10 BEST Free Media Server Software for Windows and Linux

Here you will find a review and comparison of the top Free Media Server Software that can result in being a source of a consistent user base:

Multimedia has scaled up over the years, and it has shifted from hard drives to virtual storage, which can be accessed anytime, anywhere. Virtual storage contains multimedia in the form of data sets that users can access using a secure connection. These data sets are protected using a series of firewalls.

In this article, we will discuss media server software and its uses.

Let us begin!

What is Media Server Software

BEST Free Media Servers Software

The media servers software are applications that have massive multimedia, which includes audio, video, and pictures. This server software makes it easier for users to access files via a secure connection and network architecture. The software is used by streaming applications to stream the latest movies and series for a massive customer user base.

Why Should We Use Media Server Software

You can play TV shows, movies, personal videos, and many other types of media on media servers. You can share videos with your relatives with this app. Also, you can post pictures taken using your camera. Your media is automatically synced to mobile devices using the tool.

It offers TV and a live DVR. It works with Apple, Android, Smart TVs, and other devices. You can uninterruptedly view videos on your mobile device and TV, thanks to it.

Market Trends: There is an exponential boom in the media servers software market as various streaming applications have used this software as a source of a consistent user base. In 2020, the value of the server market was $83.36 billion, which keeps on growing with a predicted growth of 7.6%.

the media servers software market

Expert Advice: We must keep various factors in mind when planning to choose media server software. These factors are streaming quality, recording quality, compatibility with devices, and OS.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q #1) Which free media server is the best?

Answer: Plex and Kodi are the best media server software in the market.

Q #2) Is Plex still the best media server?

Answer: Yes, Plex is the best media server software.

Q #3) Is the Plex Media server free?

Answer: No, the Plex Media Server has monthly, annual, and lifetime plans for users.

Q #4) Is Universal Media Server free?

Answer: No, Universal Media Server is a Donationware application.

Q #5) Is VLC a media server?

Answer: Yes, the VLC media player can act as a media server, but mainly it is a free and open-source cross-platform framework and media player.

Q #6) What is better than Serviio?

Answer: Plex is better than Serviio as it has simplified and enhanced features.

Q #7) What is the need for Media Servers?

Answer: The streaming process is more fluid than ever when a media server is nearby. All of your multimedia files are easily accessible from a single network. Transcoding files into types that are simple for practically all media player devices to read even helps.

Q #8) How does the Media Server function?

Answer: All of your electronic information is kept on a media server that is constructed. You can use your smartphone, computer, or any other storage device. In terms of the workflow, the media server uses a web server to transmit files to you.

First, you visit a webpage on the webserver; then, as soon as you open the file you wish to utilize, the server immediately notifies the media server of the specific file you are looking for. The web server is not used at any point during this procedure.

Q #9) Can Windows 10 be a Server?

Answer: Yes, almost any desktop computer can act as a web server. Just make sure it can establish a connection and has sufficient resources to execute web server software without experiencing any problems.

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List of the Best Media Server Software

Some popular media servers list:

  1. Plex
  2. Kodi
  3. Stremio
  4. Subsonic
  5. MediaPortal
  6. Emby Server
  7. Serviio
  8. OSMC
  9. PlayOn
  10. Universal Media Server

Comparison Table of Best Media Servers

Name Special FeatureOpen SourceSupported PlatformPricing
PlexOn-demand and preprogrammed streaming content.NoWindows, Android, iOS, Xbox, and Playstation$4.99/mo
Annual $39.99
Lifetime $119.99
KodiStable and Reliable applicationYesWindows, Android, iOS, Mac OS, Raspberry Pi, Linux, tvOSDonationware
StremioLatest Release NotificationsYesWindows, Mac, LinuxFree
SubsonicThe efficient Media source applicationNoAndroid, Windows, Mac$12 year
$99 lifetime
MediaPortalRadio, podcasts, audio, video, and images viewerYesWindows all versionsFree

Detailed reviews:

#1) Plex

Best for on-demand and pre-programmed streaming content.


This tool is compatible with various operating systems and devices for streaming indefinitely in high quality. This tool is also equipped with a media player, which allows users to play videos as per their requirements. The tool provides users with free live TV to watch various shows from different channels.


  • Access Live TV channels and stay tuned for all the latest aired shows.
  • This tool provides users with on-demand movies to search for a wide range of movies.
  • We can use this tool on any device ranging from Mac, Android, or Desktop for unlimited streaming.

Supported Platforms:

PCs support running any of the most popular operating systems, including Linux, Windows, Mac, and NAS devices, Plex Media Server.

  • Control and manage multimedia players in an efficient manner for an enhanced streaming experience.
  • Easy and efficient setup.
  • This tool has an expanding library of series of free streaming content for its users.
  • Provides intuitive apps on many platforms.


