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pfSense Multi site backup tool -

by Greg Lawler

About pfmb

Back up all your pfSense firewalls daily!

pfmb will connect to one or many remote pfSense installs and backup the configuration XML file. The resulting backup will enable you to easily rool back to a previous configuration or recover from failed hardware. pfmb will keep the number of backups that you specify in config, rotating out the old ones.

See for more.

Backups run over SSH with SSH public keys for secure authentication and transport.

Hosts config file

Each line of the config file should contain the hostname or IP of a pfSense firewall. Optionally follow the hostname with colon port numnber if SSH is not on the default TCP port 22.

Format of the hosts.conf entries <username>@<hostname>:<port>

Example hosts.conf file with 3 entries. Note the first entry with non-standard SSH port:

Scheduled backups with crontab

Add the following to the crontab for your backup user to perform daily pfSense backups.

0 3 * * * pfmb | logger -t pfsense_backup

SSH setup on your side

If SSH keys are new to you, there are lots of good resources just a Google away ;) Here is a quick start version:

  • Run ssh-keygen from the command line on the [Mac / Linux] computer doing the backups.
  • Copy the content from .ssh/ and paste it into the "Authorized SSH keys" field in pfSense (see below.)

SSH Setup on the pfSense box

Enable SSH:
  • Log into your pfSense via the web interface.
  • Advanced -> Secure Shell Server -> Check the "Enable Secure Shell" box.
  • Note the port, if this is not the default, you will need to specify it in the hosts config.
  • Save your changes.
Add a backup user and SSH key to pfSense:
  • Log into your pfSense via the web interface.
  • System -> User Manager
  • Click the + to add new user.
  • Enter username and a secure password (you don't need to remember the password but it is required by the form.)
  • Full Name -> Enter "Backup User"
  • Click on "admins" under "Not Member Of" and move it to the "Member of" box to make your backup user an admin.
  • Authorized SSH keys -> Paste in your SSH public key from above.
  • Save your changes.

Testing your setup

If you can SSH into each pfSense box as the backup user without having to enter a password then you are ready to run the script.

The backups

Backups are created using the host name (from the config file) followed by a timestamp.

Enjoy :)

Greg Lawler Initial release: 7/1/14


pfSense Multi Backup - backs up multiple pfSense instances.







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