A personal firewall is a gatekeeper to the Internet. For the purpose of security, it either grants or denies Internet access, depending on how it is configured. Most personal firewalls will deny access to any program, and each new version of any program, unless you have specifically allowed access. Neither a browser nor any other program can control the firewall. If it could, that would completely defeat the purpose of the firewall.

Some common personal firewalls include

Norton Personal Firewall

McAffee Personal Firewall

Windows Firewall (Installed on every version of Windows after XP Service Pack2)

Zone Alarm

In short, almost any security suite or set of programs will include a personal firewall. Many ISPs have been offering security suites which include Spyware Sweepers, Virus Scanners, and Personal Firewalls recently.


Trouble accessing resources on the internet or network using any application.


A firewall will usually ask you whether to allow a program to connect to the Internet. In order for the program to access the internet, you must grant it access. If you deny access, you must reconfigure the firewall to allow access.

Things to watch out for when dealing with firewalls

When a program is installed or updated, you must configure the firewall to recognize the new version. With some firewalls, if you attempt to close or uninstall the firewall, the display closes but the engine continues to block Internet access. You should check all processes running in the background to ensure that it is no longer running. Some firewalls require you to reboot your system for changes to take effect. Some firewalls can have bugs in their access list. Try removing all programs, or all mention of the program that is being blocked from the access list. Firewalls can also interfere with Internet access by blocking certain operating-system tasks such as Windows “svchost.exe” which are programs that run as a Windows “service”, and are often necessary for the proper functioning of you computer. Firewalls do not always act as expected.

Application specific help for firewall configuration

Mcaffee Personal Firewall
Right-click the McAfee icon, point to Personal Firewall, then click Internet Applications. In the Permissions list, right-click the permission level for an application, and click Delete Application Rule. The next time the application requests Internet access, you can set its permission level to re-add it to the list.

Norton Internet Security
Please see this web site http://us.norton.com/support/

Outpost Firewall
Please see this Knowledge base article: http://www.agnitum.com/support/kb/article.php?id=1000106&lang=en

PC-cillin Internet Security
Open the PC-cillin Internet Security main console (double-click the PC-cillin icon on the Windows taskbar).
Click “Network Security” on the left. Click “Personal Firewall” on the right.
Go to the “Profile Name” section and click the profile being used. This is the profile that has an icon beside it.
Click “Edit”. The Edit Personal Firewall window appears.
Click the “Exceptions” tab.
Find and click the entry for the application you wish to grant access to.
Click “Remove”.
Click “OK” then click “Apply”.
Test the program’s ability to access the internet.

Some Internet service providers (ISPs) send out “heartbeat” messages to see if you are still using your connection. By default, ZoneAlarm blocks these messages, and you may get disconnected. For more information, press the “Help” button and search for heartbeat in the index. Some ISPs provide a specially configured version of ZoneAlarm that you can use, or else you can configure ZoneAlarm to allow these incoming messages.

ZoneAlarm behaves in other ways the user may not expect:

Closing the ZoneAlarm window by clicking on the ‘X’ in the upper right does not stop the firewall; it just minimizes the window to the system tray. To shut it down (briefly!) for debugging, right click the icon in the tray and select “Shutdown ZoneAlarm”.

Uninstalling ZoneAlarm from Settings | Control Panel | “Add or Remove Programs” may not actually uninstall the firewall. The ZoneAlarm user
interface (control center) may be uninstalled while leaving the actual firewall running. To completely remove ZoneAlarm, run the uninstaller in the ZoneAlarm program folder.

To configure ZoneAlarm to allow a program to access the Internet

Open the ZoneAlarm control center.
Select “Program Control” on the left.
Select “Programs” on the top.
Find the application’s entry in that list and make sure there is a (green) check mark in the “Access Internet” column. Make sure the application version shown in the bottom of the window matches the
version you are using.

If the previous instructions don’t work, right click on the application’s entry and select “Remove”. Do this for all entries for that application. The next time you start the application, ZoneAlarm
should ask you whether you want to allow access. There are reports that ZoneAlarm may malfunction because of a corrupted data base. The steps to solve the problem can be found in several user forums. For more help with ZoneAlarm settings, see the Zone Labs support article, Getting Started with ZoneAlarm.