You have an amazing collection of media, but you never seem to use it. Perhaps, it is so difficult to access it, browse it, and it doesn’t have the wonderful visualizations like Netflix. Storing and organizing your large media collection can be a hassle.
A media player system such as Plex, allows you to build your own Netflix with that forgotten media collection. Plex can even allow you or your friends to access your home media collection remotely, even if they are using a mobile.
What is Plex? — Plex is a client/server media player system. It allows you to organize your media collection, stream it, and play it from any device. So if you have a large selection of movies and you want to have access from anywhere, then you might need a Plex Media Server.
How does Plex Server work?
Plex uses three main elements to function:
- Plex Media Server: This is the engine behind everything. It can track, organize and give access to your media files.
- Plex client: This is installed on the playing device. It connects to the server to see what media files are available, displays a menu, and plays them.
- Plex Central Server: Stores and maintain your Plex account. Plex Central Server can allow you to have remote client access to your media anywhere.
There is a fourth element, to make the experience even better.
A Seedbox VPS (Virtual Private Server) deployed in the cloud protects your online identity and can make things easier. You don’t have to deal with server maintenance, storage, and infrastructure.
Implementing Plex with a RapidSeedbox will allow you to confidentially store and load your media collection right from the Internet. You can also use the pre-installed Plex application so you don’t have to deal with minimum resources/deployment/installation requirements— everything is done for you.
Table of Contents
- Setting up Plex.
- Starting with the Plex Media Server.
- Configuring Plex.
- Streaming with Plex.
- A Seedbox + Plex Media Server.
- Optimizing and Automating Plex.
- Fixing Plex.
Setting up Plex
1. Planning a Plex Media Home server.
To run the Plex Server from home, you will need a computer to store all your media files and run the software. Before buying a new server or setting up Plex with minimum requirements, begin by considering your desired usage situation.
There are no one-size-fits-all scenarios— they vary from user to user. Start by figuring out your own needs and resources. So, that you can find out what kind of power you will be needing. It helps to ask a few questions:
- How many users will be accessing the content at the same time?
- What kind of devices or apps will be accessing (Mobile, Roku, Xbox, Home Theater, etc)
- Are you accessing the content remotely or locally?
Why is this important?
A mobile device might not be able to play the same quality and variety of media encodings as a Desktop PC. But, thanks to Plex Media powerful transcoder, you almost don’t have to do anything… only plan ahead.
When choosing a server for Plex software, it is important to choose one that is always up and running. This will guarantee that you can access all your media files anytime and anywhere. But home servers have their limitations, they are difficult to deploy and can be expensive to maintain.
2. Plex Media Server Requirements.
Good options to install the Plex Server software are NAS “Network Attached Storage”, Desktop, or Standalone server. While no one is better than the other, their internal components such as CPU and storage make all the difference.
2.1 Operating Systems Requirements.
According to Plex Media official site, Plex Media Server is compatible with.
Within those Operating Systems, Plex Media Server supports a wide arrange of different versions.
2.2 Hardware Requirements.
Having large storage is essential for Plex Server, but processing power is more important.
Plex uses a lot of processing power to be able to transcode files (change media formats on-the-fly) and stream many users at the same time. But as mentioned earlier, the “required power” depends on how you expect to use Plex.
The following are the minimum requirements based on transcoding. You would need a more powerful CPU if you are doing multiple transcodes at the same time. For RAM, 2GB is more than enough.
2.3 Plex Bandwidth and Data Usage.
Streaming media from your local resources to a local device will not cause any data usage. But to stream content from a server in your on-premises or in the cloud to a device outside a local network, you’ll need a decent bandwidth and a lot of data to consume.
Once the Plex Media Server detects the type of device playing the media, it will transcode accordingly or play directly. The client will also need to adapt their quality by lowering the bitrate to match the bandwidth speed available.
There is no specific bandwidth requirement, but keep in mind the following:
- Data usage and bandwidth will depend on the quality of the stream.
- Transcoding a file to a lower resolution will spend less data and bandwidth resources.
- Streaming content from a home server will depend on its upload and on the client’s download rate.
If you played a video file with a 1080p resolution and 30 minutes long it could take about 829 MBs of data usage. From the table, you can see that a Full HD resolution or (1080p) uses a rate of 3774 kbps to be able to display the video seamlessly.
- 3774 * 60 = 226,440 (kilobits per minute)
- 226,440 * 30 = 6,793,200 (kilobits per 30 minutes)
- 6,793,200/8 = 849,150 (kilobytes per 30 minutes)
- 849,150/1024 = 829(MB)
Starting with the Plex Media Server.
1. Preparing your media collection.
To make things easier for Plex, it is important to organize and name your media files in a clean folder structure. Once Plex is installed, it will automatically find and match whatever content you appointed it to.
