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Does pfsense require a dedicated machine

josey

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Joined
Feb 26, 2013
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8
I'm planning on using pfsense for a wisp I'm setting up and don't know mush about what I'm getting into yet concerning the software I'm going to use but it appears that pfsense will become the operating system for the machine.

For example I run apache on a linx box for my web server but I can still use the machine for other things while the web server runs in the background.

But the install instructions for pfsense talk about formatting the drive or losing everything on it once it is installed.

Any advice out there?
Thanks
 

supaflyx3

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Jun 12, 2010
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Honestly, if you don't know much about linux it would be best you do a lot of researching before you even attempt to setup a wisp. But to answer your question pfsense can be run in a virtual machine and it will act just like a physical machine running it.
 

josey

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Feb 26, 2013
Messages
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I use linx to run my web servers what I don't understand is pfsense runs, it doesn't look as if it run as a program but that it is an OS and a program. For example I can run my webserver in the background and run other programs at the same time.

It look as if I install pfsense on the hard drive then the machine will only be running pfsense. Is this correct or am I missing something?

Thanks
 

supaflyx3

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Correct. Pfsense is a linux distro based off of FreeBSD. It in theory could be used to browse the web and other applications, but it's really only designed for networking and shouldn't be used as anything other than a server.
 

josey

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Joined
Feb 26, 2013
Messages
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Thanks, now if I'm running a computer with pfsense can I install freeradius on the same box that is running the pfsense as the OS or do I need to run that on a box running linux?

Thanks for the help, just trying to get my head around this stuff
 

supaflyx3

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You can install any linux application on pfsense. Just be aware that you'll most likely have to compile it yourself, pfsense doesn't have a package manager as far as I'm aware.
 

josey

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2013
Messages
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so running freeradius on a pfsense box will take care of most of my wisp software needs would you say, mybe after that a redirect program to a login page.

ofcourse after configuring everything.

what else would you guys think i would need?

thanks for your help
 

JD

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Jul 16, 2007
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Toronto, ON
There are quite a few pre-built packages for pfSense which should cover anything you want to do.

FreeRadius being one of them for that matter, along with Squid (proxy) and many more.
 

odis172

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Oct 16, 2008
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Ottawa, ON
Typically you don't install anything else on the pfsense box. It has many packages available which you can activate to increase functionality. I run pfsense as my home router in a vm, with two dedicated nics (wan/lan). Might be worth it to do that, then have vm's for whatever else you want.
 

NyteOwl

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Aug 4, 2008
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Nova Scotia
Correct. Pfsense is a linux distro based off of FreeBSD. It in theory could be used to browse the web and other applications, but it's really only designed for networking and shouldn't be used as anything other than a server.
pfsense is NOT a Linux distribution. It is a dedicated firewall install based on FreeBSD (via m0n0wall). It is not host based (ie it runs on the machine it's protecting) and like most dedicated firewalls, it should be run on it's own hardware for optimum efficiency and security. As has been noted, it can be run in a virtual machine alongside other operating systems on one machine.
 

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