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Plex Media Server is a user-friendly way to store all your movies, mirrors, and also other media in one place–and also make it available from any kind of gadget, whether you’re at house or on-the-go. If you’re searching for a no-headache method to watch your movies anywhere, this is it.

What Is Plex Media Server?

Here’s a common situation that all too many people uncover themselves in. You have media files–music, movies, TV shows, and even photos–however you don’t have a straightforward method to easily access them on your plentiful and also differed devices.

Do you copy your Blu-ray rips over to your laptop? What around your phone–perform you transform the papers so they’re smaller and also compatible? Do you fling mirrors to your TV by means of your desktop and also Chromecast? Do you upload all your photos to your iCloud account to send them to your TV via Apple TV? What about your music? What if you’re away from home on a organization expedition and also you desire to stream your TV shows to your iPad?

Even for major geeks via the majority of endure managing their media, it’s a substantial pain to gain all your tools talking and accessing the same repertoire. It doesn’t have to be that means, though. Plex is a central media server mechanism that eliminates practically eextremely trouble you run right into while regulating a huge individual media collection.

The Plex version is simple: you park all your media on a single computer with the Plex server software mounted, and then you install Plex on on all your various other devices. You have the right to install it on Windows, Linux, or Mac computer systems as well as Android and also iOS, video game consoles choose Xbox and PlayStation, your Apple TV, and also tbelow are even smart TVs that come through Plex developed right in. Then, from any of those devices, you have the right to remotely access your entire media library and also watch it with no hassle.



Further, bereason the Plex version is a server/client one, you don’t need to problem about copying documents to your assorted gadgets and managing worries choose playearlier quality, video resolution, and various other details. Your Plex server will certainly, transcode all your media content on the fly, so that it plays properly on whatever before tool you’re utilizing. Want to watch your TV show in the backyard on your iPhone? No difficulty. Want to watch it on your lapheight at your in-laws’ house? Also no problem. Want to hook your brand-new smart TV right into your media arsenal without any kind of extra hardware? Buy the ideal TV and also that’s no problem either. In short, running Plex is like running your very own personal and polimelted streaming business, wbelow you’re the one curating the library.

That sounds pretty great, huh? Not just perform you gain on-demand also streaming to all your devices but you obtain absolutely beautiful metainformation and art to go together with it.

The Plex media library as viewed from the Apple TV Plex app.

Let’s take a closer look at what you must get started and then jump ideal into preparing your media arsenal for Plex, installing Plex, and–everyone’s favorite part–accessing your Plex media arsenal.

What You’ll Need

Plex is a really polished product, and also once you obtain it up and running it’s around as headache free as it gets. That said, yet, the a lot of necessary thing is to go into the experience through a clear image of what you need and also how all the pieces of your Plex setup occupational together.

Home Is Wbelow The Server Is

First and forea lot of, you require a computer that houses all the files and runs Plex Media Server. You can install Plex on Windows, Linux, OS X, and also on dedicated server software favor FreeNAS and on NAS hardware prefer the Synology system (you have the right to check out all their sustained platdevelops for the Media Server application here). But regardmuch less of what platcreate you choose, it’ll have to be a computer system that’s always turned on. There’s no allude in having actually a considerable streaming solution for all your personal media demands if, as soon as you go to access it, the content is offline.

In enhancement to constantly being on, you’ll want the server computer to have a decent amount of handling power to manage the abovementioned transcoding. The more individuals you expect to be watching at once, the much better hardware you want. Plex media server still works on older hardware yet it will certainly immediately disable transcoding if the hardware is insufficient, and playback will suffer and stutter on really old or under-powered hardware.


So, you’ll desire as beefy of a CPU as you have the right to spare. Plex recommend at least an Intel i3 processor (or equivalent) or much better through at least 2GB of RAM (RAM isn’t especially vital to Plex). You have the right to read over their hardware referrals here.

Lastly, you’ll want the majority of difficult drive space–enough to store all the movies, TV mirrors, music, and also photos you have.

