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What is IPFire?

IPFire is a dedicated firewall that can be used in a variety of networks, including data centers and private networks. It's secure, quick, and adaptable. It can be used as a VPN gateway, analyze data packets with its Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), and comes with a range of add-ons in addition to being a stateful inspection firewall.

IPFire is distributed under the GPL license and is completely free to use. While the IPFire was being built, the developers kept the important things behind lock and key. Due to the fact that IPFire will link directly to the internet, there will be opportunities for hackers and threats to attack it. To protect against these dangers and attacks, the Pakfire package manager assists administrators in keeping the packages database in IPFire up to date.

IPFire was created using a super kernel that includes threat, attack, detection, and compromise features, as well as a comprehensive graphical user interface. Samba and vsftpd file services are supported by IPFire. VDSL, ADSL, SDSL, Ethernet, and 4G/3G dial-ups are all supported by IPFire.

IPFire can be used in a variety of virtual environments, including KVM, VMware, XEN, Qemu, Microsoft Hyper-v, Oracle Virtual Box, Proxmox, and others, as well as ARM processor-based machines like the Raspberry Pi.

What are IPFire Features?

IPFire has a number of features that enable it to run in a range of contexts with varying requirements. Starting initially as a simple router, it can now perform extensive packet analysis, generate useful network management reports, and provide a variety of network services.

Some of the prominent features can be summarized as follows:

  • Security: IPFire's main goal is to keep you safe. The firewall engine and Intrusion Detection System are simple to set up and prevent attackers from entering your network. To control risks inside the network and have a custom configuration for the specific needs of each segment of the network, the network is split into several zones with distinct security policies such as a LAN and DMZ in the default configuration.
  • Firewall: IPFire is based on Netfilter, the Linux packet filtering framework, and uses a Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) firewall. It filters packets quickly and has throughputs in the tens of gigabits per second range. Its user-friendly online interface enables the creation of groups of hosts and networks, which may be used to keep a huge collection of rules brief and neat, crucial in complicated environments with rigorous access control. Logging and graphical reports provide a wealth of information. Denial-of-Service attacks can be mitigated and blocked by screening them directly at the firewall and not allowing them to take down your servers.
  • IDS: The Intrusion Detection System (IDS) of IPFire analyzes network traffic to look for exploits, data breaches, and other suspicious behavior. Alerts are raised when an attacker is detected, and the attacker is instantly blocked.
  • VPN: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) use an encrypted link to connect faraway locations like data centers, branch offices, or outsourced infrastructure. IPFire enables employees to operate remotely as if they were in the office, giving them quick and secure access to the resources they require. IPFire complies with industry standards such as IPsec and OpenVPN and works with equipment from Cisco and Juniper. VPNs may be set up fast and easily using IPFire, and they use the most up-to-date cryptography.
  • QoS: The IPFire Quality of Service (QoS) classifies network traffic and sends it out in order of importance in order to provide a decent service. A Voice-over-IP call, for example, will always take precedence over a huge download, ensuring that words are never lost and call quality is always the best it can be. Using advanced queueing algorithms and making the most of your bandwidth, IPFire will ensure that websites load quickly and the network is swift and responsive, even on very busy links.
  • Web Proxy: One of IPFire's most powerful capabilities is the proxy firewall. Every client visiting the web will be verified for access; content can be cached to speed up surfing, and complete updates for operating systems such as Microsoft Windows can be cached to save a lot of bandwidth in larger networks. The URL Filter component is frequently used in schools to prevent pupils from visiting pornographic websites, and it can also protect against viruses.
  • IPFire Addons: IPFire is a simple, hardened operating system from a technical standpoint. It can be extended with add-ons, which are deployed using IPFire's proprietary package management system, Pakfire, to provide more capabilities. Administrators can use add-ons as command-line tools, or they can be used to extend the system's functionality. Some of them are;
    • Converting IPFire to a Wi-Fi Access Point
    • Monitoring and System Health Management Tools
    • Services for backup, file sharing, and printing
    • Operating a Tor node, as well as proxies and relays for a variety of protocols, and much more.

What Does IPFire Do?

IPFire is a hardened open-source Linux distribution that primarily serves as a router and firewall, with a web-based administration dashboard for configuration.

IPFire is can be used for a proxy server, intrusion detection, a VPN, a virus scanner, and other useful features.

Where is IPFire Used?

You can use IPFire in any kind of Virtual Environment such as

  • Proxmox
  • KVM
  • Microsoft Hyper-v
  • Oracle virtual box
  • VMware
  • XEN
  • Qemu

How to Download IPFire?

You can download the IPFire images from its official website's Download menu.

Downloading IPFire ISO image

Figure 1. IPFire Download

What are IPFire System Requirements?

You should check the hardware requirements for the IPFire firewall installation before proceeding. The prerequisites are available on the official website. The following are the minimum requirements as of the time of writing.

HardwareRecommended Requirements
Processorx86_64 CPU with 1 GHz or better or a supported ARM SBC
Memory1GB or greater
Storageat least 4GB of hard disk storage
Networkat least two Ethernet network adapters

How to Configure IPFire?

You can easily install IPFire and complete the initial configuration. You can find basic IPFire configuration steps below.

How to IPFire URL Filter Configuration?

The URL filter allows you to limit online traffic based on its category. This enables the filtering of inappropriate or objectionable content for business networks, as well as the prevention of children viewing age-inappropriate content.

note

The Advanced Web Proxy must be set to Conventional Mode for the URL filter to work with HTTPS (non-transparent mode). URL filtering will not occur with HTTPS traffic if the Advance Web Proxy is configured in Transparent Mode.

