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Omer Mohammed
Senior System Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
Open-source, stable, and supports at least 5,000 concurrent connections

Pros and Cons

  • "At our peak time, we have reached more than 5,000 concurrent connections."
  • "It needs to be more secure."

What is our primary use case?

We have internet limitations here in Sudan. The financial institutions that I am working with do not have a lot of services on the internet.

It is difficult but at the same time, we are safer and are not faced with any kind of compromised data.

This solution is suitable for small businesses and charity organizations. Security is not just about the firewall, you need policies and procedures in place.

What is most valuable?

The developers of pfSense follow the principles of open-source.

They keep it simple. It's simple and good.

What needs improvement?

The problem with open-source is that no one can take responsibility.

It needs to be more secure. Security needs improvement.

It's always better to have an agreement, an SLA regarding security. You should outsource your security to another company.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using pfSense in my home environment since 2010. I have a small lab, a small environment.

We have also deployed it in my workplace.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a stable solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

pfSense is scalable.

At our peak time, we have reached more than 5,000 concurrent connections.

How are customer service and technical support?

I do not have experience with technical support.

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

I am also using IPFire. It's also open-source.

It's very stable, and it meets my business needs.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward.

If you have solid knowledge and experience in IP tables, then it will be easy for you to deal with this product or any firewall. For example, Palo Alto or Fortinet. It's the same concept.

Depending on your activities, it can take a long time to deploy if you are new to this solution. For me, it takes less than one hour.

You have to understand the network technology and you have to understand what you are going to protect, and what service are you looking to protect. If you address these questions correctly, the installation is just a matter of a couple of clicks.

What about the implementation team?

I completed the implementation myself.

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

We are using the open-source version, not the commercial one. 

It's very affordable.

What other advice do I have?

I would continue to use pfSense if the decision was mine, but it is out of my area. It depends on the CIO.

I would recommend this solution to others who are interested in using it.

pfSense will not cost you any money.

It depends on your business needs. You have to address your business needs correctly.

I would say to go with pfSense. If you feel that it is not compatible, you have other purchase options such as Palo Alto.

I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.

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.
AL
NOC Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5
Robust, secure, and fairly priced but the monitoring needs improvement

Pros and Cons

  • "The concurrent users are perfect for us."
  • "The router monitoring needs improvement when compared with Sonicwall."

What is our primary use case?

We use pfSense to protect our customers using IPS and IDS.

We are a government agency and we manage the government network. 

We complete the setup and we are protecting our customers.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that it's robust.

In terms of resources, utilization assets, CPU utilization, and a lot of memory, it's very good. 

The concurrent users are perfect for us.

What needs improvement?

The router monitoring needs improvement when compared with Sonicwall.

I would like an API that can sync to SolarWinds because we use SolarWinds for our monitoring platform. It would be great to be able to do all of the monitoring from SolarWinds instead of logging into the application to monitor it. It would be a nice feature to have.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using pfSense for less than two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the last two weeks, we moved a few resources to the pfSense and it's been stable. 

When compared to SonicWall there were some issues but it could be that SonicWall was doing too much. It was doing almost everything. It was doing IDS, IPS, and contextual training. It may be that it was overwhelmed.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We were using the software base, and then we bought the hardware device. We moved 12 users onto it and we are monitoring it.

Based on the documentation it would not require much to scale up or upgrade. There is no doubt that it is scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Most of the support is online.

We do a lot of reading, and if there is any support or suggestions we quickly do it. 

We have not contacted them directly.  

They have a lot of resources available on the internet that will guide you in finding your way around.

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

We use a few different firewalls. We use SonicWall and Huawei firewall along with pfSense.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. It was easy.

What about the implementation team?

We did not use an integrator. I completed it with one of my colleagues.

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

Looking at what it does, I think that it is fairly priced.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

When we compare to SonicWall, we feel that we are getting the best with pfSense.

What other advice do I have?

Depending on what they want their firewall to do for them. If it is for intrusion detection, and intrusion prevention I would recommend this solution. 

