Can pfSense Run DNS Server?


Heather Bennett

Can pfSense Run DNS Server?

pfSense is a powerful open-source firewall and router platform that offers numerous features and functionalities. One of the questions often asked by users is whether pfSense can be used as a DNS server. In this article, we will explore the capabilities of pfSense in running a DNS server and discuss how to set it up.

The Role of a DNS Server

Before diving into the specifics of pfSense’s DNS capabilities, let’s first understand the role of a DNS server. The Domain Name System (DNS) is responsible for translating human-readable domain names into IP addresses that computers can understand. Without DNS, we would have to remember lengthy sequences of numbers instead of simple domain names like or

A DNS server acts as a directory that stores information about various domain names and their corresponding IP addresses. When you type a domain name into your web browser, it sends a request to a DNS server to resolve the domain name into its associated IP address. The DNS server then returns the IP address back to your browser, allowing it to establish a connection with the desired website.

pfSense as a DNS Server

Yes, pfSense can indeed function as a DNS server. It includes an integrated DNS resolver called Unbound, which provides caching and forwarding capabilities. Unbound is known for its security features and high performance.

Setting Up pfSense as a DNS Server

Step 1: Accessing pfSense Web Interface

To begin setting up pfSense as a DNS server, you first need to access its web interface. Open your preferred web browser and enter the IP address assigned to your pfSense router in the address bar. You will be prompted to enter your pfSense login credentials, so make sure you have them handy.

Step 2: Configuring DNS Resolver

Once you have successfully logged in to the pfSense web interface, navigate to “Services” and select “DNS Resolver.” Here, you can configure various settings related to the DNS resolver.

Step 3: Enabling DNS Resolver

To enable the DNS resolver, click on the checkbox next to “Enable DNS Resolver.” This will activate Unbound, allowing pfSense to act as a DNS server.

Step 4: Customizing DNS Resolver Settings

In this step, you can customize the DNS resolver settings according to your requirements. You can specify which network interfaces should listen for DNS queries, define access control lists (ACLs) to restrict or allow certain clients, and configure advanced options like DNS over TLS or DNSSEC.

Step 5: Restarting the DNS Resolver

After making any changes to the DNS resolver settings, remember to click on the “Save” button and then choose “Apply Changes.” This will restart the Unbound service with the updated configurations.


In conclusion, pfSense is not only a powerful firewall and router platform but also capable of functioning as a DNS server. By leveraging its integrated DNS resolver Unbound, you can enjoy reliable and secure domain name resolution within your network.

Setting up pfSense as a DNS server is relatively straightforward through its web interface. Experiment with different configurations and unleash the full potential of pfSense as a versatile networking solution.

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