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[Captive portal] Can't get to the login page.

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I have a server with pfsense running on it. My captive portal works almost perfect. The only problem that i'm faceing is that I can't get to the login page when I type something in the search bar. If I type "test" and press enter, the page will load for ever until it says that: " It takes too long to get a answer". But when I type an url like I get to my login page instantly... So I have no clue why it doesn't work.

Thank you



Try this :
Disable your connection to the portal - example : disable wifi or remove ethernet cable.
On pfSense : remove all logged in users on pfSense.

Now, reconnect wifi or ethernet cable
First :
If windows device : what does this tells you :

--- Code: ---ipconfig /all
--- End code ---

Next :
You should know that every "OS on the planet" will popup a browser. This is valid for most Android devices, all Apple devices, all Microsoft OS's etc. If this didn't happen, you somewhat "broke" your devices setup. What happens (without you seeing it) is this :
(I'm using an Apple device as example) : as soon as the NIC in the device comes up with a good connection and it received a reply on a DHCP request (IP, gateway, DNS, etc), it launches a "hidden" http request to " " - if there is a connection to the Internet (and resolving works (very important) !! ) then the return will be "Success" - try for yourself :
Every major OS has this functionality on board these days.

When you are connected to a network that operates with a captive portal, the reply will anything but "Success". In that case the OS decides to launch a browser, or proposes the user to launch a browser - and repeats the same request. This time human interaction is possible - and that's what the Captive portal is all about.
Now, the magic start to happen : our browser is started with ones more, and our Captive portal send back .... => the pfSense Captive portal login page !
When posting back this page with the correct user credentials, your device (IP and MAC) will be loaded into the Captive portal firewall, so it becomes transparent for your device.
The browser gets redirected to the original URL, or a build in URL, and you're online.

My first question is : why doesn't your device launch a browser for you that permits you to logging ? Fo me, this works every time - and the only thing I do is connecting myself to the Captive portal's network. This issue is not related to pfSense what so ever.
I'm using pfSense (Captive portal) in a hotel, so I have many, many clients who do not know anything about a captive portals, they bring along all possible device that exist on earth, and it is very rare that some one comes to see me downstairs to ask why the connection doesn't work. My clients find the login credentials (I indicated that on the login page) and they login. This works very well for nearly a decade now.

Next : Read the first 3 points here : (point 3 doesn't exist anymore ;) ) Most of the time admin really f*ck up their DNS - the captive portal isn't working anymore - and worse, pfSense can't even find it's own upgrades and packages anymore. When they have kept the default DNS Resolver, everything would have worked fine.

"Most of the time admin really f*ck up their DNS"

QFT ;) heheheeh... They are so worried about dnsleaks without even a basic understanding how dns works to start from...


I use my captive portal with a switch for lan connections, Wifi is for later. I have read everything you put above and tried it.(Btw thanks for the clear explanation of everything). But I can't get it to work. I find it so weird that when I type an url like (,, etc.)
I instantly get to my login page, but when I type test or whatever it takes for ever and I'll never get to the login page. Is there something wrong with my DNS resolver? I just enabled it and left the default settings. In the attachments I placed a picture from DNS resolver with my only host overrider.

Thanks already, It's for a school Project and you guys are saving me!!!


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