Run Gerbera


Whilst you can run Gerbera as a “regular” application. It is strongly recommended to run it as a system service instead.


The server has an integrated file system browser in the UI, that means that anyone who has access to the UI can browse your file system (with user permissions under which the server is running) and also download your files! If you want maximum security - disable the UI. Account authentication offers simple protection that might hold back your kids, but it is not secure enough for use in an untrusted environment!


Since the server is meant to be used in a home LAN environment the UI is enabled by default and accounts are deactivated, thus allowing anyone on your network to connect to the user interface.

First Time Launch

If you decide against running as a system service for whatever reason, then when run by a user the first time startup of Gerbera creates a folder called ~/.config/gerbera in your home directory.

You must generate a config.xml file for Gerbera to use.

Review the Generating Configuration section of the documentation to see how to use gerbera to create a default configuration file.

Multiple Instances

If you want to run a second server from the same PC, make sure to use a different configuration file with a different udn and a different database.

After server launch the bookmark file is created in the ~/.config/gerbera directory. You now can manually add the bookmark ~/.config/gerbera/gerbera.html in your browser. This will redirect you to the UI if the server is running.

Assuming that you enabled the UI, you should now be able to get around quite easily.

Network Setup

Some systems require a special setup on the network interface. If Gerbera exits with UPnP Error -117, or if it does not respond to M-SEARCH requests from the renderer (i.e. Gerbera is running, but your renderer device does not show it) you should try the following settings (the lines below assume that Gerbera is running on a Linux machine, on network interface eth1):

$ route add -net netmask eth1
$ ifconfig eth1 allmulti

For distros that only support ip command suite it has to be

$ ip route add dev eth1 scope link
$ ip link set dev eth1 allmulti on

Those settings can be applied automatically by a init.d startup script (if you are still running init system). Otherwise add them to your network settings in /etc/sysconfig/network or /etc/network depending on your distro.

You should also make sure that your firewall is not blocking port UDP port 1900 (required for SSDP) and UDP/TCP port of Gerbera. By default Gerbera will select a free port starting with 49152, however you can specify a port of your choice in the configuration file.

Reverse Proxy Setup

If you want to access the web interface from other sources or use a ssl certificate it is recommended to hide gerbera UI behind a reverse proxy.

  • Set virtualURL in config.xml to point to https://gerbera.DOMAINNAME

  • Add gerbera to your DNS and have it point to the server


  • Enable Apache modules

$ sudo a2enmod proxy proxy_http ssl
  • Add virtual host to your apache config (/etc/apache2/vhosts.d/) and modify according to your settings

    <VirtualHost GERBERA_IP:443>
      ServerName gerbera.DOMAINNAME
      #   SSL Engine Switch:
      #   Enable/Disable SSL for this virtual host.
      SSLEngine on
      #   You can use per vhost certificates if SNI is supported.
      SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/servercerts/servercert.pem
      SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/servercerts/serverkey.pem
      SSLProxyEngine on
      SSLProxyVerify none
      SSLProxyCheckPeerExpire off
    #  SSLProxyCheckProxyCheckPeerNaPeerCN off
    #  SSLme off
      ProxyRequests Off
      ProxyVia Full
      ProxyPreserveHost off
    # Protocols h2 http/1.1
      RequestHeader set X-Forwarded-Proto "https"
      RewriteEngine on
      AllowEncodedSlashes on
      <Proxy *>
        Require all granted
      <Location />
        Header edit Location ^http:://GERBERA_IP:GERBERA_PORT/ https:://gerbera.DOMAINNAME/
        Header edit Destination ^https:://gerbera.DOMAINNAME/ http:://GERBERA_IP:GERBERA_PORT/
        RequestHeader edit Location ^http:://GERBERA_IP:GERBERA_PORT/ https:://gerbera.DOMAINNAME/
        RequestHeader edit Destination ^https:://gerbera.DOMAINNAME/ http:://GERBERA_IP:GERBERA_PORT/
        ProxyPass "http://GERBERA_IP:GERBERA_PORT/"
        ProxyPassReverse "http://GERBERA_IP:GERBERA_PORT/"
      <Directory />
        AllowOverride None
        Order allow,deny
        Allow from all
  • Restart apache service


