Import a Local Hosts File into pfSense??

  • So I’ve read a few posts and they don’t address this specific issue (at least my search didn’t yield those results).

    GOAL: To add my local hosts file (currently used only on my computer) to pfSense so ALL devices connected would be blocked from visiting these sites.

    Many articles discuss adding these entries into the DNS Forwarder, however I have thousands of urls/ip addresses - this process would take weeks!

    I do web development and for testing purposes, I’d like to point a certain url to my test server, (ex. and be able to test the design on my desktop, iPad, and mobile device. I can easily achieve this on my desktop by simply editing the hosts file on my local computer. However, I’d like to ‘import’ this file into pfSense so it would work for ALL devices connected to pfSense. Any ideas??

    I’m comfortable performing ssh tasks if needed.

  • Firewall->Aliases, press the bottom right little "up" button to get to the bulk import page.
    There you can paste a list of IP address (or subnet, range…) followed by description. Should be pretty much what is in a hosts file.
    That makes an Alias for all those addresses. Then use the Alias in whatever block or pass rules you like.

    If you have too many IPs for that to accept, then you can put a file containing the addresses and use it in a URL Table type Alias.

  • @phil.davis

    But the IP addresses can change at any given moment. My guess is both the DNS forwarder/resolver and the firewall should be aware.

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    This has been gone over multiple times on multiple threads.

    Here is one found with search import hosts

    So which are you using - are you clear the forwarder dnsmasq or the resolver, 2.2 defaults to using the resolver.  Both of which allow loading a file with your info in there.

  • @phil.davis - thanks for your input, I’ll try this and update this thread.

    @johnpoz - thanks for the link. I’ll read through this post. I’m not really sure which to use as I’m unfamiliar with both the forwarder and resolver. Which one would you recommend I use and why?

    As a note: I’ve tried to add the items directly into /etc/var/hosts file but after I restart the dnsmasq the items are removed by the system.

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