the great ubuntu NAS project, continued…

In my last “great ubuntu NAS project” post, I explained how to get an ubuntu server OS up and running with the absolute basics.  Now let’s get this thing customized.  I personally wanted to add the following to my rig:

  • Web UI for Administration (Ajenti)
  • Subsonic
  • Transmission
  • Plex Media Server

Let’s dive into the details…


Web UI for Administration (Ajenti)

Because I’m coming from FreeNAS, I wanted something comparable to the slick (and useful) Web UI that they have on that project.  I’m a lazy admin and I don’t like to SSH into my server to every time I want to check the uptime.   I had searched around and found a few options for Web Admin panels.  Webmin is a powerful, yet clunky/ugly (sorry Webmin) option.  I’m sure it’s great, but I just couldn’t get past its looks.  OpenPanel is pretty, but didn’t appear to be as functional as the others.  It’s probably all about personal preference.  (I really do miss FreeNAS and it’s webUI – it holds a special place in my heart)

I finally settled on Ajenti which was very pretty, self contained, and useful to boot.  Here’s how you install it on the server (or you can go to and follow the latest instructions there).  First edit your sources:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Add the Ajenti APT repository:

deb <a href=""></a> main main

At the terminal type the following to get the keys:

wget <a href=""></a> -O- | sudo apt-key add -

And we are done with the hard part.  Now you can browse to your server using your favorite browser at the following address/port to start the configuration:



I’ve gushed about Subsonic many times on this blog in the past.  I love, love, love it.  I think anyone setting up a home NAS should make this a requirement.  Who wouldn’t want to have access to their music and movies on their PC’s and smart phones wherever they have an internet connection?  Let’s get started.  All the instructions for Debian/Ubuntu are here.

Download the deb package here:

Now, from the terminal do the following:

sudo apt-get install openjdk-6-jre

sudo dpkg -i subsonic-x.x.deb

Once installed, you can plug find your server at:

Your mileage may vary, but I ran into an issue with the automagical uPnP port-forwarding feature in Subsonic on Ubuntu.   I got some joy after turning off the built-in firewall, but for some reason it forwarded to the wrong IP.  And if you’d like to try the same, run this command.  Let me know if you are able to get this to work or know what’s wrong.

sudo ufw disable

Sourced from this site:



I love bittorrent.  And having the ability to seed torrents directly on my NAS had great appeal to me.  Transmission (the bittorrent daemon) was a comfortable option for me and it has the ability to run headless with both Remote GUI options (for pretty much any OS including Android), and a Web UI built right it.  It takes a bit of work to get this thing up and running, but it’s well worth it.

Setup the Transmission CLI w/WebGUI, Blocklists and Remote Management.  From the command line start by installing these packages:

sudo apt-get install transmission-cli transmission-common transmission-daemon

Now we’ll need to edit the configuration file to get things set up.  Note!  You’ll need to STOP the daemon before editing the configuration file or your changes will not be made.  Here’s how you start and stop the daemon:

sudo /etc/init.d/transmission-daemon stop

sudo /etc/init.d/transmission-daemon start

Open the configuration file for editing (again, make sure you stop the daemon before making edits):

sudo nano /etc/transmission-daemon/settings.json

Some of the items that I really wanted to make sure were setup:

  • Block List
  • RPC (Remote Access)
  • Seeding folder location on my shared drive

I ran into file permissions problems and ended up doing the following things.

Added transmission user to users group:

sudo ​usermod -G users debian-transmission

Opened the persmissions up on my seeding directory completely:

sudo chmod 777 /mnt/sharedrive/seeding

Don’t forget to start your server back up again.  Now that everything is up and running you should be able to access your web UI at the following address:

And if all that doesn’t help, try these other sites which helped me get things up and running properly:

Configuration File Examples:


Plex Media Server

Plex Media Server is slowly growing on me.  For those who may not know what this is, it allows me to stream videos across my network to Android, Roku, etc.  As a new owner of a Roku, this is probably the best way to stream local media from your ubuntu NAS server.  It’s been a bit sluggish and buggy… up until a few days ago when they released an update.  They’ve clearly worked on the responsiveness and overall look & feel.

Installing it on your ubuntu server is actually quite simple.

Open your sources list for editing (/etc/apt/sources.list):

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Add the following to the file and exit:

deb lucid main

Then install with the following command:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install plexmediaserver

Now, fire up a web browser and point it to:


To Be Continued…

That’s it for now.  Later I’ll talk about setting up other miscellaneous items like a web server, etc.


7 Replies to “the great ubuntu NAS project, continued…”

  1. Hi Ben, I recently built an Ubuntu NAS and stumbled upon your site when searching for information on Plex. I installed it on my server and got the client for my Roku player, but for some reason I only get the Movies to show up on the Roku… no photos or music section (and I disabled that other crap that shows up on the client). Did you experience the same problem? It sounds like our servers are set up pretty much the same.

    My machine is set up like this:
    CFI A7879 Mini-ITX Server Case w/ 4 Hot-Swappable Trays
    JetWay JNF99FL-525-LF Intel Atom D525 (1.8GHz, Dual-Core) Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo
    Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM
    Corsair Nova Series 2 30GB 2.5-Inch SSD for the OS
    And a couple HDDs I had laying around in RAID5 for the data.

    Thanks for any help you can offer,

  2. @Jon – To be quite honest, I hadn’t setup any photos or music directories on Plex yet. So this morning I started Plex indexing my music collection. Unfortunately, I think this is going to take a really, really long time with my music collection. I’ll get back to you when I’ve had a chance to test it with the Roku (hopefully later today).

    BTW – Great setup. I love those ITX systems (I had previously been using one for my FreeNAS server), they are perfect for running a NAS.

  3. I think I found the problem. It’s a simple answer from the Plex Blog (
    “The Roku client is considered beta, and supports only video content at the moment, although photo and music support will be added in the future (what can we say, we were super excited to share it with you!). The devices have great video playback capability, and they support Direct Streaming, which means high quality video without transcoding in many cases.”

    Not to worry thought, just checked the forums today and found this post ( which mentions that they have integrated audio as well. There is also a separate Roku channel in the works call PlexAudio( I’ll check this out later.

  4. Hi,

    thanks for your great and simple description.
    I installed it in a virtual machine and it works for me !!
    Next step will be to get rid of FreeNAS 😉

    Did you made an changes regarding powermanagement ?

  5. Hey Peter – Nope, I didn’t really mess with power management, as my system was already running at a pretty low idle power level (i.e. less than 40-60W per my killawatt) I also find that messing with power management is a bit dangerous when it comes to servers.

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