How to Setup Pfsense Firewall and Basic Configuration

In this article, our focus is Pfsense setup, basic configuration and overview of features available in the security distribution of FreeBSD. We will run the network wizard for the basic setting of firewall and a detailed overview of services. After the installation process following snapshot shows the IP addresses of WAN/LAN and different options for the management of Pfsense firewall.


After setup, the following window appear which shows the url for the configuration of Pfsense.

URL for gui

Open above given URL in the browser and login with username admin and password pfsense


After successful login, following wizard appears for the basic setting of Pfsense firewall.  However, the setup wizard option can be bypassed and user can run it from the System menu from the web interface.

Click on the Next button to start the basic configuration process on Pfsense firewall.


Setting hostname, domain and DNS addresses is shown in the following figure.


Setting time zone is shown in the below given snapshot.


The next window shows the setting for the WAN interface. By default Pfsense firewall block bogus and private networks.

wan setting

Setting LAN IP address which is used to access the Pfsense web interface for further configuration.

lan setting

By default password for web interface is "pfsense". Enter new password for admin user on the following window to access the web interface for further configuration.passwordClick on the "reload" button which is shown below. It applies the setting and redirects firewall user to the main dashboard of Pfsense.reload

As shown in the following snapshot, Pfsense dashboard shows system information (such as cpu details, os version, dns detail, memory consumption) and status of ethernet/wireless interfaces etc.


Menu detail

PFsense consists of System, interfaces, firewall, services, VPN, status, diagnostics, and help menus.

all menu

System Menu

Sub menus of System is given below:system menuIn the Advanced sub menu user can perform the following operations.

  1. Configuration of web interface
  2. Firewall/Nat setting
  3. Networking setting
  4. System tuneables setting
  5. Notification setting


In the Cert manager sub menu, firewall administrator generates certificates for CA and users.


In the Firmware sub menu, user can update Pfsense firmware manually/automatically. User can take full backup of Pfsense configurations.


In the General Setup sub menu, user can change basic setting such as hostname and domain etc.

general setup-systemmenu

As menu title indicates, user can enable/disable high availability feature from this sub menu.


Packages sub menu provides package manager facility in the web interface for Pfsense.

packages-system menu

User can perform gateway and route management using Routing sub menu.

routing-system menu

Setup Wizard sub menu opens the following window which start basic configuration of Pfsense.


Management of user can be done from the User manager sub menu.


Interfaces Menu

This menu is used for the assignment of interfaces (LAN/WAN), VLAN setting, wireless and GRE configuration, etc.

Interfaces setting

Firewall Menu

Firewall is the main and core part of  Pfsense distribution  and it provides the following features.


Aliases are defined for real hosts, networks or ports and they can be used to minimize the number of changes.


NAT (Network Address Translation)

NAT binds a specific internal address to a specific external address. Incoming traffic from the Internet to the specified IP will be directed toward the associated internal IP.


Firewall Rules

Firewall rules control what traffic is allowed to enter an interface on the firewall. After traffic is passed on the interface, it enters an entry in the state table is created.



Firewall rules can be scheduled so that they are only active at certain times of day or on certain specific days or days of the week.

firewall-schedulesTraffic Shaper

Traffic shaping is the control of computer network traffic in order to optimize performance and lower latency.

firewall-traffic shapper

Virtual IPs

Virtual IPs add knowledge of additional IP addresses to the firewall that are different from the firewall's real interface addresses.


Services Menu

Services menu shows services that are provided by the Pfsense distribution along firewall.

services-menuNew program/software installed for some specific service is also shown in this menu such as snort. By default following services are listed in services menu.

Captive portal

The captive portal functionality in Pfsense allows securing a network by requiring a username and password entered on a portal page.

services-captive portal

DHCP Relay

The DHCP Relay daemon will relay DHCP requests between broadcast domains for IPv4 DHCP.

services-dhcp relay

DHCP Server

User can run DHCP service on the firewall for the network devices.

services-dhcp server

DNS Forwarder/Resolver/Dynamic DNS

DNS different services can be configured on the Pfsense firewall.

services-dynamic dns client

services-dns resolver

services-dns forwarder

IGMP Proxy

User can configure IGMP  on the  Pfsense firewall from services menu.

services igmp

Load Balancer

Load Balancing is one of the important features which is also supported by the Pfsense firewall.

services load balancer

SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol)

Pfsense supports all versions of snmp for remote management of firewall.

services snmp

Wake on Lan

Using this feature packet sent to a workstation on a locally connected network which will power on a workstation.

services-wake on lan

VPN Menu

It is one of the most important features of Pfsense. It supports the following types of vpn configuration.


IPsec is a standard for providing security to IP protocols via encryption and/or authentication.


L2TP IPsec

L2TP/IPsec is a common VPN type that wraps L2TP, an insecure tunneling protocol, inside a secure channel built using transport mode IPsec.

vpn- l2tp


OpenVPN is an Open Source VPN server and client that is supported on pfSense.

vpn openvpn

Status Menu

It shows the status of services provided by Pfsense such as dhcp server, ipsec and load balancer etc.


Diagnostic Menu

This menu helps administrator/user for the rectification of  Pfsense issues or problems.

diagnosics menu

Help Menu

This menu provides links for different useful resources such as  FreeBSD handbook, developer wiki, paid support and pfsense book.

help menu


In this article, our focus was on the basic configuration and features set of Pfsense distribution.  It is based on FreeBSD distribution and widely used due to security and stability features. In our future articles on Pfsense, our focus will be on the basic firewall rules setting, snort (IDS/IPS) and IPSEC VPN configuration.

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