Tuesday, July 30, 2013

pfSense e-mail alerts sent to multiple recipients

pfSense is an all-in-one UTM appliance for firewall, security and network management purposes.

Since my lab doesn't allow a static IP assigned to my pfSense box so I sticked on to DHCP IP address which may be varying along the time. The fact is that I don't own the DHCP server myself so I can't even assign a fixed LAN IP address to this box. Each time something has changed, I need to get back to pfSense console and find out it's WAN IP address myself. That means I can't find out IP address remotely at home whenever DHCP server changes its IP address.

The latest version of pfSense is v2.2.2 at the time of writing.

pfSense comes with various kinds of installable packages whereas one of the useful one would be "mailreport".

To install this mailreport, just get in pfSense web console and click [System]->[packages], then choose to install mailreport.

Once finished, you can open it up by clicking [Status]->[Email Reports] option.

In there, you can create new email report. Just remember to add one new item under "Report Commands" Section. This can be a simple Unix command like ifconfig which shows current IP address of the pfSense box. I personally set it to send out email report once per day in the morning so I get the latest information I need before starting to work.

To configure email alert setting, click [System]->[Advanced] and then [Notifications] tab. Fill in correct SMTP information under Section SMTP E-mail.

But, hang on! There was a problem with the field "Notification E-mail Address" that it only takes one email address ONLY. That should be enough for solely test purposes.

However, I get my colleagues working with me so I would like to send email alerts to all members within my group. The pfSense web console is actually produced by PHP code, so we might need to have a little change inside the PHP source code itself.

Here are the changes we need to make for sending E-mail alerts to multiple recipients:


$mail->ContentType = 'text/html';
$mail->AddReplyTo($config['notifications']['smtp']['fromaddress'], "Firewall Email Report");
$mail->SetFrom($config['notifications']['smtp']['fromaddress'], "Firewall Email Report");
$address = $config['notifications']['smtp']['notifyemailaddress'];
/* New lines start here */
    $addr_array = preg_split("/[\s,]*(\,|\;|\:)[\s]*/", $address);
    foreach($addr_array as $addr){
           $mail->AddAddress($addr, "Report Recipient ".($addr_count++));
/* New lines end here */

/* Comment out the line below */
//$mail->AddAddress($address, "Report Recipient");
$mail->Subject = "{$config['system']['hostname']}.{$config['system']['domain']} Email Report: {$headertext}";
$mail->Body .= "This is a periodic report from your firewall, {$config['system']['hostname']}.{$config['system']['domain']}.

Current report: {$headertext}

After the changes to the PHP file, you can test it by entering email addresses into the field  "Notification E-mail Address" with coma separator, like "recipient1@a.little.test.co,recipient2@a.little.test.co,recipient3@a.little.test.co". Just make sure no space is used between the email addresses and all those guys should receive the test messages immediately.

Fingers crossed;-)


  1. This is a very wonderful presentation and I am more than happy to find this site.

    Tech Blog

  2. Thank you very much for sharing rare info regarding pfsense notification

  3. This is very helpful could you share entire inc file?

  4. Good stuff, thanks!