This is an updated installation guide in according to the installation guide for pfSense 2.4.4 I posted couple years ago. You can reference it on how to create USB installer.
Note: The installation process for pfSense 2.5.2 vs pfSense 2.4.4 is mostly the same with minor differences.
Minimum Hardware Requirements
- 64-bit amd64 (x86-64) compatible CPU
- 1 GB RAM
- 8 GB hard disk space
- 1 or more compatible network interface cards
IMPORTANT: This guide only demonstrates the installation of pfSense. How to configure pfSense and how pfSense fits in to your network infrastructure are beyond the scope of this post. Check out Protect home network using subnets with pfSense as an example on how pfSense can help secure your home network.
Note: The screen shots are captured by installing pfSense on virtual machine. But the installation process is the same as installing on a physical machine.
- Boot up the machine using the pfSense USB installer
- After the pfSense Installer loads up, the Copyright and distribution notice would show up. Read and Accept.
- Install pfSense is selected by default. select OK
- select your keyboard map or use standard “US” default keymap
- Partitioning: use the default Auto (ZFS)
- ZFS Configuration: Using the default configuration is fine
- ZFS Configuration (Virtual Device Type): use default stripe selection unless you have multiple drives to setup RAID for Redundancy
- ZFS Configuration (Block Device): select a block device to install pfSense. If you have multiple drives, there would be a list of hard drives to choose from. If you only have 1 drive, simply select it and hit OK
- ZFS Configuration (Confirmation): The next screen will ask for your confirmation because it will erase all data from your selected hard drive. Review the drive you selected and hit YES to proceed if the selection is correct.
- The installation would start and it only takes a short while.
- When the installation is completed, hit No to proceed.
- Hit Reboot to restart the machine.
- when the screen turn blank, you can remove USB installer to avoid booting from it again.
Initial Interface Assignment
Upon rebooting, the below pfSense boot menu will show up briefly for couple seconds. The boot up sequence will start shortly.
Once pfSense finishes the first boot, it will ask a couple questions to assign the network interfaces to WAN and LAN interfaces.
- WAN interface is the network port that connects to your ISP modem/router.
- LAN interface is the network port that connects to your internal network, typically a switch. All your devices should be connecting on the LAN interface side for protection.
Most users will be using 2 interfaces. If your machine have more than 2 network cards, you can setup additional interfaces, allowing you to create sub-networks without using VLANs.
My system has 4 network cards, allowing me to create up to 3 sub-networks. But in this post, I will only use 2 network cards to setup the WAN and LAN interfaces.
The very first question asked is if we would like to setup VLANs. Typically, VLANs is setup later, if required.
- Answer n and hit Enter
As you can see from the above image, pfSense listed 4 Network Interfaces called hn0, hn1, hn2 and hn3. pfSense automatically assign names to the network cards. The names shown on your pfSense install probably would be different from mime. But it doesn’t matter, just follow the same steps for your installation.
- enter hn0 for WAN interface
- enter hn1 for LAN interface
- hit Enter if you have more than 2 network cards
- answer y to proceed
pfSense would then configure the system based on your selection. Once the configuration is complete, the pfSense server menu would appear.
pfSense Web Configurator
Next is to complete the initial configuration through pfSense Web Configurator. To do that, we need to use browser on a separate machine. Please connect your device to the LAN interface port. It should automatically receive an IP address from pfSense DHCP server.
- Go to https://192.168.1.1 at your browser
- Your browser may complain about the connection is not private (not https). That’s ok. Just proceed to the web page.
- Enter username ‘admin‘ and password ‘pfsense‘
The pfSense setup wizard will guide you through the steps.
- Click Next to begin.
Step 1: Netgate Global Support
- You can learn more about pfSense’s support plan.
- click Next to continue
Step 2: General Information
- customize the Hostname and Domain name if you like
- click Next
Step 3: Time Server
- select your timezone
- click Next
Step 4: WAN Interface
- use default settings
- click Next (scroll to bottom)
Step 5: LAN Interface
- use default settings or enter LAN IP address of your choice. This would be the ip address of pfSense on the LAN network
- click Next
Step 6: Password
- set your Admin Password
- click Next
Step 7: Reload configuration
- click Reload
Step 8: Reload in progress
Just wait for a little while
Step 9: Wizard completed
- click Finish
Copyright and Trademark Notices
Please read through the notices and click Accept if you agree to the terms.
Congratulations! You have successfully installed pfSense with basic settings.