Sebastian Morales - PeerSpot reviewer
Product Manager at Infokrause
Real User
Top 10
An affordable and scalable solution that provides excellent features and documentation
Pros and Cons
  • "The product’s documentation is good."
  • "The solution’s interface must be improved."

What is our primary use case?

I use the product to test firewalls and VPN solutions.

How has it helped my organization?

We could use the solution to connect with the firewalls remotely for security.

What is most valuable?

The VPN features are the most valuable. The product’s documentation is good.

What needs improvement?

The solution’s interface must be improved.

Buyer's Guide
Netgate pfSense
February 2024
Learn what your peers think about Netgate pfSense. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: February 2024.
757,198 professionals have used our research since 2012.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the solution for one year. I am using the latest version of the solution.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I rate the solution’s stability a ten out of ten.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I rate the tool’s scalability a ten out of ten.

How was the initial setup?

The initial installation is easy.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The product is cheap.

What other advice do I have?

Initially, the product was difficult. It gets easier with use. It was a good investment. I would recommend the solution to others. Overall, I rate the product an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Director De Tecnologias da Information at EPAL-EP
Real User
Free to use, flexible, and user-friendly
Pros and Cons
  • "The initial setup is not complex."
  • "Ultimately, we'd like something stronger, and something that can handle threats better in real-time."

How has it helped my organization?

The product makes our business more secure. It has increased the security of our business. We are using the two solutions. The first one is from Cisco, and the second is from pfSense.

A few months back, we were attacked, however, the attackers used the wrong software. We decided then it was important to start prioritizing our security, which is why we brought on this product. 

What is most valuable?

The solution is very flexible.

I find the product very easy to use. 

The initial setup is not complex. 

The solution has been very stable so far.

We can scale the solution if we need to.

What needs improvement?

The process can be challenging. We do not have one security team. We need a team that can guarantee the security of our company and we're not there yet. We only have the client's equipment, and one guy managing this equipment. This isn't necessarily a problem with the product, it's more about our own internal structure. 

Ultimately, we'd like something stronger, and something that can handle threats better in real-time. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for about five years now. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been great so far. there are no bugs or glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. Its performance has been great.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of the product is very good. If we want to expand, we can do so. 

We have 3,000 people on the solution right now. There are people from various teams that utilize it. It's not just IT. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used OpenBSD, a Linux solution. 

We switched to this product as it is free and open-source. It also increased the level of security we had on hand, even though OpenBSD was more user-friendly. 

How was the initial setup?

When it comes to setting up the solution, it's not a complex process. It's pretty straightforward in general. 

The deployment took maybe a month and a half. 

We have two teams that handle deployment and maintenance tasks. One team is internal and the other is external. They're mostly engineers and they work together. 

What about the implementation team?

We used an outside integrator to help us and we were pretty happy with the results. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We are using the free version of the solution. We are not paying anything for it at this time. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We're reading up on other solutions every day. We likely won't stay with this solution. It's good for now, however, we'd like something more robust further down the line. 

What other advice do I have?

We are a customer and an end-user. 

We're using either version 5.3 or 5.4 at this time. 

While this is a good solution, we're looking for something stronger in the future. I'd recommend others also look for something strong, that fits their security needs. 

I would rate the solution at a nine out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
Netgate pfSense
February 2024
Learn what your peers think about Netgate pfSense. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: February 2024.
757,198 professionals have used our research since 2012.
IT Manager at a marketing services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Stable, fair price, and user-friendly with a very nice web interface
Pros and Cons
  • "It has a very nice web interface, and it is very simple to use. The way policies are working is also good."
  • "I have been using WireGuard VPN because it is a lot faster and more secure than an open VPN. However, in the latest version of pfSense, they have removed this feature, which is one of the main features that I need. They should include this feature."

What is most valuable?

It has a very nice web interface, and it is very simple to use. The way policies are working is also good.

What needs improvement?

I have been using WireGuard VPN because it is a lot faster and more secure than an open VPN. However, in the latest version of pfSense, they have removed this feature, which is one of the main features that I need. They should include this feature.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for probably ten years. As the head of IT, I have used pfSense for the French infrastructure for around ten years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is working fine for me. I never had any problem with this firewall.

How are customer service and technical support?

