Use in commercial environment

  • Hey all,

    I have read the following thread:

    and the page:

    And understand that we can commercially use pfSense. Our use case is we want a router/firewall that will sit between a customers virtual servers and the internet in a hosted environment. We do not charge for the firewall software, the resources used by the firewall or support of the firewall. Only their servers. Everything to do with the firewall is free to the customer.

    What I want to clarify is the following:

    • In order to use pfSense in this case we need to ensure that the branding is changed from "is pfSense" to something like "powered by pfSense" or because its a stock pfSense with a few settings made on behalf of the customer that it can stay as pfSense?
    • Is this purely a case of create a theme that removes the pfSense branding or does this have to be compiled from source?
    • If we add a theme that changes the logo, does this then change the state of play from, not having to hide its pfSense to having to "hide it".

    Thanks and hopefully the right categorization.

  • LAYER 8 Moderator

    In my understanding it is neither. You aren't selling pfSense here but installing it in a VM (if I understand you right). That has nothing to do with the Thread you are linking, as there the question was clearly re-selling pfSense on his/her own hardware and offer appliances. You would just install it for your customer to use it in a virtual environment. That is no use case for "selling" or "reselling" pfSense on any kind of hardware or other platform. So in my understanding that's just simple "usage" (if you provide the setup/configuration) or "installation service" (if the customer configures it afterwards). Nothing to do with the copyright or trademark.

    But I maybe wrong so I'm open to standing corrected ;)

  • Thanks JeGr

  • I'm sort of lost on this one also.

    "do not permit someone to offer “Installation of pfSense software” as a service or to sell a device pre-loaded with pfSense software to customers without the prior express written permission of ESF"

    My case use is, a non-profit got screwed by a local "consultant". They installed a vary small/cheap 4 port router as the firewall. Every few days they have to reset the whole system because it stops working.

    I have some WinXP systems around here that I can max the RAM, put pfSense on, and have installed/working in a few days... but as I understand Can I sell pfSense, I can't do that for the non-profit.

    Dose it matter that I'm donating my time and system to the non-profit?
    If I add this to my taxes, as a write off, dose that mean I've "sold" it to them?

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    Here is my take.. There is a HUGE difference between having a website that that says hey buy this firewall, comes with pfsense.. And your building boxes and putting pfsense on them and selling them.

    And you supporting a customer that hires you for TECH reasons, and you say oh we can fix this with Pfsense.. Lets install it.. As long as you don't charge them $ on an invoice for pfsense itself.. Your not reselling anything, you get paid for your time and effort and expertise.. You didn't make any money off something you got for free..

    If the customer was bright enough they could of just downloaded and used pfsense themselves.. What they are paying you for is your technical expertise and time. Not pfsense.

    If you want to make money on the box yourself - then you need to partner with pfsense, etc.. If you want to make pfsense part of your overall portfolio in your tech business... Then check out

    If you have concerns - contact pfsense/netgate directly with your question..

  • LAYER 8 Netgate

    The bottom line is do not market yourself as pfSense or any derivative of the same without a licensing agreement.

    Installing pfSense on hardware you spin up for a non-profit is perfectly acceptable. I wouldn't sweat too much on the RAM. All of my test pfSense VMs have 512 or 768MB.

    The overall goal is to stop this. If this device sucks, the pfSense brand is tainted.

  • Thanks for the input johnpoz & Derelict

    I just decided to fill out the form for partner. I let them know that I'm the founder of a non-profit to get computers to vets ( I just happen to have a system that's too old to give out. There may be times that I need pfSense for vets also.

    I have a one time case for a different non-profit. But there ToS is rather restrictive and I just want to get an OK with them.

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