Plex is a great free app that makes watching HD multimedia content across multiple devices fun and convenient. But in order to streaming content on multiple devices, you will need to play Plex app with Plex Media Server. I use Plex app for streaming movies directly on my TV, home theater, PC, tablet, laptop, and smartphone because it offers the best most reliable way of streaming content in amazing quality. Plex delivers its streaming services on various platforms such as PC, Android, iOS, MAC, Chromecast, Samsung devices, Amazon Fire TV to name the few. In this guide, we are going to show you how to install Plex Media Server on FreeNAS to stream content faster across multiple devices.
Playing Plex app to stream content across devices has become lots more easy with the arrival of a Plex Plugin for FreeNAS. Since this Plex Plugin runs on its own dedicated server, chances of buffering and bugs are virtually nothing. Previously, users had to get a dedicated Linux server in order to stream content via Plex app. But now having Plex running on the same physical server as FreeNAS makes it stream content faster since it gets a direct access to the file system. Plex no longer need to search for the dedicated Linux server first and then stream content, which used to take longer than with FreeNAS compatible plugin.
The Plex Plugin Installation Method
You can install the Plex Media Plugin from the plugin interface in the FreeNAS. For that, click on the plugin button, and then select the available tab to get a list of available plugins for FreeNAS. Click on plexmediaserver on the list to start the plugin installation.
The FreeNAS will start the automatic download and install of the latest version of Plex on your device which should complete in a few minutes. Once installed, you will be able to see installed Plex plugin in the installed plugins list on FreeNAS.
Add Storage To Plex Plugin
Now before start using Plex Media Server, you must first add storage to the Plex Plugin jail. Reason for this being since FreeNAS plugins runs inside of a Plugin jail, they can only access plugin jail storage.
In order to add storage to the Plex jail, click on the jails button at the top of the Free NAS web interface. Click on the Plex Jail named plexmediaserver_1 and expand the storage area to add storage.
After adding storage to the jail plugin, next thing you need to do is to set the source and destination mount point. You can use any ZSA database as a jail storage source. Click on the browser button to open a list of existing ZFS datasets on the FreeNAS server.
You can set any name you like in the Destination field, but using <name>/media/movies or something similar to this format is a preferred way. Make sure Create Directory and Mounted options are checked to setup a directory if it isn’t already created, and to mount the storage to access it via Plex.
Start The Plex Media Server Plugin
Make sure everything is ready and set using the instructions above and the storage to the jail plugin has been assigned. Now you can start using Plex Media Server plugin. To add more storage, close and open the Plex plugin again.
Don’t worry if the Plex plugin fails to open in the first attempt; if Plex plugin doesn’t open or shows code 11 error, simple close and start Plex plugin again. It should work now.
Access The Web Interface Of Plex Server
Now to access the Plex Server’s web interface, click on the plugin section on the left-pane of the web interface and then click PlexMediaServer. A new dialogue box containing a link to the web interface of the Plex server should appear on the screen.
If you like, you can visit http://192.168.1.X:32400/web/index.html to directly access the Plex jail via its IP address. You can also click on the jail tab on the FreeNAS web interface to access the IP address of the jail.
Setup & Configure Plex Media Server
When you access Plex Media Server for the first time, a setup wizard screen will greet you. Here, create your Plex Account, or use the login details of the existing account to login on Plex.
After entering login details, give your Plex Media Server an easy to remember name which will be displayed and used by devices when trying to search and access Plex servers on the same network.
Now you can begin to add content in the Plex Media Server’s library. You can add desired content in a single category or separate them in different folders such as shows, movies, photos or others for easy browsing and accessing content on Plex.
Remember to add a folder you will be required to browse all the way to the destination location which you created above in the Plex plugin jail. If nothing is showing in the destination directory, its perhaps nothing has been added in the plugin jail yet. Also, don’t forget to restart Plex Plugin every time after making changes.
Now that you have set different folders for easily accessing content, it’s time to install channels. You can stream live via Channels in Plex. You can skip this step is streaming live channels is something you don’t fancy.
After that, considering everything has been setup properly, Plex will scan and analyze the content on the NAS to automatically match and load the content.
Configure Plex Library For Automatically Updating Content
Plex allows you to use automatic library refresh feature that updates newly added content and places it in the desired location whenever you add something new in Plex. This saves you the time to manually add and update library for each time you add new content in Plex. For that, click on the Library in the Plex web interface settings tab.
Access Plex Media Server To Play Content On Multiple Devices
You are all set to connect multiple devices to Plex Media Server and stream media content on remote devices. If you like, access the Plex web interface to stream video directly from it. With muPlex option, you can stream content over on the device that are not linked to a single network such as phones and tablets on mobile data network.
Update Plex Plugin For New Features
Plex Plugin gets constantly updated to bring new features and changes along with bug fixes. Therefore, it is recommended that you keep Plex plugin updated. Go to Plugins and click on installed tab to update plex plugin. Here’s you will see a new version if its available.
To manually check for Plex plugin updates, click on the Available plugin tab and click Refresh which will prompt FreeNAS to fetch the latest Plex Media Server plugin update. Sometimes updating Plex plugin can take a bit longer than usual, so be patient. Moreover, after come updates, you will be required to manually open Plex server.
In order to get more details on new features and bug fixes, visit the officially released catalog of changes and improvements. Furthermore, the FreeNAS plugin version of Plex may not be the most updated or the recent one, but FreeNAS does a good job at keeping the plugin updated to ensure proper working. For further assistance, contact via comments below.
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