HomeNewsSecurity & VulnerabilityTop 10 most Popular Penetration Testing Tools (9 Free + 5 Premium)

Top 10 most Popular Penetration Testing Tools (9 Free + 5 Premium)


Last Updated on 15/06/2022 by TheDigitalHacker

Penetration testing is used for security infrastructural testing and it is of many types. As the types of penetration testing are various, so do the tools. The usage of tools depends heavily upon the type of testing and infrastructural needs. External and internal testing tools are different, web application testing tools are different and configuration review tools are distinct. These tools are available freely and on a subscription basis too. 

IT infrastructure and security testing is a vital concern for emerging digital businesses therefore the need for such tools is increasing over time. Which tools are to be used this decision is made by third parties to whom you outsource the task and your IT heads. Nevertheless, which tool is used in penetration testing requires industrial knowledge beforehand.

 In this article, we’ll look at a few helpful open-source solutions that can be utilised independently for specialised tasks or together. We have tried our best to keep the information easy to be consumed in the least time possible. In case you would like to know more about pen testing, You can refer to to complete penetration testing guide by ScienceSoft.

1. OWASP ZAP (Free, Open Source)

It is the world’s most renowned attack proxy, penetration testing tool that is free to use. This tool has some distinctive features like it can be used for new testers and as well as professional testers. Also called a dynamic security testing tool and its open source (completely free).


•        Suitable for all users, from newbies to security personnel

•        Excellent documentation and very simple to understand

•        Handles a variety of programming languages

•        Offers a line of command and interactive graphics

•        Constantly updated by OWASP staff

•        Very extensive and lots of functionality,


• Some functionalities require extra plugins, making it more challenging to set up and use than commercial alternatives like the Burp Suite.

 Download: OWASP ZAP

2. W3af (Free, Open Source)

A powerful scanner Web Application Attack and Audit Framework (w3af) is for analysing apps and creating reports depending on the results. The solution sends constructed queries to cause particular flaws within the code, like SQL injections, or reports positive occurrences after the application has been mapped.


•        Offers comprehensive documentation

•        Streamlines a variety of tasks

•        Simple to understand and operate

•        Creates useful reports


• The user interface might be challenging to navigate. 

Download: W3af

3. Nikto2 (Free, Open Source)

Nikto is a simple scanner that utilizes command lines to discover the most frequent web problems, like server configuration errors. It performs comprehensive tests against web servers for multiple items, including over 6700 potentially dangerous files/programs and the list grows as it is contributed by the community.


•        It’s very straightforward to use and fulfils the majority of basic requirements.

•        I/O  file support   


•        No recognized community or assistance

•        Very specialized, newbies may find it challenging to use

•        No UI  

Download: Nikto2

4. OpenVAS (Free, Open Source)

OpenVAS is a security testing solution that scans network & server devices for vulnerabilities. By searching open ports, faulty setup, and weaknesses in current objects. An automated report is prepared and delivered to the user via mail for additional analysis and rectification after the scan.


  • •        Ideal for quick initial scanning
  • •        It is entirely free.
  • •        Simple to operate
  • •        It contains a sizable community
  • Can swiftly verify the correctness of external test findings.


·         Reports are difficult to comprehend.

·         There is no regular upgrade of plugins.

·         Unsuitable for security inspections at the corporate level

·         The Ui isn’t as polished as its rivals’.

·         Just non-credentialed scanning is allowed.

Download: OpenVAS

5. WPScan (For WordPress CMS)

Also known as a WordPress security scanner. It detects cross-platform security, built-in plugin security, database vulnerabilities, and many websites based drawbacks.in simple words, you can run your website through this free tool to detect any vulnerabilities. 


•        Excellent documentation

•        Exceptionally extensive and also designed solely for WordPress


•        It doesn’t have a GUI

•        Many requirements assuming you don’t run Kali Linux

•        Restricted API quota in the free version 

Download: WPScan

6. Probely (Premium, Not Open Source)

Probely is a web application and API vulnerability scanner for agile teams. You can Automate Security Testing using this resource.

This application examines web applications for security flaws and gives instructions on correcting them. Its user-friendly design uses an API-first strategy, with all functionality accessible via an API. The program covers thousands of weaknesses, which can also verify particular criteria.


•        Customizable GUI

•        Easy to utilize

•        scans that are proof-based 


•        Limited documentation and API compatibility 

•        No accurate display of scan status

Download: Probely

6. BeEF (Free, Browser Exploitation Framework)

Because so many programs have become web-based, attackers exploit browser vulnerabilities. This program supplies testers with a user-friendly interface and actual client-side exploitation routes to exploit various scenarios and accomplish multiple goals, like credential theft. BeEF also has a reference manual for anybody with queries ranging from simple usage to development.


•        Could also skip a victim’s security system

•        Specifically useful for demonstrations

•        Outstanding functions like counterfeit passcode manager logins & iFrame redirection

•        Delivers pre-configured web pages for numerous traps like counterfeit login forms

•        Innovative interface to envision all IPs of victims to the attackers’ address


• With cyber security-aware staff, fundamental phishing modules would almost certainly fail.

Download: BeEF

7. Wfuzz (Free, Linux Tool)

Wfuzz is useful for performing brute-force assaults on items like directories, forms, or scripts. It’s included within Kali Linux, like several additional tools on our list. This is an amazing resources that makes a lot of work easier by having many tools in one application.


•        Documented

•        Permits customizable setups


•        Requires a lot of RAM and CPU 

•        Extremely sluggish 

Download: Wfuzz

8. Acunetix (Premium, Not Open Source)

Acunetix is a completely automated security testing solution that discovers and identifies over 4500 weaknesses in online applications. Its capacity to crawl hundreds of pages uninterrupted is what sets it apart from other programs.

