How to monitor pfSense performance

There are multiple ways to monitor the performance of your pfSense firewall, both through the pfSense web interface itself and through external monitoring tools. Here are some methods you can use:

1. pfSense Dashboard: The default landing page after you log into the pfSense web interface is the dashboard. This gives you a quick overview of your system information, interfaces, services status, firewall throughput, CPU usage, memory usage, disk usage, and more. You can customize the dashboard to display the widgets that are most relevant to your needs.

2. RRD Graphs: pfSense includes a built-in tool for monitoring various metrics over time called RRD Graphs. You can access it by going to Status > Monitoring. This tool provides graphs of system metrics like CPU usage, memory usage, disk usage, network traffic, packet processing, quality of service (QoS) statistics, and more.

3. System Logs: You can view the system logs by going to Status > System Logs. This provides a detailed log of system events, including system operations, firewall activity, DHCP leases, VPN connections, and more. The logs can be filtered and configured to show the information you need.

4. Packet Capture: If you’re trying to diagnose a specific issue, you can use the Packet Capture tool (Diagnostics > Packet Capture). This tool captures packets on a specified interface, which you can then analyze using a tool like Wireshark.

5. pfTop: pfTop is a tool that provides real-time information about your firewall’s states table. You can access it by going to Diagnostics > pfTop. This can be useful for seeing which connections are currently active.

6. External Monitoring Tools: pfSense supports exporting its metrics to external monitoring systems using the SNMP protocol. You can enable this by going to Services > SNMP. After it’s enabled, you can use a network monitoring system like Nagios, Zabbix, or PRTG Network Monitor to collect and analyze the metrics. This is especially useful if you’re monitoring multiple systems or want more advanced alerting capabilities.

Each of these tools can provide valuable information about the performance and operation of your pfSense system. The best tool to use depends on what specific information you’re interested in and how you prefer to view it.