General Setup Part 1- Software Installation

Installation & Setup of pfSense for Home and Business

The installation of pfSense® is fairly straightforward. In most scenarios the default selections are used. To configure pfsense we start off by making sure we have a current version of the software to install.

Step 1 – Download Media

To download the latest installation software, visit https://www.pfSense.org/download/. The file type we are going to use for this setup is ‘Install’. The architecture is ‘AMD64 (64-bit)’. Next choose the media platform to install. The two main choices are ‘USB Memstick Installer’ or ‘CD Image (ISO) Installer’. Pick your closest location and hit the Download button.

Fig01. Select pfSense® download image

Fig01. Select pfSense® download platform image

Step 2 – Creating Boot Media:

NOTE: the steps outlined below can be done on Windows 7-10 and are similar for each Operating System.

Creating the install media from Windows, there are two options.

Option1: Creating an install CD from the ISO image

  1. In order to make a CD from the ISO image, you must first unzip the file. You can use a zip tool like 7Zip (http://www.7-zip.org/download.html) to do this.
  2. Once 7Zip is installed, right click on the unzipped download > select 7-Zip > Extract Here

    Fig02. Extract the zipped image

    Fig02. Extract the zipped image

  3. With a blank disc in the drive, right click the unzipped ISO file > Select ‘Burn Disc Image’

    Fig03. Creating Boot Media

    Fig03. Burn the ISO Image to Disc

Option2: Create a pfSense® ISO to USB bootable image

  1. To make a bootable USB drive, I use a tool called Rufus; it’s fast and does not require being installed on your computer system. It can be downloaded from here (https://rufus.akeo.ie). NOTE: Use a USB stick that does not have important information on it; as any data will be wiped with the install process
  2. With your target USB Drive inserted in the system, open Rufus and select ‘Quick Format’ & ‘Create a bootable disc using DD Image’

    Fig04. Select a bootable image using Rufus

    Fig04. Select a bootable image using Rufus

  3. Click the disc icon to select the download file > click Open > Click Start

    Fig05. Creating Boot Media

    Fig05. Create a bootable USB Stick using Rufus

Step 3 – Performing a Full Install

Now that we have our installation media all ready, it’s time to start the install process. Power on your system and make sure your media is connected

The installation of pfSense® is done through a text-based menu. You’ll be presented with a default start screen shown here. It will countdown to auto boot into the installation screen

Fig06. Default Install Start Screen

Fig06. Default Install Start Screen

The next screen shows an option to use a different font, screenmap, or keymap if needed.

Fig07. Default Install Display Option Screen

Fig07. Default Install Display Option Screen

Most will not need to change anything unless using an international keyboard. We won’t be doing any changes here so we’ll select the bottom option ‘Accept these settings’

Fig08. Accept these Settings

Fig08. Accept these Settings

The next screen shows some installation options, choose ‘Quick/Easy Install’

Fig09. Quick/Easy Install Option Screen

Fig09. Quick/Easy Install Option Screen

The next screen asks to agree with the configured options and to proceed with the install > Click ‘OK’

Fig10. Click OK to Install

Fig10. Click OK to Install

Sit back for a few minutes while pfSense® is installed onto your system

Installation & Setup of pfSense

Fig11. Installation Progress Bar

During the final part of the install, there will be an option screen to choose which type of kernel to use.

Standard = A Keyboard & Video Monitor connected to your system

Embedded = No monitor or keyboard is connected to the system (Serial Console)

Choose ‘Standard Kernel’ if you will have a monitor and keyboard connected

Fig12. Standard Kernel Option

Fig12. Standard Kernel Option

Step 4 – Remove Media & Reboot

Now reboot the system. Be sure to remove the install media from the system prior to reboot. Click ‘Reboot’

Fig13. Installataion Complete Reboot Screen

Fig13. Installataion Complete Reboot Screen

Step 5 – Set WAN & LAN Interface

After the system reboots, it will load into the last part of our text-based menu options. We will then be able to use the Web interface for all other options.

In the screen below, pfSense® recognizes 2 network cards.

xn0 is Network Interface Card 1

xn1 is Network Interface Card 2

Select ‘n’ for No VLAN setup, (VLAN’s can be configured later in the Web Interface)

Fig14. Interface & VLAN Setup Screen

Fig14. Interface & VLAN Setup Screen

In most situations, it is easiest to set the first network card as the WAN and the second for the LAN. If you have additional network cards installed, they can be setup later in the web interface.

For simplicity I’ll set the following:

xn0 = WAN

  • Type xn0 and press Enter

    Fig15. WAN Interface Assignment

    Fig15. WAN Interface Assignment

xn1 = LAN

  • Type xn1 and press Enter

    Fig16. LAN Interface Assignment

    Fig16. LAN Interface Assignment

Optional Interface

Press Enter for nothing (Optional interfaces can be configured later in the Web Interface)

Fig17. Optional Interface Assignment

Fig17. Optional Interface Assignment

Proceed with Installation

  • Type y and press Enter to save configuration

    Fig18. Proceed with Interface Assignment

    Fig18. Proceed with Interface Assignment

Console Main option Page

  • As you can see, the WAN is defaults to DHCP and has received an IP from my upstream pfSense® firewall.
  • The default IP for the LAN is 192.168.1.1

    Fig19. Main Options Console Screen

    Fig19. Main Options Console Screen

Your LAN setup needs to use an RFC1918 private IP address. You can learn more about that here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_network#Private_IPv4_address_spaces). By default the LAN will configure itself to 192.168.1.1.

  1. Home Setup: I recommend changing this to something less common
    • (i.e. 192.168.150.1/24)
  2. Business Setup: Change it to your company subnet
    • (i.e. 10.25.50.1/24; 172.25.50.1/24)

Change LAN IP

Press ‘2’ and Enter; the press ‘2’ again

Fig20. Change LAN IP from Main Options Console Screen

Fig20. Change LAN IP from Main Options Console Screen

Enter IP of LAN (i.e. 172.25.50.1) and Subnet Mask (24=255.255.255.0) and press Enter

Press Enter again for no Upstream WAN gateway

Press Enter again for no IPv6

Select ‘y’ for setting up DHCP on the LAN

Enter start Range (i.e. 172.25.50.100)

Enter End Range (i.e. 172.25.50.150)

Select ‘n’ for setting HTTP as the web configurator (this keeps the web connection as secure HTTPS)

Fig21. Set WAN & LAN Interface

Fig21. Setting LAN IP

This now shows the new LAN IP

Press Enter to Continue to main Console screen.

Fig22. Set WAN & LAN Interface

Fig22. New LAN IP Changes

The pfSense® LAN web interface can now be accessed using https://172.25.50.1 from your web browser.

This concludes the installation portion of the setup. We can now proceed to configure everything else from the web interface.