Vice President - Engineering & Delivery at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Useful customization, highly scalable, and plenty of features
Pros and Cons
  • "The solution has good customization abilities and plenty of features."
  • "In an upcoming release, the reporting could be more user-friendly. For example, the reporting in graphs and charts for the host can be cumbersome."

What is our primary use case?

We are a small business and we use pfSense as our interface for the WAN. We use it for a Firewall and to ensure that all devices are operating. It provides our basic network routing needs, reporting on usage, such as IDS, and for managing individuals on network devices for controlling bandwidth and destinations.

How has it helped my organization?

Our security in our organization was previously provided by our ISP and since we have been using pfSense it has provided me more abilities to manage my network in a secure way. We have much better controls and security.

What is most valuable?

The solution has good customization abilities and plenty of features.

What needs improvement?

As an IT leader, it would be a benefit to have a mobile application to have certain features, such as mobile application notifications when a new device is added, or the ability to turn off or on firewall policies. Having these simple features would be very convenient and reduce the need to have to log into the console. I can use a web browser on my phone to access the pfSense site but I would prefer to have an application where I can toggle things, such as the policies. Some simple features within a mobile application would be valuable to me. I have evaluated other solutions and have determined this feature does not currently exist. However, Untangle has an application but it was not enough to compel me to change at this point.

In an upcoming release, the reporting could be more user-friendly. For example, the reporting in graphs and charts for the host can be cumbersome.

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For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using pfSense for approximately five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is very good. My only complaint is when there is a power outage pfSense requires a manual reset.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of this solution is perfect.

I am the administrator of the solution and the rest of my organization are end-users.

How are customer service and support?

I have not needed to contact technical support. I have not had any problems with pfSense.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. The whole process took approximately eight hours and one hour of that was in front of the computer using the keyboard.

What about the implementation team?

We did the implementation of the solution ourselves.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have evaluated Untangle.

What other advice do I have?

My advice to the IT manager is to do your research, and make sure that pfSense meets your needs. If you are not technical enough, then looking at other solutions. pfSenseis needs a bit more tech-savvy IT manager to manage it. It is a very important business tool for me.

I rate pfSense an eight out of ten.

I rated pfSense an eight because it did everything I wanted it to do which makes it an awesome solution but not a ten because of a few minor shortcomings. However, I recognize it is open-source and it is not going to have everything.

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
NOC Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5
Robust, secure, and fairly priced but the monitoring needs improvement
Pros and Cons
  • "The concurrent users are perfect for us."
  • "The router monitoring needs improvement when compared with Sonicwall."

What is our primary use case?

We use pfSense to protect our customers using IPS and IDS.

We are a government agency and we manage the government network. 

We complete the setup and we are protecting our customers.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that it's robust.

In terms of resources, utilization assets, CPU utilization, and a lot of memory, it's very good. 

The concurrent users are perfect for us.

What needs improvement?

The router monitoring needs improvement when compared with Sonicwall.

I would like an API that can sync to SolarWinds because we use SolarWinds for our monitoring platform. It would be great to be able to do all of the monitoring from SolarWinds instead of logging into the application to monitor it. It would be a nice feature to have.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using pfSense for less than two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In the last two weeks, we moved a few resources to the pfSense and it's been stable. 

When compared to SonicWall there were some issues but it could be that SonicWall was doing too much. It was doing almost everything. It was doing IDS, IPS, and contextual training. It may be that it was overwhelmed.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We were using the software base, and then we bought the hardware device. We moved 12 users onto it and we are monitoring it.

Based on the documentation it would not require much to scale up or upgrade. There is no doubt that it is scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Most of the support is online.

We do a lot of reading, and if there is any support or suggestions we quickly do it. 

We have not contacted them directly.  

They have a lot of resources available on the internet that will guide you in finding your way around.

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

We use a few different firewalls. We use SonicWall and Huawei firewall along with pfSense.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. It was easy.

What about the implementation team?

We did not use an integrator. I completed it with one of my colleagues.

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

Looking at what it does, I think that it is fairly priced.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

When we compare to SonicWall, we feel that we are getting the best with pfSense.

What other advice do I have?

Depending on what they want their firewall to do for them. If it is for intrusion detection, and intrusion prevention I would recommend this solution. 

In summary, this product is good but I would like to see resources utilization (cpu, hard disk) directly on SolarWinds. A one stop shop for monitoring on SolarWinds. It would be great!

I would rate pfSense a six 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
pfSense
May 2023
Learn what your peers think about pfSense. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: May 2023.
706,951 professionals have used our research since 2012.
National IT Coordenator at a government with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Stable open-source solution for a small company or a startup with a tight budget
Pros and Cons
  • "I like pfSense's reports and how I can control access to the policies on the firewall."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

I use pfSense as a proxy and a firewall to monitor all the traffic to my network. It allows me to shape the traffic and eliminate bottlenecks that cause the network to slow down. You can use pfSense to catch some websites or make the network faster because we have applications connected remotely all over the country. We need to have a network with a reliable speed and no hiccups on the way because all our applications are on-premise, and the entire country goes to the same data center to get information.