Although the next steps are not mandatory, they will ensure a better experience.
- Centralize all your files into one device and under one main folder, for example “/Media Content”.
- Keep the main files format separated. Movie files together in one main folder “/Movies”, music files together in another main folder “/Music”, and so on.
- An example is shown below:
- For more information on media preparation, check Plex own guidelines here.
2. Getting Plex Media Server.
Plex defines its starting process with three steps, Sing Up, Get Plex, and Going Premium.
2.1 Create an account and sign-in to Plex. Go to “plex.tv” and “Sign Up” to create your new account. The Plex account is free but they also offer a premium account with many add-ons and extra cool features.
2.2 Plex server download: You can either download a version for computer or NAS platforms. The software will automatically detect your OS to ensure its compatibility.
2.3 Going Premium? If you like what Plex does, you can increase its value by going premium. Subscribing to a paid service will include features such as Plex music, pictures and movie/TV extras. The pricing plan (as per the year 2019) is shown in the picture below.
2.4 Seedbox comes with a pre-installed Plex. RapidSeedbox includes a pre-installed Plex application; If you are using a Seedbox, from RapidSeedbox, you don’t need to install Plex. For more information on how to configure a pre-installed app, check here.
3. Installing Plex Media Server
Before installing the software, give full admin permission to the Plex Server installer. Follow the guidelines on the setup. Once the installation is finished go ahead and “Launch” the software. Plex will not show a user interface like most applications; instead, it uses your web browser.
For Windows OS follow the next installation flow.
For easy access, you will be able to launch the Plex Media Server from the Windows System Tray. To configure it, select the Plex Media icon and choose Open Plex…
For MacOSx follow the next installation flow.
To configure Plex Media from the server, launch the application from the launchpad menu.
As mentioned before, Plex is supported on a variety of Linux distributions, Ubuntu Fedora, and CentOS. To set up Plex, download the right package and install it with superuser/admin privileges.
When you execute the package, change the last filename (plexmediaserver_0.x.x.x.x.rpm or deb) to the actual package that you downloaded. The application creates a “plex” user to run. To be able to access your media the user “plex” must have read/execute permissions.
Once you install it, you can enable repository updating.
3.4 NAS Devices.
Follow the instructions on how to install the software on the specific NAS manufacturer. A great source for troubleshooting NAS installation is Plex forums. Once installed, access the Plex Media Server by opening the browser and typing > “http://local.nas.ip.address:32400/web.”
Once the installation is complete (for Windows OS), Plex will start to automatically load up your server.
The next step is to give it a personalized name and choose whether to allow remote access to your media.
1. Add media library for the first time.
If your media is properly organized into folder structures, it is time to allow Plex to start building your media library. Help it, by specifying your media folders with the “ADD LIBRARY” button.
2. Finding and Opening your Plex App.
If you can’t find Plex icon on the desktop, is because Plex is a web-based application. Open your web browser (Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc), and go to https://app.plex.tv/desktop. You can also go to “https://plex.tv”, sign-in to your Plex account and click the “Launch” button. Plex will redirect you to “https://app.plex.tv/web/app#” which is your web app.
You can manage a Plex server locally without the need for an Internet connection.
- Open your web browser and type: “http://[Local Plex Media Server IP Address]:32400/web”.
Or if you are running the application on the same Plex Media Server:
- Open your web browser and type: http://localhost:32400/web
Once Plex finishes scanning all your media, it will organize it. Plex will display your media with cool posters and descriptions. It will make your media collection look really cool.
3. Testing media playbacks with Plex Clients.
Plex can be viewed on any device that can open the “plex.tv” website through its web browser. But there is also specific client software for specific devices.
The supported Plex Companion App can be installed in mobiles, voice-commanding systems, TVs, game consoles, etc. Plex is compatible with a large variety of third-party hardware such as XBox1, Roku Stick, FireTV, Android, iOS, just to name a few.
Testing media playbacks: After installing and setting up your server, you can test media playbacks right on your local server. If it is working ok, try downloading the client application to another device, log in using your account and try playback from that device.
In order to play media in some devices, you might be required you to upgrade your Plex to the Premium version.
4. Adding a new library and its media.
A library is a group of media files that relate to each other.
You can define your own libraries, for example, a music or movies library. Plex allows you to have any amount and variety of libraries. You can add your media collection during the initial installation and customize it later on.
Adding a new library: In the main dashboard or Home, hover over libraries and then click the + icon.
To add media to the library, you have three options, Select Type, Add Folders, or Advanced. Select the library type, give it a name and add your media folder.
Plex will start gathering information from its metadata to make your content visually stunning. For more information, click here.