  • Add server config to your nginx config (/etc/nginx/vhosts.d/) and modify according to your settings

    server {
        listen gerbera.DOMAINNAME:80;
        server_name gerbera.DOMAINNAME;
        location / {
            proxy_set_header   Host               $host;
            proxy_set_header   X-Real-IP          $remote_addr;
            proxy_set_header   X-Forwarded-For    $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
            proxy_set_header   X-Forwarded-Host   $host:$server_port;
            proxy_set_header   X-Forwarded-Server $host;
            # install sub filter module and enable in nginx.conf
            # load_module /usr/lib64/nginx/modules/;
            sub_filter_once    off;
            sub_filter_types   text/html application/json;
            sub_filter         'http://GERBERA_IP:GERBERA_PORT' 'http://$host:$server_port';
            proxy_pass         http://GERBERA_IP:GERBERA_PORT/;
  • Restart Nginx service

Reverse proxies can also be used to handle really old devices and convert their request, e.g. to enable transcoding on http 1.0 protocol. The example only works in conjunction with the respective gerbera configuration and iptables settings.

# iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING \
#   -i <incoming network interface> \
#   -p tcp --dport GERBERA_PORT \
#   --src <client's IP> \
#   --dst GERBERA_IP> \
#   -j REDIRECT --to-port NGINX_PORT

server {

  location / {
    proxy_pass              http://GERBERA_IP:GERBERA_PORT/;

    proxy_set_header        Host $host;
    proxy_set_header        X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
    proxy_set_header        X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
    proxy_set_header        X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;
    proxy_set_header        User-Agent "imperial DABMAN i250 (proxied by nginx)"; # Used for client filtering in Gerbera

    proxy_http_version 1.1; # This is important :)

#  <clients enabled="yes">
#    <client userAgent="imperial DABMAN i250" flags="TRANSCODING1" />
#    <!-- Identify the requests by User-Agent string and flag them accordingly -->
#  </clients>
#  <transcoding enabled="yes">
#    <mimetype-profile-mappings>
#      <transcode mimetype="audio/ogg" client-flags="TRANSCODING1" using="profile"/>
#    </mimetype-profile-mappings>
#    <profiles>
#      <profile name="profile" enabled="yes" type="external">
#        <mimetype>audio/mpeg</mimetype>
#        <dlna-profile>MP3</dlna-profile>
#        <accept-url>no</accept-url>
#        <first-resource>yes</first-resource>
#        <accept-ogg-theora>no</accept-ogg-theora>
#        <agent command="<path to shell script that does the actual transcoding>" arguments="%in %out" />
#        <buffer size="1048576" chunk-size="131072" fill-size="262144"/>
#      </profile>
#    </profiles>
#  </transcoding>

Using Sqlite Database (Default)

By default Gerbera will use an SQLite database, it requires no configuration - you are ready to go! The database file will be created automatically and will be located ~/.config/gerbera/gerbera.db If needed you can adjust the database file name and location in the server configuration file.

Using MySQL Database

If Gerbera was compiled with support for both databases, sqlite will be chosen as default because the initial database can be created and used without any user interaction. If Gerbera was compiled only with MySQL support, the appropriate config.xml file will be created in the ~/.config/gerbera directory, but the server will then terminate, because user interaction is required.

Gerbera has to be able to connect to the MySQL server and at least the (empty) database has to exist. To create the database and provide Gerbera with the ability to connect to the MySQL server you need to have the appropriate permissions. Note that user names and passwords in MySQL have nothing to do with UNIX accounts, MySQL has it’s own user names/passwords. Connect to the MySQL database as ”root” or any other user with the appropriate permissions:

$ mysql [-u <username>] [-p]

(You’ll probably need to use ”-u” to specify a different MySQL user and ”-p” to specify a password.)

