pfSense Basic Install and SetuppfSense is a FreeBSD LINUX distribution that has been customized to be used as a firewall and router. It's a pretty powerful firewall that has many of the same features found in commercial firewalls but is supported by the open source community under the General Public License (GPL) which makes it Free to all to use. As with many LINUX distribution, pfSense does not take much to run. The minimum hardware requirements to use pfSense is a computer with the following:
CPU – 100 MHz Pentium
RAM – 128 MB
CD-ROM for initial installation
1 GB hard drive
Two Network Interface Cards
This blog posting will serve as a basic tutorial for a Basement PC Tech to use as a guide to install pfSense as a basic firewall to be used on yours or your client network.
- Download the latest version of pfSense (Version 2.0.1 was used for this tutorial)
- Using your favorite CD burning software, burn the pfSense ISO to CD.
- Boot your chosen PC with the pfSense CD. You will be present with the following "Welcome to pfSense!" screen. For our basic install of pfSense, you can press [Enter] for the default option.
- Press the “I” key to invoke the installer.
- If you can see the "Configure Console" screen, chances are there aren't any changes you need to make to the console. Press the Down arrow on your keyboard to highlight the “<Accept these Setting>” option and press [Enter].
- On the “Select Task” window, select the “<Quick/Easy Install>” and press [Enter].
- At the “Are you SURE?” screen, confirm your decision to install pfSense by highlighting the “< OK >” option and pressing [Enter]. Any data currently on the first hard drive of the system will be destroyed in order to install pfSense.
- Take a break :) - It can take up to 10 minutes for pfSense to finish this stage of the install depending on your hardware. pfSense is formatting your drive and copying the software to your system.
- At the “Install Kernel(s)” screen, ensure “< Symmetric multiprocessing kernel (more than one processor) >” is highlighted and press [Enter].
- At the “Reboot” screen, remove the pfSense CD and ensure that “< Reboot >” is highlighted and press [Enter].
- After the system reboots, you will be presented with the initial “Welcome to pfSense!” menu. Press [Enter] to select the default.
Note: This is the default action of pfSense and if now key is press before the pause timer reaches 0, the default boot profile will be used.
- During the boot phase of pfSense, the detected network interface cards will be display which can be used by pfSense.
Note: If you do not see all your network card listed, press the [CTRL – C] keys to end the setup script and then select option “6” (Halt system). After system shuts down, confirm that your network interface cards a properly seated and/or working. After you have remediated the issue with the network interface cards, boot pfSense and repeat step 9 and forward of this tutorial.
- Since this is a basic setup of pfSense, we will not be configuring a “VLAN” so type “n” and press [Enter].
- From the list of valid interfaces found by pfSense, type the name of the network interface card that will be connected directly to the Internet (cable modem, dsl, etc)
- From the list of valid interfaces found by pfSense, type the name of the network interface card that will be connected to your internal network. This will serve as your “LAN” interface. Repeat this step for each additional network interface card listed as a valid interface by pfSense and will be use by the firewall i.e. wireless, DMZ, etc. Once you are finished, press the [Enter] to select nothing and move to the next step of the setup.
- Confirm that you have selected the correct network interface cards for each interface on your firewall and type “y” and press [Enter].
- Once you are complete this initial setup, you will be presented with the pfSense console menu. Your firewall is now up and running. We have finished all configuration steps required to be done from the pfSense console. You can actually disconnect the monitor and keyboard from the system (as an added security precaution) for all other configuration will be done via the web console. (See The "webConfigurator" - pfSense basic setup part 2 )