Setting up a Raspberry Pi 3 as a WiFi media server

So, until now, on long trips, I had setup a small netbook running Ubuntu with a DLNA media server, with external HD attached with the media files.  And a WiFi router to provide the wireless network so my kids could watch videos on their tablets.  Not only was this setup big and bulky, but it took quite a bit of time to setup for long trips as well as boot it and shut it down whenever we needed to shut off the car, as it was all running on a power inverter.


Here, we are going to setup the Raspberry Pi 3 to use the internal WiFi as an access point for the tablets to attach to as well as a DHCP server, so they receive an IP address, and finally, install a DLNA media server to serve the media files.


Install Raspbian Lite since we don’t need a GUI.  The easiest way to work with this is to connect it via wired LAN and ssh into it using putty.  Just make sure you install ssh and enable it.


Quick notes: still under construction

sudo su –

apt-get install ssh

service ssh start

systemctl enable ssh

fix arrow keys and stuff in vim:

vi .vimrc

set nocompatible

apt-get update

apt-get install hostapd isc-dhcp-server
vi /etc/dhcp/dhcpd.conf


# out options

Remove # from athoritative

add this to the bottom:

subnet netmask {


option broadcastaddress;

option routers;

defaultleasetime 600;

maxleasetime 7200;

option domainname “local”;

option domainnameservers,;



vi /etc/default/isc-dhcp-server


Change to : INTERFACES=”wlan0″

ifdown wlan0
vi /etc/network/interfaces

# out everything wlan0 related except for allow-hotplug wlan0


iface wlan0 inet static


ifconfig wlan0
vi /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf

















Of course, change the SSID and PW to whatever you want it to be.


vi /etc/default/hostapd


change to:




Start the DHCP server so it can provide an IP:

service isc-dhcp-server start

Now test the WiFi AP

/usr/sbin/hostapd /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf


Search your WiFi and attempt to connec to it.  You should get an IP address, but you may get a warning that the internet doesn’t work.. which it won’t because we don’t actually care about that.

Press CNTL-C to exit and start it as a service
service hostapd start

Set it to start both of these services automatically on bootup.

systemctl enable hostapd
systemctl enable isc-dhcp-server


Next will be to install the DLNA server.


apt-get install minidlna

If your external HD with your media on it is NTFS, you need this for read/write access.

apt-get install ntfs-3g

vi /etc/fstab

add this:

/dev/sda1       /media/hdd      ntfs-3g defaults        0 0

where the /dev/sda1 is your external HD.  Use this to find out:

fdisk -l

vi /etc/minidlna.conf

add this:


with the path to your files



model_name=Raspberry Pi Media

to something else cause that name is just to long!

systemctl start minidlna

test that you can see it and it works

systemctl enable minidlna