Plex Media Server is a piece of software that you can store all your digital media content in and access via a client application such as your TV, NVIDIA Shield, Roku, Mobile App, and many more platforms. Plex Media Server organizes your files and content into categories. It’s extremely popular with people storing TV Shows and Movie Libraries, and if your connection is good enough, share it with your friends and family. Over time Plex Media Server has grown much and now supports many platforms.
We will now discuss how you can install Plex in our guide below:
Download PLEX Media Server
/CD to your downloads folder or where ever you store your downloads of this kind, then you must visit the Plex Media Server download page to get the latest link or download. If you are using Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Server, you can copy the URL and use the wget command:
Select your version as per the image below. If unsure what to pick, choose Intel/AMD 64-bit or 32-bit depending on your system to play it safe. In this guide, we went to the Intel/AMD 64-bit version.
Run PLEX Media Server DPKG run command
Download the latest .deb package, and proceed to install Plex Media Server using dpkg command-line tool with the following command, in our example as below:
sudo dpkg –i plexmediaserver_220.127.116.1123-d0ce30438_amd64.deb
Remember you need to change your file name/version number as it will differ from this guide. A handy trick is when typing out plexmediaserver is to hit the tab to autocomplete the rest file name, you do not need to sit trying to remember every digit!
PLEX Media Server Configuration
Next, type the following commands to start and enable automatic start up in system boot, we will also add a UFW Firewall Rule which you can change later on if need be:
sudo systemctl start plexmediaserver \
sudo systemctl enable plexmediaserver \
sudo ufw allow 32400
Next we check to make sure Plex Media Server is active:
sudo systemctl status plexmediaserver
Now we will run over the config setup. If you are on desktop, you can find it in your application menu, which you can add as a favorite to your desktop:
Next, we will visit the Plex Media Server set up page, which is either located at http://127.0.0.1:32400/web or http://localhost:32400/web and sign in with which account option you use:
Note, If you use Firefox, a pop-up to Enable DRM will appear. You need to install this to operate the Plex Media Server interface in Firefox. It may take a few seconds to a minute to install, and you may need to restart Firefox if you experience any trouble. Usually, this isn’t the case, and it loads in the browser quickly.
Once you enabled DRM, you will come to below, hit GOT IT.
Proceed to the next page. You can rename your new Plex Media Server if you so wish or keep the default name. Make sure to enable for now allow me to access my media outside my home is checked, then proceed by clicking next.
Next we proceed to add our media collections, by clicking add libraries:
Select which categories to add. For example, if you have a TV library, we will select the TV category. Please note you can set a custom name here if you like.
Select hit, then browse and select the folder of the media folders.
You may notice that you have problems adding content this way, with Plex refusing to find the content on your existing hard drives internal and external secondaries. Plex creates its plex user, which needs to have read and execute permission on your media directories.
sudo setfacl -R -m u:plex:rx /media/yourfolder/
sudo setfacl -R -m u:plex:rx /media/yourfolder/tv
sudo setfacl -R -m u:plex:rx /media/yourfolder/movies
sudo chown -R plex:plex /media/yourfolder/
Or individual files in the hard drive if other folders are present that you do not want Plex to touch/access.
sudo chown -R plex:plex /media/yourfolder/tv
sudo chown -R plex:plex /media/yourfolder/movies
Once our Plex Media Server running nicely on Ubuntu 20.04, we will now Enable the Official Plex Repository Plex repo. Plex deb package does ship with a source list file which you can see with the following command:
dpkg -L plexmediaserver
Now you will now go into the following source list file and uncomment /etc/apt/sources.list.d/plexmediaserver.list.
We will use nano editor in our example, but any text editor will do such as VI:
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/plexmediaserver.list
Save this by Crtl+O, then hit enter to confirm, then we exit by pressing Ctrl+X. You will then need to import the Plex Public key to the apt package manager:
wget -q https://downloads.plex.tv/plex-keys/PlexSign.key -O - | sudo apt-key add -
If successful, you will get OK as shown above highlighted.
Then run the following command to make sure all is working well with apt updates:
sudo apt update && sudo apt-get --only-upgrade install plexmediaserver -y
Plex Pass Users Beta Updates
Plex Pass paid feature is a cheap and promising way to support Plex with some excellent included components to enhance your Plex experience. One of the benefits of this is quicker access to Beta versions which may fix specific bugs before going live. One of the downsides on Linux-based systems compared to Windows is that you cannot auto-install this quickly, such as the official release, which we use our APT manager. To cut it short, all you do is download the BETA link which Plex provides in a pop-up alert in your Plex Panel and start with step 1. Make sure to stop/shutdown Plex before you begin updating
Once the upgrade is complete, all you do is re-enable and do a systemctl status plexmediaserver. It’s pretty quick and straightforward. I do it personally all the time on my Ubuntu server.
Comments and Conclusion:
Plex Media Server is an excellent software for media libraries and is easy to maintain with great features that generally are very stable. I have tried many others over the years, such as Emby, and always found myself coming back to Plex. Another great benefit is that Plex has some awesome 3rd party developers doing some community projects that are open source that you don’t see in other communities of this nature.
Performance-wise from my experience, switching from Windows 10 for my Plex to Ubuntu 20.04, I have not noticed too much difference in the performance of Plex. Both work exceptionally well, but Ubuntu’s key difference is much more lightweight, cleaner, and never restarts in the middle of me watching a TV show due to a silly Windows update. I’d highly recommend if anyone has a dedicated Windows 10 machine that is old and wants something more lightweight to try out Ubuntu and Plex, you will have much more resources on stand-by if Plex requires it.