Find the best media server software for Linux in 2021 with a built-in web client, native client, support for multiple formats, and more.
Home media servers have become increasingly popular and there are a number of commercial and free options.
Media servers are also a popular project for people tinkering with Raspberry Pi’s, can be a cool introductory project for people getting started in Linux and networking, or can just be a good way to put an old computer to use.
Home media servers can act as a streaming hub, be used for watching videos from video sharing sites or act as a vault for your own home movies, available for you to watch whenever you like – without having to try and hook your laptop up to your TV or drag out the VHS player.
Criteria for a Good Media Server Experience
There are a number of criteria a good media server must meet:
- Built-in web client
- We want to be able to stream to any web browser so we can see what’s on the server!
- Native clients for a wide number of devices
- Game consoles, tablets, smart TVs should also be able to access and browse content on the server
- Native clients aren’t required where a browser is available but can be nicer if there is controller support is available rather than trying to control a mouse cursor on a TV
- Support for popular photo, video, and audio formats
- Library management to keep your media organized
- The option to automatically detect TV series, mark episodes as having been watched would also be nice
- Download covers, posters, generate thumbnails
- We want our media library to look sweet on our big screen while flicking through content trying to find something to watch
Additional Criteria For a Good Linux Media Center
- Open source, totally free
- Easy to set up and add your media
- No sign up required
- No tracking, phoning home, data collection – what we watch is our business!
- Good documentation
And the Winner is…
We’re going to skip the listicle format outlining a bunch of lesser options and go straight for the winner.
JellyFin Media Server
JellyFin Media Server runs wonderfully on Linux and supports all of the features mentioned above, and then some. It’s easy to install, easy to muck about with, so go and check it out!