In summary, this product is good but I would like to see resources utilization (cpu, hard disk) directly on SolarWinds. A one stop shop for monitoring on SolarWinds. It would be great!

I would rate pfSense a six out of ten.

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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Learn what your peers think about pfSense. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: November 2021.
552,407 professionals have used our research since 2012.
CandidoViandro
National IT Coordenator at a government with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Stable open-source solution for a small company or a startup with a tight budget

Pros and Cons

  • "I like pfSense's reports and how I can control access to the policies on the firewall."
  • "The user interface can be improved to make it easier to add more features. And pfSense could be better integrated with other solutions, like antivirus."

What is our primary use case?

I use pfSense as a proxy and a firewall to monitor all the traffic to my network. It allows me to shape the traffic and eliminate bottlenecks that cause the network to slow down. You can use pfSense to catch some websites or make the network faster because we have applications connected remotely all over the country. We need to have a network with a reliable speed and no hiccups on the way because all our applications are on-premise, and the entire country goes to the same data center to get information.

What is most valuable?

I like pfSense's reports and how I can control access to the policies on the firewall.

What needs improvement?

The user interface can be improved to make it easier to add more features. And pfSense could be better integrated with other solutions, like antivirus. For example, pfSense could add templates with firewall policies that a user can customize. I haven't tried to integrate pfSense with Microsoft Active Directory, but in Mozambique, we use many Kaspersky antivirus solutions. If pfSense integrated with these antivirus solutions, everything would be much more stable because most of the companies here have a different kind of security solution. Within a single company, you might find two or three different antivirus suites. So, for example, there could be an open-source solution that you get for free, but you can pay for the support if you want it. So for solutions like that, it would be great.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Companies in Africa have issues with budgeting for IT. An open-source solution like pfSense gives us stability and provides us with good reports. It's amazing. It makes the solution reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I haven't tried yet scaling up pfSense. But my setup is Windows based, and I have some Windows-based applications, so I want it to integrate with the Microsoft Active Directory. I haven't done it yet, but I think it would be good to have that integration.

How are customer service and support?

I contacted pfSense support only once when I was installing it and had only configured one network tab. I had to get in touch with them, and the support was terrific. I was impressed. I can't complain about their support.

How was the initial setup?

I have some experience with Linux distributions, so setting up pfSense was a bit easier for me, and I have been working with security for quite some time. It was fast for me, but part of my team is not used to a Linux environment, so it was tricky for them to implement add-ons to the appliance.

What other advice do I have?

I rate pfSense eight out of 10. I would recommend it for a small business or a startup as a starting point. It's also good for companies that are on a tight budget.

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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TS
Principal at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 5
A great solution that just works and is fast and affordable

Pros and Cons

  • "It works. I put pfSense in, and it works. I can't think of any trouble I ever had with it. It runs on heat-sensitive appliances. They don't need a fan, so they don't overheat. It is affordable, fast, and very high-speed. It is built on BSD Unix, and it pretty much runs on any Intel processor."
  • "I've never tried it in large environments. All my clients are small businesses with a handful of employees, so I am not sure how it works in large environments. I keep up with recent versions, and there's nothing I'm waiting for, and nothing breaks when I get a new version."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for small businesses, and most of my clients are using pfSense.

What is most valuable?

It works. I put pfSense in, and it works. I can't think of any trouble I ever had with it. It runs on heat-sensitive appliances. They don't need a fan, so they don't overheat. 

It is affordable, fast, and very high-speed. It is built on BSD Unix, and it pretty much runs on any Intel processor. 

What needs improvement?

I've never tried it in large environments. All my clients are small businesses with a handful of employees, so I am not sure how it works in large environments. I keep up with recent versions, and there's nothing I'm waiting for, and nothing breaks when I get a new version.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for maybe five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It just works.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I've never challenged it. All of my clients are small businesses. It is open-source software, and it runs on whatever appliance you run it on, so whatever computer you run it on, it'll scale up pretty high.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is excellent. They do have good support service. I don't use it because I've never had any problems with it, but the people I know who use it in bigger environments love it. You can even search their knowledge base and learn anything you want to know pretty quickly. 

