Auto update check, checks for updates to base system + packages and sends email alerts

  • Here's an "automatic update checker" for pfSense. The script will check for major updates to the base pfSense system, as well as updates to any builtin or installed packages. If any updates are found, an email summary will be sent out with the details.

    I wanted to put this out there now, get feedback, comments etc. My goal is to make this into an actual pfSense package to make it simpler to install, but I'm still learning how to create packages. This should still be useful as-is. (Any pointers anyone has on getting this cobbled together into a real package would be greatly appreciated!)

    To install:

    • Save the script below as pkg_check.php in your /root directory
    • Set it up to run on whatever schedule you like using the Cron package. A sample screenshot* of how to configure the script is below.
    • Make sure you have valid SMTP settings defined on your firewall so you can get the alerts!

    *if you want to copy/paste the Cron command, use: /usr/local/bin/php -q /root/pkg_check.php

    pkg_check.php: (I also have a gist up at github if you find that easier to read/copy)

      $msg = null;
      $pmsg = null;
      $p = 0;
      log_error("Starting update check");
      // pfSense base system check
      $system_version = get_system_pkg_version(false, false);
      if ($system_version === false) {
        printf("%s\n", 'Unable to check for updates');
        log_error("Unable to check for updates, exiting");
      if (!is_array($system_version) ||
        !isset($system_version['version']) ||
        !isset($system_version['installed_version'])) {
        printf("%s\n", 'Error in version information');
        log_error("Error in version information, exiting");
      switch ($system_version['pkg_version_compare']) {
        case '<':
          //printf("%s%s%s\n", "pfSense version ", $system_version['version'], " is available");
          $msg = "An update to pfSense version " . $system_version['version'] . " is available\n\n";
        case '=':
          //printf("%s%s%s\n", "pfSense version ", $system_version['version'], " (installed) is current");
        case '>':
          printf("%s%s%s\n", "pfSense version ", $system_version['installed_version'], " is NEWER than the latest available version ", $system_version['version']);
          $msg = "pfSense version " . $system_version['version'] . " is available (downgrade)\n\n";
          printf("%s\n", 'Error comparing installed with latest version available');
          log_error("Error comparing installed with latest version available");
      // package check
      $package_list = get_pkg_info('all', true, true);
      $installed_packages = array_filter($package_list, function($v) {
        return (isset($v['installed']) && isset($v['name']));
      if (empty($installed_packages)) {
        printf("%s\n", 'No packages installed');
        log_error("No packages installed, exiting");
      foreach ($installed_packages as $pkg) {
        if (isset($pkg['installed_version']) && isset($pkg['version'])) {
          //printf("%s%s%s\n", $pkg['shortname'], ': ', $pkg['installed_version']);
          $version_compare = pkg_version_compare($pkg['installed_version'], $pkg['version']);
          if ($version_compare != '=') {
            $pmsg .= "\n".$pkg['shortname'].': '.$pkg['installed_version'].' ==> '.$pkg['version'];
            if ($version_compare == '>') {
              $pmsg .= ' (downgrade)';
            printf("%s%s%s%s%s\n", $pkg['shortname'], ': ', $pkg['installed_version'], ' ==> ', $pkg['version']);
      if ($p > 0) {
        $msg = $msg . "The following updates are available and can be installed using System > Package Manager:\n" . $pmsg;
      // check for updates to builtin packages
      exec("/usr/sbin/pkg upgrade -n | /usr/bin/sed -ne '/UPGRADED/,/^$/p'", $output, $retval);
      if (($retval == 0) && (count($output))) {
        $msg .= "\n\n" . "Some packages are part of the base system and will not show up in Package Manager. If any such updates are listed below, run `pkg upgrade` from the shell to install them:\n\n";
        $msg .= implode("\n", array_map('ltrim', $output));
      if (!empty($msg)) {
        log_error("Updates were found - sending email");
      log_error("Update check complete");

  • Netgate Administrator

    Needs more blinkenlight action! 😉


  • Pkg update notification has been at the top of my wish list for a while. I’ll difinately give this a try.

  • This works great btw. Only problem I had getting it setup was a typo due to the fact that I missed a space in your cron screenshot.

  • Glad to hear you got it working! I added a little text block below the screenshot to make it copy/pasteable.