Zorp implements application level protocol analyzers. These analyzers, called proxy in Zorp terminology, are written in C, extendable and configurable in Python. Nine of twenty five proxies of the commercial version of Zorp are available in the open source edition.


One of the key features of the Zorp is customization. It would not be possible without the modular structure of the software. During everyday use it does not require any extra effort to get the benefits of the application level analysis of the network protocols, if we do not have any special requirements. To keep the application level traffic under control we do not have to care about neither the lower layers of the protocol, nor the details of the application level. We only have to concentrate on our goal (for example replacing the value of a specific HTTP header), everything else is done by the proxy. If the proxy to our favourite protocol is not given, Zorp can handle the connection in lower layers and we have the possibility to perform application level analysis manually.

Transport layer security is an independent subsystem in Zorp as far as it possible, so the SSL/TLS parameters can be set independently from the applied application level protocol (for example HTTP, SMTP, …). Consequently each proxy can work within an SSL connection, including the case when we perform the protocol analysis. Zorp is a proxy firewall, neither more nor less, but can be adapted to tasks other than protocol analysis, such as virus scanning or spam filtering by integrating it with external applications.


Zorp is not only an open source product, but also a free software as it is licensed under GPL and LGPL. The reason of the two licenses is the fact that Zorp is released in two parts and there is also a kernel module.

It must be noted that the Zorp is dual-licensed by the main developer Balasys, where Zorp/Zorp GPL is the open source version and Zorp Professional is the proprietary one with some extra features and proxies.