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

Some of my businesses just use the built-in firewall in the ISP modem. I replaced an old SonicWall that couldn't keep up with a faster internet service. I've replaced a couple of Cisco solutions that were just getting old to run modern software, but the hardware was working. They just died of old age, and I replaced them with pfSense. It has been great. I'm sure a lot of people know how to configure Cisco solutions, but I don't. pfSense is very easy to configure.

How was the initial setup?

It was very simple. You download and boot a USB stick or a CD to install it. From then on, it is managed by its own webpage. The deployment takes a few minutes.

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

It has almost zero cost, and it is open to us. It runs on a small appliance just for a couple of 100 bucks, and I've never had an appliance burn out on me yet. 

What other advice do I have?

It is just great. Give it a try. It just works.

I would rate pfSense a ten out of ten.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MB
IT Support Specialist with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Very stable, relatively easy to set up, and offers good technical support

Pros and Cons

  • "The built-in open VPN and the VPN Client Export are the solution's most valuable aspects."
  • "There's a bit of a learning curve during the initial implementation."

What is our primary use case?

We just use the solution as a straight-up firewall. There is no VPN access or anything like that. We just use it as a straight-up firewall and we run Suricata on it as a defense.

What is most valuable?

The built-in open VPN and the VPN Client Export are the solution's most valuable aspects.

What needs improvement?

I cannot recall any features that are lacking.

There's a bit of a learning curve during the initial implementation.

You do have to pay extra for better customer service.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the solution for about six months. It hasn't been too long.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is very stable. We've had zero issues. There aren't bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's been reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not tried scaling, therefore, I can't really comment on how easy or hard it would be to expand the service.

There's only one person in the organization using the solution, and that's me.

How are customer service and technical support?

The tech support is excellent if you have a support subscription. If you didn't have that, you could be lining up for a while. It could be a hit or miss, whether you get someone that's actually going to help you. 

However, we have a subscription and therefore our support is always excellent. We're quite satisfied with the level of service we're getting.

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

Previously, we used Dell SonicWall. There was just a high cost of licensing all the time, and, with having someone go in and troubleshoot for issues as well, it just wasn't cost-effective anymore. pfSense is simply a better solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup has a bit of a learning curve. It's not complex per se. It just takes some getting used to. After the initial deployment, the other six or seven were easy. I could just copy the configuration of the other ones, change some IP addresses, and I was basically done.

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

There aren't monthly or yearly licensing costs.

What other advice do I have?

We're just cusomers. We don't have a business relationship with pfSense.

We're using the latest stable version of the solution.

I would 100% recommend the solution to others. On a scale from one to ten, I'd give it a ten.

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.
ZelalemGedefie
Senior System Administrator at Debre Markos University
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Great monitoring, easy to install, and very stable

Pros and Cons

  • "We like the fact that the product is open-source. It's free to use. There are no costs associated with it."
  • "The solution could always work at being more secure. It's a good idea to continue to work on security features and capabilities in order to ensure they can keep clients safe."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for security purposes. We use it for a firewall.

What is most valuable?

The solution is quite stable. The performance is very good.

We've found the solution to be very easy to use. It's user-friendly.

The scalability potential of the product is quite good. 

We like the fact that the product is open-source. It's free to use. There are no costs associated with it.

The solution is very easy to install.

The solution is quite fast.

It does a good job of monitoring our systems.

What needs improvement?

The solution could always work at being more secure. It's a good idea to continue to work on security features and capabilities in order to ensure they can keep clients safe.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for a while. It's been about six years or so.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is very good. There are no bugs or glitches. it doesn't crash or freeze. Its performance is reliable. It's been very good over the years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution scales quite well. If a company needs to expand it, it can do so with relative ease.

We have a few hundred users at this time.

We do have plans to continue to use the product.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have used technical support in the past. They have always been very helpful and responsive. They are knowledgeable. We have no complaints. We're quite satisfied with their level of service. 

How was the initial setup?

The installation of the solution is not overly complex or difficult. It's easy. It's straightforward. e didn't have any issues with eh implementation process. A company should find the setup very simple. 

