AI Comprehensive Guide to pfSense

Introduction: In today’s interconnected world, network security is paramount. Whether it’s for home or business use, having a robust firewall solution is essential to safeguarding your network from cyber threats. One such solution that has gained immense popularity is pfSense. In this article, we’ll delve into what pfSense is, how to install and set it up, and weigh its pros and cons.

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State of the Network: 2023

Welcome to! I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, so here it is: The State of My Network. I’ve been planning to do an overview of my entire set up for some time now and I’ve finally kept everything in a consistent state now for a few months after many years of tinkering. A little background…

My home network (also known as my “home lab”) has been a long term project of mine to both try out new technologies and keep my skills sharp in a real server environment. It started in 2014 with a single server in my apartment running ESXI 3.5 on a system with a 6 core AMD CPU and 16GB of RAM. It was a blast to try new things (DNS server, file server, Plex, etc) and I’ve learned a lot since those times. My current Home Lab is considerably bigger now and is larger now than many small company systems; My poor power bill will never be the same. Let’s take a look at some of the set up!

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Using Uptime Kuma for Network Monitoring

Welcome back!

Today I’m looking into Uptime Kuma, a monitoring tool that in my eyes is perfect, simple and intuitive and does exactly what I need for monitoring my home network. What is Uptime Kuma? I’m glad you asked.

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Notes from installing Nextcloud on Ubuntu 22.04LTS

Today I set up another Nextcloud server after taking the former one offline due to the size of backups for it getting a little out of hand. This also allows me to run the latest current version of Ubuntu Server (22.04LTS).

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Building a non-logging, encrypted DNS server

Welcome back! Today I’m working on a project to secure my web surfing to be an anonymous as possible using a combination of a software package called “Pi-Hole” and a VPN provider.

So, let’s start at the basics: VPN and DNS

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Apache issues when upgrading from 20.04LTS >> 22.04LTS

Been a while since I posted! I recently began an upgrade project for my Linux virtual machines which ranged from 14.04 to 17.04. The goal was to get everything on 22.04LTS. One of the issues I ran into (3 times so far) is with Apache not working:

apache2: Syntax error on line 146 of /etc/apache2/apache2.conf: Syntax error on line 3 of /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/php7.4.load: Cannot load /usr/lib/apache2/modules/

After some google searching, I came across the below fix which hopefully helps others too:

#Disable old php 7.4
sudo a2dismod php7.4

#Enable php 8.1 
sudo a2enmod php8.1

#Bounce Apache
systemctl restart apache2

This has worked on three systems so far all moving from 20.04 LTS to 22.04 LTS. Hopefully someone else finds this helpful!

Battery backups: maintaining access when there’s no power

A little background: Some years back I learned a very hard lesson about losing power on a RAID array that didn’t have an onboard battery backup. The result was ~7TB of data gone, about 1.5TB completely irreplaceable including old school work and photos. This was a hard pill to swallow and helped me get better about redundant backups and another thing that was especially important: UPS backups, or Uninterruptible Power Supplies.

A UPS is a device which provides power for a short time during a home or business power failure by providing an AC output to whatever is plugged into it. I have several of these scattered throughout my home, including for my desktop and a couple lights around the house which act as emergency lighting using older, smaller UPS devices. My servers are always running UPS backups, but on a big larger scale.

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Raspberry Pi offline Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a vast archive of knowledge and information we tend to forget is there. An encyclopedia of knowledge brought by users and edited by a community, it has a high accuracy rate and information on just about any subject you could want. You can also download an entire archive of it at around 90GB at the time of this writing!

I’ve had the idea for a while now about making an offline version to run locally for myself or friends, maybe something just to browse during a flight or roadtrip. Or, as my prepping thoughts say, maybe something for when the power’s out and easy to access! Enter the Raspberry Pi, a low cost and low power computer to run this using a suite of tools you can run off a battery pack and access from one’s phone/tablet/computer. Well, this is easier than you might think! I’ll be going over the ideas and thought processes of this at a high level as the project took some time. I can provide more details if you’d like by reaching out to me at if you’d like.

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