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Executive Summary
Updated on June 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: May 2022).
Buyer's Guide
OPNsense vs. pfSense
May 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about OPNsense vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: May 2022.
608,010 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
"The Adversity Malware Protection (AMP) feature is the most valuable. It is also very easy to use. Every technical user can operate this solution without any difficulty. The dashboard of Cisco Firepower has every tool that a security operator needs. You can find every resource that you need to operate through this dashboard.""The most valuable feature is the access control list (ACL).""Its Snort 3 IPS has better flexibility as far as being able to write rules. This gives me better granularity.""The main thing that I love the most is its policy and objects. Whenever I try to give access to a user, I can create an object via group creation in the object fields. This way, I am not able to enter a user in the policy repeatedly.""Another benefit has been user integration. We try to integrate our policies so that we can create policies based on active users. We can create policies based on who is accessing a resource instead of just IP addresses and ports.""I like the firewall features, Snort, and the Intrusion Prevention System (IPS).""IPS and Snort are very important because they also differentiate Cisco from other vendors and competitors.""It has a good security level. It is a next-generation firewall. It can protect from different types of attacks. We have enabled IPS and IDS."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pros →

"The most valuable features in OPNsense are reporting and visibility.""The system in general is quite flexible.""The most valuable features are reporting, the Sensei plugin, and firewall capabilities.""OPNsense is easy to scale when running on the hardware.""The initial implementation process is simple.""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.""The VPN server feature is the most valuable. It is integrated with Radius and AAA for doing accounting and authentication. Insight view is also an important feature for me at this time. It allows me to assess our network traffic. I also like the firewall feature. The BSD kernel has a packet filter. It is one of the most solid frameworks for firewalls. Its user interface is one of the best interfaces I have used.""We have found pretty much all the features of the solution to be valuable."

More OPNsense Pros →

"The solution has good customization abilities and plenty of features.""A valuable feature is that the solution is open source.""One of the advantages of pfSense is that it is very easy to work with. It is a very good open-source solution, and it works really well. pfSense provides a complete package. For some features, it could be the first solution in the world. It is a very good alternative in the market for a firewall solution. You don't need to go to Cisco or other brands with expensive firewalls. pfSense also allows us to offer some support services.""I especially like the VPN part. It works like a charm.""The classic features such as content inspection, content protection, and the application-level firewall, are the most important.""Some of the terminologies were more familiar to me than it was when I first encountered Cisco.""The concurrent users are perfect for us.""I have found the most valuable features to be antivirus and malware protection."

More pfSense Pros →

Cons
"One of my colleagues is using the firewall as an IPS, but he is worried about Firepower's performance... With the 10 Gb devices, when it gets to 5 Gbps, the CPU usage goes up a lot and he cannot manage the IPS.""The solution could offer better control that would allow the ability to restrictions certain features from a website.""The ability to better integrate with other tools would be an improvement.""My team tells me that other solutions such as Fortinet and Palo Alto are easier to implement.""The initial setup could be simplified, as it can be complex for new users.""In a future release, it would be ideal if they could offer an open interface to other security products so that we could easily connect to our own open industry standard.""Web filtering needs improvement because sometimes the URL is miscategorized.""FlexConfig is there as a bridge for features that are not yet natively integrated into Firepower. It is a way of allowing you to be able to configure things that wouldn't otherwise be possible until the development team can add them into Firepower's native capability. There is still some work that needs to be done around FlexConfig. There are still quite a few complex things, like policy-based routing, that have to be done in FlexConfig, and it doesn't always work perfectly. Sometimes, there are some glitches. It is recommended that you configure FlexConfig policies with Cisco TAC. It would be good to see Cisco accelerate some of those configurations that you can only do in FlexConfig into the platform, so that they are there natively."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Cons →

"The interface needs to be simplified. It is not user-friendly.""The logging could improve in OPNsense.""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.""The solution could be more secure.""There are issues with stability and reliability.""I would like to see better SD-WAN performance.""We did not like the fact that you have to configure everything with the graphic user interface. We have used other firewalls, such as FortiGate, that you can configure via code. OPNsense is not easy to integrate. When you are deploying via GitHub or another source repository, this is not possible. That's one thing we didn't like much.""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 →

"They could improve their commercial stance and be more agile when it comes to the commercial pricing of enterprise deals.""They can improve the dynamic of the input of IPs from outside.""The integration should be improved.""The access control aspect of the product could be improved.""The solution could improve by having centralized management and API support online.""The solution requires a lot of administration.""pfSense could improve by having a sandboxing feature that I have seen in SonicWall. However, maybe it is available I am not aware of it.""Lacks instructional videos."

