pfSense Overview

pfSense is the #2 ranked solution in our list of best firewalls. It is most often compared to OPNsense: pfSense vs OPNsense

What is pfSense?
Providing comprehensive network security solutions for the enterprise, large business and SOHO, pfSense solutions bring together the most advanced technology available to make protecting your network easier than ever before. Our products are built on the most reliable platforms and are engineered to provide the highest levels of performance, stability and confidence.
pfSense Buyer's Guide

Download the pfSense Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: May 2021

pfSense Customers
Nerds On Site Inc., RKC Development Inc., Expertech, Fisher's Technology, Ncisive, Consulting, CPURX, Vaughn's Computer House Calls, Imeretech LLC, Digital Crisis, Carolina Digital Phone, Technigogo Technology Services, The Simple Solution, SwiftecITInc, Rocky Mountain Tech Team, Free Range Geeks, Alaska Computer Geeks, Lark Information Technology, Renaissance Systems Inc., Cutting Edge Computers, Caretech LLC, GoVanguard, Network Touch Ltd, P.C. Solutions.Net, Vision Voice and Data Systems LLC, Montgomery Technologies, Techforce, Concero Networks, ASONInc, CPS Electronics and Consulting, Darkwire.net LLC, IT Specialists, MBS-Net Inc., VOICE1 LLC, Advantage Networking Inc., Powerhouse Systems, Doxa Multimedia Inc., Pro Computer Service, Virtual IT Services, A&J Computers Inc., Envision IT LLC, CommunicaONE Inc., Bone Computer Inc., Amax Engineering Corporation, QPG Ltd. Co., IT 101 Inc., Perfect Cloud Solutions, Applied Technology Group Inc., The Digital Sun Group LLC, Firespring

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about pfSense pricing:
  • "pfSense is open-source, but the support is something that the customer pays for."
  • "It's open-source and it's free. Anything for free is good."
  • "There is no license. You don't have to pay anything. It's completely free."

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CEO at In.sist d.o.o.
Real User
Top 5
Feature-rich, well documented, and there is good support available online

What is our primary use case?

We are solution providers and this is one of the products that we deploy for our customers. This is not a product that we use ourselves.

Pros and Cons

  • "The classic features such as content inspection, content protection, and the application-level firewall, are the most important."
  • "Ease of use is a problem for a user who is unfamiliar with this product because, in the interface, everything has to be set manually."

What other advice do I have?

It is important to remember that you can't just leave the device to do everything. You still have to know what you're doing. I recommend the product. It's well-balanced and one with a long history, so it doesn't have child's diseases. There is a lot of online support available online, which they can consult themselves. But, in the case that they need support, they can hire a professional support line and that is highly recommended. I say this because usually, people look at the UTM as something that should be put in the system, set up, and left alone. But, this is not the case with this type…
TW
Managing Director at Midgard IT
Real User
Top 10
Easy to use, simple to set up, and very powerful

What is our primary use case?

We have a client who's got a number of VMs on a single piece of hardware. They needed to have access over a VPN to those VMs from inside their network. We use pfSense to provide the VPN link using the IPsec. In others, let's say smaller organizations, we will put a Mini ITX system that then connects into their broadband - typically sort of fiber or something like that - and just gives protection. The solution also allows us then to manage port forwarding and things like that.

Pros and Cons

  • "I'm the expert when it comes to Linux systems, however, with the pfSense, due to the web interface, the rest of the staff can actually make changes to it as required without me worrying about whether they've opened up ports incorrectly or not. The ease of use for non-expert staff is very good."
  • "We are at the moment looking to use it as a proxy service so that we can limit what websites people go and view and that sort of thing. That's an area I've struggled with a little bit at the moment and it could be a bit easier to set up."

What other advice do I have?

We are just end-users and customers. I cannot speak to the exact version we are using. Ours may be slightly out of date. We may not be using the absolute latest version. Version 2.51 is available soon and we'll likely upgrade to that. It's good for where people have outgrown their existing broadband routers, such as the TP-link, the Dre Tech, and that sort of thing. Often, it doesn't justify putting in a full system. We tend to use a Mini ITX PC, multiple LAN network cards, and then install the opensource version and configure it appropriately. You need to be slightly more tactical than just…
Learn what your peers think about pfSense. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: May 2021.
510,204 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Consultant and Head of Services at ILANZ LLC
Consultant
Top 5
A firewall and router combined with unified threat management

What is our primary use case?

We have all sorts of users. We have admins, we have the finance guys, and we have salespeople using it. We created a captive portal for our teams as well as a guest portal. So in general, we are more or less happy. Right now, I use it not only for intrusion detection but also for ETLs. We are a telephony integrator. We use it for applications and radius, etc. I use it as much more than a firewall. I use it for telephony applications as a certificate authority.