This online vulnerability analyzer automates processes that would otherwise take forever to do manually, resulting in clear and precise reports with no false alarms. It’s simple to create a variety of technical and regulatory reports.


•        Built-in functionality beyond finding vulnerabilities

•        Constant scanning capability

•        Fairly quick scans

•        Easy-to-understand results

•        Active user network


•        Cases of scans halting with no ability to restart

•        Identification difficulties with business applications with many endpoints

•        Manual evaluation of false alarms 

Download: Acutenix

9. Wireshark (Free, Open Source)

Wireshark is a free and open-source packet analyzer. Evan, a beginner can easily use this to snipe out passwords and info from a http network in less than 5 minutes. Wireshark is also used for network troubleshooting, analysis, software and communications protocol development, and education. Originally named Ethereal, the project was renamed Wireshark in May 2006 due to trademark issues and now continues with the same name. 


  1. Easy to use
  2. GUI Available
  3. Windows and Mac


1. Not Available on Linux

Download: Wireshark

10. NETSPARKER (Premium, For Enterprise)

Netsparker is an automatic sensor that discovers SQL Injection and Cross-Site Scripting issues in online software and web APIs. Cleverly, Netsparker checks the security gaps, indicating that they are authentic instead of wrongful convictions.


·       When one scan is done, you won’t be spending hour shifts manually validating the issues that were detected.

·       It’s available as both a Windows software and an internet service.

·       Netsparker may be utilized as a component of a Continuous Integration (CI/CD) system since it includes an automated API.

·       The interface design is fantastic and straightforward to grasp. It’s a very effective and customizable solution that provides thorough reports when you require them.


·       The challenge here is that if an issue arises during the scanning, it should be terminated; else, the scanning process would not finish, and the report would never be generated.

· Even though several online applications are highly sensitive to serialized assaults, Netsparker does not go far enough to exacerbate the problem (unencrypted ViewState, unsigned ViewState, etc).

·       It takes a long time to test for issues in lengthier URLs.


11. SQLmap (Free, Open Source)

By automating the process of detecting database-oriented bugs, SQLmap holds a great position in penetration testing. 


•        Offers sophisticated functionality, particularly in the areas of enumeration and search and database.


Absence of GUI, However, third-party integrations remain available. 

Download: SQLmap

12. ACUNETIX (Commercial)

Acunetix is a web-based security detector that detects and informs with over 4,500 security flaws, along with all forms of SQL Injection and Cross-Site Scripting.


  • Open sources scanner used for detecting web-based bugs and vulnerabilities
  • It is an automated tool
  • Scan thoroughly web applications
  • Detects exploitable spots in web applications.


·       If the online application being utilized is particularly intricate, the scanning process will be unable to complete the operation. Since the software is converted to a web interface, it’s harder to put up a pre-recorded authentication routine.

·       To capture the pattern, the visitor must first log into the Acunetix network and build a new session.

·       Scanner doesn’t have many choices to configure – particularly in contrast to Nessus – each verification is run by default, and users can’t select which tests are run in a particular scan; users could pick the scan type (complete, high-risk security flaws, XSS, SQL injections, weak passwords, crawl only) or the tool through which the tested software application is developed.

Download: ACUNETIX

13. ASTRA (Commercial)

Astra’s Pentest is a complete vulnerability scanning software that incorporates both a sophisticated automatic web scan and manual pentesting.

In addition to 3000+ scans, the automatic scan runs all tests needed to deal with ISO 27001, HIPAA, SOC2, and GDPR, as well as vulnerability scanning for all CVEs listed in the OWASP top 10, and SANS 25.


·       ·       Manually pen-testing ensures that no mistakes occur.

·       Look at both single-page and dynamic web applications.

·       A qualified team will individually check the website for malicious code and provide you with a thorough report on the results.

·       IPS may be swiftly disabled by users, which is frequently the result of past attacks.


·       This will be unable to detect malware assaults that get through it, and it can produce false findings occasionally.

·       There are no other venues for alerts since none exist.

·       Some functionalities do not seem to operate properly.

·       Malware detection and eradication need manual decisions

Download: Astra

14. INTRUDER (Commercial)

An intruder is a powerful, automatic vulnerability scanning tool that identifies security holes in any IT system. Intruder provides industry-leading vulnerability scanning, monitoring systems, and an easy-to-use interface to defend companies of all sizes from intruders.


·       Best-in-class vulnerability coverage is provided by over 10,000 security checkpoints. Among many others, it scans for configuration issues, missed patches, and application weaknesses (such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting).

·       Scan findings are analyzed and prioritized electronically.

·       Simple user interface which enables users to set up and run the first scans fast.

·       Robust cybersecurity monitoring to keep up with the latest security vulnerabilities

·       AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud connectors


·       There’s a chance that testing is unlawful, and getting started costs a lot of money.

·       On the other hand, supplementary systems are rather inexpensive.

·       Any unintentional error can be expensive.

Download: Intruder

Final Words

Ethical hacking is a sort of security infrastructure testing that comes in a variety of forms. The tools for penetration testing are as diverse as the kinds of pen-testing. The tool’s application is highly dependent on the type of test and infrastructure requirements. Externally and internally scanning tools are unique, as are web app scanning and configuration reviewing tools. 

These tools are both free and accessible on a monthly subscription. Because IT infrastructure and vulnerability testing are critical concerns for rising digital businesses, the demand for such solutions is growing. 

Third parties to whom business outsourced the work and company IT chiefs make the choice on which technologies to utilize. Regardless of the tool utilized, a prior understanding of the industry is required.

thedigitalhacker.com is an independent organization publishing news and information about data breach, hacking, bad actors in the industry, Our goal is to keep you updated with the latest happenings in the tech industry. You can report a breach anonymously with our report form
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