5. Setting up Remote Access.
The beauty of Plex is that you can access your media anywhere and also share it with friends around the world. The Plex Central Server plays an important part in this because it keeps all servers’ information and allows remote access to all devices.
To make your local server reachable anywhere.
- Enable the “Remote Access” button. Go to Settings > Remote Access. If remote access is properly configured, you can connect to your Plex Media Server anywhere you are, just by going to “plex.tv” and logging in to your account.
6. Server Sharing.
This feature allows other media servers to connect to your Plex Media Server and share the content. To share media to your friends outside your local network, make sure “Remote Access” is enabled and working, and then send them an “Invitation”.
- Sending an invitation: Ensure that your server is signed-in to Plex with your account. Go to Settings > Family & Friends > Sharing > Invite a Friend.
- Next, you will need to specify your friend’s username or email.
- Accepting an invitation: If you received an invitation from a friend, ensure to accept it by going to Plex Server > Settings > Family & Friends > Sharing. Accept the invitation by clicking the green check mark.
For more information on Server Sharing, click here.
7. Adding subtitles.
By default, Plex will not use any existing subtitles or download new ones. If you want to include subtitles in your movies and TV shows, you can go to Settings > Languages.
- Check the box “Automatically select audio and subtitle tracks” to guarantee that Plex displays a subtitle. But this doesn’t mean that you will automatically start getting subtitles, you need to configure them first.
- When adding subtitles, make sure to select the correct subtitle mode and language. Subtitle mode: Whether a subtitle is added automatically when watching media. You can toggle subtitles on and off from the video player or you can set “Always enabled” to have them always on.
- Local Subtitles: If you have an external subtitle file in the same folder as the movie, Plex will look for the movie subtitles and show them. Plex Media Player is compatible with the following subtitle formats.
- .ssa or .ass
- Automatic subtitle download: If you don’t have the subtitle file, you can configure a “subtitle agent” to go online and look for the right file on the Internet.
Making Auto-subtitles work.
- To make this work, go to Settings > Agents. Choose the library “Movies” and then the Agent that you want to change (Personal Media, Plex Movie, or The Movie Database). In this case, select Movies library and Plex Movie. Make sure that OpenSubitles.org is selected and placed on second to the top of the list. Only second to Local Media Assets.
Once “OpenSubtitles.org” agent is selected, click on the gear icon next to it and configure it. Be sure to select the correct language so that Plex agents go into OpenSubtitles.org and download the correct file.
Finally, refresh the library’s metadata to accept the changes. By going to your library menu on the left pane, click the … “Refresh all Metadata”.
8. Installing Plugins.
It is a fact that Plex Media is removing plugins from its main console, but will surely continue supporting manual plugin installations. The Plex plugins are usually found in the Plex Forum.
The code of the plugin bundle can be found on the Plex forum and is usually available via a GitHub. To install a plugin:
- Download the file following the link described in the plugin site, and follow the instructions attached.
- For Windows: Unzip the downloaded zip file into Plex Media plugins folder, (%LOCALAPPDATA%\Plex Media Server\Plug-ins). Inside this folder, you’ll see existing plugins installed automatically by Plex.
- For Linux and MacOS systems:
- Linux: $PLEX_HOME/Library/Application Support/Plex Media Server/Plug-ins
- MacOS: ~/Library/Application Support/Plex Media Server/Plug-ins
- The plugin bundles come with an appended name such as -master, -version number, etc. Remove this label so the name finished with a “.bundle.”
- Restart the Plex Media Server to refresh and accept the changes. Open it again and you’ll see your new plugin installed and ready to be used.
9. Advanced Features with Plex Pass.
Buying premium (or Plex Pass) will extend and improve your service with added features. Plex includes a long list of additional features such as Auto-Tagging & Places, Automatic Camera Upload, Automatic Mixes, Early Access, and Apps, Live TV, Lyrics, Mobile Sync, Multiple Users, Parental Controls, Photo Albums, Plex DVR, Premium Music/Photos, Timeline View, Trailers & Extras, and more.
- User Control. This feature allows you to restrict content that you are sharing to specific users. Whether that’s parental control or managed accounts for the single server under a LAN. For more information on restricting content, click here.
- Offline Sync. This feature lets you synchronize media when you are away from home and possibly without an Internet connection. You can save a movie on your smartphone’s local storage and play it without being connected to the server. For more information on Mobile Sync, click here.
- Dashboard: With the Plex dashboard, you can get an overview monitoring of your entire media content. You can find out who’s watching what, when, and with which device. You can also learn about the existing bandwidth, user, and media statistics.
- Camera Upload. You can synchronize photos or videos to your Plex Server right from your Plex device’s camera roll. For more information, click here.
- Plex DVR. This service allows you to record free digital broadcast channels such as NBC, FOX, ABC, and MTV, and view them later in any device and anywhere. For more information on setting up your DVR, click here.