More pfSense Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "Cisco, as we all know, is expensive, but for the money you are paying, you know that you are also getting top-notch documentation as well as support if needed."
  • "This product requires licenses for advanced features including Snort, IPS, and malware detection."
  • "This product is expensive."
  • "For me, personally, as an individual, Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is expensive."
  • "The price of Firepower is not bad compared to other products."
  • "The solution was chosen because of its price compared to other similar solutions."
  • "The price is comparable."
  • "It definitely competes with the other vendors in the market."
  • More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "OPNsense is a well known open-source tool."
  • "It is not an expensive product. Basically, I deployed it because it was the fastest solution to satisfy our needs in open source."
  • "OPNsense is an open-source solution and it is free to use."
  • "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."
  • More OPNsense Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "We are using the open-source version, not the commercial one."
  • "It has almost zero cost, and it is open to us. It runs on a small appliance just for a couple of 100 bucks, and I've never had an appliance burn out on me yet."
  • "It is open source."
  • "I spent a couple of $1,000 on hardware, and the OS was free. A comparable firewall would cost me probably 20 grand. It saved a lot of money."
  • "I like the fact that it is open-source."
  • "pfSense is open-source, but the support is something that the customer pays for."
  • "The pricing is lower than some of its competitors."
  • "pfSense is open-source."
  • More pfSense Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    608,010 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer: When you compare these firewalls you can identify them with different features, advantages, practices and… more »
    Top Answer: The Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is a very powerful and very complex piece of anti-viral software. When one considers… 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:The IDS and IPS features are valuable. From the usability perspective, there is a lot of good documentation. As IT… more »
    Top Answer:Its pricing is unbeatable in comparison to other firewalls. You can have a small instance that could be €80 a month with… 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:It is very easy to use. The interface is quite understandable. There is a good community, and I can take over at any… more »
    Top Answer:We are using its Community Edition, which is free. My company is a government school, and we don't have much budget.
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco Firepower NGFW, Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall, FirePOWER, Cisco NGFWv
    Learn More
    OPNsense
    Video Not Available
    Netgate
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    Overview

    Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) is a firewall that provides capabilities beyond those of a standard firewall and delivers comprehensive, unified policy management of firewall functions, application control, threat prevention, and advanced malware protection from the network to the endpoint.

    Cisco NGFW Firewalls include advanced threat defense capabilities to meet diverse needs, from small offices to high-performance data centers and service providers, and are deployed in leading private and public clouds. Available in a wide range of models, Cisco NGFW can be deployed as a physical or virtual appliance. Cisco NGFW firewalls are also available with clustering for increased performance, high availability configurations, and more.

    Key Features of Cisco NGFW Firewalls

    • Breach prevention and advanced security: Prevent attacks before they get inside. Cisco provides its firewalls with the latest intelligence to stop emerging threats and employs filtering to enforce policies on hundreds of millions of URLs. Cisco NGFW offers built-in sandboxing and advanced malware protection that continuously analyzes file behavior to quickly detect and eliminate threats.

    • Comprehensive network visibility: Constantly monitor your network so you can rapidly spot and stop bad behavior. Cisco NGFW provides a holistic view of all activity and provides a clear picture of threat activity across users, hosts, networks, and devices, as well as information on threats and website, application, and VM activities.

    • Flexible management and deployment options: Centrally deploy, customize, and manage all your appliances.

    • Fast detection: Detect threats in seconds and detect the presence of a successful breach within hours or minutes. Cisco NGFW allows you to deploy consistent policy that's easy to maintain, with automatic enforcement across all the different parts of your organization.

    • Automation and product integrations: Seamlessly integrate with Cisco tools and automatically share threat information, event data, policy, and contextual information with email, web, endpoint, and network security tools. Cisco NGFW automates security tasks like impact assessment, policy management and tuning, and user identification.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Cisco NGFW stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its extensive discovery abilities that enable you to constantly see what is happening on your network and take action when necessary, and the high level of protection it provides.

    Mike B., a director of IT security at a wellness & fitness company, writes, "It is one of the fastest solutions, if not the fastest, in the security technology space. This gives us peace of mind knowing that as soon as a new attack comes online that we will be protected in short order. From that perspective, no one really comes close now to Firepower, which is hugely valuable to us from an upcoming new attack prevention perspective."

    Zhulien K., the lead network security engineer at TechnoCore LTD, notes, " The most valuable feature that Cisco Firepower NGFW provides for us is the Intrusion policy. Again, with that being said, I cannot shy away from giving kudos to all of the other features such as AVC (Application Visibility and Control), SSL Decryption, Identity policy, Correlation policy, REST API, and more. All of the features that are incorporated in the Cisco Firepower NGFW are awesome and easy to configure if you know what you are doing. Things almost always work, unless you hit a bug, which is fixed with a simple software update. "

    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 Firepower NGFW Firewall
    Learn more about OPNsense
    Learn more about pfSense
    Sample Customers
    Rackspace, The French Laundry, Downer Group, Lewisville School District, Shawnee Mission School District, Lower Austria Firefighters Administration, Oxford Hospital, SugarCreek, Westfield
    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
    Comms Service Provider19%
    Financial Services Firm17%
    Government13%
    Computer Software Company6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider28%
    Computer Software Company21%
    Government7%
    Manufacturing Company4%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider43%
    Computer Software Company15%
    Government8%
    Educational Organization4%
    REVIEWERS
    University12%
    Comms Service Provider10%
    Marketing Services Firm10%
    Computer Software Company6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider40%
    Computer Software Company15%
    Government7%
    Educational Organization4%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business40%
    Midsize Enterprise26%
    Large Enterprise34%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business26%
    Midsize Enterprise20%
    Large Enterprise55%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business71%
    Midsize Enterprise14%
    Large Enterprise14%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business24%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise52%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business70%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise13%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise48%
    Buyer's Guide
    OPNsense vs. pfSense
    May 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about OPNsense vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: May 2022.
    608,010 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    OPNsense is ranked 16th in Firewalls with 9 reviews while pfSense is ranked 3rd in Firewalls with 61 reviews. OPNsense is rated 7.8, 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 Cisco ASA Firewall, whereas pfSense is most compared with Fortinet FortiGate, Sophos XG, Untangle NG Firewall, Sophos UTM and Zyxel Unified Security Gateway. 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.