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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary
Updated on Jun 2, 2022

We performed a comparison between OPNsense and pfSense based on our users’ reviews in four categories. After reading all of the collected data, you can find our conclusion below.

  • Ease of Deployment: All the OPNsense reviewers agree that the initial setup is straightforward and easy. Most pfSense users say that its initial setup is straightforward, but a small percentage disagree, feeling that the setup is complex and requires a higher level of technical expertise.

  • Features: Users of both products are for the most part very satisfied with their scalability, stability, VPN features, and overall performance. OPNsense reviewers like its user-friendly interface and reporting tools. Several OPNsense users say it is less suitable for large-scale implementations. pfSense reviewers say it is robust, but its user interface could be enhanced. Several pfSense users mention that its security level should be improved.

  • Pricing: OPNsense and pfSense are both open-source solutions and are free of charge.

  • Service and Support: Both OPNsense and pfSense offer commercial support in addition to free online support forums. Reviewers of both solutions report being satisfied with the level of support they receive. pfSense users, in particular, find the community support and YouTube tutorials for the product to be very extensive and helpful.

Comparison Results: OPNsense ultimately won out in this comparison. Our reviewers agree that OPNsense is easy to install and easy to use, while pfSense was less so. One area where pfSense did come out on top was in the free support category.

To learn more, read our detailed OPNsense vs. pfSense Report (Updated: January 2023).
672,785 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"One of the most valuable features of Firepower 7.0 is the "live log" type feature called Unified Event Viewer. That view has been really good in helping me get to data faster, decreasing the amount of time it takes to find information, and allowing me to fix problems faster. I've found that to be incredibly valuable because it's a lot easier to get to some points of data now.""One of the most valuable features is the GUI front end, which is very easy to use. But I'm also a command-line guy, and being able to access the device via command-line for advanced troubleshooting is quite important.""Cisco offers a great educational series to train users on their devices.""It is pretty stable. I haven't seen many issues during the past four years.""When it comes to the integration among Cisco tools, we find it easy. It's a very practical integration with other components as well.""The deep packet inspection is useful, but the most useful feature is application awareness. You can filter on the app rather than on a static TCP port.""Cisco ASA provides us with very good application visibility and control.""Firepower NGFW has improved my organization in several ways. Before, we were trying to stamp out security threats and issues, it was a one-off type of way to attack it. I spent a lot of manpower trying to track down the individual issues or flare-ups that we would see. With Cisco's Firepower Management, we're able to have that push up to basically one monitor and one UI and be able to track that and stop threats immediately. It also gives us a little more granularity on what those threats might be."

More Cisco Secure Firewall Pros →

"OPNsense is easy to scale when running on the hardware.""OPNsense is highly stable.""The technical support is very good.""The initial implementation process is simple.""The system in general is quite flexible.""I have found the solution has some great features overall, such as guest access capabilities, dashboards, and ease of use. There is plenty of documentation and support and it has the plugins that I needed.""What I like best about OPNsense is that, as a firewall, it's pretty good. I'm quite impressed with it. I had an excellent experience with OPNsense, which helped me achieve the targets I wanted.""We have found pretty much all the features of the solution to be valuable."

More OPNsense Pros →

"pfSense allows us to spread the hours of connection and do the filtering on the pfSense site.""What I like about pfSense is that it works well and runs on an inexpensive appliance.""Sophos Intercept X is scalable. Currently, we have almost 30 people using it in our company.""It has a very nice web interface, and it is very simple to use. The way policies are working is also good.""The solution is very easy to use and configure.""We like the fact that the product is open-source. It's free to use. There are no costs associated with it.""It is very easy to use. The interface is quite understandable. There is a good community, and I can take over at any time I want. If there is anything wrong with it, I could just reinstall the whole thing and start all over again, and I'll be up again in less than a few minutes""The GUI is easy to understand."

