We all are fond of music and videos and everybody has its own collection of media files both on computer and smartphone. But you can’t carry every time your huge collection of movies, songs and other media files with you. And at this situations, the home media server comes handy. There are a bunch of best open source media server software available online those can set up on your own personal home computer. You can store all your media files at one place on the media server and can access it remotely or locally using the computer or smartphone. For example, you are out of town and want to access your movies or music, what you will do, just take out your smartphone enter your home media server address and boom!! Using media servers you can create your own personal YouTube, Netflix, and Vimeo. Some Media server based on lightweight Linux, which means to save electricity and other resources you can install them on Rasberry Pi.
Here we have listed Free and Open source Media server software those can be work on both Linux and Windows.
Best Open-source Media server for Linux, Mac or Windows
We already have the done couple of articles on Plex and it really has some great features that allow it in our best media server list. The Plex Media server is available for the variety of platforms such as Windows, Linux, Mac, Docker and for third-party NAS (network-attached storage device) Synology, Qnap, Netgear, Seagate and more… The Plex media server is freemium software and offers some features on subscription base only. Whereas the Plex player comes under both freemium and open source license GPL v2. Due to its vast range of device support the Plex continuously gaining its popularity as a media streamer.
The Plex media server is based on client-server model. It offers a wide range of client apps for different devices to support and stream its media server content easily. The Plex app is available for Android, Web, Windows, Kodi, Windows Phone, TiVo, SONOS, Android TV, Chrome cast, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Amazon Alexa, Roku, Nvidia shield, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 & 4 and Smart TV.
Plex Media Server Features:
- Account management
- Support all format videos and audios
- iOS, Windows and Android Mobile platform support
- Privacy and security
- Media Libraries Sharing
- No Storage Limit
- Online channels
- Live TV
- Plex cloud
- Mobile and Cloud Sync
- Parental control
- Audio Fingerprinting
- Remote Controls
- Media Optimizer and more…
If you interested in PLEX, also see:
Kodi 100% Opensource Media center software that stores all your digital media file at one place like Plex and gives you a beautiful interface to access them. The Kodi was previously known as Xbox Media center or XMBC. Kodi is a provides a bit different media server software approach. It works more as local media streamer rather functions a server-client relationship like PLEX. It was developed as XMBC open source media center and still distributed under open source license. It plays content from two sources one is locally saved content and secondly is via plugins.
It has a vast range of Addon for popular web services, applications, and script such as Pluto.TV, PS Vue, HDHomeRun, SoundCloud, Kodi Android Installer, Rooster Teeth and more… It also provides an add-on to stream, video content from various sources like NBC, CBS, Funimation, and Crunchyroll. It is a perfect mixture of media center PC/homer sever software. Kodi is also multi-platform support Media center/server software and support Linux, macOS, Windows, Android, and embedded devices like the Raspberry Pi.
- TV Shows library supports
- Supporting all the main video formats
- Kodi can play all your music including mp3, flac, wav and wma formats
- Import pictures and view in different styles such as slideshow
- Support Live TV recording
- JSON-RPC based remote interface
- Smartphone and Tablet Apps
- Add-Ons for popular web services, applications, and scripts.
- Works popular backends such as MediaPortal, MythTV, NextPVR, Tvheadend and much more.
Emby is a great and best open source Media server similar to Plex in features and user interface. While the Plex is closed source or freemium, the Emby is totally open source media server software. In comparison to Plex, the Emby is much easier to install for newbies and you can see our article: How to Install Emby media server, step by step installation process. Emby offers lots of customization, media management, and database options. The Emby Media server is available for Windows, Linux, Nas Devices, Mac OS, Docker, and FreeBSD. Like Plex, the Emby is also has dedicated Linux installer for Debian, Ubuntu, Arch Linux, OpenSUSE, Fedora, and CentOS. If you are looking for 100% open source Media server for your office or home then Emby is the best one.
