pfSense Firewall Quick Overview – Getting Started with pfSense

In this article, we will discuss the pfSense Firewall in detail. In case you are new to the firewall and networking world, suggesting you have a look at Cisco ASA articles. Let’s start the discussion about pfSense.

pfsense-firewall-overview

What is the pfSense Firewall?

pfSense is an open-source network firewall and it is based on Free BSD Linux. pfSense project was started in 2004 as a fork of the m0n0wall project. However, later the m0n0wall project was discontinued.

You can install pfSense software on computer hardware or a virtual machine to make a dedicated firewall. It can be installed at small offices or large corporate networks.

Basically, pfSense provides a user-friendly web interface. So, you can easily configure and manage it through GUI itself. However, you can also enable Telnet and SSH. Basic networking knowledge is enough to manage it. Once you finish the installation, you can access it through a web browser. You will get a window like the below screenshot.

pfsense-firewall-dashboard

Features of pfSense Firewall

In this session, we will discuss the features of the pfSense Firewall. pfSense firewall has almost all the different features that you will find in commercial firewalls. pfSense features are listed below.

  • Routing
  • Security – Access Lists
  • NAT (Network Address Translation)
  • IPSec VPN
  • SSL VPN
  • DNS/DHCP
  • Captive Portal
  • Proxy – (Open-Source Squid Proxy)
  • Load Balancing
  • Integration with AAA
  • SSL Decryption
  • Antivirus

Why pfSense Firewall?

In case you want to have a firewall with different features then pfSense is a great option. pfSense is free, open-source, and based on Free-BSD Linux. It can easily protect your network from threats. It also fulfills your requirements such as SSL, IPSec VPN.

Along with all features, you will get pfSense updates from time to time. Thus, it will maintain the stability of the network. Another benefit is you can scall your hardware as per the bandwidth requirements. Currently, community version 2.5.1 is officially released.

Although, in the case of a commercial firewall, you must need to purchase a new firewall to meet the bandwidth requirements.

It has already support for private and public clouds. You can also install the pfSense Firewall in AWS and Azure public cloud.

Getting started with pfSense Firewall

Well, we have discussed the pfSense firewall in detail. In this session, I’ll explain how you get started with pfSense Firewall. Although, you need to connect two network interfaces on your computer hardware. Before further reading, I recommend you watch the below video. It will help you to understand the pfSense Firewall.

In case if you just want to test the features of pfSense, you can install it on VMWare Workstation or VMWare ESXi server. You can download VMWare Workstation with 30 days free trial. It is a simple deployment. However, if you are new to VMWare Workstation, you can checkout pfSense Installation in VMWare.

By default, the IP address on pfSense will be 192.168.1.1. You can open it using any web browser.

Netgate – pfSense Dedicated Hardware Firewall

We have already discussed that we can install pfSense either on dedicated computer hardware or on a virtual machine. The community edition is the free version of pfSense. However, you can buy pfSense official Hardware from netgate. You can buy an appliance as per your requirement. You can have a look at netgate pfSense Hardware by clicking here. It will also have all functionality.

pfSense Product Support

Product support is essential while you install products in your environment. In the case of pfSense, you have two options, either you can have community support or you can have pfSense commercial support. The community support is free and you can get support from blogs, forms, etc. However, commercial support is paid and you have to pay for the support.

Minimum and Recommended requirements for pfSense deployment on Hardware

Below are the general recommendations for pfSense Firewall deployment on computer hardware. However, for the production environment, you may need to change it.

Minimum Requrirements

  • CPU – 500 Mhz
  • RAM – 512 MB

Recommended Requirements

  • CPU – 1 GHz
  • RAM – 1 GB

Q&A – pfSense Firewall

Question: What is the default IP Address of the pfSense Firewall?

Answer: https://192.168.1.1/

Question: What is the default username and password of the pfSense Firewall?

Answer: Default credentials of pfSense Firewall are admin/pfsense.

Related Articles

Reference

Summary

pfSense is an open-source Firewall that is based on FreeBSD Linux. You can deploy pfSense on old computer hardware or you can deploy it as a virtual machine. pfSense support private as well as public cloud deployment.  Like commercial firewalls, pfSense supports advanced features such as IPSec, SSL VPN, Antivirus, etc. URL filtering is also supported using squid proxy. You can also buy pfSense hardware from netgate. Community support and commercial support are available for the pfSense Firewall.

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