IT Central Station is now PeerSpot: Here's why
Amandio Zumba - PeerSpot reviewer
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. 
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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.
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Vice President - Engineering & Delivery at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
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.

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 technical 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.
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June 2022
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Systems Administrator at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5
A rock-solid, customizable, and free open-source firewall with useful intrusion detection, clustering, and HA features
Pros and Cons
  • "The intrusion detection feature is the most valuable. It is an open-source firewall, so there is a lot of material on it. I also find the open VPN capability very nice. It is pretty customizable. The clustering and the high availability are the two biggest things to be able to get out of a firewall."
  • "Their support could be better in terms of the response time."

What is our primary use case?

It is my main firewall into the data center and VPNs for clients. It sets up my DMZ and does a whole bunch of other stuff. I am using the latest version.

How has it helped my organization?

We wouldn't be able to function without it.

What is most valuable?

The intrusion detection feature is the most valuable. It is an open-source firewall, so there is a lot of material on it. I also find the open VPN capability very nice.

It is pretty customizable. The clustering and the high availability are the two biggest things to be able to get out of a firewall. 

What needs improvement?

Their support could be better in terms of the response time.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has been pretty rock solid.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Its scalability is good. I have got web users and other kinds of users, so there can be five or thousands of users.

How are customer service and technical support?

I paid for some support with them, and it was pretty good. They just could be a little quicker in responding. They have custom level support, so if you got something complicated, they get you up to the upper tiers, but it takes a little bit longer to do that. Once you get there, the support is good. I would rate them an eight out of ten.

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

I used Fortinet previously, and I used Ubiquiti prior to that. We switched partly because of the cost. It also gave me the ability to do the clustering. I can still maintain my VPNs, connections, and other things. I can take down one of the firewalls for maintenance and bring up the other one and not take down my whole user base.

How was the initial setup?

It was not complex. I was able to do it myself, but we had some problems with some of the protocols, and we had to get one of their coders to get in and look at it. Because of that, it was a little complicated to do the high availability stuff.

What about the implementation team?

I did it myself.

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

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.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise others to go for it. I would recommend this solution. It is a good solution. No other solution can beat the price. 

There is so much stuff you can do with it. There are so many features, and I have not even scratched the surface on all of them. If it is something that someone doesn't feel like configuring, you can buy a prebuilt system from them and get support.

I would rate pfSense a nine out of ten because of the cost and flexibility. It has been pretty good.

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.
CEO at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
A free firewall and router that is entirely managed via web interface
Pros and Cons
  • "The VPN is my favorite feature."
  • "The main problem with pfSense is that we have to use proxy solutions."

What is our primary use case?

We have solutions from 10 to 5,000 users. One person alone can manage the firewall.

What is most valuable?

The VPN is my favorite feature. pfSense is very easy to use. The interface and configuration capabilities are great.

What needs improvement?

The main problem with pfSense is that we have to use proxy solutions. They don't have features like Layer 7 filtration. We can't filter based on applications. For this reason, we need to work with solutions from Cisco like OpenAPPID that help pfSense understand similar applications. For example, if I have to block WhatsApp, I need to use a third-party solution like OpenAPPID to help it understand what WhatsApp is. This capability is not native to pfSense, so I have to use another solution, like an add-on. I think that the proxy is the main problem with pfSense.

pfSense doesn't implement SD-WAN solutions. Competitors have this feature. If pfSense began doing this, it would be a big improvement.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is great. That's a strong point.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability-wise, it's great. Often, we need to research and assess the size of an appliance in order to understand what kind of environment the firewall is going to protect. From here, we have the possibility to do an upgrade depending on the type of model.

There is the option to have a firewall that is entry-level or a firewall that supports a huge internet service provider. We have many solutions that we can apply to our customer's environments, but first, we need to do these assessments in order to help us choose the right appliance. One appliance simply can't be upgraded to cover this entire spectrum of needs or the size of demand. This is why we must perform these special assessments.

How was the initial setup?

Although it's not quite pre-configured, it is ready to use, straight away. It's so easy to put it to work. We had to do some configurations, mainly related to security issues. Configuring rules for monitoring had to be done, but otherwise, it's ready to go, out of the box.

Only one person is required to deploy this solution. 

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

pfSense is a free solution.

What other advice do I have?

Before deciding to go with this solution, make sure to evaluate the features to ensure that pfSense will cover your needs. pfSense is very strong in some areas, but it has some difficulty in others. It's a good solution, but it all depends on what you expect from the firewall. 

