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Pfsense logo.png
Developer Electric Sheep Fencing, LLC
OS family BSD (8.3-RELEASE)
Working state Current
Source model Open source
Latest release 2.1.5 / August 27, 2014 (2014-08-27)
Latest preview 2.2 / Daily snapshots
Platforms Intel x86, AMD64
Kernel type Monolithic kernel
License ESF License Agreement, v1.0[1]
Official website

pfSense is an open source firewall/router computer software distribution based on FreeBSD. It is installed on a computer to make a dedicated firewall/router for a network and is noted for its reliability[1] and offering features often only found in expensive commercial firewalls.[2] It can be configured and upgraded through a web-based interface, and requires no knowledge of the underlying FreeBSD system to manage.[2] pfSense is commonly deployed as a perimeter firewall, router, wireless access point, DHCP server, DNS server, and as a VPN endpoint.


The name was derived from the fact that it helps make the stateful packet-filtering tool PF (which acts as a firewall, packet filter, and routing service on many BSD and Unix platforms) to make more sense to non-technical users.[3]


The pfSense project started in 2004 as a fork of the m0n0wall project by Chris Buechler and Scott Ullrich.[4] From the beginning, it focused on full PC installations, as opposed to m0n0wall's focus on embedded hardware. However, pfSense is also available as an embedded image for CompactFlash-based installations. Version 1.0 of the software was released on October 4, 2006.[5] Version 2.0 was released on September 17, 2011,[6] with updates 2.0.1 to 2.0.3 between then and 2013. pfSense version 2.1 was released on September 15, 2013, and version 2.1.1 was released on April 4, 2014,[7] with a subsequent update to 2.1.2 on April 10, 2014,[8] due to the Heartbleed bug. 2.1.3 which was released on May 2, 2014,[9] contains several minor fixes and was released mainly to address two FreeBSD SAs which don't affect the base system but some packages. pfSense 2.1.4, released on June 25, 2014,[10] contains several security and other fixes.


Install, update, packages, management
Functionality and connectivity
Firewall and routing
  • Stateful firewall
  • Network Address Translation
  • Filtering by source/destination IP address, protocol, OS/network fingerprinting
  • Flexible routing
  • Per-rule configurable logging and per-rule limiters (IP addresses, connections, states, new connections, state types), Layer 7 protocol inspection, policy filtering (or packet marking), TCP flag state filtering, scheduling, gateway
  • Packet scrubbing
  • Layer 2/bridging capable
  • State table "up to several hundred thousand" states (1 KB RAM per state approx)
  • State table algorithms customizable including low latency and low-dropout

Packages available as "push button installs" (as of March 2013) include but are not limited to: Asterisk, Squid (file caching), ClamWin download scanner, Apache HTTP Server with mod-security, FreeSWITCHG (Voice over IP), jail, LCD panel support, spamd email tarpit, nmap, stunnel, Varnish accelerator, multiple monitoring and statistics packages, file managers.


Although the main focus of pfSense is on full-PC installation, it is also available in versions for embedded use on hardware using Compact Flash rather than a hard drive. Many companies produce system boards, or complete low power computers, specifically designed to run pfSense embedded.[12][13][14][15][16]

See also[edit]

BSD based:
Linux based:
Browser plugin/App:


  1. ^ Danen, Vincent (December 7, 2009). "DIY pfSense firewall system beats others for features, reliability, and security". TechRepublic. "If you want a high-availability and highly reliable firewall, pfSense is definitely something to seriously consider" 
  2. ^ a b Miller, Sloan (June 26, 2008). "Configure a professional firewall using pfSense". Free Software Magazine (22). "No experience is needed with FreeBSD or GNU/Linux to install and run pfSense" 
  3. ^ Buechler, Chris (June 21, 2007). "So what does pfSense stand for/mean, anyway?". pfSense Digest. 
  4. ^ "pfSense Open Source Firewall Distribution - History". 
  5. ^ Ullrich, Scott (October 13, 2006). "1.0-RELEASED!". pfSense Digest. 
  6. ^ Buechler, Chris (September 17, 2011). "2.0-RELEASED!". pfSense Digest. 
  7. ^ Thompson, Jim (April 4, 2014). "2.1.1-RELEASE now available". pfSense Digest. 
  8. ^ Thompson, Jim (April 10, 2014). "2.1.2-RELEASE Now available". pfSense Digest. 
  9. ^ Dillard, Jared (May 2, 2014). "2.1.3-RELEASE now available". pfSense Digest. 
  10. ^ Dillard, Jared (June 25, 2014). "2.1.4-RELEASE now available". pfSense Digest. 
  11. ^ pfSense's FreeSWITCH
  12. ^ "pfSense Firewall". 
  13. ^ "OPNsense - pfsense firewall appliances". 
  14. ^ "StrongBochs pfSense features". 
  15. ^ "pfSense firewall Kit". 
  16. ^ "pfSense embedded and UTM appliance firewall italian Kit". 

External links[edit]