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AutoConfigBackup

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pfSense Automatic Configuration Backup Service

Gold subscribers on portal.pfsense.org have access to our Automatic Configuration Backup Service, AutoConfigBackup.

Functionality and Benefits

When a change is made to the configuration on a firewall, it is automatically encrypted with the passphrase entered in the AutoConfigBackup settings and uploaded over HTTPS to our server. Only encrypted configurations are retained on our server. This gives instant, secure offsite backups of a firewall with no user intervention.

pfSense Version Compatibility

This package will work with all currently supported versions of pfSense.

Backup Limits

The most recent 100 configurations for each host are retained.

Gold subscribers can backup a maximum of 10 systems. If more systems are required, contact us for pricing information.

Installation and Configuration

Installing the AutoConfigBackup Package

To install the package, visit System > Packages and click "+" next to to the AutoConfigBackup package, then confirm the installation. The firewall will download and install the package.

After installation, the package may be found at Diagnostics > AutoConfigBackup.

Setting the Hostname

Make sure each firewall has a unique hostname and domain set on System > General Setup. The configurations are stored by FQDN (hostname + domain), so ensure each firewall using the backup service has a unique FQDN, otherwise the system cannot differentiate between multiple installations.

Configuring AutoConfigBackup

The service is configured under Diagnostics > AutoConfigBackup, Settings tab. Fill in the https://portal.pfsense.org username (not email) and password, and enter an encryption password.

The username is the login name created when purchasing a Gold Subscription, not the e-mail address. Use a long, complex password and encryption key to ensure the configuration is secure. It is very important to store this encryption key somewhere outside the firewall - if it is lost, it will be impossible to restore a configuration the hard drive in the firewall fails. We retain only encrypted configurations, which are useless without the encryption key.

Testing Backup Functionality

Make a change to force a configuration backup, such as editing and saving a firewall or NAT rule, then click Apply Changes. Visit Diagnostics > AutoConfigBackup, Restore tab. This tab lists available backups along with the page that made the change (where available).

Manually Backing Up

At times, it may be desirable to force a backup of a firewall configuration. This can be done on the Restore tab of the AutoConfigBackup page by clicking Backup now at the bottom. This will pop up a box where to manually enter a description of the backup. We recommend doing this before making a series of significant changes, as it will provide a backup specifically showing the reason, which then makes it easy to revert to that configuration prior to initiating the changes if needed. Since each configuration change triggers a backup, when a series of changes is made it can be difficult to know where it started if a revert is necessary. A manual backup is also good prior to upgrading to a new pfSense release, and name the backup so it's clear that is the reason the backup was made.

Restoring a Configuration

To restore a configuration, click "+" to the right of the configuration as shown on the Diagnostics > AutoConfigBackup screen on the Restore tab. It will download the configuration specified from our server, decrypt it with the configured encryption password, and restore it. By default, the firewall will not reboot. Depending on the configuration items restored, a reboot may not be necessary. For example, firewall and NAT rules are automatically reloaded after restoring a configuration. After restoring, a prompt is presented offering to reboot. If the restored configuration changes anything other than NAT and firewall rules, choose Yes.

Bare Metal Restoration

If the hard drive is lost, as of now the following procedure is necessary to recover on a new installation.

1. Install pfSense on the new hard drive 2. Bring up LAN and WAN, and assign the hostname and domain exactly the same as it was previously configured. 3. Install the AutoConfigBackup package 4. Configure the AutoConfigBackup package as described above, using the portal account and the same encryption password as used previously. 5. Visit the Restore tab and choose the configuration to restore. 6. When prompted to reboot after the restoration, do so.

To the state of the firewall is now restored to the last configuration change.

FAQ

How do I know my backup was successful?

The list of backups shown on the Restore tab is pulled from our servers - if the backup is listed there, it was successfully created.

How will I know if a backup fails?

If a backup fails, an alert is logged, and it will be seen scrolling across the top of the web interface. If e-mail alerts are enabled, a message will also be sent.