I never had to contact their support because everything has been working fine.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have a lot of experience with pfSense but not much with OPNsense. Both OPNsense and pfSense are very easy, but pfSense is a bit more friendly. pfSense is simple to use with a nice web interface. OPNsense is more tricky.

OPNsense has the remote access functionality, which is the main functionality that I need. OPNsense is very easy to set up and very easy to manage. It is also very fast.

How was the initial setup?

Its initial setup is very easy. 

What about the implementation team?

In France, we have less than five engineers. That's why we try to do everything by ourselves. We chose pfSense because it is user-friendly.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Its price is pretty fair.

What other advice do I have?

If you don't need WireGuard VPN, pfSense is better because it is easier to use than OPNsense. It is a very good platform. Its web administration interface has been working fine.

I would rate pfSense an eight out of ten. A couple of months ago, I would have rated it a ten out of ten because of the WireGuard VPN feature.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Owner at artesistemas.net
Real User
Top 20
An open source firewall solution with a useful encryption feature
Pros and Cons
  • "I like the connectivity to the open VPN. It's very smooth."
  • "They can improve the dynamic of the input of IPs from outside."

What is our primary use case?

I was working for a firm that has 70 employees. They are mostly working from home, so I needed a very well-structured VPN for remote working. We put it on Supermicro, and it worked fine, and it was above their needs.

What is most valuable?

I like the connectivity to the open VPN. It's very smooth. All the encryption in the open VPN is very good. The structure of the pfSense software works out very well. The PF work cuts and the snorts and whatever we put on the console for spyware and attack prevention seem to work very nicely. 

What needs improvement?

They can improve the dynamic of the input of IPs from outside. Determining the IPs that are outside would be another way to identifying potential threats. We can treat it or identify and then block it or determine the rules to work with that IPs from the outside and inside the network. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using pfSense for the past three years. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Back in the day, I was using Fortinet, and it was very tricky to get it working without spending more money. pfSense is exactly what we paid for, and it's still working very well. We've been working with it for two or three years, and it's a very good solution, and I didn't have to spend any more money on it.

Cisco VSL and Fortinet are tricky when it comes to improving the firewall rules or creating rules above older rules. In pfSense, it's very logical. It's simple.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very linear and very smooth.

What other advice do I have?

On a scale from one to ten, I would give pfSense a nine.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Senior System Administrator at Debre Markos University
Real User
Top 20
Great monitoring, easy to install, and very stable
Pros and Cons
  • "We like the fact that the product is open-source. It's free to use. There are no costs associated with it."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for security purposes. We use it for a firewall.

What is most valuable?

The solution is quite stable. The performance is very good.

We've found the solution to be very easy to use. It's user-friendly.

The scalability potential of the product is quite good. 

We like the fact that the product is open-source. It's free to use. There are no costs associated with it.

The solution is very easy to install.

The solution is quite fast.

It does a good job of monitoring our systems.

What needs improvement?

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.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for a while. It's been about six years or so.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is very good. There are no bugs or glitches. it doesn't crash or freeze. Its performance is reliable. It's been very good over the years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution scales quite well. If a company needs to expand it, it can do so with relative ease.

We have a few hundred users at this time.

We do have plans to continue to use the product.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have used technical support in the past. They have always been very helpful and responsive. They are knowledgeable. We have no complaints. We're quite satisfied with their level of service. 

How was the initial setup?

The installation of the solution is not overly complex or difficult. It's easy. It's straightforward. e didn't have any issues with eh implementation process. A company should find the setup very simple. 

The deployment was very fast. It only took a few minutes.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The solution is an open-source product. It's free to use. It's extremely affordable.

What other advice do I have?

I'd rate the solution at a ten out of ten. It's been very good in terms of its overall capabilities.

I would recommend this solution to other companies and users. It's very fast and very easy to use.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Consultant and Head of Services at ILANZ LLC
Consultant
A firewall and router combined with unified threat management
Pros and Cons
  • "I am happy with the EPLS, the radius, and I am happy with the captive portal."
  • "It could use a little bit of improvement in the reporting."

What is our primary use case?

We have all sorts of users. We have admins, we have the finance guys, and we have salespeople using it. We created a captive portal for our teams as well as a guest portal. So in general, we are more or less happy.

Right now, I use it not only for intrusion detection but also for ETLs. We are a telephony integrator. We use it for applications and radius, etc. I use it as much more than a firewall. I use it for telephony applications as a certificate authority. 