  1. Activate the URL Filter: The Filter must be enabled in the Web Proxy setup page by following the steps below before it can be used.
  • Go to the option Network > Web Proxy in the WebGUI.
  • Select the Enable URL Filter check box.
  • Save the changes at the bottom of the page.
  1. Configure the URL Filter by navigating to the Network > URL Filter option in the WebGUI.

You can perform the following task via URL Filter option:

  • Block categories
  • Custom blacklists
  • Blocked domains (left side)
  • Blocked URLs (right side)
  • Custom whitelist
  • Allowed domains (left side)
  • Allowed URLs (right side)
  • Custom expression list
  • File extension blocking
  • Local file redirection
  • Network-based access control
  • Time-based access control
  • Block page settings
  • URL filter maintenance

How to Change IPFire IP Address?

You can change the IP addresses of IPFire according to the below-shared steps. Firstly you should determine the interface that you need to make a change.

Address settings. After you assign all NICs to the proper networks, you should configure the IP address for IPFire network adapters. Select the Address settings in the Network configuration menu. And then select the interface Green in the Address Settings menu.

Selecting interface for IP address settings on IPFire

Figure 2. Selecting Interface for IP address settings

  1. Enter IP address and subnet mask for the Green interface and click OK.

IP Address configuration for Green interface on IPFire

Figure 3. IP Address configuration for Green interface

  1. Select the interface Orange in the Address Settings menu.
  2. Enter IP address and subnet mask for the Orange interface and click OK.

IP Address configuration for Orange interface

Figure 4. IP Address configuration for Orange interface

  1. Select the interface Red in the Address Settings menu.
  2. Enter IP address and subnet mask for the Red interface and click OK. The Red interface is unique in that its configuration is determined by your ISP and how it configures your external connection.

IP Address configuration for Red interface

Figure 5. IP Address configuration for Red interface

How to Access IPFire Web Interface?

The graphical front end for configuring IPFire is the web interface. It can be accessed from any computer on the GREEN network using a web browser. The WebGUI gives you access to all of IPFire's settings and functionality if you login successfully.

The web interface is accessible by default at https://ipfire.localdomain:444 or https://ipfire:444. You can either use the IP address (e.g. https://192.168.10.1:444) if you used a different hostname or domain, or you can use the IP address (e.g. https://192.168.10.1:444) if you used a different hostname or domain.

What are the Advantages of IPFire?

Installing the IPFire firewall to safeguard your network will provide you with the following advantages.

  • Simple to Use: IPFire's cutting-edge firewall makes even the most complex enterprise networks simple to handle.
  • Designed Security: Whether you're a little business or a large corporation, IPFire was built with the objective of offering excellent security while staying modular and versatile. You can rest assured that IPFire will keep your network safe from a variety of security threats.
  • Package Management System: With a single click, PakFire, IPFire's integrated packet management system, can update the entire system. It's a quicker and more efficient way to apply patches, bug fixes, and feature updates to IPFire, making it more effective and secure.
  • Improved Performance: IPFire performs well on embedded software and has been shown to deliver higher performance and run evenly on a variety of software.
  • Simple Installation: IPFire installation takes less than half an hour, and the expert features are quite simple to use.
  • Open Source: IPFire is free software distributed under the GNU General Public License. It has a large development community that is always working to make it better.

What Are the Disadvantages of IPFire?

There are a few specifications that should be improved. The IPFire has the following disadvantages.

  1. Doesn't have all of the sophisticated features that pfSense software and OPNSense have.

  2. The web interface lacks a logout button.

  3. For people with no Linux familiarity, pfSense software/OPNSense may be easier than IPFire.

  4. Wiki/Documentation might use some improvement.

  5. IPFire has a smaller community.

What Are Firewalls Similar to IPFire?

Instead of utilizing Ipfire, you can use IPFire alternative firewall solutions. The following is a list of some of the most popular alternatives.

  • Zenarmor
  • pfSense
  • VyOS
  • CacheGurad-OS
  • OpenContrail
  • IPCop
  • macOS Server
  • Sophos XG Firewall

What are the Differences Between IPFire and ClearOS?

Although they are both Linux Based systems they have some differences also.

  • ClearOS is a small business server operating system based on CentOS and Red Hat Enterprise Linux that includes server, networking, and gateway functionality.
  • IPFire is a Linux-based, robust, and adaptable Open Source firewall.
  • While IPFire is totally free of charge Clear OS is available in both free 'Community' and paid 'Professional' versions

What are the Differences Between IPFire and OPNSense?

IPFire and OPNsense are two of the most popular and highly rated free and open-source firewalls available today.

The main difference between them is that OPNsense has more capabilities and thus a broader variety of applications, putting more strain on its CPU and processing power, making it ideal for users with needs other than security, such as routing. IPFire, on the other hand, is extremely efficient and well-suited as a firewall, but not much else, making it excellent for a user who simply needs cybersecurity. IPFire is Linux based system whereas OPNsense is FreeBSD.

What are the Differences Between IPFire and pfSense software?

The differences between IPFire and pfSense are outline below:

  • Both can effectively achieve the same thing, although IPFire is more user-friendly. There are more features in pfSense.
  • IPFire is a simple firewall, but the capabilities it does include are stable and well-tested. pfSense, on the other hand, comes with many features that many professional firewalls don't even have out of the box, and it all comes packaged in a modern, slick web interface.
  • IPFire runs on Linux, however, it's its own version that follows mainline rather than being dependent on distribution.
  • Pfsense is based on the BSD operating system. This has a superior track record in terms of security.
  • IPFire is a fork of IPCop and has comparable plugins. Up to three internal networks, including local, DMZ, and wireless, are assumed. If more subnets are required, the options are somewhat limited.
  • Pfsense has its own set of plugins.
  • IPFire is often found on an old PC with a couple of extra NICs, whereas pfSense is more likely to be found on proper hardware.