Best Linux Distro for Plex 2020 [Top 5]


Plex is among the most popular and versatile media servers there is. But most times, installing Plex on certain distros can be a bit tricky. For this reason, you must know the distros that are well suited for the software. This article will review the five best Linux distros for Plex on the market. 

Top 5 Linux Distros for Plex

There are many Linux distros out there, but here are the top five most suited ones for Plex.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu is an excellent distro with many useful features. It is well-suited for both beginners and advanced Linux users and well known for its stability. Ubuntu is undoubtedly one of the best Linux distros for Plex Media Servers. They have many versions of the operating system that you can choose from. However, if you want to run Plex, you should go for Ubuntu Desktop or Ubuntu Server.

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Desktop

Ubuntu Server and Ubuntu Desktop are similar in many ways. Ubuntu Desktop is designed to be used on home computers. This is why it includes many of the applications you would expect to see on any other standard operating system. This version comes with a nice selection of desktop environments and is easier to install. 

On the other hand, Ubuntu Server is designed for businesses, and you only get pre-installed server-relevant software packages. This version gives you the option of downloading anything you need manually. Ubuntu Server takes up less space than Ubuntu desktop even though it does not have a GUI in its base form.  

Ubuntu is open-source software that allows you to modify any of the two versions as you desire. However, if you are tech-savvy, you should go for Ubuntu Desktop since it is one of the most user-friendly Linux distros on the market. No matter the version you go for, you will get to enjoy Canonical’s famous long-term support policy (LTS). You can also find live images for both versions, meaning that you can use the operating system without installing it locally. 

Minimum system requirements include:

2 GHz dual-core CPU or better

4GB of RAM

25GB of storage (only 2GB for Ubuntu Server)

Latest stable version: – 20.04 LTS

CentOS

CentOS offers a commercial substitute to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) – a paid distribution. CentOS and RHEL are functionally similar, and you can even access many software packages used by RHEL on CentOS. 

CentOS 8 Desktop

CentOS is among the best Linux distros for Plex Media Server because of a lot of reasons. This distro is known for its stability, and the fact that it includes long-term support is amazing. CentOS powers about 30% of all the servers associated with Linux. This distro can successfully accommodate users of all skill levels. 

Even though it is mostly used by tech-savvy people, beginners can also use it. All you need to do as a beginner is install Gnome – an intuitive desktop environment like Gnome. You can also use a GUI to enhance the built-in YUM package manager.

CentOS has two different variants on the market. They include CentOS Stream and CentOS Linux. With the CentOS stream, you will get updates more frequently than with CentOS Linux.

Minimum system requirements include:

2 GHz CPU or better

2GB of RAM

20GB of storage

Latest stable version: – 8.2.2004

OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE is among the most versatile distros on the market that is good for users of all levels. This distro is able to target everyone because it has two different variants. One is meant for regular home users and the other for power users and developers. These two variants are very stable and suitable for running a Plex Media Server.

OpenSUSE Leap 15 Desktop

An excellent option that you should try out is OpenSUSE Leap because you only worry about updates when there is a major new patch. This version is easy to install.  If you like to always get the latest updates, then you should go for OpenSUSE Tumbleweed. New patches are always thoroughly tested before being released, leading to very few stability issues. 

Tumbleweed has great desktop environments for running a Plex Media Server. OpenSUSE supports older platforms and includes tools like openQA, OBS (Open Build Services), Kiwi, CMake, RPM, and more. These tools are pre-installed, but if you want a simpler option, you should go for YaST. 

With YaST, you can configure everything related to OpenSUSE with very little effort. This tool is designed specifically for OpenSUSE and is not available on any other distribution.

Minimum system requirements include:

Pentium 4 1.6 GHz or AMD equivalent CPU

1GB of RAM (2GB recommended)

3GB of storage (5GB recommended)

Latest stable version: – 15.2

Debian

Debian is an excellent Linux distro for Plex Media Server and is mostly used by people who are running ARM-based systems. This distro was overshadowed for a long time by Ubuntu – its offspring. Debian is not as easy to use as Ubuntu or some other distros on this list. Therefore, if you are a first-time user, you should go for a more user-friendly option.

Debian 10 Xfce Desktop

Debian was developed in the early 90s, and its main target audience is mostly developers. The distro has been modernized quite a bit since then, but it still can’t compete with the likes of Ubuntu when it comes to looks. But while Debian is not the prettiest distribution out there, it makes up for it in terms of stability, performance, and flexibility. Debian uses the Xfce (one of the lightest environments desktop on the market) by default. 

This distro has modest hardware requirements, and this makes it suitable for Plex servers on both old and modern PCs. Debian has more than 60K packages in its repositories. And this means that you are sure of no shortages of software when using this distro. Apart from Xfce, Debian also supports many other desktop environments, and some of them make it a lot more suitable for beginners. 

Some of these environments include KDE Plasma, Gnome, Cinnamon, and MATE. However, if you would like to keep things simple, you can do it with a window manager like Fluxbox or Openbox instead of a desktop environment. The main focus of Debian is giving its users the power to choose, and this is why many people still consider it as the overall best Linux distros there is.

Minimum system requirements include:

1GHz 32-bit or 64-bit CPU

512MB of RAM

10GB of storage

Latest stable version: – 10.4

Fedora

Like Ubuntu and Debian, Fedora has been around for a while and is good for both beginners and advanced users. Fedora has a good reputation among the Linux community, and this is because of its association with RHEL, Red Hat, CentOS, and other projects. Fedora’s users are estimated to be over 1.2 million, and this includes Linus Torvalds – the creator of Linux. 

Some years ago, Torvalds said that Fedora was his best distro and used it on almost all his computers. Linus is still involved in the maintenance and improvement of Fedora.

Fedora 32 Desktop

Fedora 32 desktop is the best version for a Plex Media Server. This excellent distro has a Fedora Workstation and is aimed at developers. One may expect that this distro will not be accessible since its target is developers, but Fedora Workstation has a simple user interface due to the Gnome 3 desktop environment. It also includes a lot of tools that you can use for other projects apart from Plex.

This distro supports powerful virtual machines, and you can to easily deploy containers. If what you want is just to set up a Plex Media Server, then you may not use many of these tools. However, you should still have them, just in case. Fedora Server is another reputable version of the distro that can easily support Plex. Still, this one is a bit harder to work with since it primarily targets seasoned system administrators.

If you are exploring for easy ways to run a Plex Media Server on Linux, you should try out many Fedora Spins instead. Spins are easy to use variants of this distro that includes alternative desktop environments. A few very popular ones are Xfce, KDE Plasma, Cinnamon, and MATE. There is also a Sugar on a Stick spin, and this is suitable for kids but not good for supporting Plex because of its simple nature.

Minimum system requirements include:

1 GHz CPU (2 GHz dual-core recommended)

2GB of RAM

15GB of storage

Latest stable version: – Fedora 32

Conclusion

Getting the most out of Plex requires that you pair it with Linux. Therefore, if you are looking for the best Linux distro for Plex, you should go for Ubuntu. This distro has all the useful features required for Plex. In all, make sure you choose the best distro for an amazing experience while using Plex.

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