How Do I Use pfSense as a DNS Server?


Scott Campbell

Are you looking for a reliable and powerful DNS server solution? Look no further than pfSense!

In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process of using pfSense as a DNS server. By setting up pfSense as your DNS server, you can have complete control over your network’s domain name resolution and enjoy enhanced security features.

What is pfSense?

Before we dive into setting up pfSense as a DNS server, let’s quickly understand what pfSense is. pfSense is an open-source firewall and routing platform based on FreeBSD.

It offers a wide range of features, including VPN connectivity, traffic shaping, and network monitoring. One of its key features is the ability to act as a DNS server.

Why Use pfSense as a DNS Server?

pfSense provides several advantages when used as a DNS server:

  • Enhanced Security: With pfSense acting as your DNS server, you can implement advanced security measures such as domain blacklisting and whitelisting to protect your network from malicious websites.
  • Faster Response Times: By resolving domain names locally instead of relying on external DNS servers, you can experience faster response times for frequently accessed websites.
  • DNS Caching: pfSense caches resolved domain names, reducing the load on external DNS servers and improving overall network performance.

Setting Up pfSense as a DNS Server

To use pfSense as your DNS server, follow these steps:

Step 1: Accessing the Web Interface

The first step is to access the web interface of your pfSense router. Open your preferred web browser and enter the IP address of your router in the address bar. You should be prompted to log in.

Step 2: Navigating to the DNS Server Configuration

Once logged in, navigate to Services > DNS Resolver. This is where you will configure pfSense as your DNS server.

Step 3: Configuring DNS Resolver

In the DNS Resolver Settings section, ensure that the following options are selected:

  • Enable DNS Resolver: Check this box to enable the DNS resolver service on pfSense.
  • Register DHCP leases in the DNS Resolver: Select this option if you want pfSense to automatically register DHCP lease hostnames in its DNS resolver.
  • Enable Forwarding Mode: By enabling forwarding mode, pfSense will forward DNS queries to external servers if it cannot resolve them locally.
  • Allow DNS server list to be overridden by DHCP/PPP on WAN: Check this box if you want pfSense to use the DNS servers provided by your ISP.

You can leave other options at their default settings unless you have specific requirements or preferences.

Step 4: Configuring Domain Overrides (Optional)

If you want to override specific domains with custom IP addresses, navigate to Servers > DNS Resolver. In the Domain Overrides section, click on the “+” button and enter the domain name and IP address. Click “Save” when done.

Step 5: Testing the DNS Server

Once you have configured pfSense as your DNS server, it’s important to test its functionality. Open a command prompt or terminal window on a device connected to your network and enter the following command:


Replace “” with the domain name you want to resolve. If everything is set up correctly, you should see the IP address associated with the domain name.


Congratulations! You have successfully set up pfSense as a DNS server.

By using pfSense as your DNS server, you can enjoy enhanced security features, faster response times, and improved network performance. Don’t forget to explore other features offered by pfSense to further enhance your network’s functionality.

Happy networking!

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