  • Intuitive app platform.
  • Easy Setup.


  • Lacks HTPC support.

Verdict: This is a very useful tool with a series of features that make it easier for users to set up the application on their system. Also, the tool has an on-demand streaming content service.


  • $4.99/mo
  • Annual $39.99
  • Lifetime $119.99
  • A 30-day free trial is also available

Website: Plex

#2) Kodi

Best for stable open-source applications.


Kodi is a very useful tool, easier for users to stream videos on their system as it has an automatic updates feature that updates the application to the latest available version. The application comes in with Music and Video Add Ons, which adds video and audio enhancement features to your device.

This tool also has a series of themes for users to customize the screen as per their requirements. Also, the remote web interface feature allows them to amplify user navigation.


  • This is an open-source tool so users can change its core code based on their requirements.
  • Compatible with a wide variety of operating systems.
  • Compatible with various devices, which allows users with minimal device configurations to work easily.
  • Provides users with a stable version release of the application, which makes it easier to rely on this application.
  • Integrate with various third-party plugins, which enhance the features of this application.
  • This tool has various add-ons to take advantage of multiple features of this application.

Supported Platforms:

With support for the majority of common processor architectures, Kodi is accessible as a native program for the Android, Linux, macOS X, iOS, and Windows operating systems.


  • Open source
  • Free


  • Limited features

Verdict: This tool has wonderful features which will amplify your entertainment experience. Also, the added features of this tool provide exemplary features to users. So overall, this tool is a great pick for a reliable media server application.

Pricing: Donationware

Website: Kodi

#3) Stremio

Best for when you want notifications on the latest releases.


Stremio provides users with the best streaming experience for users to stream the latest shows and movies. Users can manage numerous videos in the library in a much more comprehensive manner. This is an open-source application, it is free to use, and it has wonderful features which enhance the overall experience.


  • This tool categorizes a list of data in various genres for users to find the movie they need to watch.
  • Uses various filters to narrow down to the movie, which matches requirements (ratings, duration, etc.).
  • Discover the latest and trending shows, series, and channels.
  • Notifies users of the new episode releases of the series they were watching.
  • Uses the watch history as a parameter and then provides recommendations based on the same.
  • Create a video library where all video files can be arranged in various orders, which include type, last opened, and alphabetical order.
  • Syncs in with your calendar, which makes it easier to stay tuned for new releases and episodes launch.
  • This tool allows users to cast their videos on any device and enjoy an enhanced entertainment experience.

Supported Platforms:

The Stremio app is available for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, and iOS devices. However, add-ons are not supported by the iOS app. Smart TVs cannot use the streaming app, but you may still cast the media to an Apple TV or Chromecast.


  • Cast to various devices.
  • Calendar integration for the latest releases.


  • Some users face login errors.

Verdict: This is a very useful tool with an interactive UI, which makes it easier for users to use this tool efficiently. Various features make it a great pick, including cast features along with new episode release updates. So overall, this tool is worth it.

Pricing: Free

Website: Stremio

#4) Subsonic

Best for a reliable and efficient open-source media server application.


[image source]

Subsonic is a very useful tool that is available in over 28 languages, easier to be understood by a wider audience. This tool also has various customization features, which include multiple themes and a highly configurable interface. To enhance the ease of searching through albums, this tool allows you to search for albums based on genre and artists.


  • Compatible with all devices as this is a browser-based application.
  • This tool has a well-optimized and efficient User Interface to easily navigate through various streaming options.
  • The free text search feature grants users to search for the required movies and add them to their favorites.
  • Set comments on albums along with ratings, which makes it easier for them to make their collection comprehensive.
  • Perform numerous operations on your playlists and queue, including adding a video, removing a video, and rearranging or shuffling the videos.
  • Compatible with a series of formats, easier to enjoy videos in all formats.
  • Supports HLS video streaming for enhancing the quality of video streaming.
  • This tool works efficiently with numerous apps along with multiple players at an instant.
  • This tool allows users to use Rest API for developer purposes.
  • Users can also access their server at the yourname.subsonic.org address.

Supported Platforms:

Any media format that can stream via HTTP is supported by Subsonic, including MP3, OGG, AAC, and others. There are apps for many different platforms, including Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, and more.

Verdict: This tool is very useful as it allows users to stream and manage their albums comprehensively. Furthermore, this tool provides a stable connection to multiple users at once. So, this tool is a great open-source tool to meet your media server requirements.


  • $12 year
  • $99 lifetime

Subsonic’s entry-level version is at no cost. Additionally, you have 30 days to test out the premium features before deciding to subscribe.

Website: Subsonic

#5) MediaPortal

Best for when you are looking for a smart tool that allows you to view pictures, news, and podcasts.


