So what does pfSense stand for/mean, anyway?

This question came up on the forum, I thought I would answer it here to a wider audience.

This project ran for a couple months with no name. In fact, the FreeBSD jail that runs our CVS is still called “projectx”.

Scott and I were the only two members of the project at the time, as the founders. We ran through numerous possibilities, with the main difficulty being finding something with domains available. Scott came up with pfSense, pf being the packet filtering software used, as in making sense of pf. My response was less than enthusiastic. But, after a couple weeks and still having nothing better, we went with it. It was even said “eh, we can always change it.”

Others have suggested it stands for things including Plain F…. Sense, but I won’t go there. 🙂

I started a thread on the private developers list sometime last year proposing changing the name of the project. Most people didn’t care one way or the other. A couple said they thought pfSense was fine. There wasn’t any serious interest in changing. We had some extensive lists of options put together, but never really came up with anything compelling enough to change.

Got an idea for a replacement name with domains available? Email me. Think the name is fine as it is? Think we should change? Feel free to leave comments or email me. I don’t think a name change is very likely, but thought I would mention it.

Update: From numerous emails and the comments here, the opinion of the vast majority seems to be “keep the name!” I’m glad our user base thinks it’s good, I’m certainly satisfied with it then.

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50 Responses to “So what does pfSense stand for/mean, anyway?”

  1. Jason Says:

    I’m putting in a vote for keeping it pfsense.

  2. Tin Says:

    yeah same here plz keeping pfsense

  3. JS Says:

    I say keep it… what’d wrong with pfSense?

  4. mfuchs Says:

    You really should keep that name… many people know it by now… why step back to anonymity ? 😉

  5. Christoph Says:

    Well… Packet Filter makes Sense now. My vote is for keeping the name as it is short and easily to remember

  6. Says:

    Yes, another vote for pfSense. A name’s just a name’s just a name 🙂 and you are on a good way to make it a BRAND. As far as your product does what it promises, and does it very well, you’re on the right path!

    Keep walkin’ 🙂

  7. Joaquim Gil Says:

    Yeah! There’s nothing wrong with pfSense. Besides, everybody knows this fine product by that name. It doesn’t make too much Sense to me changing it at this stage of evolution.

    Oh, btw, congrats on the 1.2 release. It’s awesome! 🙂


  8. Juan Fernando Says:

    No podría estar mejor, confieso que al principio dije, por qué le habrán puesto por nombre pfSense, pero luego de un año y medio usando pfSense, eh tenido la experiencia de que es un gran producto y su reputación a colocado su nombre en alto!!!

    Mi voto es a favor de pfSense!!! 😀

  9. Mathew Says:

    Keep the name, it makes sense.

  10. Mirko Says:

    KEEP THE NAME !!!!

  11. Morten Says:

    I say keep the name, it makes alot of sense 😉

  12. xUltra Says:

    Keep the name 🙂

  13. bong Says:

    keep up the good work pfsense!!!! we’re so proud of you. . . .

  14. jim Says:

    “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I’m glad to have found the explanation, and I vote for keeping the name intact.

  15. LordZ Says:

    This is the name we all know…it should remain the same so my vote goes to pfSense

  16. Bert Mul Says:

    Who cares how it is called? As long as it works!
    And it certainly does work for me!

  17. subramaniam Says:

    s pf sense makes a good sense.

    I would suggest u to keep the name as it is .

  18. Dean Hamstead Says:

    unfortunately pfsense doesnt convey the meaning as quickly to a casual observer as ‘ipcop’ but that is already taken, and anything like it will seem like a cheap rip off.

    including pf is a good thing, maybe borderpf or something might convey the projects product more clearly than pfsense.

  19. Edgar Says:

    Keep the name. Like in other cases, the product is the main thing we search, in this case pfSense is the key to find it, to use it and to recomend it.

  20. Robert Says:

    just pfSense please.

  21. M3r Says:

    Keep pfSense, its great and a well known name already.