Create a new database for Gerbera: (substitute ”<database name>” with the name of the database)

mysql> CREATE DATABASE <database name>;

(You can also use ”mysqladmin” instead.)

Give Gerbera the permissions to access the database:

mysql> GRANT ALL ON <database name>.*
       TO '<user name>'@'<hostname>'
       IDENTIFIED BY '<password>';

If you don’t want to set a password, omit IDENTIFIED BY completely. You could also use the MySQL ”root” user with Gerbera directly, but this is not recommended.

To create a database and a user named gerbera (who is only able to connect via localhost) without a password (the defaults) use:

mysql> CREATE DATABASE gerbera;
mysql> GRANT ALL ON gerbera.* TO 'gerbera'@'localhost';

If Gerbera was compiled with database auto creation the tables will be created automatically during the first startup. All table names have a mt_ or grb_ prefix, so you can theoretically share the database with a different application. However, this is not recommended.

If database auto creation was not compiled in you have to create the tables manually:

$ mysql [-u <username>] [-p] \
  <database name> < \
  <install prefix>/share/gerbera/mysql.sql

After creating the database and making the appropriate changes in your Gerbera config file you are ready to go - launch the server, and everything should work.

Command Line Options


Command line options override settings in the configuration file

There is a number of options that can be passed via command line upon server start up, for a short summary you can invoke Gerbera with the following parameter:

$ gerbera --help

IP Address

--ip or -i

The server will bind to the given IP address, currently we can not bind to multiple interfaces so binding to is not be possible.


--interface or -e

Interface to bind to, for example eth0, this can be specified instead of the IP address.


--port or -p

Specify the server port that will be used for the web user interface, for serving media and for UPnP requests, minimum allowed value is 49152. If this option is omitted a default port will be chosen, however, in this case it is possible that the port will change upon server restart.


--daemon or -d

Daemonize after startup. This option is useful if your system does not use Systemd or similar mechanisms to start services. See also –user and –pidfile options, below.


--user or -u

After startup when started by user root try to change all UIDs and GIDs to those belonging to user USER. Also supplementary GIDs will be set.


--pidfile or -P

Write a pidfile to the specified location. Full path is needed, e.g. /run/

Configuration File

--config or -c

By default Gerbera will search for a file named config.xml in the ~/.config/gerbera directory. This option allows you to specify a config file by the name and location of your choice. The file name must be absolute.

Home Directory

--home or -m

Specify an alternative home directory. By default Gerbera will try to retrieve the users home directory from the environment, then it will look for a .config/gerbera directory in users home. If .config/gerbera was found the system tries to find the default configuration file (config.xml), if not found the system creates the .config/gerbera directory.

This option is useful in two cases: when the home directory cannot be retrieved from the environment (in this case you could also use -c to point Gerbera to your configuration file or when you want test a non standard location (for example, when setting up daemon mode). In both cases you can also set the environment variable GERBERA_HOME to override HOME.

Config Directory

--cfgdir or -f

The default configuration directory is combined out of the users home and the default that equals to .config/gerbera, this option allows you to override the default directory naming. This is useful when you want to setup the server in a nonstandard location, but want that the default configuration to be written by the server.

Magic File


The magic file is set/overwritten. By default it is read from environment variables GERBERA_MAGIC_FILE or MEDIATOMB_MAGIC_FILE.

Add Content

--add-file /path/to/file [--add-file /path/to/other/file]

Add the specified directory or file name to the database without UI interaction. The path must be absolute, if path is a directory then it will be added recursively. If path is a file, then only the given file will be imported. Can be supplied multiple times to add multiple paths

Set Option/Print Options


Set the specified option number to its proper value like in config.xml. This overwrites values from config.xml. See –print-options for valid options. Multiple options can either be specified sperated by commas or with another use of –set-option. The syntax is OPT=VAL.


Print all option numbers available for use with –set-option.



Do not answer UPnP requests like browse. This is helpful when running a large scan to initialize the database so no client can slow down the import by accessing the database.

Version Information


Print version information and exit.

Display Command Line Summary

--help or -h

Print a summary about the available command line options.