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pfSense: The Definitive Guide Paperback – November 1, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael W. Lucas is a network/security engineer who keeps getting stuck with network problems nobody else wants to touch. He is the author of the critically acclaimed "Absolute FreeBSD", "Absolute OpenBSD", "Network Flow Analysis", "Cisco Routers for the Desperate", and "PGP & GPG", all from No Starch Press.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 516 pages
  • Publisher: Reed Media Services (November 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979034280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979034282
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #722,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. L. Holder on September 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yes, it's a well written book, but there is no coverage of 2.x at all. The reason I bought this book was because the available information on 2.x is seriously lacking and with the changes between versions being significant in many areas, I have trouble 'translating' 1.x information to 2.x. I did find a few bits of information that were potentially useful. This book really needs to be updated, or a second edition published, to cover 2.x, especially in matters regarding CARP.
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I've been using pfSense for two years in a business environment and have been eagerly awaiting the release of this book. As with many open-source projects, my knowledge of pfSense has come primarily from first-hand experience and gleaning from other users experiences in forums. While this has certain advantages, it can't compare to a formal, organized breakdown of the product by people in the know and this guide delivers. I have had time to peruse the content and read in depth into several issues for which I could not find answers elsewhere. The discussion of various aspects of the platform goes beyond the simple setup model of other IT guides and actually discusses underlying dynamics, issues and their sources, and best practices beyond the vanilla setup. The writing is reasonable, even, and understandable. If you are using pfSense, this is an indispensable resource. I wish that I had access to this years ago as it would have saved numerous hours of development time.
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The timing of the release of this book comes at an excellent time. I have only been experimenting with pfSense for my home firewall for a few days now. I wanted something more powerful then the consumer solutions were able to offer and with pfSense and some old spare hardware, I have found my answer. I can now get many of the same features I expect from the enterprise grade firewall and router hardware I use at work, now at home for a tiny fraction of the price. I have spent the last 7 hours since receiving the book reading and going through the configuration steps on my firewall. Without this book to help guide me through the process, it would have taken much longer to get where I am now. I now have a decent understanding on how pfSense works and how to configure most of what I need. In a few more days, I should have finished reading the book and gone through the rest of the setup and configuration process and be up to speed with pfSense. I plan to roll pfSense out as a solution to several specialized needs at work and also for several tech savvy friends and co-workers that want something more then Linksys or Dlink can provide.

The book walks you through the process and explains what everything means and how it relates to the overall system. If you are currently using or thinking about using pfSense as a router/firewall solution, you need to check this book out. This book is going to save many hours of frustration and searching for the answers online. Two thumbs up! This is the must have reference for pfSense users!

-- Ubergeek / Systems Administrator
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As one of the other reviewers stated, this book goes to the trouble of explaining why certain things work the way they do and what your options are when something isn't quite how you expected it. I have only read the setup chapter and browsed through some of the other chapters to see what is there. I have been using pfSense for over a year at work and am a huge fan of the system as it has remained a rock-solid application. I am very excited to use the book to help me improve the network as we implement VLANs and more.

For experienced administrators, I would recommend trying out pfSense and then buying this book when you see how many options are available to you. For new users, this is a great starting point and will walk you through the initial setup phase and choosing hardware so I recommend picking this up before you start. There is plenty of information for all in this book and it's a great way to help support the further development of the project!

*Update* 2/10/2011
I have read through the entire book now and it is all very helpful. I even started reading portions that I have no use for at the moment but knowing they are there helps me plan for the future. I am eagerly awaiting the release of pfSense 2.0 and even if some things have changed by then this book will still prove useful because it teaches you the fundamentals and is not afraid to go into the "why".

*Update* 1/11/2012
I now have been using 2.0 for a few months and although things have changed the book is still very helpful. Things may be in slightly different places but the concepts remain the same.
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Format: Kindle Edition
For the sake of fairness - this book WAS a 5 star book but not now.

PFSENSE is on version 2.1.3 now and while this book has substance to offer you, it is nothing that you could not get from using Google...which is free and will lead you to more relevant, current and accurate information.

The PFSENSE website, online help and it's forum will provide you with tons more info than this book ever will. Yes, a new book is coming to cover the newer 2.x release but I suspect, even that will also be outdated in some ways as soon it is printed. However, it will still be a worthwhile purchase. Just skip over this old tome.

For now, I would say look to the PFSENSE website/forums and there are numerous other blogs and sites out there just waiting to be Googled and explored. Most of us never read any BSD or PFSENSE books, we just experimented and learned from others. PFSENSE has a huge following and we are the types of people that love to write about our experiences and do HOW TO step by step blogs to help others.
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