Synology NAS Part 7: Deploying Plex Media Server


We’ve finally gotten to the fun part of the Synology NAS Project. Synology NAS Plex Media Server! As many of you know Plex is the leading home media server application. It takes all of your Movies, TV Shows, Home Videos and Music and makes it available to almost any device through the Plex App. If the device that you’re trying to watch a video on doesn’t natively supports the file type, then Plex will transcode the file on the fly.

Plex Media Server

In a previous post I highlighted Plex when I first started the site. But the short version is Plex’s server software is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, FreeNAS (bad idea) and NAS devices. There is one little detail you want to keep in mind if you want to deploy Plex on a NAS. Plex is available on almost all Synology and QNAP devices, but only the units with Intel CPUs can transcode files for playback. Otherwise, the devices you’re watching the media have to natively support file format or hold multiple copies of the same file in different file formats.

Overall, Plex is great for anyone who has a media collection and wants to share inside or outside the home. So lets get started on configuring Plex.

Synology NAS Plex Media Server Installation

The Package Center is Synology’s version of an App Store.

Double click on the Package Center to open it.

There is a lot of applications that the can be installed on the NAS, you can drill down through the categories to find plex. Or you can use the search box at the top of the window and search for Plex, it will be the first result.

Click Install to have Plex download and install on your Synology NAS.

Plex Media Server Post Installation Configuration

After Synology NAS Plex Media Server is installed, you can either double click the installed application on the NAS or go to http://Ipaddress:32400 to start the configuration wizard. The Wizard will pick up the name of the NAS as the Server’s name. If you check the box next to “Allow me to access my media outside my home” the wizard will automatically enable the remote access feature. Depending on your home router/firewall, you may have to port forward tcp port 32400 to the ip address of the NAS.

Click Next to continue.

Plex Media Server Library Configuration

On the Second Page, you can start adding Media libraries to Plex. By default Plex will use default media location for media. This location is buried deep in the program files for Plex and is not easy to get to. I recommend setting up a new top level share for Media.

By creating a new top level share, you can create the an easy access point to download/upload files as your collection grows.

Click Add Library to create your first Library.

Select the type of library to create. For the Music, Movies, and TV Shows Plex will scan the files in the directories assigned to the library and download all the cover art and meta data for the files. Line up the correct library type for the file type to have plex download all the corresponding metadata. In this example I’m setting up the Movies Library so I selected Movies and Clicked Next.

On this page is where you select the directory or directories where the Movie files are located. Find the folders one at a time and click Add to add the folders to the library and then click Add Library to complete the configuration of the Library.

Plex Apps to Stream to

On the last page of the wizard you can click on “Get Plex Apps” to get the corresponding apps for your devices. Click Done to finish the wizard and see your server.

You can watch your videos in the browser or on almost any device. Now you can continue adding libraries or tweaking the backend settings.

Plex Pass

To round out the Plex installation, sign up for a Plex account. There is 2 options, either a free Plex account or the paid for version called Plex Pass. To sign up for a Plex account go to the Plex Website and click sign up. With a Plex account you can share your media with other users. You can decide if Plex pass is worth it to you. When Plex develops new features, they are available to Plex pass users first, then a few months to a year later they are available to non-Plex pass users. I personally signed up for Plex Pass when the product was in beta years ago. I committed to the lifetime one-time payment is it was money well spent. Also, the Plex account is what is licensed, not the corresponding Plex servers. If you are building a Plex Media server now and when you upgrade a couple years down the road you build a new Plex server, you don’t have to rebuy Plex, you just sign into Plex with your existing Plex account.

The list of features in Plex Pass versus non Plex Pass features is always changing. Click on the link below to see the current feature set.

Thats it for Plex in the a Nutshell. Enjoy streaming your files.

Synology NAS Build Out Series