pfSense Review

A free firewall and router that is entirely managed via web interface


What is our primary use case?

We have solutions from 10 to 5,000 users. One person alone can manage the firewall.

What is most valuable?

The VPN is my favorite feature. pfSense is very easy to use. The interface and configuration capabilities are great.

What needs improvement?

The main problem with pfSense is that we have to use proxy solutions. They don't have features like Layer 7 filtration. We can't filter based on applications. For this reason, we need to work with solutions from Cisco like OpenAPPID that help pfSense understand similar applications. For example, if I have to block WhatsApp, I need to use a third-party solution like OpenAPPID to help it understand what WhatsApp is. This capability is not native to pfSense, so I have to use another solution, like an add-on. I think that the proxy is the main problem with pfSense.

pfSense doesn't implement SD-WAN solutions. Competitors have this feature. If pfSense began doing this, it would be a big improvement.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is great. That's a strong point.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability-wise, it's great. Often, we need to research and assess the size of an appliance in order to understand what kind of environment the firewall is going to protect. From here, we have the possibility to do an upgrade depending on the type of model.

There is the option to have a firewall that is entry-level or a firewall that supports a huge internet service provider. We have many solutions that we can apply to our customer's environments, but first, we need to do these assessments in order to help us choose the right appliance. One appliance simply can't be upgraded to cover this entire spectrum of needs or the size of demand. This is why we must perform these special assessments.

How was the initial setup?

Although it's not quite pre-configured, it is ready to use, straight away. It's so easy to put it to work. We had to do some configurations, mainly related to security issues. Configuring rules for monitoring had to be done, but otherwise, it's ready to go, out of the box.

Only one person is required to deploy this solution. 

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

pfSense is a free solution.

What other advice do I have?

Before deciding to go with this solution, make sure to evaluate the features to ensure that pfSense will cover your needs. pfSense is very strong in some areas, but it has some difficulty in others. It's a good solution, but it all depends on what you expect from the firewall. 

If you need the firewall to implement security in your network, then pfSense is better than the competition in terms of price. It will cover all of your basic needs for far less money than similar products that cost five to ten times more money.

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give pfSense a rating of nine.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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