10 Best Media Server Software for Linux in 2019

A media server is simply a specialized file server or computer system for storing media (digital videos/movies, audio/music, and images) which can be accessed over a network.

In order to setup a media server, you need computer hardware (or perhaps a cloud server) as well as a software that enables you to organize your media files, and makes it easier to stream and/or share them with friends and family.

In this article, we will share with you a list of 10 best media server software for Linux systems. By the time you complete this article, you will be able to choose the most appropriate software to setup your home/office/cloud media server powered by a Linux system.

1. Kodi – Home Theater Software

Kodi (previously known as XBMC) is a free and open source, highly customizable media server software. It is cross-platform and runs on Linux, Windows, MacOS; iOS and Android. It is more than just a media server; it’s an ideal entertainment center software with a fabulous user interface and several other media server software appliances are based on it.

Kodi Home Theater Software

Kodi Home Theater Software

Kodi enables you to play movies/videos, music/audio, podcasts, view images and other digital media files from your local computer or a network server as well as the internet.

Kodi Features:

  • Runs on a wide variety of devices.
  • It is user friendly.
  • Supports a web interface.
  • Supports a variety of user created Add-ons.
  • Supports televisions and remote controls.
  • Has a highly configurable interface via skins.
  • Allows you to watch and record live TV.
  • Supports importing pictures into a library.
  • Allows you to browse, view, sort, filter or even start a slideshow of your pictures and much more.

How to Install Kodi in Linux

To install Kodi on Ubuntu-based distributions, use the following PPA to install latest version.

$ sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install kodi

To install Kodi on Debian 9 (Stretch), use the following command, as Kodi is available in the default “main” Debian repository.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install kodi

To install Kodi on Fedora use pre-built RPMFusion packages as shown.

$ sudo dnf install --nogpgcheck \  https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm
$ sudo dnf install kodi

2. PLEX – Media Server

Plex is a powerful, secure and fully-featured and easy-to-install media server software. It runs on Linux, Windows, MacOS, and many other platforms.

Plex Home Media Server

Plex Home Media Server

It supports almost all major file formats and allows you to organize your media in a central point for easy access. Plex has an easy-to-navigate interface, and a collection of useful apps for a variety of devices: phones, tablets, gaming consoles, streaming devices and smart TVs.

Plex Features:

  • Supports encrypted connections with multiple user accounts.
  • Allows you to easily pick and choose what to share.
  • Offers a parental control functionality.
  • Supports mobile sync which offers offline access to your media files.
  • Supports flinging of video from one device to another.
  • Also supports cloud sync.
  • Supports audio fingerprinting and automatic photo-tagging.
  • Has a media optimizer and much more.

How to Install Plex in Linux

To install Plex in Ubuntu, Fedora and CentOS distributions, go the Download section and choose your Linux distribution architecture (32-bit or 64-bit) to download .DEB or .RPM package and install it using your default package manager.

3. Subsonic – Personal Media Streamer

Subsonic is a secure, reliable and easy-to-use personal media server and streamer. It runs on Linux, Windows, MacOS and Synology NAS. It is very customizable and supports all major media formats. There are more than 25 supported apps that you can use to stream music directly on your mobile phone.

Subsonic Personal Media Streamer

Subsonic Personal Media Streamer

Subsonic can operate with multiple users and any number of players at the same time. And it allows you to play movies/videos or music/audio files on any compatible DLNA/UPnP devices.

Subsonic Features:

  • Has a highly configurable UI (user interface).
  • Supports secure connections over HTTPS/SSL.
  • Integrates with the best web services.
  • Supports up to 28 languages and comes with 30 different themes.
  • Offers a chat features.
  • Allows you to access your server using your own address i.e https://yourname.subsonic.org.
  • Supports authentication in LDAP and Active Directory.
  • Has an integrated podcast receiver.
  • Supports setting upload and download bandwidth limits and lots more.

How to Install Subsonic in Linux

To install Subsonic in Debian/Ubuntu and Fedora/CentOS distributions, you need to first install Java 8 or Java 9 using following commands on your respective distributions.

------------- Install Java in Debian and Ubuntu ------------- 
$ sudo apt-get install openjdk-8-jre  [Install Java 8 in Debian/Ubuntu]
$ sudo apt-get install openjdk-9-jre  [Install Java 9 in Debian/Ubuntu]

------------- Install Java in Fedora and CentOS ------------- 
$ sudo sudo yum install java-1.8.0-openjdk

Next go to the Subsonic Download section to grab the .deb or .rpm package and install it using your default package manager.

$ sudo dpkg -i subsonic-x.x.deb                    [On Debian/Ubuntu]
$ sudo yum install --nogpgcheck subsonic-x.x.rpm   [On Fedora/CentOS]

4. Madsonic – Music Streamer

Madsonic is an open source, flexible and secure web-based media server and media streamer developed using Java. It runs Linux, MacOS, Windows, and other Unix-like systems. If you are a developer, there is a free REST API (Madsonic API) that you use to develop your own apps, addons or scripts.