MediaPortal is a wonderful tool that allows users to stream media across numerous platforms and enjoy high-quality videos directly on their devices. This tool records and streams when you are connected via the HTPC/PC network. The tool has remote compatibility to easily change the channel or show by pressing the button from your remote.

This tool also keeps you updated about the latest weather and news updates; users can also listen to radio and podcasts using this tool.


  • Stream high-quality videos without buffering and with enhanced effects.
  • Schedule for new releases, which notify users whenever the show is released.
  • The recording feature records a certain show when the time and date are specified along with the show episode.
  • This tool allows users to play videos, DVDs, movies, and Blu-ray discs.
  • View pictures and collaborate with them to develop a slideshow.
  • Provides access to the radio for users to enjoy various podcasts and shows.
  • Provides smart features, including weather and news.

Supported Platforms:

It utilizes straightforward hardware, directly connects to your TV, and presents your TV shows, movies, photos, and music in a much more dynamic manner. All while relaxing in your living room in front of a big-screen LCD, Plasma, or projector!

Verdict: This is a wonderful and reliable tool because it provides a series of features that allow users to watch movies, shows, and series easily, and that too in a high-quality display. So, this tool can be a great asset as a Media Servers software.

Pricing: Free

Website: MediaPortal

#6) Emby Server

Best for beginners and kids as it provides parental control.

Emby Server

Emby has a wonderful connection feature that allows nearby devices to connect instantly, and with this application on your end, you can also set parental control for your little ones. This tool provides notification on the release of new episodes and movies, along with intelligent file arrangements.


  • Provides the Emby Connect feature to connect various devices in the range at once instantly.
  • The live TV feature provides users to enjoy live shows and movies.
  • This tool has an easy setup because it has a Setup Wizard to install the application in some steps.
  • This tool provides an intelligent library feature that Explores personal Media and manages it efficiently.
  • The albums are managed by Automatic Organization, which makes it easier to categorize multimedia based on genre and tags.

Supported Platforms:

Android, iPhone, and Windows users can download Emby mobile apps. Or just relax in the living room and take in Emby. Emby apps are accessible on a variety of devices, including Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox, and Home Theatre computers.

Verdict: This is a very useful tool that has parental controls and other features like automatic arranging, which categorizes videos as per the tags and genre. So, this tool is a great choice if you are planning to buy a reliable application


  • $4.99/mo
  • $54.1/year
  • $119/lifetime
  • Emby offers a 14-day Free Trial to its users.

Website: Emby Server

#7) Serviio

Best for an application with multiple plugins available.


Serviio is compatible with numerous OS, including Windows, Linux, Mac, and other NAS platforms, which makes it available to a wide variety of customer bases.

This tool categorizes videos and movies in various segments based on their duration and genre. This tool easily integrates with trakt. TV and Alexa Skills, which opens the door to multiple other features in the application.


  • Stream movies and shows easily in high-quality formats to transcode videos in real-time.
  • Stream content from another online source to form a working hub.
  • Compatible with a series of Plugins that embeds numerous other features with this tool.
  • Supports subtitles, so users can download subtitle files and sync them with the video.
  • Supports RAW camera images and allows users to display them in high quality.
  • Provides various browsing options, which makes it easier to localize your media library.
  • Supports automatic render detection.
  • Extracts metadata which makes it easier to arrange media files based on meta tags.
  • Update your media library and metadata based on the changes made in albums.

Supported Platforms:

Because it is built on Java technology, Serviio functions on the majority of operating systems, including Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

Verdict: This is a very useful tool, and it has multiple plugins, which make it easier for users to enjoy amazing features in the application. So overall, this tool can make it easier for you to enjoy multimedia on your device.

Pricing: $25 /mo

You are given a 15-day evaluation of Serviio Pro, an expanded edition of your preferred media server, with each new Serviio installation. The free edition lacks certain excellent features that it has. It will automatically go back to the free edition after the evaluation period has passed.

Website: Serviio

#8) OSMC

Best for a Linux-based open-source application.


OSMC is a tool with the best User Interface to enhance their experience of using a media server’s application. This tool has a massive community that allows new developers to come and add useful features for working. The remote management of this application allows users to work on this application easily.

With this application at your end, you can easily stream files to another device with high-quality streaming.


  • Simple yet interactive UI for users to navigate through its various features.
  • This tool is Linux based, so it processes faster compared to other applications.
  • This tool comes in with various Add Ons, which enhances the working and functionality of the tool.
  • This tool is an open-source application, so developers can change the source file and customize the application as per their requirements.
  • The fast download feature makes it easier to download and install this application in the system.
  • This tool keeps its users notified and updated regarding the latest advancements made in the application.
  • Various other apps enhance your multimedia experience, including torrent clients, too.

