How to install pfSense to you computer?

For purposes of this article on pfSense setup, we will assume that you already have a system that meets the minimum specifications to run pfsense (if you have not acquired the components yet or if you’re not sure if your equipment meets the specs, you may want to check this document on pfsense requirements). In a nutshell, however, the minimum hardware requirements are:

  • 100 MHz Pentium CPU
  • 128 MB RAM
  • CD-ROM (for installation or for the LIve CD if you run it off the CD)
  • 1 GB hard drive (if you install it onto a hard drive)
  • Two network interface cards
  •  The user default is admin password: pfsense

You can run pfsense from a Live CD or a bootable USB drive.
Download the latest version of pfSense. You probably want to verify the integrity of the download with the MD5 checksum as well. Once this is done, burn the pfSense ISO to a CD or to the media of your choice. You can burn the ISO with the program of your choice; you can do it at the Linux command line with this command:

sudo cdrecord -v speed=20 dev=/dev/sr0 pfSense-LiveCD-2.0.3-RELEASE-i386-20130412-1022.iso

Boot your PC with the pfSense CD. You will be presented with a “Welcome to pfSense!” menu with several options. For this screen, you can choose the default option (Boot pfSense). At this point, you can press “I” to invoke the installer, or continue the LiveCD bootup. If you want to boot the LiveCD, either do nothing or hit “C”, and you can skip the following section. [In this case, continue with pfSense setup.

pfSense Setup: Installation Onto a Hard Drive

If you hit “I”, then the next screen will be the “Configure Console” menu. Most likely you can choose the “Accept these Settings” option and press [Enter].
The next menu is the “Select Task” menu. There are several options: “Quick/Easy Install”, “Custom Install”, “Rescue config.xml”, “Reboot”, and “Exit”. If you just want to install onto the first hard drive, you can select “Quick/Easy Install” and press [Enter].
The next dialog box is the “Are you SURE” dialog box, which will ask you to confirm your decision to install pfSense by highlighting “OK” and pressing [Enter]. Any data on the first hard drive will be erased in order to install pfSense.
Installation will take a few minutes, as pfSense formats your drive and copies the software to it. Next is the “Install Kernel(s)” screen. Select “Symmetric multiprocessing kernel” and press [Enter].
At the “Reboot” screen, remove the pfSense CD from the CD/DVD drive, highlight “Reboot” and press [Enter].
After the system reboots, you will see the initial “Welcome to pfSense!” menu. Press [Enter] to select the default, or just wait for the pause timer to run out.

pfSense Setup: Further Configuration

[Resume here if you are booting from the LiveCD.]
As pfSense boots, the detected network interface cards will be listed. If all your network cards are not listed, you will want to exit out of the install by hitting [CTRL-C] and selecting “6” on the menu. Otherwise, the next choice will be:
Do you want to set up VLAN’s now [y|n]?
Assuming that this is a basic pfSense setup, you can type [n] and continue.
The next option is:
Enter your LAN interface name
Here, type the name of the network interface card that will be directly connected to your internal network. The next option is:
Enter your WAN interface name
Here, type the name of the network interface card that will be be connected to the internet.
If you installed more than two network cards, then pfSense will prompt you to enter the names of them. For the third card it will prompt:
Enter the Optional 1 interface name
When there are no more network cards to name, you will get the prompt:
Do you want to proceed [y|n]?
Be sure to type [y]. You have completed the first phase of pfSense setup. Now pfSense will be running and fully functional. If you wish, you can connect via the web interface, which pfSense by default assigned an IP address of 192.168.1.1.
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