pfSense Monitoring Tool – Monitor pfSense gateway and FreeBSD

4 min

How to Monitor pfSense with Domotz

Regarding router and firewall software, you have countless choices for controlling what happens on your network. pfSense is just one option, but it’s a popular pick among FreeBSD users who want to make the most of available hardware, support open-source, and retain a high degree of control. For those of you new here, Domotz is a network device monitoring tool for managing your IT systems.

Here’s how pfSense works – and how the Domotz monitoring integration makes it easy to get started with Pfsense monitoring.

What is pfSense?

pfSense is a free, open-source firewall and router OS. It’s based on the FreeBSD operating system but includes its kernel. 

The name comes from the fact that it uses the PF firewalling software – which works by filtering traffic at the packet level. 

An Overview of pfSense

If you want to use pfSense, you’ll install it on a physical computer or a virtual machine to make a dedicated firewall/router for a network. Since it builds on OpenBSD, it’s an operating system – not just a tool that runs on another OS. 

You can configure and upgrade pfSense through a web-based interface. This requires no knowledge of the underlying FreeBSD system, making it an easy entry point for beginners and network admins who have other things on their plates. Because it’s just FreeBSD, you can dive in as deeply as you want.

What is FreeBSD?

FreeBSD is a free and open-source Unix-like operating system. It began as an offshoot of the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) in the early 1990s. Fast-forward to the modern era, FreeBSD has become the most widely used BSD distribution.

FreeBSD and Linux have a lot in common, but there are some essential distinctions for enterprise users:

  • It’s a complete operating system, including a kernel, utilities, and documentation. Linux is just the kernel, so its user-land tools and utilities come from various sources, making for a more fragmented system with less consistent behavior.
  • You can use it to help your development process to be more open and transparent than Linux’s. Anyone can submit patches for review by the developers, and all discussion about new features and changes happens on public mailing lists. In contrast, Linux’s development process only grants a few select individuals commit access to the central code repository.
  • FreeBSD has a stronger focus on stability and reliability than Linux does. New features only make it into the OS after being thoroughly tested and proven stable. This makes FreeBSD a better choice for mission-critical servers where uptime is essential.
  • Moreover, its source code may be more accessible for companies to support, thanks to its permissive BSD license. 

Who Uses pfSense?

Using pfSense might appeal to anyone in need of a customizable firewall solution. This includes small business owners, large enterprises, and individuals who want to protect their networks.

The Benefits of Using pfSense

There are many advantages to using pfSense, including the following: 

  • Ease of use: The web-based interface makes it easy to set up and manage your firewall without requiring any knowledge of FreeBSD. 
  • Flexibility: You can adapt pfSense to almost any networking scenario. 
  • Powerful features: In addition to being an effective firewall, pfSense packs many features usually found in commercial routers, such as load balancing, VPN support, and traffic shaping. 
  • Community support: There’s an active community of users contributing documentation, support, and add-ons for pfSense.
  • It’s open-source: Using pfSense makes it easier to stay ahead of bugs and interact with the underlying code instead of wondering how to tweak a black box alternative. These perks raise the odds you can build your tooling – or even migrate to something new if you don’t like where the project is heading. 
  • Broad platform support: pfSense works on a range of commercial computers. It’s also compatible with cheap embedded hardware, making it easy for industrial users to deploy. Although versions after 2.4.x no longer support 32-bit systems, you can set up pfSense on anything that runs FreeBSD.

Our pfSense Monitoring Tool

With the Domotz pfSense monitor, you can proactively monitor your pfSense gateway, underlying FreeBSD server, and more. 

Here is a list with some of the most important facts about our pfsense monitoring tool:

  • Learn which consumers use the most traffic based on your custom criteria. 
  • See which processes take up the most system resources and review traffic route rules.
  • Our custom integration shows you how your pfSense instance works in real time.

How Our pfSense Monitoring Tool Works

It’s easy to set up Domotz pfSense monitoring. Just use one of our scripts. You’ll be managing your pfSense instance via SSH, SNMP, or your other favorite protocol in no time.

After installing pfSense, open the web interface. Then, use the app to set up a custom integration following these instructions. The whole process should take at most ten minutes.

You can also check our custom driver examples online to get our integration code. Or, reach out to us directly for help getting started.

Conclusion on our pfSense Monitoring Tool

To sum up, pfSense is a popular tool for controlling what’s on your network and is common amongst FreeBSD users. If you need a way to monitor your pfsense instance, you can easily do this with Domotz for an affordable monthly cost with no long-term commitment or subscription.

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