The pfSense project is a free network firewall distribution, based on the FreeBSD operating system with a custom kernel and including third party free software packages for additional functionality. Through this package system pfSense software is able to provide most of the functionality of common commercial firewalls, and many times more. It has successfully replaced every big name commercial firewall you can imagine in numerous installations around the world, including Check Point, Cisco PIX, Cisco ASA, Juniper, Sonicwall, Netgear, Watchguard, Astaro, and more.
pfSense software includes a web interface for the configuration of all included components. Knowledge of FreeBSD is absolutely not necessary. Unlike some similar GNU/Linux-based firewall distributions, there is no need for any UNIX knowledge, no need to use the command line for anything, and no need to ever manually edit any rule sets. In fact, the majority of pfSense users have never installed or used a stock FreeBSD system. Users familiar with commercial firewalls catch on to the web interface quickly, though there can be a learning curve for users not familiar with commercial-grade firewalls.
Unlike most common commercial firewalls offerings, the pfSense project is just the software portion of the firewall. This means you get to tailor the hardware you choose to meet your environment's specific needs. You can use the live CD or memstick to test out your hardware without installing to the hard drive, or install to a compact flash card for embedded systems.
With hardware you have the option to piece together your own solution or you can purchase pfSense certified hardware from one of our trusted vendors with the pfSense software already installed. If you would like to choose your own hardware, our hardware selection guide will help you through the process with recommendations based on years of experience and testing.
How you configure the pfSense software is largely dependant on the needs your trying to meet. There are tutorials in our documentation wiki for various configuration scenarios.
For the best information we recommend you purchase the book pfSense: The Definitive Guide, written by pfSense co-founder Chris Buechler and pfSense consultant Jim Pingle.
If you need professional assistance configuring your deployment, you can use our commercial support to help get you up and running.