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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: July 2022).
Buyer's Guide
OPNsense vs. pfSense
July 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about OPNsense vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: July 2022.
622,358 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
"Web filtering is a big improvement for us. The previous version we used, the AC520, did not have that feature included. It was not very easy for us, especially because the environment had to be isolated and we needed to get updates from outside, such as Windows patches. That feature has really helped us when we are going outside to pull those patches.""I have experience with URL filtering, and it is very good for URL filtering. You can filter URLs based on the categories, and it does a good job. It can also do deep packet inspection.""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.""One of the nice things about Firepower is that you can set it to discover the environment. If that is happening, then Firepower is learning about every device, software operating system, and application running inside or across your environment. Then, you can leverage the discovery intelligence to get Firepower to select the most appropriate intrusion prevention rules to use for your environment rather than picking one of the base policies that might have 50,000 IPS rules in it, which can put a lot of overhead on your firewall. If you choose the recommendations, as long as you update them regularly, you might be able to get your rule set down to only 1,000 or 1,500, which is a significant reduction in a base rule set. This means that the firewall will give you better performance because there are less rules being checked unnecessarily. That is really useful.""I'm a big fan of SecureX, Cisco's platform for tying together all the different security tools. It has a lot of flexibility and even a lot of third-party or non-Cisco integration. I feel like that's a really valuable tool.""The features I've found most valuable are the packet captures and packet traces because they help me debug connections. I like the logs because they help me see what's going on.""Firepower has reduced our firewall operational costs by about 25 percent.""I like that Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall is reliable. Support is also good."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Pros →

"OPNsense is highly stable.""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.""OPNsense is easy to scale when running on the hardware.""The initial implementation process is simple.""The most valuable features are reporting, the Sensei plugin, and firewall capabilities.""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.""We have found pretty much all the features of the solution to be valuable.""The IDS and IPS features are valuable. From the usability perspective, there is a lot of good documentation. As IT professionals, we found it very easy to configure the firewall. It was easy to configure and use."

More OPNsense Pros →

"At our peak time, we have reached more than 5,000 concurrent connections.""Is good at blocking IP addresses.""pfSense helped us during COVID-19 because we used OpenVPN to connect from home.""The initial setup is not complex.""The interface is straightforward and easy to use.""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.""The solution has good customization abilities and plenty of features."

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.""The maturity needs to be better.""On the VPN side, Firepower could be better. It needs more monitoring on VPNs. Right now, it's not that good. You can set up a VPN in Firepower, but you can't monitor it.""I would like it to have faster deployment times. A typical deployment could take two to three minutes. Sometimes, it depends on the situation. It is better than it was in the past, but it could always use improvement.""Cisco makes horrible UIs, so the interface is something that should be improved.""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.""It would be great if some of the load times were faster.""Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall can be more secure."

More Cisco Firepower NGFW Firewall Cons →

"The solution could be more secure.""The support for OPNsense is good because we have documents available on the internet. The support could improve a little.""I would like to see better SD-WAN performance.""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 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.""The only thing that I would like to see improved is the Insight or the NetFlow analysis part. It would be good to have the possibility to dig down on the Insight platform. Right now, we can easily do only a few analyses. If this page becomes more powerful, it surely will be a well-adopted platform.""The logging could improve in OPNsense.""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."

More OPNsense Cons →

"It needs to be more secure.""The product could offer more integrated plugins.""The user interface can be improved to make it easier to add more features. And pfSense could be better integrated with other solutions, like antivirus.""I'd like to find something in pfSense that is more specific to URL filtering. We have customers who would like to filter their web traffic. They would like to be able to say to their employees, "You can surf the web, but you cannot get access to Facebook or other social media," or "You can surf the web, but you're not allowed to gamble or watch porn on the web." My technicians say that doing this kind of stuff with pfSense nowadays is not easy. They can implement some filters using IP addresses but not by using the names of the domains and categories. So, we are not able to exclude some categories from the allowed traffic, such as porn, gambling, etc. To do that, we have to use another product and another web filter that uses DNS. I know that there are some third-party products that could work with pfSense, but I'd like the native pfSense solution to do that.""The solution could always work at being more secure. It's a good idea to continue to work on security features and capabilities in order to ensure they can keep clients safe.""The router monitoring needs improvement when compared with Sonicwall.""Web interface could be enhanced and more user friendly.""The integration could be improved."

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 →

  • "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."
  • "The pricing is lower than some of its competitors."
  • "pfSense is open-source."
  • "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."
  • 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 »
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    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: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:It is very easy to use. The interface is quite understandable. There is a good community, and I can take over at any… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Cisco Firepower NGFW, Cisco Firepower Next-Generation Firewall, FirePOWER, Cisco NGFWv
    Learn More
    OPNsense
    Video Not Available
    Netgate
    Video Not Available
    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 Provider29%
    Computer Software Company20%
    Government7%
    Manufacturing Company4%
    REVIEWERS
    Comms Service Provider38%
    Logistics Company25%
    Aerospace/Defense Firm13%
    Venture Capital & Private Equity Firm13%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider44%
    Computer Software Company14%
    Government7%
    Educational Organization4%
    REVIEWERS
    University12%
    Comms Service Provider10%
    Marketing Services Firm10%
    Computer Software Company6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Comms Service Provider41%
    Computer Software Company14%
    Government6%
    Educational Organization4%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business40%
    Midsize Enterprise25%
    Large Enterprise35%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business26%
    Midsize Enterprise20%
    Large Enterprise55%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business65%
    Midsize Enterprise12%
    Large Enterprise24%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business24%
    Midsize Enterprise23%
    Large Enterprise53%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business70%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise13%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business27%
    Midsize Enterprise24%
    Large Enterprise49%
    Buyer's Guide
    OPNsense vs. pfSense
    July 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about OPNsense vs. pfSense and other solutions. Updated: July 2022.
    622,358 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    OPNsense is ranked 13th in Firewalls with 9 reviews while pfSense is ranked 2nd in Firewalls with 58 reviews. OPNsense is rated 8.0, while pfSense is rated 8.6. 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 Check Point NGFW. 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.