General Setup Part 2 – Basic System Setup

When first connecting to the web interface for pfSense®, it’s important to note that the secure connection uses a self-signed certificate generated from the pfSense® box itself. You will often see a web notification like this.

Fig01. Insecure Connection to Web Interface

Fig01. Insecure Connection to Web Interface

In this case, an exception needs to be made for this site so that you won’t see it anymore. This connection is using Firefox. Click ‘Advanced’ and then ‘Add Exception’

Fig02. Add Exception

Fig02. Add Exception

In some instances, Firefox will require you to manually add IP of the server certificate you are trying to add. In this case, it’s the IP of the LAN. Click ‘Get Certificate’ and then click ‘Confirm Security Exception’

Fig03. Confirm Security Exception

Fig03. Confirm Security Exception

Now we are presented with the Login web page
The default credentials are
Username: admin
Password: pfsense

Fig04. Default Login Screen

Fig04. Default Login Screen

Once you log in, the pfSense® setup wizard kicks in. I skip this step and click on the pfSense® icon in the upper left to go through the steps manually.

Fig05. pfSense Setup Wizard

Fig05. Skip pfSense Setup Wizard

When you bypass the Wizard, you immediately go to the main Dashboard page.

Fig06. Default Dashboard Screen

Fig06. Default Dashboard Screen

From here, we’ll go to the General Setup page to start the setup.
System > General Setup

Fig07. General Setup Page

Fig07. General Setup Page

In the first section under ‘System’ we need to name the firewall and specify the domain

System

  • System hostname (i.e. pfSense; firewall or pfs)
  • Domain name (i.e. ‘localdomain’ or ‘yourworkdomain.com’)

Home users can simply leave it on the default (localdomain)

Fig08. Setup - System Section

Fig08. Setup – System Section

DNS Server Settings

In this section we need to configure DNS servers to be used by the system for DNS name resolution. This part is important to make sure you can browse the web properly and efficiently using proper DNS servers.
For home users, it’s recommended to use a DNS Servers from a DNS resolution service instead of your ISP DNS servers.

Home Settings

  • DNS Servers – Recommend using OpenDNS Servers (208.67.222.222, 208.67.220.220)
  • DNS Server Override – Unchecked (this will prevent using your ISP DNS servers)
  • Disable DNS Forwarder – Unchecked (this will use the firewall as the first DNS server)

    Fig09. Setup - DNS Server Settings

    Fig09. Setup – DNS Home Use

Business Settings

  • DNS Servers (i.e. Active Directory Internal Servers 172.25.50.11, 172.25.50.12)
  • DNS Server Override – Unchecked (this will prevent using your ISP DNS servers)
  • Disable DNS Forwarder –Checked (this will prevent using the firewall as the first DNS server)

    Fig10. Setup - DNS Server Settings

    Fig10. Setup – DNS Business Use

Localization

The localization section is the section to set your time zone and the use of a time server. The use a a time server within your network can be beneficial to sync your device clocks to network time. This section is a basic time setup. Using the NTP service with a detailed configured will be in a later article.

  • Timezone: (i.e. America/New_York)
  • Time Servers: (i.e. 0.us.pool.ntp.org 1.us.pool.ntp.org 2.us.pool.ntp.org)

    Fig11. Setup - Localization

    Fig11. Setup – Localization

In part 2 of the setup, we will cover the WAN &LAN setup

In part 3 of the setup, we will cover changing the default password and creating an active admin user in the User Manager screen.