If you already have actually some hardware laying around you aren’t using, by all implies provide it a shot. Worst situation scenario, you find that file playearlier is unsatisfactory. Best situation scenario, you uncover that the old hardware functions fine and you protect against purchasing any kind of new gear.

You deserve to examine out the available platcreates for the server software below.

A Client For Every Device

The server just one half of the Plex mechanism. The other half is the “client” app, or the app you perform all the watching from. While you have the right to play the media from the server’s web-based control panel, it’s prefer watching Netflix in your internet browser–a lot of civilization choose to sit dvery own in their living room or watch on their mobile gadgets. And for that, you require the Plex client to access the server.


You deserve to uncover a Plex app for simply around eexceptionally platcreate you deserve to imagine: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Apple TV, Roku, and more. One thing that has actually been a resource of perennial confusion concerning Plex is whether or not it is free–and a huge amount of this confusion hinges on the reality that the mobile apps have actually an “activiation fee”.


The Plex media server software has actually always been totally free. Most of the client apps have actually constantly been complimentary. Some of the client apps have actually a nominal one time activation fee a couple of dollars (e.g. the iOS Plex client app prices $4.99).

Plex has two means of dealing with the paid apps. If you only require one application, you might wish to simply activate that single app. The various other alternative is to buy a Plex Pass, which is favor a subscription business that offers you both access to all passist apps, plus benefits choose syncing to your mobile tools for offline accessibility and also cloud-based file storage. If you require many type of apps across multiple platforms and you want the premium functions, you can think about the Pass subscription for $4.99 a month or a $149.99 lifetime pass.

You have the right to read more around which apps are paid, which are free, and the differences between a totally free Plex membership and a premium one right here. To examine platcreate availcapability and also download a customer app for your platdevelop, inspect out the Plex downloads page here.

Now that we’ve looked at the general guidelines for choosing a machine for your Plex server, and just how to get the client software, let’s look at the quite vital action of organizing your media.

Tip One: Consoliday and also Organize Your Media

Plex works best if all your media content is well organized and also in the very same area. To that finish, you have to have all your media on the same device you’re installing the Plex server software–whether it’s an old desktop computer computer system, a committed storage server in your basement, or a NAS device, all your media must be on it.

Additional, you want to organize your media right into a clean folder structure that keeps significant media species separated and straightforward for both you and also Plex to parse via.


If you’ve currently invested any time in organizing your media, especially if you’ve supplied media facility software application choose XBMC/Kodi in the previous, then there’s a good possibility you’ve already acquired a perfect (or nearly perfect) folder framework in area.

Here’s an easy instance of a best-practice catalog structure for Plex:

/Media/ /Movies/ /MovieName (Year)/ MovieName (Year).ext /Music/ /ArtistName - AlbumName/ Track# - TrackName.ext /TV Shows/ /ShowName/ /Season 01/ ShowName - s01e01.ext /Photos/ /Album Name/ Image.extIn the over directory framework, you see that the significant media categories are separated right into distinct sub-folders (choose Movies and also TV Shows) and also that each media type has a pretty straight forward naming convention. Movies go in folders called after the movie; best exercise is to encompass the year in parentheses to reduced down on confusion. Music is organized in a directly forward Artist Name/Album Name format. TV reflects are arranged by the name, season, and also episodes are tagged via both stats through the “sXXeXX” format. Photos are even easier–Plex simply reads the album name off the folder and tons up the images inside.

While the over examples cover pretty a lot 99% of the region you might discover you need a tiny extra guidance as soon as naming DVD .ISO documents or various other much less common styles. If you require added help cleaning up your media inspect out the Plex guide to media preparation right here. (Update: This overview has actually vanished from Plex’s present website, however the connect we carry out will take you to an archived version of the overview.)

A final note on arranging your media for Plex: if you’ve used or are presently making use of an additional media facility software program (favor XBMC), don’t worry about your metadata. You can safely run XBMC and Plex entirely in parallel through no threat to your metadata, as neither application provides the very same metadata records.

