How To Update pfSense? A Guide

How To Update pfSense? A Guide

How To Update pfSense? A Guide

pfSense is a free, open-source firewall and router platform. It is based on FreeBSD and the Linux kernel, providing packet filtering, network address translation (NAT), firewalling, IPsec VPNs with pre-shared keys, or public-key cryptography. pfSense includes most of the features found in expensive commercial firewalls but does not include all of them. The pfSense project started as a fork of m0n0wall, initially derived from the firewall by Chris Buechler.

How To Update pfSense?

Follow the following steps to update your pfSense,

  1. First, click on System > Packages, then click on “Available Packages” on the left-hand side of the page. 
  2. Then type in pfSense in the search field and select it. Now you can configure your version of pfSense by scrolling down to “Update.” 
  3. Click on Update and go through the process. If you have been running pfSense for a few days, go ahead and make sure to do a “Diagnostics > Backup” before the update. Read our article to know How To back up pfSense? [How To Backup pfSense? Article link here]
  4. If you would like advanced settings, scroll down and deselect “Packages included in a custom package selection.” 
  5. Click OK and Update Now. You should see some version numbers change. 
  6. If not, click on the red “X” that appears in the upper-right corner of your screen to exit.

Now go back into Packages and search for pfSense again. Make sure your version is up to date!

The Benefits Of Updating Version Of pfSense

The benefits of updating your version of pfSense are threefold,

  1. First, if you keep your version up-to-date, you will be able to protect yourself from security vulnerabilities with the most recent updates. 
  2. Second, if you update your version of pfSense, you will be able to use enhanced features that may not be available with an outdated system. 
  3. Finally, if you want to be fully compatible with third-party applications like OPNsense and TomatoUSB, you must stay up-to-date on your pfSense version.

Common Issues Associated With Updating Version Of pfSense

Lose Connectivity to the Internet

The most common issue is that people lose connectivity to the internet after the update. This can be due to different reasons, but one of the reasons is that it cannot find any valid DNS server. If you are not sure how to correct it, please visit the pfSense Manuals for more information.

Blocking Of Traffic

We also recommend checking your firewall rules first before proceeding with your update. This is because it may be blocking traffic to and from the machine during the updating process. To check this type ufw status or firewall-cmd status (post-OS version 1.2.0). Consider opening any port needed for updating using ufw allow X Y Z (where X, Y, Z are ports) or firewall-cmd –add-port=X/Y/Z. [Read our article to see how you can easily Open A Port On pfSense Firewall article link]

If the update hangs on a black screen with a blinking cursor, you can SSH into it once you are in as root user type “killall -s 9 powerdns_serve” and press enter. This will stop the process that is blocking the update. Now type killall -s nine httpd_unified, and press enter. Look for the updates in the directory again. If it still does not find any packages, then something else is blocking it. If you are unsure about this step or what to do next, please visit pfSense Manuals for more information on how to proceed.

Loss Of Data

Lastly, we want to remind you about the hard drives. You need to remember that all data will be lost when you update your version of pfSense, so please backup any and everything on the drive before starting. There is a new feature in version 2.5 and higher called Auto-Update, so if this is what you are using, it will update automatically.

Troubleshooting Tips To Help You Update pfSense: Fixing  Common Issues

To get help with troubleshooting pfSense problems, try these quick troubleshooting tips:

1. Check for errors in the log files. Common errors include “Could not find the valid key for the specified site,” “Renew certificates,” and “Reconfigure your kernel to support VLAN.”

2. Reboot the computer if it’s been more than 24 hours since you last rebooted pfSense. Sometimes a reboot will fix an issue that a bug might have caused.

3. Try to reinstall pfSense and make sure you’ve downloaded the correct version for your device.

4. Check if pfSense has been updated since you last checked. To check, click System > Updates. If it’s been longer than 24 hours since the last time you checked, then it may have been updated since then.

5. Check if any open bug reports could relate to your problem.

6. Search through the pfSense Documentation page for your version of pfSense for steps on troubleshooting common problems. If all else fails, try looking up how others fixed their pfSense problem in the forums.


pfSense is a firewall and router that can be configured as a LAN or WAN. It can filter traffic by IP, MAC address, interface type, protocol, or port number. This article has discussed how to update pfSense with new versions of software packages from the command line using apt-get on Debian-based systems such as Ubuntu. 

We also described what you need before updating your version of pfSense and why you should do so at all costs for security purposes. The benefits of updating your version of pfSense include increased stability and better performance, like improved features and bug fixes that will make it worth the time investment in upgrading.

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