Install and Configure Plex Media Server on CentOS 8

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Introduction

Plex Media Server makes your media files such as images, videos, audio files, etc. available to all your devices via the Plex Client. It is a very powerful & useful piece of software to organize, manage & share your media collection.

This tutorial demonstrates how to install and configure the Plex Media Server on CentOS 8. You can perform the same steps on any server running CentOS 8.

Step 1 – Plex Media Server Installation

In this tutorial we’ll be using Plex’s official repository instead of downloading the RPM package from their site as it makes the process of upgrading the package very simple.

Step 1.1 – Add the Official Plex Repository

To add the official Plex repository create a new file named plex.repo in /etc/yum.repos.d/ directory with following content:

[PlexRepo]
name=PlexRepo
baseurl=https://downloads.plex.tv/repo/rpm/$basearch/
enabled=1
gpgkey=https://downloads.plex.tv/plex-keys/PlexSign.key
gpgcheck=1

Step 1.2 – Install Plex Media Server

Install Plex Media Server with:

sudo yum install plexmediaserver -y

Start and enable the plexmediaserver service with:

sudo systemctl start plexmediaserver.service
sudo systemctl enable plexmediaserver.service

Step 1.3 – Verifying the Installation

Check if the service is running properly with:

sudo systemctl status plexmediaserver.service

The output of the above command should look like this:

● plexmediaserver.service - Plex Media Server
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/plexmediaserver.service; enabled; vendor preset: disabled)
   Active: active (running) since Thu 2020-01-09 19:01:03 CET; 28s ago

Step 2 – Firewall Configuration (Optional)

To be able to access the Plesk Media Server over the Internet we need to configure our server to allow connections on some ports.

These steps only need to be performed if firewalld is enabled on your server.

Step 2.1 – Add the Service

To allow connections on ports that Plex requires create a new file named plexmediaserver.xml in /etc/firewalld/services/ directory (if it doesn’t exist just make a new directory) with the following content:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<service version="1.0">
<short>plexmediaserver</short>
<description>Firewall Rules for Plex Media Server</description>
<!-- Port(s) for Plex Media Server -->
<port port="32400" protocol="tcp"/>
<!-- Port(s) for network discovery -->
<port port="5353" protocol="udp"/>
<port port="32410" protocol="udp"/>
<port port="32412" protocol="udp"/>
<port port="32413" protocol="udp"/>
<port port="32414" protocol="udp"/>
<!-- Port(s) for Plex DLNA Server -->
<port port="1900" protocol="udp"/>
<port port="32469" protocol="tcp"/>
<!-- Port(s) for Plex Companion -->
<port port="3005" protocol="tcp"/>
<!-- Port(s) for Roku via Plex Companion -->
<port port="8324" protocol="tcp"/>
</service>

Step 2.2 – Enable the Service

After adding the service, run the following commands to enable the service:

sudo firewall-cmd --add-service=plexmediaserver --permanent
sudo firewall-cmd --reload

Step 2.3 – Verify the Configuration

Check if the rules are applied with:

sudo firewall-cmd --list-all

The output of the above command should look like this:

public (active)
  target: default
  icmp-block-inversion: no
  interfaces: eth0
  sources:
  services: ssh dhcpv6-client plexmediaserver
  ports:
  protocols:ssss
  masquerade: no
  forward-ports:
  source-ports:
  icmp-blocks:
  rich rules:

Step 3 – Configure Plex Media Server

After successfully installing Plex Media Server on your server, we can proceed further to configuration of Plex Media Server.

To get the Plex Media Server setup page we need to have access to localhost of our server such that when we open http://127.0.0.1:32400/web it should open from the server instead of our own localhost.

If you already have a local Plex Media Server installed, you need to stop it & then verify by opening http://127.0.0.1:32400/web it should not give any output before doing any of the steps mentioned below.

Step 3.1 – SSH Tunnel

To access the server’s localhost on our localhost we need to setup SSH tunneling by running one simple command. If you’re on Windows run it on CMD or if you’re on linux then use your bash shell.

ssh -L 127.0.0.1:32400:127.0.0.1:32400 root@<10.0.0.1>

Now when you try to open http://127.0.0.1:32400/web on your web browser it should give some output.

As soon as you close the CMD/Bash instance the SSH tunneling will be gone so make sure you keep the terminal open in the background.

Step 3.2 – Access GUI for Configuration

After successfully connecting to the SSH Tunnel, You are all set to configure everything else via GUI. To access the GUI, open http://127.0.0.1:32400/web on your web browser.

The first prompt will ask you to login. Login with your existing account or via Google, or sign up via email.

Login Page

After you login, it will show you “How Plex Works” page:

Intro Page

Simply click on “Got it!” button and then it shows you this screen asking friendly name (just change it whatever you want to call it):

Server Setup Page

Make sure the “Allow me access my media outside my home” option remains enabled.

For the remaining 2 tabs, just hit “Next” because those can be configured later on.

Step 3.3 – Access Plex Media Server over Internet

Now that you’ve completed the setup prompt, You can open the Plex Media Server page by opening http://<10.0.0.1>/web.

Please note that it is recommended to use Plex Media Server behind a reverse proxy (nginx/apache) with SSL (letsencrypt) for added security.

On the left sidebar, You will see an option “More” just click on it, you’ll now be able to find your Plex Media Server’s friendly name on the top just click on it.

Server Home Page

Once you can access the Plex Media Server properly from your server’s public IP, You can stop the tunneling and keep using the Plex Media Server via your server’s public IP.

Step 3.4 – Adding your libraries

Create a directory on your server or do the following on your existing media files.

sudo mkdir -p /plex_media/movies

Plex Media Server needs ownership of your files in order to access them from it’s user (plex) on your server.

sudo chown -R plex: /plex_media/movies

Keep in mind, You do not have to use /plex_media to add library, you can use any folder you like to store your media files.

Now come back to our web browser, click on “Manage Libraries” it should open this page:

Manage Libraries Page

Now click on “Add Library”, select the type of library you want to create & click next:

Add Library Prompt

Now just add your directory & Go Back to home, where you’ll be able to find the added media files.

File Browser
Populated Server Home Page

Conclusion

Congratulations, you learned how to install Plex Media Server on your CentOS 8 server and to configure it properly. You can refer to Plex guides to do more than just making libraries.

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