Getting Started

pfSense® software includes most all the features in expensive commercial firewalls, and more in some cases. This section is intended to prove that to you and get you started on path of deploying pfSense software in your environment.

Overview

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. 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.

Hardware Selection

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, such as the ones found in the pfSense Store.

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.

Installation

Our Install Guide will guide you through your hardware selection, the initial pfSense configuration, and installing the pfSense software to your hard drive. Installation is quick and painless making it easy to setup your own personal demo in a virtual environment.

Configuration

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 that you become a Gold Member, this gives you access to the official pfSense book and monthly hangouts that cover a variety of topics as well as our Auto Config Backup service which gives you a secure place to store and retrieve backups off site.

If you need professional assistance configuring your deployment, you can use our commercial support to help get you up and running.