  22. pfSense Digest » Blog Archive » Happy 5th anniversary to pfSense Says:

    […] 5 years since its inception about 2-3 months ago, living the first part of its life as projectx (some history here) with no website.We’ve come a long […]

  23. ugur Says:

    keep pfsense – pf-sense – perfect sense 🙂 please.

  24. markus Says:

    Makes PerFectSense the way it is 😛

  25. APCyberax Says:

    Keep the name. Its the reason i got a PFSense router.


    PF Sense was the only one tha made sense to me. Tested them all in VM now spent £200 on a router with it. kicks Ass

    Makes Perfect F***** Sense to me 🙂

  26. Andrew Says:

    PerFect Sense

  27. Eriks Goodwin-Pfister Says:

    I’m rather partial to the use of “pf” (note my last name). I like the project name as is. 🙂

  28. tom Says:

    Keep the name! It a good one!

  29. vikbz Says:

    im from Belize and use pfsense for load balancing and i liked the name from the inception…keep it up guys!!!

  30. pfSense Digest » Blog Archive » 7 year anniversary of pfSense Says:

    […] years ago today, the name pfSense was settled on, and domains were registered. It’s grown from the volunteer efforts of a […]

  31. Kamel Says:

    I realize this is an old post, but wanted to add my input anyway. I am not necessarily against the name pfsense, but do believe a more descriptive name would help break the invisible “stay away” barrier that seems to currently exist with pfsense. Something that implies ease of use yet very powerful and configurable would be ideal.

    Having said that, this really isn’t a major concern, just saying that I do see some benefits to changing it.

  32. Chris Buechler Says:

    Kamel: apparently there isn’t an “invisible ‘stay away’ barrier”, given the significant installed base of the project. and judging by Google Trends analysis as another measure, we’re by far the most popular open source firewall. The only aversion I’ve heard from people is just against open source in general, for those who have engrained in them that “you get what you pay for”, or the “nobody ever got fired for buying ” mentality that’s common in very large companies. I generally don’t put a lot of effort into persuading those types of people, as they typically have no interest in seeing things differently. There are more than enough out there that have embraced open source, and those are who we focus our efforts on at least marketing-wise.

  33. jugs 200 Says:

    yeah….. that name is very interesting, just keep it
    cause many people already know and recognize that name

  34. jugs 200 Says:

    just keep up the good work

  35. bajo79 Says:

    Keep the name and put “From Zero to Hero” as slogan. Also keep this great project running.

  36. Slick Says:

    It’s been pfsense for so long, why change it! I have used this router platform since around 1.2

  37. iceman Says:

    Great Name! Great Product! No sense in changing the name.

  38. KeltecRFB Says:

    I love the Plain F****** Sense name the best … 🙂

  39. Russnixon Says:

    Here we are, almost 6 years later, and now pfSense truly is a widely-recognized brand in network security. Even a dope like myself can make sense of its complexity and make use of its brilliance. Taking something as complicated as packet filtering, and making sense of it, is no joke. Keep up the fantastic work.

  40. Llarg-O Says:

    Great project, since 2006 with yours. Fantastic work!
    Best regards from Spain.

  41. tuffmeat Says:

    Its pure f*****g Sense to me. Long live the developers!
    Its a good name too.

  42. Jim Says:


  43. Darryl Mackay Says:

    Why change a good thing? Thank you and keep up the good work. Look forward to new updates.

  44. Anonymous Coward Says:

    What do you think, should xkcd change the domain name, just because it doesn’t mean anything?

  45. Tim Says:


    not really, I just wanted to say that to 100+ people who just go-with-the-flow all the time.

  46. n Says:

    I agree that a name change would be nice. Or at least: PFS.

  47. Rob Longdon Says:

    Great product and the name is just a name, it works for me and is memorable. It all makes perfect f. sense

  48. Maurice Goulois Says:

    I like the way pfSense reminds me its not another linux ipfilter from many lying around 🙂

  49. xpms Says:

    I dunno why but, I always thought it was an abbreviation for PerFect Sense.

  50. Ranjeet Singh Says:

    I think this name is perfect and easy to speak

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