More pfSense Pros →

Cons
"They could improve by having more skilled, high-level engineers that are available around the clock. I know that's an easy thing to say and a hard thing to do.""An area for improvement is the graphical user interface. That is something that is coming up now. They could make the product more user-friendly. A better GUI is something that would make life much easier.""Sometimes my customers say that Cisco Firewalls are a bit more difficult compared to Fortigate or Palo Alto. There is complexity in the configuration and the GUI could be improved.""Sometimes, it is not easy to troubleshoot. You need to know where to go. It took me quite awhile. It's like, "Okay, if it doesn't go smoothly here, then go find the documentation." Once you do it, it is not so bad. However, it is sometimes a steep learning curve on the troubleshooting part of it.""The maturity needs to be better.""I'm not a big fan of the FDM (Firepower Device Manager) that comes with Firepower. I found out that you need to use the Firepower Management Center, the FMC, to manage the firewalls a lot better. You can get a lot more granular with the configuration in the FMC, versus the FDM that comes out-of-the-box with it. FDM is like Firepower for dummies.""Its user interface is good, but it could be better. Currently, you have to know what to do before you can manage a device. If you don't know what to do, you can mess things up. There are some devices that are easier, such as FortiGate. The user interface of FortiGate is more intuitive. It is very easy to log in and configure things.""The Firepower FTD code is missing some old ASA firewalls codes. It's a small thing. But Firepower software isn't missing things that are essential, anymore."

More Cisco Secure Firewall Cons →

"Its interface should be a little bit better.""While they do have paid options that actually gives better features, for most of the clients, if they tend to take a paid option will instead opt for Fortinet.""They should improve IPEs for security in the future.""OPNsense could improve by making the configuration more web-based rather than shell or command-line-based.""The interface needs to be simplified. It is not user-friendly.""The logging could improve in OPNsense.""The solution could be more secure.""The interface isn't so friendly user. But we have some technicians here who are quite confident with this tool. OPNSense could maybe add sets of rules so it's simpler to manage different groups with particular needs."

More OPNsense Cons →

"The stability could be improved.""The integration could be improved.""It could use a little bit of improvement in the reporting.""We had training from an advisor for the configuring of this solution and it was not difficult. However, if we were not trained it would have been not as easy.""The hotspot and the portal feature in this solution are not stable for WiFi access. We use it at least once or twice every day and it crashes. Some modules can be better by improving detection and having new updates. Additionally, we have some issues with clustering and load balancing that could improve.""It's just not listed as FIPS compliant for where we're at now in government, which is an issue.""ClamAV AntiVirus can cause some crashes. That service should be improved.""I expect a better interface with more log analysis because I create my own interface."

