87,065 downloads Updated: Sep 26th, 2018 BSD License    
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pfSense icon A m0n0wall derived BSD-based operating system designed to act as a firewall platform

pfSense® is a freely distributed and open source BSD operating system derived from the well known m0n0wall project, but with radically different goals like using Packet Filter and the latest FreeBSD technologies.

The project can be used as both router and firewall. It includes a package system that allows system administrators to easily extend the product without adding potential security vulnerabilities and bloat to the base distribution.

Features at a glance

Key features include state-of-the-art firewall, inbound/outbound load balancing, state table, NAT (Network Address Translation), high availability, VPN (Virtual Private Network) with support for IPsec, PPTP and OpenVPN, PPPoE server, Dynamic DNS, captive portal, reporting, and monitoring.

It is an actively developed firewall operating system, distributed as gz archived Live CD and installation-only ISO images, USB stick installers, as well as NanoBSD/embedded media. Both 64-bit (amd64) and 32-bit (i386) hardware platforms are supported at this time.

Several predefined boot options are available during the boot process, such as to boot the operating system with default settings, with ACPI disabled, using USB devices, in safe mode, in single user mode, with verbose logging, as well as to access a shell prompt or reboot the machine.

Getting started with pfSense®

While the distribution will ask users if they want to set up VLANs (Virtual LANs) from the get-go, it will require at least one assigned network interface to function. This means that if you don’t have/set up at least one interface, pfSense® won’t even start.

Being used as a firewall for small home networks, universities, large corporations, or any other organization where the need of protecting thousands of network devices is extremely important, pfSense® has been downloaded by over a million users from around the world, since its inception.

Bottom line

It is one of the best open source firewall projects engineered to provides users with all the features that commercial firewall products come with. Today, pfSense® is used in numerous hardware firewall solutions, including Cisco PIX, Cisco ASA, Netgear, Check Point, Juniper, Astaro, Sonicwall, or Watchguard.

pfSense® is a registered trademark and service mark owned by Electric Sheep Fencing LLC. See www.electricsheepfencing.com.

BSD firewall FreeBSD router Network firewall Firewall Router BSD M0n0wall

pfSense was reviewed by Marius Nestor
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