How has it helped my organization?

Well, we do have the versatility of a fully functional firewall at practically no cost impact... So its a good investment for us in terms of the time spent on it... Most of all, we can see where our Internet etc can be well managed from the real time graphs that we see...

What is most valuable?

It's quite an awesome product with so many good things packed into it. I am happy with the EPLS, the radius, and I am happy with the captive portal. All in all, it's a good product. And considering that I get it for paying nothing, it's really worth the time invested in it.

What needs improvement?

As I said, the product is fantastic. It could use a little bit of improvement in the reporting — the reporting is virtually non-existent. Something like a reporting module would be a benefit. Otherwise, in terms of the performance, at least for my organization, I don't see much of a problem.

By this, I mean that we cant generate reports of trends etc that could be exported out of PFSense in terms of a PDF etc to see how the firewall is functioning...

Though I must say that the work around for this could be to use the pfsense zabbix plugin and integrate to a Zabbix platform and then use the Zabbix reporting capabilities to get the required reports... Not much of an effort for the technically sound persons but definitely not in the scope of those from a non technical perspective... 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for roughly 10 months. I started with version 2.4, but about four days ago, I upgraded to version 2.5. It's been a good product so far.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability-wise, it's fine. I've only experienced one issue in the last 10 months. But in general, I am happy with it. Scalability-wise, as I said, our organization is just about 10 to 15 people, so we have not had much of a problem. I can't comment on how it would scale up with hundreds of VLANs and tens of thousands of people operating on it. But in general, for a small organization, I think it's very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

As we are in SMB, I cant comment on big traffic situations but for a small organization like ours (10 to 20 users) and with various integrations that we need (e.g., OpenVPN, WireGuard, LDAP authentications, Tens of VLANS, Captive portal, DHCP Relay, EAP-TLS, IDS, Adblocks etc.) We are ok with it...

How are customer service and technical support?

I think the documentation is good enough because I've never had the need to contact technical support. I just use Google to get the information that I need.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used to use Fortinet in our office in Dubai. But where I am right now, I thought an open-source was the option for me because I'm very involved in open-source projects. It came down to pfSense and OPNsense — the first one we downloaded was pfSense and I stuck by it.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. I come from the IT industry, so I had no issues. Within 20 minutes, I had it up and running.

What about the implementation team?

I implemented it myself.

What was our ROI?

Too early to comment... Though all I needed to invest was a small desktop and ofcourse, time and effort to configure it... 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Well, its opensource... So for the tech-minded, its not so difficult but yes, the configuration is understandable for those with good prior firewall knowledge... 

If you can get it working, its great... But yes, thats the first part... Get it working... 

Oncw working, all licenses etc are not a problem as it is opensource... So no restrictions there... so far...

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did use Sophos-XG free but I stick to pfsense as it is free and open source...

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend pfSense for the simple reason that it's open-source and it's free. Anything for free is good. I personally got much more out of it than I expected. I never expected this product to be so worth the time. It's a good product. For my needs at least.

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of eight. I have not used it for thousands of users, but for our usage, for an SMB organization, I would give it a rating of eight.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: integrator
PeerSpot user
it_user221862 - PeerSpot reviewer
Cloud Engineer at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
I use pfSense because it gives me the flexibility to greatly expand basic firewall features.
Pros and Cons
  • "I use pfSense because it gives me the flexibility to greatly expand basic firewall features."
  • "The GUI. There are TONS of plugins for pfSense, as such, if a user wants to add quite a bit of functionality, the GUI will feel a little congested."

How has it helped my organization?

I stood up pfSense in a Large Telecom providers Lab environment for their next generation products. I was able to achieve 10G throughput (about 9.1 true throughput as tested over 4 days solid), and only hit a max of 20% CPU utilization on a DL380 G7. This server also had Suricata (in IPS mode and a heavy ruleset), as well as pfBlocker running.

What is most valuable?

I use pfSense because it gives me the flexibility to greatly expand basic firewall features. It's open source (and free - as in beer and speech), but also has commercial support. This can be run on any commodity hardware on the market (I've ran it on AMD and Intel - even Atom, processors) and throughput is excellent, even with lower speed CPUs and less RAM.

What needs improvement?