- Premium Media Libraries. This feature is an improvement to your media libraries, includes Premium music, Photos, and Movie & TV Extras. For Music, it includes better artwork, playlists, automatic lyrics, biographies, etc.
Streaming with Plex
According to Wikipedia, “Streaming media is multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end-user while being delivered by a provider.”
A provider like Plex Media Server is capable of delivering a stream of media to the Plex Media Client. Instead of waiting for a file download completion to be able to play it, streaming plays a file as it is downloaded to the device’s cache.
But to deliver an uninterrupted stream of media, the server must be able to identify the type of client and the bandwidth so that it can adjust the resolution.
But Streaming media can be an overwhelming job for a regular home server. Plex knows that playing media on a high-resolution TV is not the same as playing media on a Smartphone. Changing media formats or resolution for different types of clients is a task that requires high CPU output.
How can you make it easier for Plex?
- Optimizing transcoding configuration. Transcoding is the direct conversion from one encoding to another. Transcoding is necessary when a client device does not support a specific media format or its storage capacity is not enough. A desktop does not always has the same resolution, media encodings, or display as a mobile device. Setting the right transcoding in Plex is key for streaming.
- Offloading the job to lightning fast VPSs “Virtual Private Servers”. Such servers usually have unlimited bandwidth and powerful resources. RapidSeedbox servers were built with streaming in mind. So you don’t have to worry about micromanaging your CPU’s server, just let somebody else do the computation.
Optimizing Streaming and Alternatives.
To provide content, Plex uses the following automatic methods depending on the client’s ability to access Plex: Transcoding, Direct Play, and Direct Streams.
A Technique used by the Plex media server to find out about the type of client requesting service and adjust the file format and resolution. Transcoding reduces the size of any media file without affecting its final quality. Although you might be able to stream play a 4k resolution on mobile, the loading time can be really high.
As mentioned before, a rule of owning your own Plex Server is having a high CPU power to transcode files on the go.
Changing transcoding settings.
Although you can vary the transcoder quality, by default, Plex will transcode files automatically. You can decrease the quality of the resolution and allow the CPU some room to breathe. Alternatively, you can increase the quality of the file but let your CPU pay the consequences. To change these values go to the Home menu > Settings > Transcoder.
With automatic transcoding, the server will choose from either of the following options.
- Prefer higher speed encoding – Faster transcodes but lower resolution quality.
- Prefer higher quality encoding – Slower transcodes but higher resolution quality.
- Make my CPU hurt – High resource consumption but the best quality.
Another way to enforce a certain resolution?
You can predefine a streaming quality by forcing the resolution quality of the local or remote player from the Plex Media Server. To do this, go to Settings > Web Client > Quality.
A new feature of Plex (still in beta as for March 2019), allows you to automatically adjust quality based on the client’s Internet Connection speed.
Choose the Internet Streaming option to enforce a default quality for based on the Internet connection speed on the Web client.
Pre-transcoding is not an automatic method of streaming, but it can help offload some pressure off of the server’s CPU. There are several tools out there that can help you manually transcode media files and create optimized versions. Plex Media Optimizer allows you to specify media, optimize it, and save it as a different version.
If you know the file formats and containers that your client can play, then pre-transcoding is a good option. You can help your Plex Server run smoothly by creating an optimized version of the media and skipping all the transcoding.
- Select the file: Choose the media that you want to transcode in the Home page, hover over the media file, and click the … on the bottom right.
- Optimize it: Select the Optimize item.
- Adjust it: Optimize your file for Mobile, TV, Original Quality, or Custom. Selecting the “Custom” option gives you broader choices for specific OSs or resolutions.
- Pre-transcoding files might be limited in Plex. If you can’t optimize a file in Plex, you might need to look somewhere else. RapidSeedBox comes with a pre-installed open-source video transcoder that supports many video formats. Handbrake allows you to encode, reduce the size, make it black & white, customize audio, embed subtitles, and a lot more.
Although Handbrake is a free and open source transcoder of digital files, it is one of the most complete. You can learn how to use Handbrake within minutes.
3. Direct Play.
This is the least CPU-intensive method for a Plex Server, but the highest demand for bandwidth. Direct Play allows access to a media file without any modification, that means NO TRANSCODING. If the media file is 100% compatible with the client, Plex Server will take the raw file and stream it to the Plex Client as it is, in other words, Direct Play.
Streaming a file with Direct Play to a remote location puts little stress on the CPU but demands a fast upload/download bandwidth. This is the best option if you have a high-speed Internet connection and fast clients.
How to direct play?
- Plex will automatically do this. There is no server-side configuration for this but you can influence it, be going to Settings > Transcoder > Transcoder Quality.
