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Firewall Rule Processing Order¶
Rules in pfSense® software are processed in a specific order. Understanding this order is especially important when crafting more complicated sets of rules and when troubleshooting. This document is intended to give a general idea of how rules are processed. It can be much more complicated, especially when floating rules are involved and out direction rules are used.
See the pfSense Book for more in-depth information.
Rules are always processed from the top of a list down, first match wins. The
only exception to that is floating rules without
quick set, which is
discussed in the next section.
The tl;dr version of user-defined rule processing is:
Rules defined on the floating tab are processed first
Rules defined on interface group tabs (Including IPsec and OpenVPN) are processed
Rules defined on interface tabs (WAN, LAN, OPTx, etc) are processed last
More accurately, the following order (still simplified) is found in the ruleset
Outbound NAT rules
Inbound NAT rules such as Port Forwards (including
rdr passand UPnP)
NAT rules for the Load Balancing daemon (
Rules dynamically received from RADIUS for IPsec and OpenVPN clients
Internal automatic rules (pass and block for various items like lockout, snort, DHCP, etc.)
Rules defined on the floating tab
Rules defined on interface group tabs (Including IPsec and OpenVPN)
Rules defined on interface tabs (WAN, LAN, OPTx, etc)
Automatic VPN rules
Floating Rules notes¶
Floating rules without
quick set process as “last match wins” instead of
“first match wins”. Therefore, if a floating rule is set without
quick and a
packet matches that rule, then it also matches a later rule, the later rule will
be used. This is the opposite of the other tab rules (groups, interfaces) and
quick set which stop processing as soon as a match is made. See
Floating Rules for more details on how floating rules operate.