Week 20 – Plex

Last week, I received a request to do a tutorial on running a media server, which coincides perfectly with the fact that I just made a tutorial on turning an old laptop or desktop into an Ubuntu machine that can be used for various tasks such as servers. Without further ado, here’s the info. Plex is a free piece of software that automatically configures the necessary ports and runs a media server in the background on your PC, Mac, or Linux machine. It’s fairly lightweight, and provided you have a good amount of storage it should be a pretty smooth experience when using it to serve your movies, music, and more. These steps are to be performed on the machine which you want to run the server on. First, you’ll want to head to http://www.plex.tv/ and sign up using a Google, Facebook, or Apple account, or your email and a password.

Now that you’re signed in, you’ll want to click the yellow button in the top right corner of the screen labeled “Launch”. This is similar to something like the main menu on Netflix or Prime video; on the left are various types of media to choose from, and on the right is a display of different items. Click on the button on the left that says “Your Media”.

Clicking on the button that says “Get Plex Media Server” or this link will take you to the downloads page. Simply chose your OS from the dropdown menu on the left and click on the large download button. This should take seconds to download as it is a small file. Simply run the installation executable to begin the installation. This procedure may vary between operating systems, but it should be fairly simple. If you have trouble, this link will take you to their official guide where you can read more.

Make sure “Launch Plex Media Server” is ticked at the end of setup, and click “Finish”. Your server is now installed, for the most part. You will see an icon of the Plex logo in your system tray. Right-click on the icon to see more options, then click on “Open Plex”. This will open the web application in your browser of choice. Click the button on the left that says “more”, and you will see a button at the top with the name of your server, which you will have to click on for more options. From here you can add a library by folder for different types of media such as movies, pictures, and music. When you’re done with that, the server will scour the web for metadata related to that media such as album art, movie trailers, ratings, and more. You’ll notice the “Remote Access” option under the settings menu which you can enable to access your libraries from anywhere in the world provided an internet connection. That’s it. Congratulate yourself, because you now have your very own streaming service which you can simply access at any time from the mobile app, the smart TV app, or the web app by signing in at http://www.plex.tv/

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