Burp versus Zap

In this blog post, we will compare two popular penetration testing tools, Burp versus ZAP by discussing their unique features and functionalities.

Omkar Hiremath
3 min read

As per the stats provided by TechJury, 30000 websites are hacked every day and there is a new attack somewhere on the Web every 39 seconds! With the increasing number of cyber-attacks, it is imperative to ensure the security of web applications. In the cybersecurity industry, Burp Suite Pro and OWASP ZAP are two of the most popular and widely used tools for web application penetration testing. Both tools have some similarities and also unique features and advantages that make them stand out from each other.

In this blog, we will compare Burp Suite Pro and OWASP ZAP, highlighting their differences and similarities, to help you determine which tool would be the best fit for your web application penetration testing needs. We will take a closer look at each tool's features and functionalities. Let's dive in and explore Burp versus ZAP.

What is Burp Suite Pro and OWASP ZAP?

Before we get into Burp versus ZAP, let’s try to understand what these tools are and what features they provide.

Burp Suite Pro

Burp Suite Pro is a powerful and comprehensive web application security testing tool that is designed to help security professionals perform a wide range of security testing tasks, from simple vulnerability scanning to complex penetration testing.

Burp Suite Pro has a wide range of features that make it an ideal tool for performing complex security testing tasks. For example, it has a powerful intercepting proxy that allows you to intercept and manipulate web traffic between the client and the server. Burp Suite Pro has a comprehensive scanner that can detect a wide range of vulnerabilities in web applications, including SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and many others. Burp Suite Pro is commonly used as a proxy tool more than an application security scanner.

Key features of Burp Suite Pro:

  • Intercepting Proxy: Control and modify HTTP/HTTPS traffic between your browser and the target web application.
  • Scanner: Automatic identification of common web application vulnerabilities.
  • Repeater: Manually modify and resend individual HTTP requests for testing and analysis.
  • Intruder: Automate customized attacks to test application defenses against common attack techniques.
  • Sequencer: Assess the randomness and predictability of session tokens and random values.
  • Collaborator: Identify interactions between the target application and external systems for vulnerability detection.
  • Extensibility: Customize and enhance functionality through APIs for tailored security testing.

In addition to its impressive features, Burp Suite Pro has a thriving and expansive community. With a larger user base, the tool benefits from a constant stream of new extensions and add-ons, providing users with a wide range of additional functionalities and integrations. These extensions cover a wide range of use cases, including specialized vulnerability detection techniques, custom workflows, and integrations with other security tools. Furthermore, the community makes it easy for users to exchange ideas, seek assistance, and stay updated on the latest developments in web application security.

Burp Suite Pro has become the de facto tool of choice for many security professionals. It is widely regarded as one of the most advanced and sophisticated web application security testing tools available along with its strong community of users. However, one of the bottlenecks of using Burp Suite Pro is its high cost. Burp Suite Pro is a commercial tool, and the price may be a barrier for some organizations or individuals who are on a tight budget.


OWASP ZAP(Zed Attack Proxy) is a web application security testing tool that provides a suite of tools for web application security testing, including vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and automated testing.

OWASP ZAP is an open-source tool, which means that it is free to use and can be customized to meet the needs of individual users or organizations. It can perform automated scans to identify common security issues such as SQL injection, cross-site scripting (XSS), Sensitive data exposure, Broken Access control, and cross-site request forgery (CSRF). It also allows you to manually test web applications for vulnerabilities and weaknesses.

Key features of OWASP ZAP:

  • Intercepting proxy
  • Passive and Active scanner
  • Fuzzer
  • WebSocket testing
  • JAX spidering
  • Scan policy management
  • add-ons

While it is a powerful tool, it may not be suitable for performing complex security testing tasks that require advanced features and functionality such as advanced scanning options and customization capabilities.

To sum it up, let’s do a quick comparison of Burp Suite Pro and ZAP.

FeatureBurp SuiteOWASP ZAPIntercepting ProxyAvailableAvailableScanningOffers advanced scanning options.Provides basic scanning capabilities.Manual TestingHas advanced manual testing tools for customization and automation.Offers basic manual testing functionalities.Collaborative FeaturesAvailableAvailableExtensibilityOffers extensive extensibility through APIs.Has an extension framework, but with a limited range of third-party extensions.Reporting and AnalysisProvides advanced reporting and customizable vulnerability findings.Offers reporting functionalities with some limitations on customization options.

