pfSense Review

A rock-solid, customizable, and free open-source firewall with useful intrusion detection, clustering, and HA features

What is our primary use case?

It is my main firewall into the data center and VPNs for clients. It sets up my DMZ and does a whole bunch of other stuff. I am using the latest version.

How has it helped my organization?

We wouldn't be able to function without it.

What is most valuable?

The intrusion detection feature is the most valuable. It is an open-source firewall, so there is a lot of material on it. I also find the open VPN capability very nice.

It is pretty customizable. The clustering and the high availability are the two biggest things to be able to get out of a firewall. 

What needs improvement?

Their support could be better in terms of the response time.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has been pretty rock solid.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Its scalability is good. I have got web users and other kinds of users, so there can be five or thousands of users.

How are customer service and technical support?

I paid for some support with them, and it was pretty good. They just could be a little quicker in responding. They have custom level support, so if you got something complicated, they get you up to the upper tiers, but it takes a little bit longer to do that. Once you get there, the support is good. I would rate them an eight out of ten.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I used Fortinet previously, and I used Ubiquiti prior to that. We switched partly because of the cost. It also gave me the ability to do the clustering. I can still maintain my VPNs, connections, and other things. I can take down one of the firewalls for maintenance and bring up the other one and not take down my whole user base.

How was the initial setup?

It was not complex. I was able to do it myself, but we had some problems with some of the protocols, and we had to get one of their coders to get in and look at it. Because of that, it was a little complicated to do the high availability stuff.

What about the implementation team?

I did it myself.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I spent a couple of $1,000 on hardware, and the OS was free. A comparable firewall would cost me probably 20 grand. It saved a lot of money.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise others to go for it. I would recommend this solution. It is a good solution. No other solution can beat the price. 

There is so much stuff you can do with it. There are so many features, and I have not even scratched the surface on all of them. If it is something that someone doesn't feel like configuring, you can buy a prebuilt system from them and get support.

I would rate pfSense a nine out of ten because of the cost and flexibility. It has been pretty good.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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