If you need the firewall to implement security in your network, then pfSense is better than the competition in terms of price. It will cover all of your basic needs for far less money than similar products that cost five to ten times more money.

Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give pfSense 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.
Omer Mohammed - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior System Engineer at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
Open-source, stable, and supports at least 5,000 concurrent connections
Pros and Cons
  • "At our peak time, we have reached more than 5,000 concurrent connections."
  • "It needs to be more secure."

What is our primary use case?

We have internet limitations here in Sudan. The financial institutions that I am working with do not have a lot of services on the internet.

It is difficult but at the same time, we are safer and are not faced with any kind of compromised data.

This solution is suitable for small businesses and charity organizations. Security is not just about the firewall, you need policies and procedures in place.

What is most valuable?

The developers of pfSense follow the principles of open-source.

They keep it simple. It's simple and good.

What needs improvement?

The problem with open-source is that no one can take responsibility.

It needs to be more secure. Security needs improvement.

It's always better to have an agreement, an SLA regarding security. You should outsource your security to another company.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using pfSense in my home environment since 2010. I have a small lab, a small environment.

We have also deployed it in my workplace.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a stable solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

pfSense is scalable.

At our peak time, we have reached more than 5,000 concurrent connections.

How are customer service and technical support?

I do not have experience with technical support.

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

I am also using IPFire. It's also open-source.

It's very stable, and it meets my business needs.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is straightforward.

If you have solid knowledge and experience in IP tables, then it will be easy for you to deal with this product or any firewall. For example, Palo Alto or Fortinet. It's the same concept.

Depending on your activities, it can take a long time to deploy if you are new to this solution. For me, it takes less than one hour.

You have to understand the network technology and you have to understand what you are going to protect, and what service are you looking to protect. If you address these questions correctly, the installation is just a matter of a couple of clicks.

What about the implementation team?

I completed the implementation myself.

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

We are using the open-source version, not the commercial one. 

It's very affordable.

What other advice do I have?

I would continue to use pfSense if the decision was mine, but it is out of my area. It depends on the CIO.

I would recommend this solution to others who are interested in using it.

pfSense will not cost you any money.

It depends on your business needs. You have to address your business needs correctly.

I would say to go with pfSense. If you feel that it is not compatible, you have other purchase options such as Palo Alto.

I would rate this solution a ten 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.
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.
CandidoViandro - PeerSpot reviewer
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.
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Principal at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
Real User
Top 5
A great solution that just works and is fast and affordable
Pros and Cons
  • "It works. I put pfSense in, and it works. I can't think of any trouble I ever had with it. It runs on heat-sensitive appliances. They don't need a fan, so they don't overheat. It is affordable, fast, and very high-speed. It is built on BSD Unix, and it pretty much runs on any Intel processor."
  • "I've never tried it in large environments. All my clients are small businesses with a handful of employees, so I am not sure how it works in large environments. I keep up with recent versions, and there's nothing I'm waiting for, and nothing breaks when I get a new version."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for small businesses, and most of my clients are using pfSense.

What is most valuable?

It works. I put pfSense in, and it works. I can't think of any trouble I ever had with it. It runs on heat-sensitive appliances. They don't need a fan, so they don't overheat. 

It is affordable, fast, and very high-speed. It is built on BSD Unix, and it pretty much runs on any Intel processor. 

What needs improvement?

I've never tried it in large environments. All my clients are small businesses with a handful of employees, so I am not sure how it works in large environments. I keep up with recent versions, and there's nothing I'm waiting for, and nothing breaks when I get a new version.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for maybe five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It just works.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I've never challenged it. All of my clients are small businesses. It is open-source software, and it runs on whatever appliance you run it on, so whatever computer you run it on, it'll scale up pretty high.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their technical support is excellent. They do have good support service. I don't use it because I've never had any problems with it, but the people I know who use it in bigger environments love it. You can even search their knowledge base and learn anything you want to know pretty quickly. 

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

Some of my businesses just use the built-in firewall in the ISP modem. I replaced an old SonicWall that couldn't keep up with a faster internet service. I've replaced a couple of Cisco solutions that were just getting old to run modern software, but the hardware was working. They just died of old age, and I replaced them with pfSense. It has been great. I'm sure a lot of people know how to configure Cisco solutions, but I don't. pfSense is very easy to configure.

How was the initial setup?

It was very simple. You download and boot a USB stick or a CD to install it. From then on, it is managed by its own webpage. The deployment takes a few minutes.

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

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. 

What other advice do I have?

It is just great. Give it a try. It just works.

I would rate pfSense a ten out of ten.

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