Madsonic Music Streamer

Madsonic Music Streamer

Madsonic Features:

  • Easy to use and comes with jukebox functionality.
  • It is highly flexible and scalable with an intuitive web interface.
  • Offers search and index functionalities with Chromecast support.
  • Has built-in support for your dreambox receiver.
  • Supports authentication in LDAP and Active Directory.

How to Install Madsonic in Linux

To install Madsonic in Debian/Ubuntu and Fedora/CentOS distributions, you need to first install Java 8 or Java 9 using following commands on your respective distributions.

------------- Install Java in Debian and Ubuntu ------------- 
$ sudo apt-get install openjdk-8-jre  [Install Java 8 in Debian/Ubuntu]
$ sudo apt-get install openjdk-9-jre  [Install Java 9 in Debian/Ubuntu]

------------- Install Java in Fedora and CentOS ------------- 
$ sudo yum install java-1.8.0-openjdk

Next go to the Madsonic Download section to grab the .deb or .rpm package and install it using your default package manager.

$ sudo dpkg -i Madsonic-x.x.xxxx.deb                         [On Debian/Ubuntu]
$ sudo sudo yum install --nogpgcheck Madsonic-x.x.xxxx.rpm   [On Fedora/CentOS]

5. Emby – Open Media Solution

Emby is a powerful, easy-to-use and cross-platform media server software. Simply install the emby server on your machine running Linux, FreeBSD, Windows, MacOS or on NAS. You can also grab the emby app on Andriod, iOS, Windows or run the web client from a browser or still use the emby TV app.

Emby Media Solution

Emby Media Solution

Once you have it, it will help you manage your personal media library, such as home videos, music, photos and many other media formats.

Emby Features:

  • A beautiful UI with supports for mobile sync and cloud sync.
  • Offers powerful web-based tools for managing your media files.
  • Supports parental control.
  • It automatically detects DLNA devices.
  • Enables easy sending of movies/videos, music, pictures, and live TV shows to Chromecast and much more.

How to Install Emby in Linux

To install Emby in Ubuntu, Fedora and CentOS distributions, go the Emby Download section and choose your Linux distribution to download .DEB or .RPM package and install it using your default package manager.

6. Gerbera – UPnP Media Server

Gerbera is a free open source, powerful, flexible and full-featured UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) media server. It comes with a simple and intuitive web user interface for easily configuring your web server.

Gerbera UPnP Media Server

Gerbera UPnP Media Server

Gerbera has a highly flexible configuration, allowing you to control the behavior of various features of the server. It allows you to browse and playback media via UpnP.

Gerbera Features:

  • It is easy to setup.
  • Supports metadata extraction from mp3, ogg, flac, jpeg, etc. files.
  • Supports user defined server layout based on extracted metadata.
  • Support for ContentDirectoryService container updates.
  • Comes with exif thumbnail support.
  • Supports automatic directory rescans (timed, inotify).
  • Offers a nice Web UI with a tree view of the database and the file system, allowing to add/remove/edit/browse media.
  • Support for external URLs (create links to internet content and serve them via UPnP to your renderer).
  • Supports flexible media format transcoding via plugins / scripts and much more.

How to Install Gerbera in Linux

To install Gerbera in Ubuntu, Fedora and CentOS distributions, follow our installation guide that explains installation of Gerbera – UPnP Media Server in Linux and also shows how to stream media files using Gerbera on your home network.

7. Tvmobili – Smart TV Media Server

Tvmobili is a lightweight, high performance, cross-platform media server software that runs on Linux, Windows and MacOS; NAS as well as embedded/ARM devices. It is easy to install and in addition, tvmobili is is fully integrated with iTunes and offers amazing support for full 1080p High Definition (HD) videos.

Tvmobili Media Server

Tvmobili Media Server

Tvmobili Features:

  • Easy to install, high performance media server.
  • Fully integrated with iTunes (and iPhoto on Macs).
  • Supports full 1080p High Definition (HD) video.
  • Lightweight media server.

How to Install Tvmobili in Linux

To install Tvmobili in Ubuntu, Fedora and CentOS distributions, go the Tvmobili Download section and choose your Linux distribution to download .DEB or .RPM package and install it using your default package manager.

8. OpenELEC – Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center

OpenELEC is a lightweight Linux based operating system for setting up your machine as a media server using Kodi. It is built from scratch for the sole purpose of running Kodi media server software.

OpenELEC Open Embedded Linux

OpenELEC Open Embedded Linux

It allows you to organize your movie collections; offers you a picture browser, music and audiobook player, TV and personal video recorder, and a TV show management functionality. It is highly extensible through a great number of addons.

