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OpenVPN on pfSense

Set up certificates

Use the menu to go to SystemCertificate ManagerCAs and click the + Add button.

Open one of the *.conf files from the archive and copy the content between the <ca></ca> tags into the field Certificate data, as shown in the picture on the left.

Use the menu to go to SystemCertificate ManagerCertificates and click on the button + Add/Sign.

Copy the content between the <cert></cert> tags into the field Certificate Data and the content between the <key></key> tags into the field Private key data.

Set up OpenVPN

Now use the menu to go to VPNOpenVPNClients and click on the button + Add.

Configure the OpenVPN client as follows (we are using the Amsterdam1 server in this documentation):
  • Protocol: UDP on IPv4 only
  • Interface: WAN
  • Server Host or Address: or
  • Server Port: 1149
  • Description: PP_Amsterdam1_Client
  • Username: Your Perfect Privacy username
  • Password: Your Perfect Privacy password

Deactivate the option Automatically generate a TLS Key and copy the text between the <tls-auth></tls-auth> tags from the *.conf file into the field TLS Key.

  • TLS keydir direction: Direction 1
  • Peer Certificate Authority: PP_Amsterdam_CA
  • Client Certificate: PP_Amsterdam_Cert

Tip: Depending on the CPU performance on your router you may want to use the weaker encryption AES-128-CBC to get better speed and bandwidth. In this case choose AES-128-CBC for Encryption Algorithm.

  • Enable NCP: Deactivate
  • Auth digest algorithm: SHA512

  • Compression: Allow Compression: Refuse any non-stub compression (Most secure)
  • Topology: Subnet – One IP address per client

Ping settings

  • Inactive: 604800
  • Ping method: ping – Define ping/ping-exit/ping-restart manually
  • Ping: 5
  • Ping restart or exit: ping-restart – Restart OpenVPN after timeout
  • Ping restart or exit seconds: 120

Advanced Configuration

Copy the following text block into the field Custom options:

hand-window 120
reneg-sec 3600
resolv-retry 60
tls-timeout 5
tun-mtu 1500
fragment 1300
remote-cert-tls server
  • Gateway creation: Select "IPv4 only" (Select "Both" if you want to add IPv6)
  • Verbosity level: 4

Now click on the Save button.

Use the menu to go to InterfacesInterface Assignments and at Available Network Ports select ovpnc1 (PP_Amsterdam1_Client) then click the + Add button.

Click on the newly generated interface and as Description enter VPN_PP_Amsterdam1.

This step is only required for an IPv6 connection. Skip it if you don't want to use IPv6.

Navigate to the menu FirewallRulesWAN and create an ICMP rule for the IPv6 protocol with the following options:

  • Action: Allow
  • Interface: WAN
  • Address Family: IPv6
  • Protocol: ICMP
  • ICMP Subtype: Echo request
  • Source: all
  • Destination: all

Click on the Save button.

Backup & Restore

Use the menu to navigate to DiagnosticsBackup & Restore and create a backup of the current configuration by using Download configuration as XML. Should you later wish to get rid of the OpenVPN configuration you may do so using Restore configuration.

Set up DNS-Leak protection

If you want to access the Internet without VPN as well you should configure public name servers, for instance those from Cloudflare, Google or any from the OpenNIC-Project. If the VPN is connected, DNS requests will be sent anonymously over the VPN tunnel.

Go to the menu SystemGeneral Settings and enter at least two DNS servers of your choice. In this example we are using the DNS servers and

To configure DNS servers for IPv6 too, click on the button + Add DNS Server and enter for example 2606:4700:4700::1111 and 2606:4700:4700::1001 as DNS servers.

Deactivate the option DNS Server Override. Leave the other settings as they are.

Use the menu to go to ServicesDNS Resolver and at Outgoing Network Interfaces select VPN_PP_AMSTERDAM1.

Configure the following option:

  • DNSSEC: Enable DNSSEC Support

Note: With the default settings DNS queries are sent directly to the internet servoce provider, therefore it is important to select a VPN interface as outgoing network interface for DNS queries to prevent DNS leaks.

Set up Kill Switch

CAUTION: This step will activate the firewall protection (leak protection or „kill switch“).

If you proceed with these steps, the Internet connection will only work when a VPN tunnel has been established.

Navigate to FirewallRulesLAN and deactivate the rule for IPv6 (if the use of IPv6 is not desired) and click on the Save button.

Then open the IPv4 rule by clicking on the pen symbol (Edit). Activate Advanced options at the bottom. At Tag enter: NO_WAN_EGRESS and further below select VPN_PP_AMSTERDAM_VPN4 as gateway.

(If needed repeat this step for the IPv6 rule. Otherwise deactivate the IPv6 rule.)

The traffic thereby is happening via the selected gateways only.

Now a floating rule is required to ensure all traffic is blocked in case the OpenVPN connection is offline.

Change to FirewallRulesFloating and create a new block-rule at the bottom with the following settings:

  • Action: Block
  • Interface: WAN
  • Direction: all
  • Address Family: IPv4+IPv6
  • Protocol: all
  • Source: all
  • Destination: all
  • Marked/Tagged: NO_WAN_EGRESS

Go to the menu FirewallNATOutbound and select the option Manual Outbound NAT rule generation and click on Save.

The pfSense then generates a set of outbound NAT rules, as shown in the image on the left. Remove all of them execpt for three NAT rules:

  • ... Auto created rule – localhost to WAN
  • ::1/128 ... Auto created rule – localhost to WAN
  • ... Auto created rule – LAN to WAN

Edit the LAN to WAN rule ( by clicking on the pen icon.

Make the following changes:

  • Interface: VPN_PP_AMSTERDAM1
  • Address Family: IPv4+IPv6
  • Protocol: all
  • Source: all
  • Destination: all

Then save.

Duplicate the NAT rule (VPN_PP_AMSTERDAM1) and replace the values with the following settings:

  • Interface: WAN
  • Address Family: IPv4+IPv6
  • Protocol: all
  • Source: This firewall (self)
  • Destination: all

Then save.

The Firewall rules should now look as shown.

Check VPN connection

You can verify that the VPN connection is working properly by visiting our Check IP website on any device connected to the Internet via the pfSense router.

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