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What is "Perfect Media Server"?

Perfect Media Server (PMS) is a 100% open-source collection of technologies enabling you to build your own media server from scratch and runs on Linux.

Under the hood, it's built around the following technologies:

The requirements

Media servers generally run 24/7, needs lots of hard drives and often run apps to compliment the experience such as Plex, Nextcloud and so on - see the top 10 self-hosted app list for inspiration there. PMS sets out to fulfil the following requirements:

  • Act as a NAS type device serving files across the network
  • Support the primary use-case of "write once - read many" for media files
  • Support hard drives of differing / mismatched sizes
  • Enable incremental upgrading of hard drives in batches as small as one
  • Each drive should have a separately readable filesystem with no striping of data
  • Pool multiple hard drives under a single mount point for reads and writes
  • Spin up only the drive(s) in use
  • Provide fault tolerance to protect against (inevitable) hard drive failure
  • Checksum files to guard against bitrot
  • Saturate a gigabit LAN connection
  • Run multiple applications at once using containers

PMS requires a bit more elbow grease to setup compared with other solutions but you are in complete control of every aspect of your system and once it's done it will just keep on going for years to come.

On top of that, the software used is all open source which means you'll never be at the mercy of a companies decision to change tack leaving you locked in to a legacy solution. Furthermore there are no license fees to pay and perhaps best of all, there’s a comprehensive guide on how you can set this up yourself!!

How do I dive in?

You've already found your way to this site so you're in a good spot. Organising so much information has been a labour of love for several months but a good place to start would be familiarising yourself with the primary tech stack components before moving onto the installation section.

We cover some hardware topics here as well but you might want to go and check out my friends over at for some interesting, low cost ideas in that department.

Beyond that go ahead and make extensive use of the search feature which can be invoked with /, just like in Vim.

You can find me on the Self-Hosted podcast Discord server or Twitter where I'm @IronicBadger if you have questions, concerns or feedback about the site. Please also consider contributing via PR if you find something that needs fixing.

Why did you write this?

This project was born out of a period in my life between 2011 and 2016 where I discovered network attached storage and lost some important data to a cursed 1.5tb Seagate hard drive. I took a fairly typical journey down the rabbit hole starting out with a Drobo, then a Synology, then unRAID before finally deciding to go it alone and piece together my own solution on top of Linux.

During this period I discovered Linux, the world of open-source and everything that enabled. Open-source has fundamentally changed my life for the better. From 2018 - 2023 I had the honor of working for Red Hat along my journey of helping to further that FOSS mission. As of August 2023, I now work for Tailscale.

PMS is my own personal project to give back to the community knowledge that so many others helped me learn - life changing skills and knowledge about building and managing my own servers and infrastructure. Thank you if you were one of those who helped me along the way - this site is for you.