Pros and Cons

  • "I am happy with the EPLS, the radius, and I am happy with the captive portal."
  • "It could use a little bit of improvement in the reporting."

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend pfSense for the simple reason that it's open-source and it's free. Anything for free is good. I personally got much more out of it than I expected. I never expected this product to be so worth the time. It's a good product. For my needs at least. Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of eight. I have not used it for thousands of users, but for our usage, for an SMB organization, I would give it a rating of eight.
CEO at In.sist d.o.o.
Real User
Top 5
Excellent content protection, content inspection, and application level firewall features

What is our primary use case?

We are a solution provider and deploy this product for our customers. We also use it in our organization. We use both Cisco and pfSense but for our customers we mainly use Sophos and pfSense. I'm the CEO of our company.

Pros and Cons

  • "Content protection, content inspection, and the application level firewall."
  • "Could be simplified for new users."

What other advice do I have?

I recommend this product, it's well-balanced, has a longer history than other solutions so it's not lacking in maturity. There is a lot of online support available via YouTube or blogs but professional support is available if required. I highly recommend taking the support because usually people look at the UTM as something which should be set up in the system and left, but that's not the case with these devices. I strongly suggest making an external agreement with a specialized company to deal with security. Users need to have decent protection, not just protection. I would rate this solution…
Solution Architect, Managed Services & System Integration at Transmeet Technologies
Real User
Top 5
An open source platform complete with unified threat management

What is our primary use case?

I mostly use basic firewall services like blocking unwanted traffic and I use the geolocation tools to predict where potential attacks could come from. That's the main purpose, to protect our business network using pfSense. Within our organization, with a single installation, about 500 users are covered.

Pros and Cons

  • "The flexibility of adding new kinds of services without spending any money can't be beaten."
  • "The interface is not very shiny and attractive."

What other advice do I have?

We are really happy with the system performance, overall, but it depends. For example, right now we have a client who is trying to switch from FortiGate to another solution that is less costly. We recommended and talked with them about pfSense, but despite it being a cheaper and really rock-solid solution with good performance, they were not comfortable using open source. We also offered them Sophos, SonicWall, and Palo Alto — they finally chose SonicWall. I don't know why. It completely depends on the client. I would absolutely recommend this solution to others. This is definitely one of the…
Head of Department of operational and compliance at ACE GABON
Real User
Top 5
A very good firewall with excellent VPN and captive portal capabilities

What is our primary use case?

I use pfSense as a firewall. I use it also as a VPN server and for the captive portal. Those are the main purposes.

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features are the VPN and the capture photo."
  • "If a user doesn't have a large amount of experience in Linux systems, they will have problems using this solution. Users need to be highly skilled in troubleshooting competency. Users who do not have such skills will find the product difficult to use."

What other advice do I have?

We're just customers. We don't have a special relationship with the solution. We just use it on a regular basis. I'm not sure if I'm using the latest version of the solution or not. I'd rate the solution ten out of ten since I've never had any major issues with it. The biggest thing a new user or company needs to be aware of, however, is that whoever the team is that's using it, they need to be very experienced Linux users. The system will be extremely difficult otherwise. New users will need patience. However, it is easy to use due to its very good web interface. It's also easy to deploy and…
PG
Technical Project Manager at a government with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Free to use with great plugins and good stability

What is our primary use case?

I primarily use the solution for monitoring and learning about how to operate a firewall. I also use it for monitoring my home network as well as adblocking.

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution is very easy to use and has a very nice GUI."
  • "The product could offer more integrated plugins."

What other advice do I have?

I'm just a home lab user. I'd advise those considering the solution for your business to get a service contract. It works great for someone with enough knowledge and time to get his head around everything. Otherwise, you need to look for a solution that offers support and can work with you on issues. It's nice to try to balance between open-source and support that costs money. In general, I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten.
EK
Manager, Operations at SUS-TECH Limited
Real User
Top 20
Robust but complex and requires quite a bit of technical knowledge

What is our primary use case?

The solution pretty much is our only firewall security at the moment. It handles the integration with our active directory and makes sure that all communications are channeled through a secure network.

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution is very robust."
  • "The solution requires a lot of administration."

What other advice do I have?

We're just users of the product. We're not consultants or resellers. It's your basic firewall setup. However, when we looked at Sophos, we found that Sophos offered a lot more as it's a fully unified solution and had a firewall, as well as anti-virus and network monitoring capabilities. This solution really gives us a greater extensive array of modules or features than we would not necessarily see in managing the system as administrators. The solution is quite extensive in that there was a lot of material that we had to read about. It just was not user-friendly for the team. We needed a…
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