pfSense is an operating system designed to operate a computer as a firewall/router on a network. Basically, it consists of FreeBSD and its firewall netfilter a Webgui said. In practice it is very comprehensive and has built-in features as an NTP server, DNS, possibility of building links VPN, Load balancing, VLAN, etc…

The project began as a fork of M0n0wall, but its version 2.0, still at the stage of RC1, brings a totally new interface. The system will be still able to run on embedded systems, it holds on Compact Flash card and does not need graphics card.

The installation is really very simple and very fast. The only configuration to do is define your WAN and your LAN interface, and then give them an IP address (or let the magic of DHCP). Then you can use the Webgui by typing http://adresseip (possibility of using https via options). The user is ‘admin’ and password ‘pfsense’.

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The interface is sorted via a very clear and very practical tab system. The configuration of the firewall is particularly well detailed and filtering and NAT features are separated. The VPN can operate on several protocols: IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP. Their configuration proves yet once intuitive.

In conclusion I think that pfSense is the best of the oriented OS firewall among those that I’ve tested so far. Its most serious competitor in the Linux world is ipfire, but its interface lacks logic and clarity. Therefore the equipment permitting, use pfSense.