More pfSense Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "The price for Firepower is more expensive than FortiGate. The licensing is very complex. We usually ask for help from Solutel because of its complexity. I have a Cisco account where I can download the VPN client, then connect. Instead, I create an issue with Solutel, then Solutel solves the case."
  • "I know that licensing for some of the advanced solutions, like Intrusion Prevention and Secure Malware Analytics, are nominal costs."
  • "It is affordable. The hardware is not that expensive anymore. It is a matter of licensing these days."
  • "Cisco is not for a small mom-and-pop shop because of the cost, but if you're in a regulated industry where a breach could cost you a million dollars, it's a bargain."
  • "I like the Smart Licensing, because it is more dynamic and easier to keep track of where you are at. If we have a high availability firewall pair and they are deployed in active/standby rather than active/active, I would expect that we would only pay for one set of licenses because you are using only one firewall at any one time. The other is there just for resiliency. The licensing, from a Firepower perspective, still requires you to have two licenses, even if the firewalls are in active/standby, which means that you pay for the two licenses, even though you might only be using one firewall any one time. This is probably not the best way to do it and doesn't represent the best value for money. This could be looked at to see if it could be done in a fairer way."
  • "We are happy with its price. Licensing is on a yearly basis for technical support. There is one license for technical support. There is another license for IP Version 2 VPN and IPS."
  • "I am happy with the product in general, including the pricing."
  • "Their pricing is very aggressive and good. Even a small company can afford it. I am happy with its pricing. Its licensing is on a yearly basis."
  • More Cisco Secure Firewall Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The solution is not expensive."
  • "As an appliance, it's in the medium price range."
  • "Its pricing is unbeatable in comparison to other firewalls. You can have a small instance that could be €80 a month with the hardware underneath. Azure Firewall and FortiGate are out of the question at this price. If you are on a public cloud, you need the underlying infrastructure. Other than that, there is no additional cost. If you have it on-prem, you have to buy the server or the appliance. The hardware cost is replaced with the infrastructure cost in the cloud. You also have costs for the public IPs and underlying VMs, but that's not related to OPNsense. It would be the same for a FortiGate deployment on Azure. You need a FortiGate license, and you need the underlying infrastructure that scales up depending on your needs."
  • "It is open source and free."
  • "The price of OPNsense is good."
  • "I'm using the free version of OPNsense. I didn't check the pricing for the solution because I still need to test it before getting the approval to purchase OPNsense, and it isn't easy to get approval from the higher-ups."
  • More OPNsense Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "We are using the open-source version which is free. We are testing the solution to see if we are going to go to the enterprise version which requires a license and is not free."
  • "There is no license. You don't have to pay anything. It's completely free."
  • "It's open-source and it's free. Anything for free is good."
  • "pfSense is a free solution."
  • "The solution software does not require a license, it is free. The support contract is about $600 dollars."
  • "Its price is pretty fair."
  • "The solution is free. However, you need to pay for support."
  • "Looking at what it does, I think that it is fairly priced."
  • More pfSense Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer: When you compare these firewalls you can identify them with different features, advantages, practices and… more »
    Top Answer:One of our favorite things about Fortinet Fortigate is that you can deploy on the cloud or on premises. Fortinet… more »
    Top Answer:It is easy to integrate Cisco ASA with other Cisco products and also other NAC solutions. When you understand the Cisco… more »
    Top Answer:Two of the most common and well recognized firewalls, PfSense and OPNsense both support site-to-site IPsec VPN and… more »
    Top Answer:What I like best about OPNsense is that, as a firewall, it's pretty good. I'm quite impressed with it. I had an… more »
    Top Answer:I'm using the free version of OPNsense. I didn't check the pricing for the solution because I still need to test it… more »
    Top Answer:You don't really specify what type of router you are looking for but if you are talking about a gateway router I… more »
    Top Answer:Fortinet’s Fortigate is a firewall solution we use and are very much satisfied with its performance. We find Fortigate… more »
    Top Answer:The solution could be more user-friendly, and the graphical interface needs some work so that someone without an IT… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco ASA Firewall, Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) Firewall, Cisco ASA NGFW, Cisco ASA, Adaptive Security Appliance, ASA, Cisco Sourcefire Firewalls, Cisco ASAv, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall
    Learn More
    OPNsense
    Video Not Available
    Netgate
    Video Not Available
    Overview

    The Cisco Secure Firewall portfolio delivers greater protections for your network against an increasingly evolving and complex set of threats. With Cisco, you’re investing in a foundation for security that is both agile and integrated- leading to the strongest security posture available today and tomorrow.

      From your data center, branch offices, cloud environments, and everywhere in between, you can leverage the power of Cisco to turn your existing network infrastructure into an extension of your firewall solution, resulting in world class security controls everywhere you need them.

      Investing in a Secure Firewall appliance today gives you robust protections against even the most sophisticated threats without compromising performance when inspecting encrypted traffic. Further, integrations with other Cisco and 3rd party solutions provides you with a broad and deep portfolio of security products, all working together to correlate previously disconnected events, eliminate noise, and stop threats faster.

      OPNsense is a user-friendly, fast-track, open-source FreeBSD-based firewall and routing platform. This software offers features that are generally available from costly commercial firewalls, with the added benefit of open and verifiable sources. The firewall provides users, developers, and organizations with an advantageous environment through transparency. The development of this project is driven by a strong focus on security and code quality.

      The solution offers a variety of components, such as:

      • Weekly security updates. These updates provide the user with the ability to reach new emerging threats in a timely manner through small increments.

      • Two major releases every year. These yearly releases are on a fixed release cycle and provide organizations with the ability to plan ahead of an upcoming upgrade.

      • A roadmap of instructions. Each major release provides a guide and a set of clear goals.

      A team of professionals developed OPNsense. Other professional and experienced software architects, engineers, and developers are encouraged to join in the development of the solution to make it as successful as possible. OPNsense offers a variety of rich features with each release. Each upgrade is based on FreeBSD for continual, long-term support and utilizes a freshly advanced MVC framework based on Phalcon. OPNsense is committed to helping businesses, school networks, remote offices, hotels, and other markets in keeping their data protected.