The GUI. There are TONS of plugins for pfSense, as such, if a user wants to add quite a bit of functionality, the GUI will feel a little congested.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

A little... BUT, this was contributed to a failing Arista switch that would do a coredump and reboot. The pfSense installation at high speeds failed over perfectly though.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

No - in our high-speed tests (10G), we were not able to push the CPU over 20% utilization.

How are customer service and technical support?

I didn't really need any technical support. But was in contact with the Developers of pfSense as we were starting to work with them for an NFV setup.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Fortinet, SourceFire, etc.... the cost... oh the cost! Why pay these guys when I can use pfSense for free AND only pay for support when and if I need it?

How was the initial setup?

Very straight forward. If anyone has ever installed any kind of OS or set up a firewall, it will be a piece of cake.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Open Source - just download! If you need support, it's available.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

What other advice do I have?

It's an amazing product. There really are few issues with pfSense.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Solution Architect, Managed Services & System Integration at Transmeet Technologies
Real User
An open source platform complete with unified threat management
Pros and Cons
  • "The flexibility of adding new kinds of services without spending any money can't be beaten."
  • "The interface is not very shiny and attractive."

What is our primary use case?

I mostly use basic firewall services like blocking unwanted traffic and I use the geolocation tools to predict where potential attacks could come from. That's the main purpose, to protect our business network using pfSense.

Within our organization, with a single installation, about 500 users are covered.

What is most valuable?

The flexibility of adding new kinds of services without spending any money can't be beaten. We can compare services like IP blocking, blacklisting and DNS blocking, content filtering, and even deep packet inspection with other larger enterprise firewalls.

What needs improvement?

The interface is not very shiny and attractive. Most of the people that use pfSense are highly skilled, so they don't even bother to go the extra mile when it comes to configuration or any protection mechanisms. With other firewalls, with just one click or with the assistance of a wizard, the service is already configured. With pfSense, you have to have some time to do your own research regarding how to fine-tune it. If that could be improved, then life would be much easier. This would help any entry-level users to adapt to the platform. 

Netgate, the mother organization that manages the pfSense platform, should offer organized security feeds for its users so that they can avoid configuring multiple types of feeds in multiple locations. That could generate extra revenue for the company, too.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using pfSense for five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

That's the fun part. It's completely reliable in terms of resources that it needs to run. In terms of stability, once it's configured and properly tuned, it will do its job. Still, with firewalls these days, you can't simply configure and forget — it's not like that. You have to look into it every day or every once in a while and if any new traits or new protection mechanisms need to be built, upgraded, or re-tuned, you have to do that. Otherwise, the platform is rock solid. It doesn't fail.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The expandability and the high availability configuration of the system are good.

How are customer service and technical support?

With pfSense, we've never had to send an email to a Netgate official support organization. We follow the forum discussion — the community. We'd ask an expert in the community. That's how we deal with any issues.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

One of our clients wants to switch from FortiGate to another comparable solution because FortiGate is not stable when it comes to pricing. Over the past three years, they've increased their pricing to almost double. For this reason, our client wants to explore some other options which will be more predictable in terms of costs.

How was the initial setup?

It's definitely complex compared to other firewalls because you have to configure everything, read a lot of documents, and following a lot of formulas and templates. Everyone has to develop their own recipes to work with. There is no proper way forward.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

That is another fun part of this solution. There is no license. You don't have to pay anything. It's completely free. The one thing that you can buy is a security feed like an IP feed or a DNS feed. This kind of thing can be easily bought, but if you have the passion and expertise, you can arrange all of these types of feeds for free. It may be slightly different between how frequently those feeds are updated compared to the paid version. Sometimes, it lags behind for 24 hours or 12 hours, but it works.

What other advice do I have?

We are really happy with the system performance, overall, but it depends. For example, right now we have a client who is trying to switch from FortiGate to another solution that is less costly. We recommended and talked with them about pfSense, but despite it being a cheaper and really rock-solid solution with good performance, they were not comfortable using open source. We also offered them Sophos, SonicWall, and Palo Alto — they finally chose SonicWall. I don't know why. It completely depends on the client. 

I would absolutely recommend this solution to others. This is definitely one of the most powerful firewalls for peace of mind. The fact is, as long as you are aware of the challenges that you have to face when implementing and managing the firewall, day-to-day, then this could be the best option for you.

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of nine.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
Download our free Netgate pfSense Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.
Updated: February 2024
Buyer's Guide
Download our free Netgate pfSense Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.