How to install pfSense in DigitalOcean

Inspired by this post, I’m basically re-creating it with copy/paste commands instead of images of the commands and updating the partitioning portion as I found some steps the original author took are no longer required.

Create your droplet

  1. Login to your DigitalOcean Dashboard and create a new droplet
  2. Select ‘FreeBSD 11.1 x64’ as your droplet image
  3. Select the data center region of your choice
  4. Check mark ‘Private Networking’ and ‘IPv6’ if you want it
  5. Add your SSH key
  6. Enter a hostname
  7. Click ‘Create’

Once the droplet has been created boot it up, grab the public IP and SSH into it as root.

Note: If you don’t SSH in as root put “sudo” in front of all of the commands after step 7

  1. Go to
  2. Select ‘AMD64 (64-bit)’ as the architecture
  3. Select ‘USB Memstick Installer’ as the installer
  4. Select ‘VGA’ for the console
  5. Pick which ever mirror you want
  6. Right click the ‘Download’ button and choose ‘Copy Link Location’
  7. On your SSH connection to your droplet run the following command:
  8. Disable SWAP
  9. Enable debug mode for GEOM, more info on why here
  10. Write the ISO of pfSense to /dev/vtbd0

  11. You can now reboot the droplet and the the pfSense installer will start

Go back to the DigitalOcean interface, select your droplet and open the console window

  1. Once the installer starts hit <ENTER> to accept the copy right notice
  2. Choose ‘Install’
  3. Choose ‘>>> Continue with default keymap’
  4. Choose ‘Manual’
  5. Delete everything listed EXCEPT for vtbd0, vtbd0s2 and vtbd0s2a
  6. Highlight vtbd0 and press ‘C’ and choose ‘OK’
  7. Select vtbd0s1 and press ‘C’
  8. Change the mount point to “/” and choose ‘OK’
  9. Choose ‘Finish’
  10. Choose ‘Commit’
  11. The installation will now progress, once complete choose ‘No’ and ‘Reboot’

Once the droplet reboots you’ll be at the initial configuration wizard for setting up pfSense. Since this is deployment specific I will leave it to you to configure.

8 thoughts on “How to install pfSense in DigitalOcean

  1. Thanks for sharing this small and to the point setup. You have really done it the easy way. However, I don’t have the normal server of DO but instead I own the managed DigitalOcean web hosting server which is powered by Cloudways. So, can I pursue the installation of pfsense with the managed DO server. You can check the features of the managed DO server by clicking on the below mentioned link:

  2. …can’t get this working.  I get this message on the very last step: “No root partition was found. The root pfSense partition must have a mount point of ‘/’.”

    note: FreeBSD 11.1 is no longer available. I’m using 11.2.



        • Thanks for putting this documentation together. I’ve had to do it a couple of times now and I can get through it in less than 10 min.

          In case you want to update the article, swapoff /dev/gpt/swap does not work. You have to do swapoff /dev/gpt/swap0 or swapoff -a

          Hope this helps.

          Thanks again,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.