OpenELEC Features

  • Organize your movie collections and play your media with relevant info, subtitles and fanart.
  • Manually watch all your photos or use a handy slide show with zoom effect.
  • Browe, watch and record your favourite TV channels.
  • Manage your TV series and keep track of your favorite episodes.
  • Listent audo files in various formats with artists photos and album covers.
  • Easy expandable with Addons.

How to Install OpenELEC in Linux

As we said, OpenELEC is a small Linux based operating system built from scratch as a platform to turn your computer into a Kodi media center. To install it, go to the OpenELEC installation section,that shows you how to create the OpenELEC install stick on a Linux machine and install OpenELEC via the created install stick onto your HTPC.

9. OpenFlixr – Media Server

OpenFlixr is a virtual, flexible, energy efficient and fully-automated media server software. It uses several other applications to achieve its overall functions, including Plex as a media server (to organizes movies, series, music and pictures and streams them), Ubooquity for serving comics and ebooks and a web-based reader. It supports automated downloading and serving of media, encrypted connections, and smart auto-updating.

OpenFLIXR Media Server

OpenFLIXR Media Server

How to Install OpenFLIXR in Linux

To install OpenFLIXR, the only thing you need is a visualization software such as VirtualBox, KVM, Vmware, etc.

Once you have visualization software installed, Download OpenFLIXR and then import in hypervisor, power on and let it sit back for a couple of minutes till installation finishes, after that go to http://IP-Address/setup to setup OpenFLIXR.

10. OSMC – Open Source Media Center

OSMC is a free open source, simple, easy-to-use, full-featured media server software and media streamer for Linux. It is based on the Kodi media server software. It supports all well known media formats and a variety of sharing protocols. In addition, it comes with a remarkable interface. Once you have installed it, you get easy updates and apps to use.

OSMC - Open Source Media Center

OSMC – Open Source Media Center

How to Install OSMC in Linux

To install OSMC in Debian/Ubuntu, Fedora and RHEL/CentOS distributions, first go to the OSMC Download section, simply select your current Linux operating system and follow the installation instructions to install it using your package manager.

Conclusion

In this article, we shared with you some of the best media server software for Linux systems. If you know any media server software for Linux missing in the list above, just hit us up via the feedback form below.

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Aaron Kili

Aaron Kili is a Linux and F.O.S.S enthusiast, an upcoming Linux SysAdmin, web developer, and currently a content creator for TecMint who loves working with computers and strongly believes in sharing knowledge.

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22 Responses

  1. Peter says:

    Would be very informative if you could mention and compare features such as; adding IMDB metadata, auto subtitles, and transcoding on the fly.

    Thanks.

  2. SCCCam Server says:

    I like only Kodi Home Theater Software, because this software is very powerful.

  3. Ant Media Server says:

    Hi Aaron,

    Thanks for the details. You can also review Ant Media Server.

  4. Marcos Nakamine says:

    Kodi is the best!
    Thanks!

  5. Alater says:

    Check out MythTV and let me know how that compares. I have used it for more than a decade and have some of the same media from that time – pretty amazing considering the number of hardware replacements, O/S and version upgrades. – Much appreciated.

  6. Sam g says:

    Plex and Emby are crippled media servers without paying for their premium plans. It would be nice if the apps were called out as having their features locked behind premium gateways.

    • Aaron Kili says:

      @Sam g

      Very good concern, many thanks for sharing this. We will consider this in upcoming reviews.

    • jadeopia says:

      Plex runs fine without paying you only need to pay if you want to stream your media over the internet to other devices. if you’re only using it as a home media server you don’t pay anything

      • Aaron Kili says:

        @jadeopia

        Thanks for sharing this useful information.

      • Ken says:

        That’s not true either. You can stream your media over the internet without paying. Most Plex apps are free. Only Android, iOS, and Windows Phone apps are crippled until you pay for a Plex Pass.

        Paying for a Plex Pass gets you uncrippled mobile apps (noted above), live TV and DVR functions (with a separate tuner, like HDHomeRun), LyricFind lyrics for your music, and some other enhancements.

        • AllKnowing says:

          Or, you know, just use Kodi, which gives you all those things out the box. Uses DB compression (to avoid lots of GB worth of database files), is 100% open source and free, forever. Oh, and it’s been around (in one form or another) for 15 years… A good 7 years longer than any of these “competitors”.

  7. HBaena says:

    Popcorn Time’s app is great, too.

  8. Laci says:

    Where would UMS be located in the above list?

  9. Martin says:

    From what I heard, libreelec is better variant of openelec. For myself (subjectively) I can confirm it

  10. tsl says:

    Hi,

    Thank you for your Article. I need setup Linux server like youtube/hotstar live streaming. Accessible from web.

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