How To Setup and Install Plex Server on Raspberry Pi 3/4 2022

Use your Raspberry Pi 3 or 4 as a working media server by installing Plex with our guide below.

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How To Setup and Install Plex Server on Raspberry Pi 3/4

If you intend to have a media server that can be accessed by everyone then this is for you, you can also set it to be accessed outside the local network. Why pay for expensive services such as Netflix or Disney+? Install Plex Media Server on Raspberry Pi 3/4 and enjoy free movies, live TV, and famous TV shows without paying a single dime…

Plex is where data is streamed directly by the client from the Plex media server. It means you can have all the latest movies, music, and pictures present on one device which is the server. You can be rest-assured that performance won’t be an issue as our process is tuned to cater to older Pi devices and we also go over common file permission and network connectivity issues.

Keep in mind that this will not work on the older version of Pi but version 2 or later will.

For best performance and speed, we recommend the Raspberry Pi 4 Model B with 8GB of RAM for seamless 4K streaming. This will make sure your kids don’t get buffering while others in the house are streaming.

How To Install Plex Server on Your Raspberry Pi 3 & 4 Properly (High-Performance Configuration)

We shall be using Raspbian which if you don’t have then install it.

Get your hands on Raspbian Lite if you want a slim version.

Don’t forget to use “Sudo” before running any of the commands below.

Step 1: Update and upgrade your Pi basic packages.

First things first make sure your OS is upgraded by running the following commands and then install Plex Media Server software:

[email protected]:~#apt update -y && sudo apt full-upgrade -y

To install Plex packages to Raspberry Pi then all you need to do is add its official package repository.

But before this, you need to install “apt-transport-https” package.

This shall allow the “apt” package to manage to retrieve packages over the protocol “https” which it uses.

Step 2: Install the apt-transport-https package, this will allow downloads to work over the HTTP protocol.

[email protected]:~#apt-get install apt-transport-https

Step 3: Next, you need to add these repositories to “apt” keyrings directory.

For those who do not know then make sure that the files being downloaded are there from that repository and signed by that specific key.

You need to run the command below to get and save the key to keyrings directory:

[email protected]:~#curl https://downloads.plex.tv/plex-keys/PlexSign.key | gpg --dearmor | tee /usr/share/keyrings/plex-archive-keyring.gpg

Step 4: After adding the key you can now add the official Plex repository to the list of sources, for this you need to run the command below:

[email protected]:~#echo deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/plex-archive-keyring.gpg] https://downloads.plex.tv/repo/deb public main | tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/plexmediaserver.list

In the line being added, you could see that we are referring to the keyring that was downloaded in step 3.

If you get the error below, go back and try Step 2 again.

[email protected]:~#/usr/lib/apt/methods/https could not be found

This means that the HTTPS transport package has not been installed now check to see if you have installed it correctly or not.

As for now, Raspberry pi has been set up we can move forwards and get the Plex Media server package to pi.

Step 5: Now it’s time to start installing the real deal! Run the following command to install “Plex Media Server”:

[email protected]:~#apt install plexmediaserver

It first created a user and group for Plex to run under and is known as plex.

It shall also set up two directories; one on which files shall be temporarily stored which it is transcoding and can be found at:

[email protected]:~#/var/lib/plexmediaserver/tmp_transcoding

The other is where it shall store all metadata retrieved for your media. Find this in the following folder:

[email protected]:~#/var/lib/plexmediaserver/tmp_transcoding

Since it is running a different Raspberry Pi’s default pi user, be sure that all permissions are set rightly.

ALSO SEE: How to configure Raspberry Pi Remote Desktop on Windows 11/Windows 10.

Configure Local Home Networking for your Plex Media Server

As Plex has been installed to Raspberry Pi make sure that you are using an IP address that is static. Remember, in a nutshell, this is just like setting up networking on any Linux-based OS.

Now, what are the reasons to do this? One, it will be easy to remember and another it shall make sure that the server can be found at the very same address always.

Step 1: Enter the command below to get a current IP address:


[email protected]:~#Hostname –I

Step 2: After this open “cmdline.txt” file, you can either use nano or vim:

[email protected]:~#  vi /boot/cmdline.txt

Step 2: After this you need to add the following line at bottom of the file, but replace 192.168.1.256 with the IP you get from using hostname –I:

ip=192.168.1.256

Step 3: Now reboot your Pi:

[email protected]:~# reboot

Pi should not start with the same name always, it can be set on most routers by trying the mac address of your network device which is wifi or even ethernet to an IP. Be careful entering the IP information and allowing any access over the public web as it can explore your devices same as public FTP servers are found worldwide which are configured incorrectly!

Connect your PlayStation, Xbox, Android and iOS devices to Plex Media Server

It shall be able to pick up automatically on the server if you are using an application on Android, iPhone, Xbox, PlayStation4/5, or any other device.

You shall see that official mobile Plex apps are being paywall. Like to have access to all features you need to pay whereas other apps including web apps need to be free with a few features needing a subscription.

