Configure Growl Notifications on PfSense


PfSense firewall has a little known feature that allows it to send alerts to a Mac running Growl. The advantage of this is instant alerts on your personal desktop to issues that need to be resolved.


To setup Growl Notifications go to :

System > Advanced > Notifications


You will need to enter the ip address of the computer with growl running. In my tests using the Alias of my personal mac resulted in failure of the growl message to arrive. You must type in the actual ip address. I’d recommend creating a static entry in the firewall to prevent having to change this setting if the dhcp server ever happens to hand out a different address.

Create a unique password in the password field. You will also need to enter the same password on your mac under growl preferences, to prevent unauthorized users from snooping in on growl notifications.

On the Mac side you will need to open system preferences and enable growl to listen on the network.

Check “Listen for incoming notifications”

Check “Allow remote application registration”

Enter the same password you setup in pfsense growl configuration. I highly recommend that this not be a password used anywhere else on your network. Since you only have to enter it once, make it as secure as you can.


For Growl to work you must have ports 23052 and 9887 open. Lion’s built in firewall does not let you specify individual ports. It must be turned off.


To test that the configuration worked, open the command line of pfsense or simply go to Diagnostics > Command


Type in the command in the php test field (Notice the screen shot mistakenly shows the “shell” field)

file_notice(“test”,”Test notification”);


If everything is set up correctly, you should get a growl alert on your mac.


If you didn’t get this message, make sure that you have the correct ip address of your Mac entered in the configuration of pfsense’s growl page. Also make sure that the dhcp is not reassigning you a new address. Verify that the firewall is not enabled on your mac,

These instructions were created using pfsense 2.0 and growl 2.0.

About spuder
spuder is a "super computer" support engineer by day, and tinkerer / hobbyist by night.

4 Responses to Configure Growl Notifications on PfSense

  1. Stefan says:

    Very nice article!!! But the test command file_notice(“test”, “Test notification”); should be entered in PHP Execute field.

  2. John says:

    Is there a place in pfsense 2.0 where you can see what types of notifications can be sent for either Growl or email? If I setup Growl notifications, what kinds of notifications will I be getting from pfsense?

    • spuder says:

      This article is a proof of concept, and has not been used in production. I don’t have the answers, the pfsense forums might be able to answer.

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