      OPNsense Core Features

      OPNsense continually offers a free, complete, high-end security platform with new releases and features. With each release, OPNsense focuses on providing more unique and better security features in a timely manner. These features include:

      • Captive Portal
      • Built-in reporting and monitoring tools including RRD Graphs
      • Network Flow Monitoring
      • Traffic Shaper
      • Support for Plugins
      • Granular Control Over State Table
      • Dynamic DNS
      • Two-factor authentication throughout the system
      • Netflow Exporter
      • Encrypted Configuration Backup to Google Drive
      • Forward Caching Proxy (transparent) with Blacklist Support
      • Stateful inspection firewall
      • DNS Server & DNS Forwarder
      • High Availability & Hardware Failover (with configuration synchronization & synchronized state tables)
      • DHCP Server and Relay
      • Virtual Private Network (site to site & road warrior, IPsec, OpenVPN & legacy PPTP support)
      • Intrusion Detection and Prevention
      • 802.1Q VLAN support

      Reviews from Real Users

      OPNsense is a favorite security solution among reviewers for a number of reasons. Two of those reasons include the user-friendliness of the solution, which makes it easy to use, and its ability to easily scale.

      For many, a user-friendly solution is essential. FiorindoDi A., a system administration specialist at a tech vendor, says, "The graphic user interface is very good and it is user-friendly, which makes the product easy-to-use."

      Peerspot reviewers speak of the scalability of the solution. For example, an anonymous cloud and infrastructure manager at a venture capital and private equity firm reviewer notes, "OPNsense is easy to scale when running on the hardware."

      pfSense is a free and open-source operating system for routers and firewalls, and is typically configured as DHCP server, DNS server, WiFi access point, VPN server, all running on the same hardware device. It is operated through a user-friendly web interface, making administration easy even for users with limited networking knowledge.

      In addition, pfSense is feature-rich, has a mature platform, is customizable, is flexible by design, and can be used on a small home router as well as run the entire network of a large corporation. pfSense puts you in control of your networking, is regularly updated, and works to promptly patch security issues. pfSense has recently become the favored alternative to the industry leader, Cisco.

      pfSense is:

      • Robust
      • Powerful
      • Easy to use
      • Secure
      • Scalable

      pfSense Key Features

      pfSense has many key features and capabilities, including:

      • Strength and accuracy: pfSense is able to always follow either default or custom rules, making it a stronger firewall than some of its competitors. It also filters traffic separately, whether it’s coming from your internal network of devices or the open internet, allowing you to set different rules and policies for each.

      • Flexibility: pfSense can work both as a basic firewall and as a complete security system because it gives you the flexibility to integrate additional features as code where necessary.

      • Open-source: Because it is open-source, not only is pfSense free to use, but community members can contribute to the code to make it a better software.

      • User-friendly: Usually firewall products are not user-friendly because they often include complex settings, options, and features that require fine-tuning. pfSense’s interface is simple, direct, and easy to use.

      • WireGuard Support: Instead of building your own VPN using pfSense, or settling for a commercial VPN provider, you can directly integrate WireGuard with the pfSense firewall.

      • Speed Management and Fault Tolerance: pfSense’s multi-WAN feature allows your system to continue operating in case components fail.

      • Well-supported: pfSense regularly has security and feature updates. It also has a documentation site and a well-informed and knowledgeable support forum.

      Reviews from Real Users

      Below is some feedback from PeerSpot Users who are currently using the solution.

      Bojan O., CEO at In.sist d.o.o., says, “The classic features, such as content inspection, content protection, and the application-level firewall, are the most important."

      Another PeerSpot user, a chef at a media company, explains what he finds most valuable about pfSense: "The plugins or add-ons are most valuable. Sometimes, they are free of charge, and sometimes, you have to pay for them, but you can purchase or download very valuable plugins or add-ons to perform internal testing of your network and simulate a denial-of-service attack or whichever attack you want to simulate. You can also remote and monitor your network and see where the gap is."