- Direct Play is entirely up to the client. Make sure that media files are compatible with Plex client player. If not, you can pre-transcode with Handbrake or Plex Media Optimizer (as described above).
4. Direct Stream.
This is yet another streaming method that introduces very little CPU utilization. Direct Stream is similar to Direct Play but in this case, the Plex Media Server does minor changes before sending the file.
Sometimes the media file is not 100% compatible with the client.
The audio/video codecs are ok, but the file container is not. For example, when streaming a .MKV container to an Apple device that doesn’t support this format, Plex will change only the format, not the content itself. For more information on Direct Stream, check here.
A Seedbox + Plex Media Server: A Killer Combo.
Having your own local server is amazing because it gives you control over your own resources. A local server gives you more control over upload/download speeds and security.
But local can also be an inconvenience. You’ll need expertise on server installation, expensive hardware, and 100% maintenance (including infrastructure, electricity, updates, security patches, etc).
But despite these inconveniences, there is a high chance that you are already using some kind of cloud-based applications, such as email, storage, social media, etc. For a media server, a Seedbox + Plex can be a killer combo.
What is a Seedbox? A cloud-based server, such as a Seedbox can provide benefits such as:
- Server maintenance and upgrades.
- Expandable storage space
- Remote accessible data.
- Security and online identity.
- Powerful resources.
Implementing Plex with a Rapid Seedbox helps you to confidentially store and load your media collection right from the Internet.
1. Starting With a Seedbox Server.
A Seedbox comes with a pre-installed Plex application, so you can save time on the installation process.
- The first step is to connect from your home to your Seedbox via a remote desktop application such as Windows Remote Desktop or X2Go Client.
- Open the local pre-installed Plex Server, usually is on http://127.0.0.1:32400/web.
- Enter your Plex account information, or create a new one.
As shown in the picture below, the pre-configured cloud-based Seedbox will connect to the Plex Central Server to get your media information. Once your media and identity are recognized, you can connect to the Plex server with a client, through a secured VPN.
Since you are storing all your content in the Seedbox, you can stream data to your clients right from the Web browser.
A VPS/Seedbox is a remote server designed to perform P2P or torrenting and that can be either dedicated or shared. A dedicated server is when all the resources of a single server (whether is virtual or bare metal) goes to a single user. This type of server is rented with a stated amount of memory, storage, and bandwidth.
A shared VPS, on the other hand, is a server where all resources are shared with other users. An example would be a single physical server that hosts multiple sites.
2. Loading Media Content to a Seedbox.
Media Content can be either downloaded or uploaded into a Seedbox. As mentioned before, Seedboxes are built for the specific purpose of torrent download and upload. There are many reasons why a seedbox is your best choice, but usually, they have a high-speed Internet connection and are available 24/7.
How to load content to a Seedbox for Plex Media Server?
- Download media content through a private tracker. Some private torrent trackers need high upload ratio, so a Seedbox is a perfect solution because they are always active. With a Seedbox, you don’t need to install any torrent software locally because all torrent activity is done through remote torrent management.
- Upload your home media collection through Secured FTP or File Sync. You can also upload your existing media collection to your Seedbox through secured FTP or File Sync. This ensures that all your media can be watched anywhere you are through a secured remote connection. In the same way, A Seedbox allows you to download all media content through a secured FTP (or a File sync mechanism) so that you don’t use any P2P port and stay 100% anonymous.
Optimizing and Automating Plex.
Plex can be improved with the help of third-party apps and plugins. You can use these apps to optimize and automate Plex and dramatically improve the experience with Plex.
1. Setting up monitoring and metrics with PlexPy.
PlexPy is a web application for monitoring, analyzing, and sending notifications for Plex Media Server. It is an open source project based on code from Headphones and PlexWatchWeb. This app includes a responsive web interface that can be viewed in mobile web browsers, tablets, and desktops.
It was designed as a complement to the original Plex web interface. With Plexpy you can monitor Plex Media Server activity, configure notifications for media and streaming activity, view statistics and graphs, and a lot more.
How to install it?
- In order to access PlexPy you need your Plex user credentials, so you need to have a Plex Media Server account. You also need to ensure that you have the latest python version in your system.
- Follow the official installation guide from PlexPy. The software can be installed in Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, FreeNAS, macOS, and Docker.
- Once installed, you can open it through http://localhost:8181. The PlexPy Wizard will help you configure the right parameters. Input your Plex authentication membership, and define your Plex Server Media IP. With PlexPy you can also configure notifications and monitoring.
How to use it?
PlexPy dashboard is very straightforward. It has also been designed to look like Plex, so you might be already familiar with it. Once you open it and synchronize it for the first time, it will show your parameters such as Activity (active streams), Watch Statistics (top users, movies, etc), Library Statistics (Data about your libraries), Recently added (recent content).