Tip Two: Install Plex Media Server

The structure of the setup, beautifully arranged media aside, is the Plex Media Server application. For our tutorial today we’ll be installing it on a Windows machine but, small nuances aside, the installation procedure is almost the same across all platforms as the majority of the process is done from within the Plex web-based regulate panel.



Head over to the downloads page and also grab a copy of Plex Media Server for your platcreate. Run the installer and also relax for a minute. When the installer is finish, Plex will immediately launch, and also have to load the web regulate panel for you. If it does not, open up your web internet browser and navigate to on that computer system. (Conversely, you deserve to accessibility it from one more computer on your network-related by replacing the attend to with the regional netjob-related IP resolve of your computer or NAS device).

After accepting the user agreement, you’ll be triggered to sign into your Plex account. On the off possibility that you have an old Plex account from previous experiments via the platcreate, sign in. Otherwise, click on the “Sign Up” link and authorize up for a brand-new account.


After your initially authorize in, you’ll get a rundvery own of all the attributes of the Plex Pass premium company. While we take place to think the premium service is pretty great, let’s not obtain ahead of ourselves–use Plex for awhile to recognize if you desire to invest in it. Close out the popup window to go back to the server setup.

The first action is to name your server. By default, the server is called after the network name of the machine upon which it is mounted. You deserve to adjust the server name to something more amazing than say “Dad Office” or leave it as is.


Next off, it’s time to add media to our library. Select “Add Library”.


Here you have the right to add many various library types: movies, TV reflects, music, photos, and also house videos.



Let’s begin off by adding some movie papers. Select “Movies” and also then, in the drop down food selection that appears, name your movie library and also pick a language. For many civilization leaving the default name of “Movies” should suffice. Click “Next”.


Now it’s time to suggest Plex at the actual papers, select “Browse for media folder” and select the folder that homes your movie documents. Once you’ve selected the folder(s), click “Add library” to finish the procedure.


Repeat these procedures for TV reflects, music, and/or photos. It isn’t crucial to populate all the libraries, ofo course–if you’re making use of Plex solely for TV reflects, then go ahead and also ignore all the other library entries.

The last step of the initial server setup is to allow remote access to your media server and send anonymous information to Plex. Both are checked by default, and we recommfinish you leave them checked unmuch less you have actually a pushing factor to uncheck them. Select “Done”.


At this point you’ll be kicked right into the web-based manage panel for your Plex server. Depending on how conveniently your machine is working, you may view “Updating libraries…” or you may already have content to display favor this.


Keep in mind, for the first few hrs or also for the first day, the “newly added” section isn’t especially advantageous as everything was recently added to the library. Things will certainly calm dvery own quickly and also recently added will come to be beneficial again over the coming days.


While you deserve to browse through all your media libraries ideal from the Plex control panel (and even watch content best in the internet browser), it’s even more useful for checking in on your library and much less valuable for actually enjoying your content. Let’s look at exactly how you can accessibility Plex with a remote client.

Step Three: Access Your Plex Media Server from Elsewhere

At this suggest we’ve done all the difficult job-related (and it wasn’t also that hard). Once you have actually the actual Plex media server up and also running, it’s totally smooth sailing. How smooth? Due to the fact that your entire library is stored on one central server, you have the right to conveniently tap right into it from any kind of computer system, smartphone, or various other device and get the specific exact same experience–the exact same media, exact same meta file, same freshly added list, exact same database tracking what shows you’ve watched and which ones you must catch up on.

Search for the app in your phone/tablet/TV’s app keep, install it, and launch it. Aget, we’re making use of the iOS application, yet they’re all essentially interchangeable. Click “Sign In” and also use the very same credentials you created as soon as you put up your server.

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Boom. You are instantly connected to your media collection. Do you view how the screen on our iPhone mirrors, down to the present titles, the screenshot you simply saw of the media server control panel?


That’s Plex’s strongest element ideal there: centralization provides whatever run so smoothly. If we tap on the “Browse” switch, watched in the reduced best corner of the screenswarm over, we have the right to then choose from our easily accessible media. Let’s perform that and then choose “TV shows”.