Getting Started With Plex Media Server: A Simple Guide

The digital age has seen the emergence of numerous tools that aim to streamline and enhance our media experience. One of these transformative tools is Plex Media Server. If you’ve ever wondered, “What port does Plex Media Server use to stream?” or “How do I set it up?” then you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled an easy-to-follow tutorial that will guide you through all the ins and outs of Plex Media Server.

Plex Media Server

What Is Plex Media Server?

Think of Plex Media Server as a media library superhero. It gathers multiple content libraries and streaming services, allowing you to access all of them through a single app. You can stream from various sources to multiple devices, all for free. While setting it up can seem daunting, once it’s up and running, it’s a breeze to use.

Plex Media Server: The Under the Hood Look

The magic of Plex Media Server lies in its ability to track and index all media within the devices or drives it monitors. Once this is done, the content becomes available for streaming through the Plex app on nearly any device. What’s more, it connects to the main Plex Account server to safeguard your content, ensuring it’s only accessible to you or those you’ve permitted.

Setting Up Your Plex Media Server: A Step-by-Step Guide

Organize Your Media

Before diving into the setup, start by organizing your media into logical folders such as Movies, TV, Music, etc. Position your media within the corresponding folder, preferably within its individual folder, to help Plex list them logically.

Setting Up the Server

Time needed: 30 minutes

Follow these step-by-step instructions carefully:

  1. Create a Plex account.

    Before you can use Plex, you need to create an account. Visit the Plex website, click on the “Sign Up” button, and follow the instructions.

  2. Download and install both the Plex Media Server and the Plex app.

    Plex Media Server is the software that can be downloaded from the Plex website. Choose the version that corresponds to your operating system, download and install it.

  3. Launch the Plex Media Server and sign in.

    Likewise, once installed, open the Plex Media Server software. A browser window will open prompting you to sign in using the account credentials you created in step 1.

  4. Follow the setup wizard to name your server and hit Next.

    The setup wizard will guide you through the initial configuration of your server. It will prompt you to give your server a name. This can be anything you like – it’s primarily for you to identify your server.

  5. Enable remote access when prompted.

    During the setup process, you’ll be given the option to enable remote access. This feature allows you to access your Media Server from outside your home network.

  6. Click “Add Library” on the next screen and direct Plex to the files or drives containing the media.

    Additionally, Plex organizes your media into libraries. Here, you will create your first library and point Plex to the location of your media files on your computer or network storage.

  7. Click “Next” while the media loads onto Plex.

    Similarly, Plex will take some time to scan the files you pointed to in the previous step. Click “Next” while Plex adds your media to the library.

  8. Choose any channels you want to add, then click “Next.”

    Channels in Plex are additional sources of content, similar to apps on a smart TV. Select any that interest you and click “Next” to continue.

  9. Click “Done” on the confirmation screen.

    Lastly, Once you click “Done,” your Plex Media Server is ready to go, and you can start watching your media on your devices using the Plex app.

Plex Media Server

How to Enable Plex Remote Access

One of the attractions of Plex is the ability to watch your media from anywhere. Here’s how you enable this feature:

  1. Log into Plex.
  2. If you didn’t enable remote access during setup, select “Settings” in the top right. Select the “Server” tab and “Remote Access” on the left. Click on “Enable Remote Access” in the center.
  3. Similarly, open the Plex app on a device and test. The network settings sync within the app, so no further action is needed.

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Understanding Ports in Plex Media Server

A key aspect of understanding Plex’s Media Server is knowing which ports it uses to stream. If you’re encountering connection issues, it might be necessary to manually open or forward ports through your firewall or router. Here are the significant ports Plex uses:

  • TCP port 32400 for the Plex Media Server
  • UDP port 1900 for the Plex DLNA Server
  • TCP port 3005 for Plex Companion
  • UDP port 5353 for network discovery
  • TCP port 8324 for Roku via Plex Companion
  • UDP ports 32410, 32412, 32413, and 32414 for network discovery
  • TCP port 32469 for the Plex DLNA Server

In most cases, Plex takes care of all the necessary configurations. When you start the Plex Server, your firewall should flag new traffic, giving you the option to allow or disallow it. As long as you permit Plex traffic, no further configuration should be needed.

Plex Media Server stands out in many aspects, but its user-friendliness and ability to stream any media from any device to virtually anywhere are truly remarkable.

Have you discovered any Plex tricks to enhance your experience? Have you encountered any setup issues? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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