Choosing an Architecture
Most users of FreeBSD will have hardware for amd64 or aarch64. These architectures are well-supported.
Most modern PCs, including those with Intel® processors, use amd64.
Embedded devices and single-board computers (SBCs) such as the Raspberry Pi 3 and 4, ESPRESSObin, as well as many Allwinner and Rockchip boards, use aarch64.
For all other architectures, please see the table of supported platforms.
Choosing an Image
For the FreeBSD installer: formats include DVD (disc1, dvd1), and network install (bootonly) sized ISO, plus regular and mini USB memory sticks.
For virtual machines: virtual disk images have FreeBSD preinstalled.
For embedded platforms: SD card images are available.
RELEASE versions of FreeBSD are the end result of
Development and Testing
RELEASE versions of FreeBSD, not intended for
use in production environments:
CURRENT– the main branch, the core of development
STABLE– branched from
CURRENT, long-term preparations for release engineering
release engineering –
BETA, release candidates (
RC) – branched from
Uppercase has special meaning. For example:
a first beta release is not a (production)
CURRENT is sometimes a source of
if you are looking for the current version of FreeBSD, you most likely want a
RELEASEversion (see above) – not
CURRENThas special meaning in the development process.
Applications and Utility Software
The Ports Collection
A diverse collection of utility and application software that has been ported to FreeBSD.
Installing Applications: Packages and Ports in the FreeBSD Handbook
FreeBSD-derived Operating System Distributions
FreeBSD is widely used as a building block for other commercial and open-source operating systems. The projects below are of particular interest.
TrueNAS is network attached storage (NAS) software that shares and protects data from modern-day threats like ransomware and malware. TrueNAS makes it easy for users and client devices to access shared data through virtually any sharing protocol.
GhostBSD is derived from FreeBSD, and uses the GTK environment to provide a beautiful look and a comfortable experience on a modern BSD platform offering a natural and native UNIX®-like work environment.
MidnightBSD was forked from FreeBSD 6.1 beta, and continues to use parts of more recent FreeBSD code bases. Developed with desktop users in mind, MidnightBSD includes everything that you would expect for your daily tasks: mail, web browsing, word processing, gaming, and much more.
NomadBSD is a persistent live system for USB flash drives, based on FreeBSD. Together with automatic hardware detection and setup, it is configured to be used as a desktop system that works out of the box, but can also be used for data recovery, for educational purposes, or to test FreeBSD hardware compatibility.
pfSense is a FreeBSD-based customized distribution tailored for use as a firewall and router.
Past releases of FreeBSD.
Last modified on: February 3, 2024 by Fernando Apesteguía