The Best pfSense Packages

Updated on April 15, 2018
skear profile image

Sam has over 10 years of experience working with pfSense firewalls and has written over 30 articles on the subject.

Customizing pfSense Using Packages

One of the best features of pfSense is it's ability to be adapted to many different situations using packages. Using a package based system allows the base pfSense installation to remain small and provides users the option to install only the packages they need for their environment.

In this article you'll find a list of the best pfSense packages. Along with each package is a brief summary of what the package does, and how it can help your network.

In order to install packages you must be using the full version of pfSense, currently packages are not supported on embedded or liveCD versions.

To learn more about pfSense and what it's capable of check out the introduction to pfSense.

Here are the top five best packages for pfSense:

  1. Squid
  2. pfBlockerNG
  3. SquidGuard
  4. Darkstat
  5. Snort

1. Squid

Squid is by far the most popular package for pfSense. Squid is a caching proxy server that can improve the performance of your internet connection.

Squid builds a cache of commonly accessed web pages, images, or other files clients request from the internet. If a requested item is found in the cache Squid can deliver it directly to the requesting computer instead of using your internet connection.

The Squid package can be configured to run transparently, this means that traffic on your network will be automatically routed through the proxy without having to change any configuration on the workstation.

Another benefit to installing this package is that when combined with LightSquid you can view reports of web sites visited by computers on your network.

To learn more check out the pfSense transparent proxy guide.

2. pfBlockerNG

PfBlockerNG is the ultimate package for blocking incoming and outgoing traffic based on IP address or domain name. This package provides a wide variety of features for protecting your network from unwanted traffic including country blocking, IP/DNS blacklisting, and IP reputation blocking.

The DNS blacklist feature allows you to add multiple external blacklists to block traffic such as advertisements, threats, and malware.

This is a great package to use if you are running a mail server on your network. By adding a spam blacklist such as Spamhaus you can block spam before it even reaches your server.

pfBlockerNG package
pfBlockerNG package

3. SquidGuard

Another very useful package for pfSense is SquidGuard. SquidGuard is a high speed URL filter and redirector.

By uploading your own custom blacklist or using one of the freely available lists you can customize which sites users on your network are allowed to access. The package can also be configured with schedules to grant access based on time of day as well.

SquidGuard can also enforce the use of domain names which prevents users from bypassing the blacklist by simply entering the IP address. Blocked URLs can be redirected to an external web site or internal information page.

PfSense SquidGuard installation guide

SquidGuard URL Filter
SquidGuard URL Filter

4. Darkstat

It's important to analyze the traffic usage on your network in order to optimize performance and look for potential problems. Darkstat is a network traffic monitor that runs in the background and captures network traffic which is used to generate usage statistics for your network.

The data collected by this package can be viewed using the web interface. The easy to use HTML interface allows you to view the top talkers and listeners on your network. You can drill down further into the charts to see which protocols and ports are taking up most of the bandwidth on your network.

This package provides a quick way to identify traffic to either block , or prioritize on your network.

Darkstat Traffic Graphs
Darkstat Traffic Graphs

5. Snort

Snort is a very popular open source intrusion detection and prevention system (IDS / IPS). Installing this package on pfSense allows network traffic to be analyzed to detect probes, attacks, buffer overflow attacks, port scans, and much more.

The Snort engine is based on rules which are regularly updated by the community. Snort can be configured to send an alert, block, or log the intrusion attempt automatically.

If you are concerned with the security of your network I would highly recommending installing Snort.

Snort intrusion detection package
Snort intrusion detection package

How to Install Packages

Installing packages in pfSense is quick and easy to do. To add or remove packages open the package manager which can be found by clicking on the system menu in the web interface.

Click on the available packages tab to see a complete list of all packages available. When you locate the package you want to install simply click the plus symbol on the right side of the package description.

PfSense will automatically install the package for you and create a new menu entry. Most packages create an entry in the services menu but some will place their settings in a different category.

pfSense package manager
pfSense package manager

How to Update Packages

PfSense will automatically check to see if any updates are available for packages that you have installed. To check for updates click on the installed packages tab from within the package manager. If an update is available for a package the package version section will be displayed in red for the out of date package.

To automatically install the updated version of the package click the PKG button that is displayed to the right side of the package. PfSense will then remove the outdated version and install the update for you.

The package version field will turn red when a newer version of the package is available.
The package version field will turn red when a newer version of the package is available.

Additional Packages

PfSense has many other packages besides the ones I've listed in this hub. Since pfSense is open source you can also develop your own packages and submit them to be listed in the repository. Almost any normal FreeBSD package can be packaged to run in pfSense. If you are interested in learning more about package development visit doc.pfsense.org.

Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Sam Kear

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Al B. Anonymous 

        4 months ago

        Country Blocker no longer exist. pfBlockerNG is the latest package for this.

      • profile image

        User 

        8 months ago

        Any news about L7 Application filter in pfsense with 2.4 , or use Ntopng as helper for pfsense to detect Application to catch it

      • profile image

        Chris 

        14 months ago

        Hi SAM, I would like to know more about the right configuration/setup for Loadbalancing/redundancy in pFSense. Would appreciate How-to guide.

      • profile image

        adamo 

        14 months ago

        ironically using pfblockerng i see several blocked ads on this page :)

      • profile image

        Savlong Kufeler 

        20 months ago

        Good Work ol chap best eye seeen yet!

      • profile image

        Kalvin 

        22 months ago

        Thanks buddy

      • profile image

        alejandrocf 

        4 years ago

        very good post, clear, short and precise!!

      • santhosh8611 profile image

        R K SANTHOSH 

        6 years ago from Bangalore

        good..thank you

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, turbofuture.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://turbofuture.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)