Supported Platforms:

It works with Windows, Linux, and macOS X PCs running Kodi as well as any device that can run OSMC.

Verdict: This tool has various features and connected applications which make it easier for users to experience vivid features using one simple application. So, this tool is a great choice if you are looking for a reliable and useful tool.

Pricing: Free

Website: OSMC

#9) PlayOn

Best for downloading and recording videos in high quality.


PlayOn is the perfect choice if you are looking for a reliable and stable streaming platform because it is not only limited to streaming but also allows users to download and record videos on any device. This tool connects you to various platforms at once and even allows you to set a recorder reminder when a new series is released.


  • Record videos in 1080p with clear audio quality.
  • This tool can be accessed directly from your mobile phone and doesn’t require a desktop.
  • This tool uses closed captioning for a multilingual user base to watch videos.
  • This tool provides users with an offline viewing feature that allows them to watch videos even when they are not connected to the internet.
  • Stream, download, and record videos as per their requirements.
  • Cast videos on other devices and enjoy a high-quality display.
  • Record the entire season in just one click.

Supported Platforms:

A compatible device such as Roku, Chromecast, or Fire TV is also required if you want to stream content from PlayOn Home to your TV.

Verdict: This is a very useful tool that allows users to download and record videos in high quality, and users can also use this tool in offline mode, which is very useful. With the fast download feature of this tool, you can download the entire series and seasons in just one click.


  • $4.99/mo
  • $39.99/year
  • PlayOn no longer offers a PlayOn Home free trial, but you may still test it out for 30 days by paying $4.99.

Website: PlayOn

#10) Universal Media Server

Best for tools for online browsing and streaming.

Universal Media Server

[image source]

Universal Media Server has a lot of features that allow users to work easily on this application. This tool generates dynamic data which sequentially arranges videos and images in your system.

This tool supports files and networks from a wide variety, allowing users to enjoy videos from various platforms. The instant browsing feature supports users to browse and stream videos.


  • The wonderful web interface guides users to navigate through various features of the website.
  • Enhanced data privacy ensures that videos watched and history remains secure.
  • Compatible with a wide variety of devices, which makes it easier for a large userbase to use these devices.
  • Generates dynamic metadata to easily arrange all videos and images.
  • Browse files and stream videos on the system.
  • Instant browsing features allow users to check new videos from multiple platforms.
  • This tool provides live subtitles, which prevent users from searching for subtitles files on the internet.

Supported Platforms:

Supports all popular operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and macOS versions.

Verdict: This is a very useful tool that is compatible with a wide range of devices and provides wonderful features like instant browsing. Browse and stream videos easily through this tool. So, overall, this tool is very useful and is loaded with features.

Pricing: Donationware

Website: Universal Media Server

Other Notable Tools

#11) Jellyfin

Jellyfin authorizes its users to collect and play multimedia files, which include audio, videos, and images. This is a free entertainment system that makes it easier for users to watch movies and listen to podcasts efficiently. Users can also watch Live TV and create automatic recordings, which can make it easier to enjoy shows later.

Pricing: Donationware

Website: Jellyfin

#12) Gerbera

Gerbera is compatible with a wide variety of systems and devices, which makes it a great choice for a massive customer base. This application attracts metadata from your file and ensures that these files are arranged in a well systematic manner. With the use of JavaScript, a well-defined layout of files is created.

Pricing: Free

Website: Gerbera

#13) Red5

Red5 is a client-based library that enhances the streaming experience. This tool provides users with solutions that provide high-quality displays. This is an open-source application that allows users to customize the source code as per their requirements.


  • Developer $29.99/mo
  • Startup $109/mo
  • Growth $279/mo
  • Enterprise $3300/mo
  • Mobile SDKs $349/mo

Website: Red5

#14) Madsonic

This tool is equipped with enhanced Jukebox functionality with a Java-based framework that is compatible with a series of devices and operating systems. Users can work on core features of video and audio files, which include bitrate and bandwidth. The easy-to-use design and working of this application make it extremely useful for developers.

Pricing: Free

Website: Madsonic

#15) Airsonic

This is a web-based streaming application that makes it easier for users to access and enjoy high-quality music. This tool allows users to stream to multiple devices at once, and it can handle huge music collections. Its efficient transcoder ensures that there is no buffering while playing high-quality media.

Pricing: Free

Website: Airsonic


Media Server Software makes it easier for users to stream the latest shows and movies. Using such applications, users can also record movies and shows. This application allows users to record and play multimedia files in high quality.

Plex and Kodi are some of the open-source best media server applications to arrange and manage a video library.

Research Process:

  • We spent a total of 33 hours researching and writing this article. And we did this so that you can get summarized and insightful information on the best free media server software.
  • Total apps researched – 20
  • Total apps shortlisted – 15
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