Now that we have a good understanding of what Burp Suite Pro and OWASP ZAP are, let's take a closer look at how these tools are used in penetration testing.

How is Burp and ZAP used in Penetration Testing?

Depending on the different features each of these tools provide, they are used differently for penetration testing, along with their similarities of course. In this section, we will take a closer look at Burp versus ZAP for penetration testing.

How is Burp Suite Pro used in Penetration Testing?

Burp Suite Pro allows penetration testers to intercept and modify requests and responses between the browser and server using intercepting proxy. This feature is essential for identifying vulnerabilities such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting (XSS), as it allows testers to manipulate parameters and payloads. Penetration testers can set up a proxy to install a certificate and configure the browser to use the proxy. Then, testers interact with the application using the browser, and the proxy intercepts the requests made by the browser. Testers can then select the intercepted requests to review and attempt to manually test, such as by tampering with or modifying the requests.

Burp Suite Pro also provides a suite of tools for manual testing, including an HTTP editor, repeater, and intruder, which can be used to perform targeted attacks against specific components of the application.

Burp Suite Pro’s scanner uses a combination of passive and active techniques to identify potential vulnerabilities. The scanner can also be customized to use specific scan policies and exclude certain areas of the application from testing. This helps penetration testers stick to the scope of the test. Burp provides an API and supports the development of plugins, which can be used to extend the tool's functionality and automate certain tasks. This can be particularly useful for repetitive tasks, such as scanning multiple applications with the same scan policy.

While Burp Suite Pro does have a scanner included, it still requires the tester to manually verify the results. Burp Suite Pro has some advantages over other tools, including OWASP ZAP. For example, it has an invisible proxy feature, which is niche but not found in Zap. The tool has better capabilities for scanning, and can sometimes find more classes of vulnerabilities than OWASP ZAP. Additionally, Burp’s session handling is better than ZAP.

How is OWASP ZAP used in Penetration Testing?

OWASP ZAP allows testers to quickly identify security vulnerabilities in web applications. It also provides advanced features for experienced testers to conduct in-depth security testing of web applications.

In penetration testing, ZAP can be used to intercept HTTP/HTTPS requests between a web browser and the web server, much like Burp Suite Pro. It allows testers to analyze and modify the requests and responses and identify any security vulnerabilities.

ZAP's automated scanner has a wide range of settings, allowing testers to customize the scans according to specific requirements. It also provides advanced features such as active and passive scanning modes, fuzz testing, and spidering, which can help testers find and exploit security vulnerabilities more effectively. Additionally, ZAP is highly extensible, with a range of add-ons available that can extend its functionality, making it a highly versatile tool for penetration testing.

ZAP includes fuzzing capability, which involves sending large amounts of random or semi-random data to an application in an attempt to trigger unexpected behavior or vulnerabilities. ZAP can be configured to fuzz specific parameters or request fields, and includes a number of built-in fuzzing payloads that can be customized or extended by the tester. Another useful feature of ZAP is its ability to generate reports that summarize the results of a penetration test. These reports can be customized to include specific information or exclude certain details, and can be exported in various formats for sharing with other team members or clients.

However, ZAP does have its limitations. For instance, it has poor loading optimization when loading session files and can be memory-hungry. Additionally, ZAP's user interface can be unintuitive, and there is less community support compared to Burp Suite Pro.


Both Burp Suite Pro and OWASP ZAP are powerful tools that offer a wide range of features for penetration testing. While Burp Suite Pro is a commercial tool with advanced scanning capabilities, it can be expensive for small businesses and individuals. On the other hand, OWASP ZAP is a free and open-source tool that provides a comprehensive suite of scanning and reporting capabilities.

Ultimately, the choice between Burp Suite Pro and OWASP ZAP comes down to individual preferences and requirements. For those who require a highly advanced and customizable tool with premium support and training, Burp Suite Pro is an excellent choice. However, for those who are on a budget and require a comprehensive and free tool, OWASP ZAP is a great option.

It is important to note that neither of these is a magic solution for finding all possible security vulnerabilities. Penetration testers still need to have a good understanding of web application security, testing methodologies, and the ability to think creatively in order to maximize the effectiveness of these tools.

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Omkar Hiremath

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