In the past it has always been a challenge to setup a home media server solution that is easy to use. You would often have to spend hours setting up your server and then more time getting your client devices to find it. That is of course until Plex. Plex Media Server is a powerful tool set allowing you to deliver the very best media to any room in your house and to any devices. Not only that but it is extremely easy to get up and running. In this post I will take you through the Plex Media Server install in three easy steps and add your media libraries ready for streaming. A full video tutorial is included at the end of this post.
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Plex Media Server Install – Three Easy Steps
The Plex Media Server setup has been divided into three simple steps. We download and install the software onto a Windows PC, add your first movie library and then setup a client device. Please ensure that you backup your PC prior to beginning the install so that you can quickly roll back should issues arise. The Plex Media Server setup should take you around 15 minutes to complete. See a full video tutorial at the end of this post. [Read: Plex Media Server Review – Stream to Multiple Rooms & Devices]
1. Download & Install the Plex Media Server Software
Lets get started. Before we can start the Plex Media Server install we must download the executable. You can pickup the latest version by
hitting the large orange download button found on the main Plex downloads page. The software is available for a number of devices but for this guide we are going to focus on the Windows PC.
Save the latest Windows executable to your computer and
run it. You will be presented with the following screen.
Hit the Install button and the Plex install will begin.
When the first part of the Plex Media Server install has completed your browser will be launched and you will be presented with the Plex login screen shown below. Either
sign in if you already have an account or
hit the Sign Up button if you do not. The signup process will take you around 5 minutes to complete and is completely free. [Read: Enable Kodi DLNA – Create a Kodi Media Server]
As soon as you login you will receive an onscreen notification giving you a brief overview of how Plex works. Have a quick read through and then
hit the Got It! button at the bottom of the screen. [Read: Steam Link Review – Stream Games to Every Room]
Next you will be presented with the first time Plex Media Server setup screen which is divided into three tabs; Name Media Library & Finish. On the Name tab
give your new server a suitable name of your choice. This is what your client devices will see on your network. I also suggest that you
untick the box that says “Allow me to access my media outside my home” unless you intend to use this feature.
2. Add Libraries to Plex Media Server
The next part of the Plex Media Server install is to tell the application where it can find your media libraries. On the Media library tab you will see two preset libraries (Music & Photos). You can click on the pencils to edit them or the crosses to remove them. We will remove them and start a fresh.
Click on the Add Library button to configure your first library and you will be presented with the following screen. The options here are rather self explanatory.
Select the type of media library you would like to add. We will choose Films. It will then ask you to provide a name for this library and here we will use the default. [Read: Top Mini ITX Cases for the Smallest HTPC Build]
A file browser screen will follow and here your must drill down to the location of your films folder. Please note that we are adding one folder at a time so if you have multiple film folders your will need to repeat this process for each. When you have navigated down to your movie folder
hit Add. At the bottom of your screen you will now see Plex scanning through your movie library and pulling in your box art. [Read: Best PC Game Controllers for HTPC – Emulators & Steam]
Once this process is complete you will arrive at the main Plex Media Server page. Here you can view your libraries, make configuration changes or launch movies directly on the server. You can access this page at any time after the Plex install by entering the following link into your web browser:
3. Plex Install Client Applications
The final stage of the Plex install is to download the Plex applications onto the client devices you would like to receive your media content on. The majority of these apps come from the different stores for each device. For example on the iPad or iPhone you download the Plex app from the App Store and on Android devices you use Google Play. Your Plex Media Server details will be registered with your online Plex account.
When you launch your Plex client app for the first time you will be asked to login to your Plex account as shown below.
Enter your credentials and ensure that you are on your home network and your client device should detect your Plex Media Server automatically. There is nothing more to it than that and your full Plex install is now complete. Your media libraries should now be available on your receiving device. [Read: Gaming On Your HTPC]
Plex Media Server Install Video Tutorial
The below video shows the full Plex Media Server install process.
Plex Media Server Setup – Final Thoughts
The Plex Media Server setup is surprisingly simple when you consider what it has to offer. We have only really scratched the surface however of what you can do with Plex. If you are using the software for the first time have a play around with it and explore its features. You will be impressed by the picture quality it delivers and the ease of use it provides. If you want to add additional libraries or make changes to your Plex server configuration simply enter the link at the end of part 2 into your browser. Plex is perhaps the best media server solution at the present time and is continually updated with new features.