Below is a screenshot of the graphs tab. It will show you the same information displayed in the Home, but with graphs. For more information on how to use PlexPy, refer to the following guide “Introduction to Plexpy: The best monitoring service for Plex.”
2. Automatically Track Your Watching Media With Trakt.tv.
Trakt.tv is a plugin for media centers (including Plex Media Server) that automatically tracks whatever you watching, which is referred to as Scrobble. Trakt.tv synchronizes your watched history, ratings, playback progress, and lists to your Trakt.tv profile.
It takes this data and identifies similar media and offers them as recommendations. This allows you to find new ways to watch TV and to see what is hot right now.
How to start with Trackt.tv?
When you install Trakt.tv for the first time, you must manually input information, such as what you like and dislike. You can also upload all your watched history, ratings, and playbacks to your Trakt.tv profile and synchronize it with Plex.
To help Trackt.tv find content that is suitable for you.
- Start by defining your geographic location, birthdate, and gender.
- Select your favorite genres.
- Trackt.tv will come up with some popular items based on the information that you gave so far. Mark items based on watched, wish list or add to the collection.
- You can configure Trackt.tv to automatically share all your scrobbles, ratings, and check-ins with your favorite social media.
- Create push notifications when someone in the Trackt.tv community decides to follow you, mention you, or reply to your comments.
To synchronize Trackt.tv profile with Plex?
- Start by downloading the plugin from Plex-Trakt-Scrobbler official Github. The latest release can be found here.
- It is a plugin, so you need to go into the Plex Media plugins folder and unzip it there.
- Restart Plex, in order to grab the new configuration.
Go to Plugins, click on the gear of the Trakt.tv icon, and input your information.
- Now, all your Plex information will be sync with your Trakt.tv profile
3. Scanning and downloading new content with
Raddarr and Sonarr.
Raddarr and Sonarr are considered smart PVR (Personal Video Recorders) for BitTorrent users. These are a great combination with Plex because they can automatically download files, sort, and rename them.
Radarr was based on the movie downloader CouchPotato. Radarr is an open source application capable of downloading movies automatically using BitTorrent or Usenet. It can keep track of multiple RSS feeds of new movies and download them.
You can also configure Radarr to automatically upgrade your existing files to a better quality. For example, if you have a movie in low quality, Radarr can find the same movie when is in HD, and download it. Finally, when the movie is out in BlueRay quality, the application will proceed to upgrade the HD file.
Radarr Key Features?
- Display a calendar with your upcoming movies.
- Manually find all the movie releases, and send it to your download client.
- Integrates with most popular clients, uTorrent, Deluge, rTorrent, qBittorrent, Transmission and more.
Sonarr is also an open source application that keeps track of multiple RSS feeds of your favorite TV series and can download them automatically. It is also able to sort and rename them as required. You can also configure Sonarr to automatically upgrade your existing files to a better quality.
Integrating Radarr and Sonarr to Plex?
For example, in Windows systems.
- Download the latest (or desired) Radarr release and extract the zip file.
- Run the Radarr.exe with full admin permissions.
- Make a new folder “Bin” in C:\ProgramData\Radarr\
- Copy the contents of the .zip into the C:\ProgramData\Radarr\Bin folder.
- Execute the file ServiceInstall.exe from C:\ProgramData\Radarr\Bin.
- The installation is complete.
To open it, go to http://localhost:7878 in your browser.
4. Auto-download media with RSS Feeds.
Another way to automatically download content to your Plex Media server is, using RSS directly with a torrent client such as ruTorrent. This client is the only one that can handle RSS feeds via the WebGUI. You can manually download torrents from RSS feeds or set up the client to automatically download media.
How to set up auto-downloaders?
- Add the RSS feed to the ruTorrent. Feeds vary with sites, you will need to find the right RSS feed online. The feed will usually have a direct download link.
- Log into your ruTorrent client and click on the “RSS Downloader” icon as shown below.
- In the next window, input the “RSS Feed URL” and a custom alias name. A new feed will appear in the bottom left corner of the interface.
- You can also install the Autodl-irssi plugin for ruTorrent. This plugin allows automatic torrent loads, torrent monitoring, listen to IRC announce channels, define advanced downloading filters, and more.
- Autodl-irssi allows you to configure tracker RSS feeds and define filters for the content that you wish to download. You can also configure it to perform a specific action. Such as adding it to a watch folder, in this case, Plex Media content folder.
- Another cool feature of autodl-irssi with tuTorrent is that you can listen to IRC channels from popular trackers, so you can automatically download media that you like.
5. File Syncing with Resilio Sync.
If you have a local Plex Media Server and a VPS in the cloud storing your content, you can synchronize files between your local machine and your VPS/seedbox automatically.
