Elevating Network Security: Integrating Tailscale with pfSense

As the demand for secure remote access solutions grows, integrating Tailscale with pfSense offers a powerful combination for enhancing network security and connectivity. pfSense, an open-source firewall and router platform, is renowned for its reliability and comprehensive feature set. The recent introduction of the integrated Tailscale package allows pfSense users to leverage the simplicity and security of Tailscale's mesh VPN directly within their existing network infrastructure.

In this advanced tutorial, we'll delve into setting up Tailscale on a pfSense router, creating a seamless bridge between the robust firewall capabilities of pfSense and the user-friendly, encrypted connectivity of Tailscale.


Before proceeding, ensure you have the following:

  • A pfSense router with the latest stable version installed.

  • Administrative access to the pfSense web interface.

  • A Tailscale account, which you can create at Tailscale's website.

Step 1: Installing the Tailscale Package on pfSense

Tailscale can be easily added to pfSense through its package system.

  1. Log in to the pfSense web interface.

  2. Navigate to System > Package Manager.

  3. Switch to the Available Packages tab and search for "Tailscale."

  4. Find the Tailscale package in the list and click on the Install button.

  5. Confirm the installation and wait for the process to complete.

Step 2: Configuring Tailscale on pfSense

Once installed, Tailscale needs to be configured to communicate with your network.

  1. In the pfSense web interface, go to Services > Tailscale.

  2. You will be prompted to link your Tailscale account. Click on the provided link to authenticate through the Tailscale website.

  3. After authentication, you’ll receive an auth key. Copy this key.

  4. Return to the pfSense Tailscale settings page and paste the auth key into the appropriate field.

  5. Click Save to apply the changes.

Step 3: Setting Up Devices

With Tailscale active on your pfSense router, you can now set up devices to connect through the VPN.

  1. Install the Tailscale client on the devices you wish to connect.

  2. Log in with your Tailscale account on each device and connect them to your Tailscale network.

Step 4: Managing Network Routes

Tailscale on pfSense allows you to manage network routes directly within the Tailscale interface.

  1. Access the Tailscale admin console through your Tailscale account.

  2. Navigate to the Machines tab to see your pfSense router listed among other devices.

  3. You can configure the router to advertise specific routes to the Tailscale network, allowing devices connected to Tailscale to access various subnets behind the pfSense router.

Step 5: Configuring Access Controls

Tailscale Access Controls (ACLs) can be used to manage permissions within your network.

  1. In the Tailscale admin console, go to the Access Controls section.

  2. Here you can create and manage user groups, assign roles, and set up ACLs to control access to network resources.

  3. Use the ACL tags feature to apply policies to devices, including your pfSense router.

Step 6: Securing Your Setup

It's crucial to ensure your Tailscale and pfSense configurations adhere to best security practices.

  • Regularly update the Tailscale package on pfSense.

  • Keep your pfSense firmware up to date for the latest security patches.

  • Periodically review your Tailscale ACLs and remove any unnecessary permissions.

  • Use pfSense's firewall rules to further secure traffic entering and leaving the Tailscale network.


Integrating Tailscale with pfSense combines the ease and versatility of a mesh VPN with the robust security features of a leading firewall platform. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can significantly enhance your network's security and flexibility, making remote access a breeze while maintaining strict control over your network traffic.

As you continue to explore the capabilities of Tailscale within your pfSense environment, you'll uncover new ways to streamline connectivity and protect your digital assets. The integration of these two powerful tools is just the beginning of a journey towards a more secure and interconnected network infrastructure.

Stay tuned to sebiweise.dev for more insights and tutorials on leveraging cutting-edge networking technologies to their full potential.