Bottom Line: I wrote a bash function to add packages directly from FreeBSD to pfSense.

Disclaimer: Modifying your firewall is a security risk. Please don’t use the information on this page unless you know what you are doing and are willing to accept the consequences for yourself and anyone on your network.

I’ve been happily using pfSense for a year or so now. I am getting more

comfortable with Linux over time but know very little about FreeBSD, on which pfSense is based.

As I explore pfSnse, I occasionally want to add a package from the main FreeBSD repos. Netgate provides instructions on how to add the FreeBSD repos at; essentially you change FreeBSD: { enabled: yes } in /usr/local/etc/pkg/repos/FreeBSD.conf and /usr/local/etc/pkg/repos/pfSense.conf.

However, changing this messes with your whole pkg database (ask how I know) and they have a very visible warning that this is generally not a good idea.

They also list another way to install a specific package:

$ pkg add

This looks much better to me, but unfortunately it’s pretty difficult (or was for me anyway) to figure out the exact path to a specific package. Unfortunately, attempting to browse gives me a 403 Forbidden error, and a directory above that just includes some compressed directories that aren’t really helpful in a web browser.

Thankfuly, the base pfSense install includes a few basic utilities like curl and jq that let me piece together the below function:

install_from_freebsd() {
        curl -s "${base_url}/packagesite.txz" |
            tar -xzf- --to-stdout packagesite.yaml |
            jq -r --arg pkgname "${pkgname}" \
                'select(.name == $pkgname) | .path'
    pkg add "${base_url}/${path}"

Once you’ve entered bash and defined / sourced the function, it works like a charm:

$ bash
$ install_from_freebsd tshark

Once I verified it was working, I went ahead and put it in ~/.bashrc so it would be available automatically in bash.