Resilio, previously known as BTSync, is a peer-to-peer file synchronization solution for Windows, MacOS, Linux, BSD, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Amazon Kindle. It will help you keep all your files in your server synchronized with your local machine. With a tool such as Resilio, you don’t need to download files from your Seedbox via FTP.
It works similar to Google Drive and Dropbox but the difference is that you don’t need to input your email information, only create an identity.
How to File Sync?
To start, you need to have Resilio/BTSync installed on your Seedbox/VPS and on your local media server.
- One-click install services from RapidSeedbox helps you save time. Instead of installing the entire application on your server, one click from the maintenance tab will make the application ready. You would only need to install it in your local machine.
- Download Resilio/Sync to your local machine and launch it. You can run Resilio/Sync as a service in Windows OS. Choose among the following settings when installing the application. You will be prompted by the local user/password.
- Once your application is operational on both sides (server/client), you can start adding content for sync. If you installed it correctly, you can open it via your web browser by typing: http://127.0.0.1:8888. But if you installed it on a VPS/Seedbox, you can access the app via http://(IP of Server):8888.
- In the opening window, you can add the folder that you want to sync.
- You can select a “Downloads” folder or a “ Plex Media” folder in your seedbox and set this as a Sync File.
- But before you can syncing files, you need to provide a sharing method and its security. Go to the “Share” option on the folder, then select its permission and security. Copy the link displayed under “Key” tab and open it in your local machine (or share it with anyone). Alternatively, you can grab the QR Code and send it to anyone that wants to open it with mobile.
- You can set up Resilio/Sync, to automatically transfer new files found on your seedbox to your local Plex Media Server folder.
6. Managing Plex with Plex WebTools.
Plex WebTools is a plugin that centralizes a bundle of tools made especially for Plex Media Server. WebTools helps Plex Media users maintain their media and server. This plugin works based on modules. The latest version of WebTools includes the following modules:
- Manage Subtitles. Advanced subtitle management. It allows you to keep track, modify, or delete all subtitle files, that were obtained with the media file, or downloaded via OpenSubtitle.org
- Plex Media Server logs. This module gives you access to all logs generated by Plex Media Server or third-party plugins.
- Unsupported App Store. This tool will give you access to plugins that are unsupported by the Plex Media Server. You can install, update, and remove any “unofficial Plex plugin”.
- Find Media. It will help you find media that is either lost from the database or mounted on another hard drive.
- Playlists. Manage all Plex Media playlists. Copy, share, import, export, and remove playlists.
How to start with Plex Web Tools?
- To install the Plex WebTools, you need to download the plugin from its official WebTools GitHub. Download the latest version of WebTools.bundle.zip and unzip it to the plugins folder (as shown before).
- The plugin will be displayed in the “Plugins” tab. You can change the settings by clicking the gear icon in the WebTools.
- When you finish installing the plugin, you can open it through your web browser via the default parameters, http://127.0.0.1:33400 or your server IP followed
33400. by :
- Use your regular Plex credentials to access the application. WebTools v3.0.0 is the latest version. You can access to all the tools mentioned above by going to the right-hand panel.
The following are five common problems that seem to happen with first-time users. The troubleshooting cases will show the display message, the causes, and what to do if it happens to you.
1. Plex Server is Unavailable.
After launching the application from a Plex client, the server is not found, it is unreachable, or unavailable.
Check the following:
- Make sure that you are using the latest version of Plex Media in your Server. Go to Settings > General. If you need to update your Server, click the “Check for Updates” button or go to Plex downloads.
- Sign out from your account, from both server and client. Restart the Plex Application, sign in first to Plex Server and second to the Client.
- Make sure that the Plex Media application in the server is up and running. The Plex icon is shown in the bottom right corner of the task bar of a Windows PC. This icon means that the application is up and running. If not, open it from the Applications Menu.
- If after taking the above steps your server is still unavailable, check whether your connection is blocked. Make sure that no firewall between the server and the client, is not blocking the communication for Plex. If you are using a VPN or proxy on your client, disable it and test again.
2. Playback Errors and Content Unavailable.
You are trying to play a media file and the message “There was a problem playing this item” appears on the video player or the “Unavailable” box is shown on the media description.
Or an error occurred trying to play “movie”. Error code: s1001 (Network).
Or the message “Please check that the file exists and the necessary drive is mounted”
Check the following:
- Access “Media Info” from the top right corner by clicking “…”, then Get Info.
- Record this information and check whether:
- The name of the file in the folder has changed.
- The file has been moved or removed.
- The drive where the file has been mounted has changed its name. For more information, check here.
