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Media servers for Linux: Plex, Emby, Jellyfin and Subsonic

Media servers for Linux: Plex, Emby, Jellyfin and Subsonic

Linux has been tagged the OS with no fun at all. This is due to the fact that the Linux operating system is like the programmer’s favorite. Though there is much truth in this, a large percentage of people make use of the Linux operating systems software for other things such as graphics designing, writing, music production, and also for FUN.

Yes, Linux is not all about making, and creating. The fact that it’s mostly used by programmers and business functioning only means that it has the strongest features necessary to carry on complex activities and it’s reliability too. It no no way means that you can’t make use of it for fun, relaxation or simple day-to-day operations. Yes, you can also be a consumer using Linux. One of such ways you can have fun on the Linux operating system is with media servers.

What is the media server?

A media server is compatible system hardware or software that is built for viewing your local and or cloud media (music, videos, and other kinds of electronic media) on your Linux server. Its primary purpose is to receive, store, and share media. The media server offers a very intuitive interface, and also allows you to stream your content to other devices on the same network.

With the media server, you can get video and audio content transmitted to you upon request. You can consider this as your own low-budget Netflix, or Disney+ (whichever one suits you). In fact, certain entertainment and subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and a host of others make use of media servers to deliver video on demand (VOD) to their subscribers.

Without media servers, we would not be able to watch or create certain videos online, neither would we be able to live-stream certain programs or listen to streaming music.

The Top

That there are a lot of media servers out there is really no news. Some of them are free, while others are not. Some would bring you optimal satisfaction and some would leave you wondering why you discovered that them in the first place.

But in line with our culture, we would separate the best of the best, just to save you the stress and unnecessary difficulties media servers users normally encounter when they try to select for themselves without proper consultations with experts. Below is a list of the top five media servers in no particular order.


First on our list is Plex. Plex is not open-source software. It is also not entirely free. While you can use part of its many wonderful features with a free account, you would need a premium account before you can reap and enjoy the fruits of having Plex. With a premium Plex account, you can leverage total control of the features of the software, which makes using the application and viewing media more interesting and fun.

With Plex media servers, you can access and view almost all the major file extensions. It also allows for a very easy and intuitive media organization.


  • Can support encrypted connections with numerous users
  • Easy file selection and sharing. On Plex, it’s easy to pick or choose files to share with other people.
  • Plex media servers have a function for parental control. You can control what your kids can have access to on the media server. All you have to do is take advantage of the parental control function on the software
  • Allows the creation of an offline network and sync with mobile devices for offline access. On Plex media servers, you can create an offline network and sync your different mobile devices and get access to your content wherever you are.
  • Offers cloud sync functionality. You can also save your media content to the cloud right inside the media server.
  • Allows for videos flinging. You can fling videos from one device to other thanks to Plex.
  • Media optimizer. You can have optimal optimization for your Media within the software.
  •  Access to a great array of apps for a lot of devices: phones, tablets, gaming consoles, streaming devices and smart TVs. With a premium Plex account, you can get access to dozens of other applications that would ensure you enjoy using the Plex media server. If you have the financial requirement for a premium account, where you can enjoy all of the goodies that Plex has to offer, then this app is for you.


Just like Plex, Emby has the option of free and premium accounts but most of its functions are available to free account users. It offers a fantastic range of functions for Linux. It makes available installers for Debian, CentOS, Fedora, OpenSUSE, Arch Linux, Docker, and Ubuntu. Also, there is a manual download option for a lot of Linux systems.


  • A beautiful and intuitive interface. Emby offers a beautiful and intuitive design that allows for easy usage of the software.
  • Supports mobile and cloud sync. It can sync media to mobile devices and cloud.
  • Potent web-based tools for managing your media files. Emby offers potent web-based tools for managing and arranging your media files.
  • Offers parental control. You can equally access and activate parental control options in the Emby software.
  • Automatic detection of DLNA Devices. If you have DLNA devices around the house and around your system, Emby automatically detects them.
  • Easily share media with Chrome cast. With Emby, you can easily share media of all kinds to Chrome Cast and related devices.

Emby is a good tool, especially for power users (interested in customization options). Although Emby may not be as user-friendly as Plex, it has a lot of skins and metadata options. Ember is also very good at helping you manage and organize your library.


Jellyfin is an open-source fork of Emby. If you are interested in a free variant of Plex, then this one is for you. Since Plex code is not open to view, a lot of Linux users are uncomfortable using it, because they cannot view the source code and alter it. Since it’s not easy to trust software over personal data, Jellyfin was created.


  •  It’s open-source. Unlike Plex and Emby, Jellyfin is totally open source.
  • Free features. All the features that are premium on Plex and Emby are free on Jellyfin. So Jellyfin has all the features of Plex and Emby media servers.


Next on the list is subsonic. Subsonic has a basic version that is free and has quite some good functions. Nevertheless, there is still the premium version which is obtainable at $1 monthly, or $99 for a lifetime. With this, you get all premium features which include app support, video streaming, Sonos/Chromecast support and a host of other things.


  • Has a user interface that can be twigged
  • Simulates perfectly with web services
  • Supports 28 languages
  • Offers a chat function
  • Allows you address your own server with a custom address

Comparison/Advice for choosing

Making a choice will depend basically on a few criteria:

1) Budget. What is your budget? Do you think it is enough to handle a Plex or subsonic media server? If not, you need not worry, you can think of using Jellyfin and not having to worry about missing out too much.

2) Functionality: What do you want? What are the exact features you would like your media server to have? What do you need your media server for exactly? Do you want to stream? Do you want to use Chrome cast too? Then Plex would do it for you. If you do not have the financial requirements for Plex, then you can try jellyfin.

3) Flexibility: If you have a number of things you want to achieve with your media server, there are always specific median servers that allow you to carry on different activities whenever you like. If you want an app you can twig and play with, then you could consider Emby, and jellyfish over Plex. With Emby and Jellyfish, you are basically given the opportunity to kill more birds with one stone.

4) User-friendliness: Does ease of use mean anything to you? If it does, Plex is king here. Plex is not complicated in any way and straightforward. If that’s your call, then we veto Plex.

Tips for Installing

Some of these applications are open source while others are not. That is enough guide. You may have to do some of the installations manually.


So do away with the stereotypical perspective that Linux is for programmers and serious, complicated business alone. Having fun in Linux is possible, and you have the best of media servers to help you realize the dream. Discover what you would like to on the internet for fun, pick in line with what you want and proceed to have happy fun with the amazing media servers for Linux.