Does pfSense Have a DNS Server?


Larry Thompson

Does pfSense Have a DNS Server?

When it comes to network management and security, pfSense is a popular choice for many IT professionals. It offers a wide range of features and functionalities that make it a powerful tool in network administration.

One question that often comes up is whether pfSense has a built-in DNS server. In this article, we will explore this topic in detail.

What is DNS?

DNS stands for Domain Name System. It is a fundamental component of the internet that translates domain names into IP addresses. When you type a website address into your browser, the DNS server resolves that domain name to its corresponding IP address, allowing your device to connect to the correct web server.

The Role of DNS in Network Management

DNS plays a crucial role in network management. It helps to ensure smooth and efficient communication between devices on the network by translating human-readable domain names into machine-readable IP addresses.

Benefits of Having a DNS Server

  • Improved Network Performance: By having a local DNS server, you can reduce the latency associated with resolving domain names from external DNS servers.
  • Enhanced Security: With your own DNS server, you have more control over the security and filtering of domain name resolutions, allowing you to block access to malicious websites or restrict access to certain domains.
  • Customization: Having your own DNS server gives you the ability to create custom domain name resolutions within your network, making it easier for users to access internal resources.

The Built-in DNS Resolver in pfSense

Yes! pfSense does have a built-in DNS resolver called Unbound. Unbound is a validating, recursive, and caching DNS resolver that is capable of resolving domain names for your network.

Unbound provides the following features:

  • Validation: It ensures that the responses received from DNS servers are valid and have not been tampered with.
  • Recursion: It can recursively resolve domain names by querying other DNS servers on behalf of clients.
  • Caching: It caches the responses it receives, improving performance and reducing the load on external DNS servers.

Configuring the pfSense DNS Resolver

To configure the DNS resolver in pfSense, follow these steps:

  1. Login to your pfSense web interface.
  2. Navigate to “Services” and then “DNS Resolver”.
  3. Under “General Settings”, configure the desired options such as listening interfaces, access control, and cache size.
  4. Scroll down to the “Domain Overrides” section if you need to create custom domain name resolutions within your network.
  5. Click “Save” to apply your changes.

Troubleshooting DNS Issues in pfSense

If you encounter any DNS-related issues in pfSense, here are a few things you can try:

  1. Check Firewall Rules: Ensure that your firewall rules allow DNS traffic to pass through.
  2. Verify DNS Resolver Configuration: Double-check your DNS resolver settings in pfSense to ensure they are correct.
  3. DNS Forwarding: If necessary, you can configure pfSense to forward DNS requests to external DNS servers.
  4. Restart Services: Restarting the DNS resolver service or even pfSense itself can sometimes resolve DNS issues.


In conclusion, pfSense does indeed have a built-in DNS resolver called Unbound. This powerful feature allows you to have control over domain name resolutions within your network, improving performance, security, and customization. By understanding how to configure and troubleshoot the DNS resolver in pfSense, you can ensure seamless network communication for your organization.

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