To make a connection with the browser you need to enter IP followed by port 32400 and /web/, for example, is as followed below:

[email protected]:~#192.168.1.256:32400/web/

Now you shall be prompted to sign in or sign-up to an existing account. If you enter the address mentioned above, you can skip this.

After this set up your music, movie, and TV show libraries. This is an easy process and not too hard to set it up correctly.

Plex Media Server on Raspberry Pi Sign Up Page

  1. You first need to choose the library there from left side.
  2. Then choose the media type, if there is more than one type then you need to add a new library for every kind of media.

Raspberry Pi Media type

  1. After this choose folder that has all media in it.

Like ours was a USB drive which is displayed on the left side or can be found at /media/pi/ESD-USB. You can also add a new folder as shown in the below screenshot:

Add new folder in Plex media server

Once the library has been added, it shall organize clips in an interface that is easy to browse.

ALSO SEE: How To Build Your Own Bluetooth Jammer with a Raspberry Pi Computer.

Do you get File Permission errors on your Raspberry Pi Plex Media Server? Here is how to fix

One issue you might face is not being able to access your files and the major reason behind this is permissions that are not correct.

Let’s see how to modify permission for an ext4 drive.

If you are running an NFTS or FAT formatted drive then try remounting the disk drive and make adjustments to mounting options. The reason behind this is FAT ad NFTS file systems don’t provide support to the Linux permission system.

First, you need to work out the drive or folder location for which you want to adjust permissions.

Like we have ext4 drive mounted to raspberry pi at location /mnt/ninjaplexserver/

Since the following two commands need to be executed as superusers, now let’s change it by running:

[email protected]:~# Sudo su

Use the following commands with the path to your drive or folder in hand. Be sure while using these you replace (the/directory) with the one to which you want to make adjustments.

[email protected]:~#find [the/directory] -type d -exec chmod 755 {} \;

Run the same acommand above with replacing 755 to 644.

If we talk about the second command then it shall find all directories and assign the owner with reading, write and execute privileges and provides all other uses read and execute only.

The third command finds all flags and assigns owners with reading and write privileges and others with only read permission.

Exit out of the command line and go enjoy your content, it should be all working as expected now folks!

Is your Plex Media Server Feeling slow? Increase Performance with these tips

Sometimes the Raspberry Pi plex server can become slow. This is due to many people having their Pi connected over WiFi. As it helps with range and portability.

To increase performance, make sure you are connected via LAN at a 100 Mbps minimum of network speed. Your broadband speed also takes a big effect and what quality you stream at. If you constantly stream at 4K or HD quality this will have an effect unless your internet speed is 25 Mbps or above.

Some tips to make sure streaming is smooth:

  1. Don’t have multiple devices stream at once.
  2. Try to lower your media quality when watching live.
  3. Make sure the Pi is in a proper case that is ventilated and cool.
  4. Use a network cable instead of a wireless connection.

Raspberry Pi 3 vs Raspberry Pi 4: Which to choose for your Plex streaming?

The below table does a side-by-side comparison for Pi 3/4 hardware specifications so you can choose the correct one for your setup.

Raspberry Pi 3 vs 4 for Plex Server

Raspberry Pi 3  Raspberry Pi 4
1.2 GHz Quad Core Broadcom 1.5 GHz Broadcom Cortex A72
1 GB maximum RAM 2 to 8GB maximum RAM (DDR4)
100 Mbps Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet port
No OpenGL support OpenGL and Vulkan support
Requires a power adapter PoE capability – no need for a power adapter
WiFi and Bluetooth (LE) 5 GHz WiFi and BT 5.0 capable
Display Port HDMI port (more choice of monitors)

Based on the above comparison you can clearly see the Raspberry Pi 4 is more powerful. This is due to the 1.5 GHz processor and 8GB RAM which are both increased in size and frequency. This will ensure your media loads instantly providing your broadband keeps up.

How to Store Videos, Free Movies and Songs on Raspberry Pi

Get an external hard drive with all your favorite music, movies, and everything you have. Now setting up the Plex program to run as a Pi user means you can plug in a USB hard drive in and have access to the media within it without any issues. Also, Plex official provides over 200+ live free channels and thousands of movies that are free on their official site.

Moreover, you can also permanently mount drives therefore make sure to set the user and group owner of the drive to pi.

There is also another option that means you can set up pi as NAS, what this shall do is allow you to transfer media across to it without the need to disconnect and reconnect a hard drive.

In the last, you can also use an SD card for storage purposes but yes it will run out of space. What you can do is set up a folder on it to be accessed through the network.

Similar tutorials that are very helpful:

Conclusion

Plex media server is an amazing free solution for watching movies, free live TV and other TV shows. This tutorial detailed in a step-by-step manner how you can install a Raspberry Pi 3/4 Plex media server, connect it with your devices, configure the networking and tune performance. We would love to know your Plex server setups so please comment below and let us know how you have your setup in the house.

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