How To Install PFSENSE 2.4.4 On VMware Workstation 15.5 Pro

PFSENSE is an open source network firewall/router software distribution which is based on the FreeBSD operating system. It is a free network firewall that comes with features that you can usually get in a proprietary solution such as SOPHOS XG. The features include STATEFUL PACKET INSPECTION, GEOIP BLOCKING, CAPTIVE PORTAL GUEST NETWORK, TIME BASED RULES AND CONNECTION LIMITS, POLICY BASED ROUTING, PPPOE SERVER, IDS / IPS, IPSEC VPN, OPENVPN, NON TRANSPARENT AND TRANSPARENT CACHING PROXY, LDAP SERVER, DOMAIN / URL FILTERING, DYNAMIC DNS, DHCP, DNS FORWARDING, MULTI WAN LOAD BALANCING AND FAILOVER and so much more! PFSENSE is used in many organizations around the world and there are even more organizations in need to firewalls such as PFSENSE. Therefore learning how to install PFSENSE on various platforms and configuring it for various use cases is a valuable skill.  This tutorial provides a guide on how to install PFSENSE version 2.4.4 as a VMware Workstation 15.5 Pro virtual machine. If you would like to watch a youtube video tutorial click on the button below to watch it NOW!


In order to complete this tutorial successfully the following items are required. Please ensure to have these items available before taking implimentation action on this tutorial:
1) A desktop or laptop computer with Windows 7,8,10 or Linux installed.
2) VMware Workstation 15.5 Pro
3) PFSENSE 2.4.4 disk image file (ISO)

Step 1: Download The PFSENSE Install Disk Image File (ISO)

1) Click HERE to download the PFSENSE installation disk image file. On the downlad page, choose AMD(64) on the ARCHITECTURE drop down and choose a mirror location closest to you on the MIRROR dropdown menu.

Network Diagram

2) The image on the right shows a diagram that illustrates the network configuration for the PFSENSE virtual machine. PFSENSE has 2 network interfaces that are connected to two physical network adapters on host computer through TCP / IP bridges.

Step 2: Create And Install The Pfsense Virtual Machine

3) Open VMware Workstation 15.5 Pro and go to “FILE > NEW VIRTUAL MACHINE” or you simply simply pres the “CNTRL + N” keyboard shortcut. This will open the NEW VIRTUAL MACHINE WIZARD.

4) On the NEW VIRTUAL MACHINE WIZARD, select the “TYPICAL (RECOMMENDED)” option. This will simplify the virtual machine creation process as vmware easy install wil automatically configure virtual hardware settings suitabe for PFSENSE

5)  Next, Select the “INSTALLER DISK IMAGE FILE (ISO) option. Click on the “BROWSE” button and select the PFSENSE iso file from its saved location on your computer. The “NEW VIRTUAL MACHINE WIZARD” will automatically detect PFSENSE as a FREEBSD version 10 64-bit system. Click on the “NEXT” button to proceed.

6) Type in a meaninfull name in the “VIRTUAL MACHINE NAME” text input box and choose a location for saving virtual machine fils on the “LOCATION” input box. By default virtual machine files are saved in the ” DOCUMENTS/VIRTUAL MACHINES” folder.

7) Next, specify the virtual hard disk capacity for the PFSENSE virtual machine. This will depnd on available disk space on the host computer however 50 GB is sufficint for PFSENSE in a home lab / work lab environment. Chooe the “SPLIT VIRTUAL DISK INTO MULTIPLE FILES” option if you intend to move the virtual machine to a different host later. Click on the “NEXT” button to proceed.


8) This is the final stage in the virtual machine creation process. However PFSENSE requires 2 network interface’s so as to function properly. At this stage the virtual machine only has one network interface. To add a second interface click in the “CUSTOMIZE HARDWARE” button.

9) On the “CUSTOMIZE HARDWARE” windows click on the “ADD” button and select “NETWORK ADAPTER” and click on the “FINISH” button.

10) The newly added network adapter will populated on the hardware list named “Network Adapter 2”. Select “Network Adapter2” and change the network connection to a suitable setting for your environment. Availabe options are Bridged, NAT, Host-Only and Custom.

11) Click on the “CLOSE” and “FINISH” buttons. If the “POWER ON THIS VIRTUAL MACHINE AFTER CREATION” check box is checked the PFSENSE virtual machine will power on. Otherwise select the newly created virtual machine and click on the “Power On This Virtual Machine” button.


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