What is most valuable?

I like pfSense's reports and how I can control access to the policies on the firewall.

What needs improvement?

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. For example, pfSense could add templates with firewall policies that a user can customize. I haven't tried to integrate pfSense with Microsoft Active Directory, but in Mozambique, we use many Kaspersky antivirus solutions. If pfSense integrated with these antivirus solutions, everything would be much more stable because most of the companies here have a different kind of security solution. Within a single company, you might find two or three different antivirus suites. So, for example, there could be an open-source solution that you get for free, but you can pay for the support if you want it. So for solutions like that, it would be great.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Companies in Africa have issues with budgeting for IT. An open-source solution like pfSense gives us stability and provides us with good reports. It's amazing. It makes the solution reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I haven't tried yet scaling up pfSense. But my setup is Windows based, and I have some Windows-based applications, so I want it to integrate with the Microsoft Active Directory. I haven't done it yet, but I think it would be good to have that integration.

How are customer service and support?

I contacted pfSense support only once when I was installing it and had only configured one network tab. I had to get in touch with them, and the support was terrific. I was impressed. I can't complain about their support.

How was the initial setup?

I have some experience with Linux distributions, so setting up pfSense was a bit easier for me, and I have been working with security for quite some time. It was fast for me, but part of my team is not used to a Linux environment, so it was tricky for them to implement add-ons to the appliance.

What other advice do I have?

I rate pfSense eight out of 10. I would recommend it for a small business or a startup as a starting point. It's also good for companies that are on a tight budget.

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
Owner at artesistemas.net
Real User
Top 20
An affordable and recommendable solution for stopping attacks and providing VPN facility
Pros and Cons
  • "It is a very good solution for enterprises that need a VPN for their employees. It is the best way to provide a remote work facility to employees at a very low cost. Other solutions that I have had in the past were very expensive. Enterprises don't always have that kind of money to invest."
  • "Other solutions provide more scope for growth. For instance, we can have only 10 to 20 employees on VPN, but other solutions can support more users. We also have more capabilities to increase the performance of the solution."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for its firewall features and VPN.

How has it helped my organization?

I provide it to my customers, and I also use it in my office. It is a very good solution for enterprises that need a VPN for their employees. It is the best way to provide a remote work facility to employees at a very low cost. Other solutions that I have had in the past were very expensive. Enterprises don't always have that kind of money to invest.

What is most valuable?

Its firewall ability is very good. It is very good and smooth at stopping attacks. It is better than others because we have to perform quite a bit of programming.

It is a very good and affordable solution for enterprises.

What needs improvement?

Other solutions provide more scope for growth. For instance, we can have only 10 to 20 employees on VPN, but other solutions can support more users. We also have more capabilities to increase the performance of the solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for four years. I am using it now, and I have also used it in the past.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable. Both pfSense and Netgate appliances are very stable. I have had some of these solutions working non-stop for about a year and a half.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable. It is being used in an enterprise with 70 employees and about 30 terabytes of communication per month. I also have other small enterprises with 10 to 20 employees. In my office, I have four users. 

How are customer service and support?

I usually use community forums for any tech support. I get very good information there.

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

I have also worked with Netgate appliances in the past. Both Netgate and pfSense are very stable.

How was the initial setup?

It is not very easy, but it is straightforward. We have an agreement with the clients to have the equipment and install the appliance in three or four days.

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

It is very suitable in terms of the price. If a client cannot acquire a Netgate appliance, I provide a custom-made appliance, and I install the Community edition of pfSense. It is a very good and affordable solution for enterprises. Some of the clients pay monthly but usually, it is annually.

The maintenance cost varies depending on the kind of solution we have implemented. It could be €100 per month or around €800 per year.

What other advice do I have?

I would absolutely recommend this solution. I would rate it a nine out of 10.

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: Partner
PeerSpot user
Information Technology at a transportation company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
Reasonably priced and easy to understand with a straightforward setup
Pros and Cons
  • "Some of the terminologies were more familiar to me than it was when I first encountered Cisco."
  • "It's just not listed as FIPS compliant for where we're at now in government, which is an issue."

What is our primary use case?

I primarily install and test the solution. I'm not an expert in the solution; I mainly put them in place.

What is most valuable?

The pricing is good.

I have a good understanding of the underlying firewall which I find to be easy to use and comprehend. Some of the terminologies were more familiar to me than they were when I first encountered Cisco.

The initial setup is pretty easy.

The solution has been stable. 

From what I can tell, the solution can scale. 

What needs improvement?

I can't speak to if there are missing features. I'm not that familiar with it. 

The critical issue there for us was the lack of FIPs compliance, however, I don't know if that's something that they would consider adjusting for.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product is stable. There are no issues with bugs and glitches. It doesn't crash or freeze. It's reliable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

While it's my understanding that scaling wouldn't be a problem, I myself have never actually tried to do so. Therefore, I can't speak from personal experience. 

How are customer service and support?

I've never dealt with technical support before. I can't speak to how helpful or responsive they are in terms of answering support-related queries. 

