High Availability

OPNsense utilizes the Common Address Redundancy Protocol or CARP for hardware failover. Two or more firewalls can be configured as a failover group. If one interface fails on the primary or the primary goes offline entirely, the secondary becomes active.

Utilizing this powerful feature of OPNsense creates a fully redundant firewall with automatic and seamless fail-over. While switching to the backup network connections will stay active with minimal interruption for the users.



Although its not required to synchronize the configuration from the master machine to the backup, a lot of people would like to keep both systems (partially) the same.

To prevent issues spreading over both machines at the same time, we choose to only update on command (see the status page).

Our workflow looks like this:

First commit all changes to the master, then update the backup while knowing the master is still properly configured.


In case of an emergency, you should still be able to switch to the backup node when changes cause issues, since the backup machine is left in a known good state during the whole process.

Automatic replication

Although we advise to make sure to keep the backup machine intact during maintenance, some people prefer to keep the backup in sync on periodic intervals. For this reason we added a cron action which you can schedule yourself in System -> Settings -> Cron on the primary node.

To use this feature, add a new cron job containing the HA update and reconfigure backup command and a proper schedule, once a day outside office hours is usually a safe option.


To prevent a non functional primary machine updating the active master, the HA update and reconfigure backup will only execute if all carp interfaces are in MASTER mode.


Automatic failover

Although not really a setting on the high availability setup page, it’s a crucial part of high available setups. Using CARP type virtual addresses, the secondary firewall will take over without user intervention and minimal interruption when the primary becomes unavailable.

Virtual IPs of the type CARP (Virtual IPs) are required for this feature.

Synchronized state tables

The firewall’s state table is replicated to all failover configured firewalls. This means the existing connections will be maintained in case of a failure, which is important to prevent network disruptions.


As of OPNsense version 24.7 a “Sync compatibility” selector is offered in the high availability settings page. Make sure both nodes use the same version to prevent state synchronization issues.

Disable preempt

By default this option is deselected, which is the advised scenario for most common HA setups. The preempt option make sure that multiple carp interfaces will act as a group (all backup or master) at the same time, assuming no technical issues exist between both.

Disconnect dialup interfaces

When this device is configured as CARP backup it will disconnect all PPP type interfaces and try to reconnect them when becoming master again.

Configuration synchronization

OPNsense includes configuration synchronization capabilities. Configuration changes made on the primary system are synchronized on demand to the secondary firewall.

Configure HA CARP

For detailed setup guide see: Configure CARP


The status page connects to the backup host configured earlier and show all services running on the backup server. With this page you can update the backup machine and restart services if needed.


Use the refresh button to update the backup node and restart all services at once.