      T.O., a VP of Business Development at a tech services company, mentions, "What I found most valuable is the cost of the platform, the flexibility of the platform, and the fact that the ongoing fees are not there as they are with the competitor."



      Offer
      Learn more about Cisco Secure Firewall
      Learn more about OPNsense
      Learn more about pfSense
      Sample Customers
      There are more than one million Adaptive Security Appliances deployed globally. Top customers include First American Financial Corp., Genzyme, Frankfurt Airport, Hansgrohe SE, Rio Olympics, The French Laundry, Rackspace, and City of Tomorrow.
      CompuNet Systems GmbH,
      Nerds On Site Inc., RKC Development Inc., Expertech, Fisher's Technology, Ncisive, Consulting, CPURX, Vaughn's Computer House Calls, Imeretech LLC, Digital Crisis, Carolina Digital Phone, Technigogo Technology Services, The Simple Solution, SwiftecITInc, Rocky Mountain Tech Team, Free Range Geeks, Alaska Computer Geeks, Lark Information Technology, Renaissance Systems Inc., Cutting Edge Computers, Caretech LLC, GoVanguard, Network Touch Ltd, P.C. Solutions.Net, Vision Voice and Data Systems LLC, Montgomery Technologies, Techforce, Concero Networks, ASONInc, CPS Electronics and Consulting, Darkwire.net LLC, IT Specialists, MBS-Net Inc., VOICE1 LLC, Advantage Networking Inc., Powerhouse Systems, Doxa Multimedia Inc., Pro Computer Service, Virtual IT Services, A&J Computers Inc., Envision IT LLC, CommunicaONE Inc., Bone Computer Inc., Amax Engineering Corporation, QPG Ltd. Co., IT 101 Inc., Perfect Cloud Solutions, Applied Technology Group Inc., The Digital Sun Group LLC, Firespring
      Top Industries
      REVIEWERS
      Financial Services Firm16%
      Comms Service Provider13%
      Computer Software Company9%
      Government8%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Computer Software Company20%
      Comms Service Provider17%
      Government8%
      Educational Organization5%
      REVIEWERS
      Comms Service Provider30%
      Logistics Company20%
      Aerospace/Defense Firm10%
      Financial Services Firm10%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Comms Service Provider22%
      Computer Software Company16%
      Government9%
      Educational Organization6%
      REVIEWERS
      University11%
      Marketing Services Firm9%
      Comms Service Provider9%
      Manufacturing Company6%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Comms Service Provider22%
      Computer Software Company15%
      Government8%
      Educational Organization5%
      Company Size
      REVIEWERS
      Small Business35%
      Midsize Enterprise25%
      Large Enterprise40%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Small Business28%
      Midsize Enterprise18%
      Large Enterprise53%
      REVIEWERS
      Small Business67%
      Midsize Enterprise10%
      Large Enterprise24%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Small Business27%
      Midsize Enterprise20%
      Large Enterprise53%
      REVIEWERS
      Small Business70%
      Midsize Enterprise18%
      Large Enterprise13%
      VISITORS READING REVIEWS
      Small Business29%
      Midsize Enterprise20%
      Large Enterprise51%
      Buyer's Guide
      OPNsense vs. pfSense
      January 2023
      Find out what your peers are saying about OPNsense vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: January 2023.
      672,785 professionals have used our research since 2012.

      OPNsense is ranked 7th in Firewalls with 12 reviews while pfSense is ranked 3rd in Firewalls with 46 reviews. OPNsense is rated 8.2, while pfSense is rated 8.4. The top reviewer of OPNsense writes "Unbeatable pricing and easy to configure and use, but it can be configured only through the GUI, and the integration with Azure cloud is difficult". On the other hand, the top reviewer of pfSense writes "Feature-rich, well documented, and there is good support available online". OPNsense is most compared with Untangle NG Firewall, Sophos XG, Fortinet FortiGate, Sophos UTM and Check Point NGFW, whereas pfSense is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Sophos XG, Untangle NG Firewall, Sophos UTM and WatchGuard Firebox. See our OPNsense vs. pfSense report.

      See our list of best Firewalls vendors.

      We monitor all Firewalls reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.