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

I also have an understanding Cisco, which is a bit harder to understand. This product is more straightforward. 

How was the initial setup?

In terms of the initial setup, pfSense seems pretty easy. I'd say it's been a few years since we played with it and I don't really remember too much about it other than using it and thinking it was okay. It's just not listed as FIPS compliant for where we're at now in government, which is an issue. 

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

The solution doesn't come at a high cost. That makes it a very attractive option.

What other advice do I have?

I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten. I've been pretty satisfied with the product overall.

We are a customer and an end-user. We don't have any business relationship with the solution.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Head of IT Department at OLIVESTRONIX NIGERIA LTD
Real User
Top 20
You can deploy it with limited hardware resources
Pros and Cons
  • "The firewall sensor is highly effective, and it's easy to deploy. You can deploy pfSense with limited hardware resources. It's not necessary to have an appliance with much RAM to make it work. It's cost-effective and performs well."
  • "The solution could be more user-friendly, and the graphical interface needs some work so that someone without an IT background can use the application. I would like the ability to manage the on-premise appliance from the cloud. When I'm not in the office, it would be great to connect to the pfSense server and administer the network remotely."

What is our primary use case?

We're using pfSense as a firewall and for web filtering.

What is most valuable?

The firewall sensor is highly effective, and it's easy to deploy. You can deploy pfSense with limited hardware resources. It's not necessary to have an appliance with much RAM to make it work. It's cost-effective and performs well.

What needs improvement?

The solution could be more user-friendly, and the graphical interface needs some work so that someone without an IT background can use the application. I would like the ability to manage the on-premise appliance from the cloud. When I'm not in the office, it would be great to connect to the pfSense server and administer the network remotely.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've used pfSense for two and a half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

pfSense is stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

You can scale up pfSense with multiple clusters for higher availability. It has that capability. It gives you that flexibility to set up a hybrid with part of the deployment in the cloud and a mural copy or to grow your network. 

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

At my previous company, we used a Cisco firewall and a router, but they kept having issues with the firewall and the device.  When I joined this company,  we introduced pfSense and haven't had any issues since. 

How was the initial setup?

Setting up pfSense is easy, but it depends on your experience level. The average person with an IT background who is grounded in ICT can do install and configure pfSense in 15 to 30 minutes. 

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

PfSense is an open-source product, but you need to buy a license to get some features. 

What other advice do I have?

I rate pfSense eight out of 10. It's an open-source solution that you can deploy on data warehouses with various resources. You're not tied to specific hardware. It's easier to manage and use.

Before deploying, you should find out the details about the environment where you will install pfSense. I would recommend pfSense for an enterprise environment with around 1,000 to 2,500 users.

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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PeerSpot user
Head Of Infrastructure at a transportation company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
Hotspot and overall stability needs improvement but easy to use and has high performance
Pros and Cons
  • "The features I have found best are ease of use, GUI, and performance."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

We are using the solution for a firewall and other operations, such as traffic shaping.

What is most valuable?

The features I have found best are ease of use, GUI, and performance.

What needs improvement?

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.

In a future release, they could redesign the policies because we need to write inbound and outbound simultaneous policies. They could change it to one policy, such as in FortiGate, Sophos, and Cyberoam. In these firewalls, we add rules in one way, and they add rules automatically. However, in this solution, we need to write every policy manually. 

They can improve in site-to-site tunnels with other devices, such as Cisco or FortiGate. It is not very easy to set up VPNs for site-to-site tunnels.

There have been some problems we have been facing with BGP routing that needs to be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the solution for approximately two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability could improve.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Since this solution is software-based it is easy to scale. We can extend the UIs by adding some hardware, such as CPUs and memory discs. We would not be able to match this type of scalability with a hardware-based solution, for example as FortiGate.

This solution is best suited for small to midsize networks. When there is heavy traffic in larger-scale businesses it becomes less reliable.

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

I have used FortiGate previously and this solution is cheaper and more reliable.

How was the initial setup?

The solution is easy to deploy.

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

The solution is free. However, you need to pay for support.

What other advice do I have?

I rate pfSense a five 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
CEO at netison
Real User
Top 5
Reliable, easy to use, and allows us to deploy OpenVPN clients
Pros and Cons
  • "My technicians find the pfSense's web interface very useful. It is very easy to use. pfSense is very reliable and stable. We like the OpenVPN clients that can be deployed using pfSense very much."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

We are an MSP. We have some customers who have on-prem networks, and they want to have their networks protected by a firewall. They are quite small customers with 10 to 50 users. We use pfSense in order to protect our customers' network, to make some network automation, and especially to make VPNs to some remote branches to enable remote users to get access to the enterprise network.

It is deployed on a private cloud and on-prem.

What is most valuable?

My technicians find the pfSense's web interface very useful. It is very easy to use. 

pfSense is very reliable and stable. We like the OpenVPN clients that can be deployed using pfSense very much.

What needs improvement?

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.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for five years.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate pfSense a nine out of 10. It is a very good product.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
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