The deployment was very fast. It only took a few minutes.

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

The solution is an open-source product. It's free to use. It's extremely affordable.

What other advice do I have?

I'd rate the solution at a ten out of ten. It's been very good in terms of its overall capabilities.

I would recommend this solution to other companies and users. It's very fast and very easy to use.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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JR
General Manager at Galgus
Real User
Top 20
Open source, easy to deploy, and works really well

Pros and Cons

  • "One of the advantages of pfSense is that it is very easy to work with. It is a very good open-source solution, and it works really well. pfSense provides a complete package. For some features, it could be the first solution in the world. It is a very good alternative in the market for a firewall solution. You don't need to go to Cisco or other brands with expensive firewalls. pfSense also allows us to offer some support services."
  • "There is more demand for UTMs than a simple firewall. pfSense should support real-time features for handling the latest viruses and threats. It should support real-time checks and real-time status of threats. Some other vendors, such as Fortinet, already offer this type of capability. Such capability will be good for bringing pfSense at the same level as other solutions."

What is our primary use case?

Our main business is for WiFi networks. Customers also ask us for simple firewalls, and we use pfSense to add a firewall to provide the complete solution. We are working with the latest version of pfSense.

What is most valuable?

One of the advantages of pfSense is that it is very easy to work with. It is a very good open-source solution, and it works really well.

pfSense provides a complete package. For some features, it could be the first solution in the world. It is a very good alternative in the market for a firewall solution. You don't need to go to Cisco or other brands with expensive firewalls. pfSense also allows us to offer some support services.

What needs improvement?

There is more demand for UTMs than a simple firewall. pfSense should support real-time features for handling the latest viruses and threats. It should support real-time checks and real-time status of threats. Some other vendors, such as Fortinet, already offer this type of capability. Such capability will be good for bringing pfSense at the same level as other solutions. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using pfSense for about four or five months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is easily scalable. It is more of a hardware thing than a software thing.

How was the initial setup?

It is easy to deploy. Our real deployments are for WiFi networks, and then we add one or two firewalls to protect the network. For a small network, it can take one week. For a more complex network, it could be two or three months. We have a few upcoming projects which would require severe thousand firewalls, and it would take us more than a year.

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

It is open source.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend pfSense, but it depends on the requirements. There could be other vendors who offer more services than pfSense. For example, Fortinet is a very good brand, and it offers services in a different way. Fortinet also offers more services, but it is very expensive. If you don't need some specific services, pfSense is an excellent solution.

I would rate pfSense a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator
CT
IT Consultant at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Consultant
Easy-to-use interface, with good web blocking and it's open-source

Pros and Cons

  • "The interface is straightforward and easy to use."
  • "Also, simplifying the rules for the GeoIP. Making it simpler to understand would be an improvement."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case of this solution is to protect our business network.

What is most valuable?

I like the fact that it is open-source.

The Surakarta and the web blocking functionality seems to be quite good. It's not perfect, but none of them are.

The interface is straightforward and easy to use.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see the dashboard modernized.

If you look at some of the other providers, their dashboard is more modern looking.

Also, simplifying the rules for the GeoIP. Making it simpler to understand would be an improvement.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using pfSense for approximately one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It seems to be relatively stable. I haven't had very many issues.

If I do have any issues, it is more to do with the way that I have configured it. Other than that, it works fine.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's a scalable solution. We have 14 computers with more powerful hardware that allows us to deal with larger networks.

Apart from what you see on the interface, you can also use the command line to create a cluster if you need to.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward once you read the manual.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did evaluate another solution but felt that the cost was too high for what it was. Based on the consumer market, I didn't feel that it was at the enterprise level.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend reading the manual and the administration book. It has all of the proper information.

Many will jump into pfSense without reading the manual properly, or taking the time to understand the definitions, and how to set it up properly.

If you don't, then you might have a bad experience, which would not be fair to the product.

To give a fair comparison and trial, definitely read the technical documentation before implementing it.

Given the fact that it's open-source, relatively easy to use, and it seems to do the job quite well, I would rate pfSense a ten out of ten. I think it deserves that.

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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