- Scan and refresh all library. This will ensure that Plex Media Server searches in its folders and subfolders for any new, changed, or removed media files. If during this scan, it finds new data, it will fetch all metadata related to it. To scan all library files, go to Libraries > (Choose your library) > … > Scan Library Files. This procedure will take some time, depending on the size of your folder.
- To find out if the drive with all the media content, changed its name, go to Manage > Libraries > Edit.
- Compare with the Plex Media Server, as the mounted drive could have changed its name. To avoid this problem eject drives and USB properly. Make sure the drive is the same as in the Media Info description. If not, change it accordingly in your properties. Doing this, the entire media library will need to be scanned again.
3. Conversion failed. Transcoder crashed or failed to start.
The following message “Conversion failed. A required codec could not be found or failed to install.” appears when trying to play a media file.
Not all video formats and codecs are available at Plex Media Player. Codecs are usually received from plex.tv as it needs them. If you are playing a movie locally and without the Internet, and the video codec is not supported Plex Media Player will not always be able to play the file.
- The first step is to connect to the Internet and try playing the video file once again. Plex will try to download the codecs it needs to play the file.
- Your server is not reaching plex.tv. If connecting to the Internet couldn’t help solve your problem, then your server might not be able to reach plex.tv. Find out whether your server is located under a Proxy server or Firewall that is blocking the connection. If you have Internet but not able to access plex.tv, your corporate network might be blocking access. Test whether DNS is resolving with a nslookup plex.tv
- Solution? You can manually download the codecs and put them on “C:\Users\Username\appdata\local\Plex media server\codecs” or try updating your Plex Media software.
4. Plex Server settings are unavailable.
You cannot access the Plex Media settings, following a message “Server Settings are unavailable”.
Make sure that you are using the latest version of Plex Server. Go to Settings > General. If you need to update your Server, click the “Check for Updates” button or go to Plex downloads. Make sure to restart the Computer so that all changes take effect.
If after restarting the computer, the problem persists, Delete certain plugins.
- Stop Plex Media Server. Go into the plug-ins folder; If you are using Windows, navigate to “%LOCALAPPDATA%\Plex Media Server\Plug-ins\”. If you are using Linux go to: “$PLEX_HOME/Library/Application Support/Plex Media Server/Plug-ins”. For OSX “~/Library/Application Support/Plex Media Server/Plug-ins”.
- Delete the directories: Framework.bundle, System.bundle, and WebClient.bundle. Re-start the Plex Media Server. For more information on Plex Media Setting lockouts, click here.
Some server settings might be hidden.
There are many settings that are only available for the Plex Media Server. These are usually advanced settings and are not available in the normal interface. Traditionally, you would not need to alter these settings, but if you keep getting the “Server Settings are unavailable”, try it as a last resort. For how to locating advanced hidden settings refer to Plex official guide.
5. Troubleshooting remote access connection.
Plex configures and makes sure that your local server can be accessed remotely. But sometimes you’ll need to troubleshoot a routing failure or check the connection status. One of the most common problems for Plex Users is the unavailable Remote Access connection. If you are getting the “Not available outside your network” message, there are many settings that you might need to check.
In case remote access is not working…
- Check whether you are going out to the Internet through a VPN or proxy. If the public IP address is displayed without port, your router might have UPnP or NAT-PMP disabled. Log into your router and enable any of these services or configure port forwarding manually on your router. For more information click here.
- A double-NAT scenario is when there are two devices (or more) accessing the Internet. This scenario is common when you have a private network accessing the Internet through a gateway (which is the same device), and the ISP gives you an external IP address that is also in a private network range… usually a class A address. This can also be resolved by enabling port forwarding in your home router.
Accumulating an extensive collection of media is becoming the norm. We end up with so much media, that we usually don’t know what to do with it. Pictures, music, movies, they end up buried deep in old desktops or rotting drives in sealed boxes.
It can be challenging and time-consuming to manage, browse, and sort through it.
But why not put it to use? Why not let a media player system, such as Netflix or Spotify, deal with that collection? It could be so convenient to have all our media within one’s hand reach.
Convenience is precisely why we love Plex Media Server so much.
A media player system such as Plex, allows you to build your own Netflix with that forgotten media collection. Plex can even let you or your friends access your home media collection remotely, also if they are using a mobile.
Plex uses the Media Server to organize and give access to your media files, the Plex client to access the media content, and the Plex Central Server to store details of your Plex account. But there is a fourth player, that is as important, the Seedbox.
Using Plex with a RapidSeedbox will help you to confidentially store and load your media collection right from the Internet. You can also use the pre-installed Plex application, so you don’t have to deal with minimum resources/deployment/installation requirements— everything is done for you. You can also stream all media from the Internet to your Plex client, and watch your content anywhere and anytime.
Start organizing all your media within the cloud right now.