Setting up a failover for my pfSense box


I recently thought I needed to create a failover for my pfSense that I run bare metal on one of my Dell servers. Whenever I mess with pfSense or want to do work on the server it runs on, I lose all internet connection in my house. I saw the video Tom posted here a few weeks ago that touched on the subject. What he talked about makes sense. However, with my setup, I just wanted to clarify that I could make this work.

As mentioned, I run pfSense bare metal on a dedicated Dell server in my homelab. I have another HP server that I currently run ESXi on bare metal for all my virtualization stuff. On my pfSense box, I currently only have 2 NIC ports (WAN/LAN). However, I did buy a four-port NIC that I haven’t gotten around to installing yet. Will I need to install the four-port adapter to make this work? My ESXi host has a four-port NIC, so I don’t see any issues. My home network is pretty simple, the fiber connection comes into the ONT and goes straight into the WAN port on pfSense, and LAN goes straight out into a switch that feeds the rest of the network devices. So, I am guessing I should install the four-port NIC on the dell, create a new interface, and run that into my ESXi interface that I dedicate for failover purposes. I did see you needed to mess with ESXi’s virtual switch settings. I’ve messed with that before, and I’m sure I’ll figure that part out.

Once I get some clarification, I should be able to follow along with the Youtube video Tom posted? I have messed around with failover before for web servers, but never for anything related to gateways. Please let me know if I am missing anything or if there is something I should know.

Thank you so much!


Edit: Is this what I’m after? (here

HA setups with systems that are not identical are not likely to work well if at all.

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That is good to know, what do you recommend? I have an r410 so finding another on the cheap wouldn’t be difficult. Thanks for the feedback!!

Hardware failures are not that frequent so for home use (other than the learning experience) HA is not really necessary.