PfSense is a free open-source network firewall and router based on FreeBSD. PfSense is known for its reliability and comes with many features that only commercial firewalls offer. PfSense is included in many third-party free software packages. You can install PfSense on both physical and virtual machines. Appliances are also available.
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Minimum hardware requirements ^

The minimum hardware requirements are as follows:

CPU: 64-bit amd64 (x86-64) compatible

RAM: 1 GB or more

Disk drive: 8 GB or larger

Network interface: One or more

In this tutorial, we will install PfSense 2.6.0 on a VMware virtual machine, with the specifications mentioned above. After installation, the machine will act as a firewall and network segment device.

Install PfSense ^

Step 1

First, visit the PfSense download page and select your computer architecture and platform. Here, we've chosen AMD64 (64-bit) with USB Memstick Installer.

Download the PfSense installation file from the official site

Download the PfSense installation file from the official site

Step 2

After the download is complete, create an ISO image. For a physical installation, create bootable USB media. Make sure that your BIOS settings have "boot from USB media" enabled. In my case, I created the ISO image and attached it to my VM for the booting.

Reboot the target machine.

Reboot the PfSense machine after adding the image

Reboot the PfSense machine after adding the image

Step 3

As the PfSense setup starts booting, a prompt is displayed with some options and a countdown timer. At this prompt, press 1 for the default installation of PfSense. If we don't choose any option, it will start to boot option 1 by default.

Press 1 for the default installation of PfSense

Press 1 for the default installation of PfSense

Step 4

On the next screen, you'll be asked to configure the console. Just click Accept to move forward with the installation process.

Accept the settings under Configure Console

Accept the settings under Configure Console

Step 5

Proceed with the Install option and select OK.

PfSense installer window

PfSense installer window

Step 6

Select your keyboard language.

Choose the default keyboard map

Choose the default keyboard map

Step 7

Select the Auto Z file system, which is recommended for the FreeBSD architecture, and click OK.

Select Z file system

Select Z file system

Step 8

Next, select the disk on which you want to install PfSense. In my case, I am choosing my available dedicated virtual storage on VMware.

Choose the storage partition for PfSense

Choose the storage partition for PfSense

Step 9

Wait while the setup extracts the installation files.

Wait for the extraction to complete

Wait for the extraction to complete

Step 10

After completion, setup will give you the option to open a shell to modify your configuration. Select No and proceed.

Say no to shell window

Say no to shell window

Step 11

Reboot the machine to get the GUI session of your PfSense installation.

Rebooting the PfSense machine

Rebooting the PfSense machine

Rebooting PfSense is ongoing

Rebooting PfSense is ongoing

Step 12

After restarting, you'll see the PfSense interface. The PfSense LAN interface automatically gets the 192.168.1.1/24 IP address by default.

In my case, I have two interfaces on my PfSense machine:

em0 for WAN connectivity, which gets the 10.144.87.67/16 IP address.

em1 for LAN connectivity, which gets the 192.168.1.1/24 IP address by default.

After successful reboot the machine will look like this

After successful reboot the machine will look like this

Step 13

Now go to your browser and type https://192.168.1.1 to get GUI access to your PfSense installation. Since we didn't install a PfSense self-signed certificate, we will receive notification that the connection is not private.

Click Proceed to 192.168.1.1 (unsafe) to display the login window.

Get the GUI access of your PfSense

Get the GUI access of your PfSense

PfSense login window

PfSense login window

Step 14

Enter the default username and password, which are admin and PfSense, respectively.

Enter the default username and password

Enter the default username and password

The PfSense GUI is displayed.

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PfSense GUI mode

PfSense GUI mode

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