OPNSense vs. pfSense: Which Firewall Do You Need?

OPNSense and pfSense offer firewalls that provide comprehensive network security solutions to companies. 

OPNSense is good for businesses looking for a user-friendly firewall solution with a rich feature set. pfSense is a free and open-source firewall solution that’s good for companies seeking a reliable option for advanced network needs, with medium budgets. See below to learn all about how OPNSense and pfSense compare against each other in the firewall market:

OPNSense vs. pfSense

OPNSense vs. pfSense: Portfolio

OPNSense is a fork of pfSense and includes most of the features available in commercial firewalls. This open-source FreeBSD firewalling system is easy to use and comes with a modern, intuitive, and well-documented user interface. It strongly focuses on security and code quality and offers high-end features, like easy OpenVPN client setup, intrusion detection, traffic shaping, and forward caching proxy. It also offers options for a company to use LibreSSL or OpenSSL.

With its reliable update mechanism, OPNSense takes care of new and emerging threats and provides a stable and secure environment for its clients. It has a traffic shaper feature that can enhance business network performance based on flexible shaping rules. It can also provide encrypted backup configuration to Google Drive automatically, eliminating the need for manual backups.

pfSense forked from the m0n0wall project in 2004 to offer the advantages of an open-source firewall/router distribution powered by FreeBSD. It provides comprehensive network security solutions based on the most advanced technologies to protect business networks from security threats. It also extends product support, encompassing all aspects of hardware and firewall applications, to complement IT resources. 

With its team of experts, pfSense helps companies design and implement an efficient strategy to improve security. pfSense offers tiered subscriptions and allows for deployment flexibility.

OPNSense pfSense
Breadth
Depth
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See more: Why Firewalls are Important for Network Security

OPNSense vs. pfSense: Partners

OPNSense has partnered with leading companies to enhance the project’s usability and visibility. Deciso and Landitec are two of the Platinum Partners. The OPNSense project was founded by Deciso, a top maker of networking hardware and security appliances. Landitec also provides network appliances developed with software. OPNSense also has Gold Partners, like m.a.x.it, Thomas Krenn, and BayCIX. These network service providers help in designing security systems based on the customer’s requirements.

CrowdSec and Anteor are Silver Partners for OPNSense. CrowdSec helps in analyzing the behavior of visitors and using an adapted response to protect the business network from malicious attacks. It also develops a global cyber threat intelligence (CTI) database using crowd power. Anteor offers customization and branding services for industrial and professional network security systems. The German-based local internet service provider (ISP) is a Bronze Partner for OPNSense. It serves fiber and wireless internet connections. Sunny Valley Networks and Proofpoint are its Technology Partners that provide next-generation firewall features that can be used with OPNSense.

pfSense has partnered with leading networking companies worldwide through the Netgate Partner Program.These partners help clients with consulting, procurement, and installation support. Its partners are categorized into four different levels: Premier, Select, Authorized, and Registered.

In Europe, pfSense has partnered with companies such as Voleatech, Amica Technology, Adacis, and NetBloks. In North America, pfSense has partnered with Griffin Networks, Clear Skies IT Solutions, Eduteks, Microworks, Siliconstruction, and Visexperts. And in Asia, pfSense has partnered with companies like Agix, Aryaputera, Cyberyog, and Tops Communications.

OPNSense pfSense
Breadth
Depth
Specialization
Global Reach
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OPNSense vs. pfSense: Use cases

OPNSense offers firewall solutions for businesses, school networks, remote offices and small and home offices, hotels, and campings. It offers easy configuration and online searchable documentation.

OPNSense has a dashboard feature with drag-and-drop multi-column support as well as the ability to check the status of your firewall. Its modern user interface comes with multi-language support and a fast search navigation option. It also offers built-in help for a smooth user experience. For more demanding network setups, OPNSense has a stateful firewall that can track connections like TCP streams and UDP communication.

For traffic shaping, there are pipes, queues, and corresponding rules that make the firewall quite flexible and organized. And for authorized access, OPNSense has two-factor authentication services. As corporate networks require additional security, OPNSense has a captive portal that includes enterprise features like radius and voucher support.

It also has a wide range of VPN technologies, like modern Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) VPNs, Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), and IPsec for eBay configuration. To take care of hardware fail overs, OPNSense utilizes CARP, or Common Address Redundancy Protocol, and in case of failure of the primary interface, the secondary one becomes active. In addition, the OPNSense inline intrusion prevention system (IPS) uses Netmap for minimized central processing unit (CPU) utilization and faster security threat mitigation.

pfSense is a firewall solution that includes various use cases: VPN router; local area network and wide area network (LAN/WAN) router; firewall; network address translation; and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) or Domain Name System (DNS) server. 

As business-grade networking demands high quality, Netgate Professional Services creates and manages the software, which contributes technical expertise.

pfSense offers consulting and implementation services for new, large-scale deployments and takes care of requirements gathering, solution designing, installation support, and integration testing. It also helps businesses with existing firewalls interested in converting to pfSense. Further, pfSense can manage production-level software upgrades, VPN architecture, and deployment services.

OPNSense pfSense
Breadth
Depth
Specialization
Overall

OPNSense vs. pfSense: User reviews

Reviews and ratings are limited for OPNSense, with a 4.1 out of 5 rating at Peerspot. Users praise the pricing and easy configuration. In addition, OPNSense is credited with having detailed documentation that makes it easier for users to understand and implement different features.

At Peerspot, pfSense has a 4.3 out of 5 rating. Users appreciate its mature platform, and it has a flexible design that can be customized based on a customer’s needs. Additionally, pfSense introduces regular updates and allows customers to integrate additional features. 

pfSense has a score of 8.8 out of 10 at TrustRadius, where users appreciate its range of third-party packages. At G2, it has a 4.6 out of 5 rating, and at Capterra, users rate pfSense with a 5 out of 5 rating. Thus, pfSense has a larger user community, as it has been around for longer when compared to OPNSense.

OPNSense pfSense
G2 4.6 out of 5
Peerspot 4.1 out of 5 4.3 out of 5
Capterra 5 out of 5
TrustRadius 8.8 out of 10
Overall

OPNSense vs. pfSense: Industry recognition

Starting in 2014, OPNSense has evolved quickly. It has come up with over 200 releases, out of which 16 are major ones. There are over 70 plugins and 500K lines of code available. In addition, OPNSense has a 2-clause license. To ensure that emerging threats are addressed, it has a fixed release cycle of two major releases each year.

pfSense has proven success with over three million software installations. It is present in every continent and across every business vertical and has more than 26,000 open-source code commits to date. Since 2007, pfSense has come up with over 50 software releases. 

OPNSense pfSense
Volume
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OPNSense vs. pfSense: Overall

OPNSense started in 2014 and has been able to grab part of the market, because of its extensive features and customized firewall solutions.

pfSense has garnered recognition for its reliable and easy-to-use firewall solution that responds fast to critical security vulnerabilities. 

Both OPNSense and pfSense are good options for firewall solutions, and you can choose either of them based on your business requirements.

OPNSense pfSense
Portfolio
Partners
Use Cases
Ratings
Recognition
Overall

See more: 5 Top Next-Generation Firewall Software

Kashyap Vyas
Kashyap Vyas
Kashyap Vyas is a writer with 9+ years of experience writing about SaaS, cloud communications, data analytics, IT security, and STEM topics. In addition to IT Business Edge, he's been a contributor to publications including Interesting Engineering, Machine Design, Design World, and several other peer-reviewed journals. Kashyap is also a digital marketing enthusiast and runs his own small consulting agency.

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