Advanced Miscellaneous Settings in pfSense

In this article, I will cover some of the Advanced Miscellaneous settings for pfSense. These settings can be found by navigating to System -> Advanced and clicking on the “Miscellaneous” tab.

Advanced Miscellaneous Settings: Proxy Support, Load Balancing, and Power Savings

Advanced Miscellaneous

Some of the Advanced Miscellaneous settings in pfSense.

The first heading in Advanced Miscellaneous settingsĀ  is “Proxy Support”. These settings allow you to configure an external web proxy, rather than add a web proxy such as Squid to pfSense. The first option is “Proxy URL“. In this edit box, specify the URL or IP address of the proxy. Next is “Proxy Port“, which specifies the port to use to connect to the proxy (the default is 8080 for HTTP, or 443 for SSL). Then there is “Proxy Username” and “Proxy Pass“, the username and password for the proxy server.

The next heading in Advanced Miscellaneous settings is “Load Balancing”. I already covered load balancing in a series of previous articles (part one part two part three), so I will keep this brief, but I will note that there are two important settings pertaining to load balancing here. The first is the “Use sticky connections” check box. This setting applies in cases where you have a pool with multiple servers with load balancing enabled. Typically, when load balancing is invoked, successive connections are redirected to the servers in a round-robin fashion, and we don’t care if successive connections from the same source are redirected to different servers. Sometimes we do care, however, and in those cases we can check this check box. If this box is checked, successive connections from the same source will be sent to the same web server. This is referred to as a “sticky connection”, and it will exist as long as there are states in the state table that refer to the connection. Once the states expire, so will the sticky connection, and further connections from that host will be redirected to the next server in the round robin pool.

The second check box is “Allow default gateway switching“. If this box is checked, then if the default gateway fails, it will be switched to another available one. This is useful if you have a multi-WAN setup. If the default gateway fails, outbound traffic will be directed to another gateway (e.g. WAN2), and you will still be able to access the internet. If you do not have this box checked, however, even if you have a multi-WAN setup, if the default gateway fails you will lose internet.


The next heading in Advanced Miscellaneous settings is “Power savings”. Here you will find the “Use PowerD” check box. Checking this box invokes the powerd utility, which monitors the system state and sets various power control options accordingly. There are three modes for powerd: maximum, minimum, and adaptive. Maximum mode chooses the highest performance values; minimum mode selects the lowest performance values (which in turns yields the greatest power savings). Adaptive mode attempts to strike a balance between these two settings by degrading performance when the system appears idle and increasing it when the system is busy. Checking this box will invoke powerd in adaptive mode, if nothing else is changed. There is no way to change the mode to min or max from the GUI (yet). If you want to change the mode, however, you can always edit /etc/inc/system.inc manually. In order to do so, log into your pfSense box via SSH, open up system.inc in vi like so:

vi /etc/inc/system.inc

and look for the function activate_powerd(). You shouldn’t have to scroll down very far. Look for the following line to edit:

exec(“/usr/sbin/powerd -b adp -a adp”);

the “-b” parameter is for battery and “-a” is for A/C. “adp”, of course, is short for “adaptive”. Chnage these parameters to either “min” for minimum mode or “max” for maximum mode as you see fit; then hit the ESCAPE key and type :wq to save the modified file.


In a future article, I will cover more Advanced Miscellaneous settings, including glxsb crypto acceleration and IP settings.

Other articles in this series:

webConfigurator options in pfSense

Admin Access Options in pfSense

Firewall Advanced Options in pfSense

NAT and Firewall Options in pfSense

Advanced Networking Options in pfSense

External links:

Default gateway switching discussion on doc.pfsense.org

powerd options discussion on doc.pfsense.org

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