Web-based Management System of Emby to install plugins, edit metadata and subtitles, Sync and more…
Emby also offers Apps for the mobile operating system: Emby Web client, Android, iOS, Windows 10, and Windows Mobile. Apart of the Emby Apps, it also has good collection of TV Apps as follow:
- Android TV
- Amazon Fire Tv
- Shield Android TV
- Apple TV
- Emby Theatre HTML5
- Emby Theatre for Windows
- LG Smart TV
- Samsung Smart TV
- Xbox One
- Windows Media Center
- Xbox 360
Emby Media Server Features
- Emby Server automatically converts and streams the media
- Stream Live TV to any device
- Web-based tools to edit metadata and subtitles
- Easy DLNA
- Parental Controls
- Easily control content access
- Cloud Sync
MediaPortal is a well featured open-source HTPC media center and similar to Kodi. It does not have features like Emby and Plex but still its very good open-source media server software. Using it you can watch, schedule and record live TV like TiVo, stream media, radio, and TV to any HTPC connected to your network., Check the weather, news, slideshow of pictures & videos, and more. It can access easily on web or mobile device. It also based on Client/Server Architecture.
Media Portal Features
- Watch TV, Videos, and DVD
- Watch Online Videos
- Listening Music, Radio and Web Streams
- Schedule Recordings
- Client/Server Architecture
- Skin System
- Plug-in System
- Check Weather Forecast
- Picture and video slideshow Viewer
- Multiple Tuner Support
- Time Shifting, Pause and Record TV/Radio
- Read RSS Feeds
MeediOS is free, open source media server software. It offers customizability and extensive media support. Easy to install and can convert any PC into a media-center PC. It can stream movies, Games, Online MediaTV Shows, music, Pictures, Web-browsing and much more. Also, offer a wide range of plugin to enhance the media server capabilities.
The only downside of this Media center is it only supports Windows Platform.
OpenFLIXR 2 is the easiest free all-in-one home Media server which offers all media solutions in one package. OpenFLIX Media server software download, install updates of media programs automatically. This Home media server is combination all well known open source projects out there including Plex Media server,
Software used in OpenFLIXR are:
- CouchPotato + Radarr for Movies
- SickRage + Sonarr for automated TV show downloading
- Headphones- Automated music downloader
- Mopidy-Music Server
- Ubooquity-Comics and Ebooks & Web-based Reader
- Subtitles- AutoSub, Sub-Zero, Sickrage
- HTPC Manager
- Plex Media Server to organizes movies, series, music and photos
- SABnzbd, NZBge, qBittorrent
- Netdata + Monit for monitoring
- And More…
The OpenFLIXR is media server need a virtual machine or player to install as it is a virtual application
OpenELEC is lightweight Linux operating system built from to create a media server like Kodi. The full form of the OpenELEC is Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center. Due to its lightweight, it can be easily installed on Raspberry, Apple TV or low configurations systems.
Features of OpenELEC are:
- TV Show Management
- Movie Organizer and Player
- Music and Audiobook Player
- Freescale iMX6 ARM builds for Cubox-i, CuboxTV and Hummingboard boxes
- TV and Personal Video Recorder
- Addon available to expand its feature
- Picture Browser
OSMC Media center is last in our list. It is an open source media center with simple design and intuitive navigation system. The OSMC media center is based on Kodi and Debian. It also offers paid hardware kits and other accessories to enhance the OSMC user experience such as the Vero 4K. It is a hardware device with OSMC that support 4K, HEVC, 10-bit content and HD audio. It supports almost every type of media files. OSMC Media center is available for Linux, Windows, Mac OS, Rasberry Pi, Vero and Apple TV.
Verdict on Best Free & Opensource Media Server Software Options
Although Plex, Emby and Kodi are the best and most popular media servers. But that doesn’t mean that other media servers are not good some of them like OpenFlixr are worth to try. We have put everything we know on this list, now its all upon you which you want to use. If you want to install media server along NAS server then you can go for open source NAS software like FreeNAS.