Plex Media Server Guide

In this age and time where we generate a lot of data, especially via media content like pictures, audio and video, it might be hard to organize or keep a tab on them all.

What if I told you there is a platform where you can organize and store all this content in a centralized location and then access them across different devices? What’s more, this platform also allows you to share them with your loved ones.

Plex Inc owns Plex server, and it is a worldwide streaming service for various types of media.

Plex Media Server allows users to stream, organize, and share various media content – like pictures, videos, and audio – to multiple devices and close friends or relatives.

This article will guide you on what you need to know about Plex and answer some questions you might have regarding Plex.

What Is Plex Server

Plex Media Server is a client-server software system that allows you to create a collection of your video, audio, and photos. You can share, organize and stream this content from other devices and share it with other people.

Plex is a powerful and smart way to organize your media content in a centralized location called the ” home server”. It also allows you to broadcast them to any device as well as share them with other people.

Just like the way you can access your saved collection of movies on Netflix on any device, Plex allows you to access your media content from any device, wherever you are.

You can also install Plex on a streaming device such as an Amazon fire stick and watch available videos on Plex’s content library of ad-supported video on demand. (AVOD)

Plex has several publishing partners; some of them are Warner Bros, MGM, Lionsgate, etc.

Does Plex Server Need GPU

While a CPU acts as the system’s main processor and carries out various functions, GPUs are more specialized processing units.

A graphics processing unit(GPU) is a special electronic processor with enhanced mathematical computation capability to improve computer graphics and machine learning tasks.

They can also work on different pieces of data simultaneously and convert them into a useful format to help with the computer’s videos, pictures, gaming applications and so on.

The GPU is the part of the computer responsible for rendering images, videos and animations. They can be found at workstations, game consoles and even on mobile phones.

People have frequently asked if Plex server needs a GPU to run.

The answer to this question is based on several factors.

If your Plex Server has wide codec support and you can stream your videos directly without transcoding them first, you might not need a GPU.

However, if you want to stream to a remote or portable device or local TV, you’ll need to be able to transcode. Transcoding requires quite a huge amount of CPU. To know whether your CPU will work, you should consider how many media files you will need to transcode simultaneously and the PassMark score of your CPU. Your CPU’s PassMark score will give you an idea of how many transcodes your CPU can handle at once.

Follow the steps below to check your PassMark score and how many transcodes your CPU can run concurrently :

Visit the Passmark website

Input your computer’s CPU name and click on Find CPU.

After you find your CPU’s name, click on it.

Select Benchmark results from the category, click on the submit button and filter the results.

Finally, click on the link that displays Passmark – [Your CPU] @ [CPU speed] – Price performance comparison. Your score will be displayed.

After you get the score, divide it by 2000 to know how many transcodes your CPU can handle at a particular time.

Your CPU will generally need at least a PassMark of 2000 is required to transcode a 11080p file; this is at the expense of power consumption. However, you might not be able to transcode some videos in 4k format with this score. You might need a GPU acceleration if your CPU can’t do that.

The bottom line is, if you want to transcode some videos that your CPU can handle but you want to reduce power consumption, it would be best to get a GPU.

Additionally, if you want to transcode a video that your CPU can’t handle, you might need a GPU.

Lastly, if you want to run a lot of transcoding and streaming at the same time, a GPU might be needed.

Otherwise, you can make do with your modern CPU, as long as it can meet your needs.

What Is A Good Plex Server

Given the plethora of media servers out there, beginners might find it difficult to pick the right Plex server hardware.

You can use Plex’s original media server for free, but it would cost you if you want to build or buy a media server for Plex.

When choosing a Plex server, it would be best if you got a server that matches the capability of your client devices and can support the number of devices connected to your home server.

You must also consider the transcoding capability of the server you’re choosing. Failure to select a server with good transcoding power can cause buffering issues and a frustrating streaming experience.

Furthermore, when choosing a media server, it would be more efficient to go for servers that come with CPUs or GPUs that can transcode 4k videos and servers that come with huge storage or allow you to attach external storage and robust hardware.

Based on these criteria, below are some of the best media servers for Plex:


QNAP Turbo NAS TS-453Be

NVIDIA Shield Android TV Pro

Synology DiskStation DS920

TerraMaster F5-422

For Apple Devices – Plex media server with Mac mini is a good choice.

Is Nivida Shield A Good Plex Server

The short answer is yes, Nivida Shield is a good Plex server.

You would notice that we included Nivida Shield in our list of good Plex servers; this is because of the wide range of benefits it offers.

Nvidia Shield’s versatility and ease of use make it one of Plex users’ most popular and used media servers.

Nivida Shield functions as an Android TV, making it an incredible option for streaming from other stream apps such as Netflix and Disney. It is also great for gaming and emulation.

When we talk about setting up, Nivida Shield is one of the easiest Plex media servers to set up. Additionally, it helps that it isn’t limited to just streaming; you can also play games.

Although Nivida Shield doesn’t have a wide storage option and isn’t very powerful either, its versatility and ease-of-use makes it one of the best user-friendly Plex servers.

How Much Does It Cost to Run A Plex Server

Plex has a free and paid plan. The paid plan includes some premium features such as:

DVR Recording

Addition of lyrics to music libraries

Skipping intro in TV episodes

Hardware-accelerated streaming/ transcoding

Premium music features, e.g. Sonic Analysis, Sweet Fade and more

The Plex Pass plan is a paid service, and it costs $5 monthly, $40 yearly and $120 for a lifetime plan.

The cost of building or buying a media server for your Plex account depends on which server you’re going for. Some are more expensive than others. For example, Nivida Shield costs about 200$, and Raspberry pi costs between 100 – 150$

While NAS boxes like Synology and QNAP can cost as much as $1000, although there are still cheaper options. Synology DS220+ costs about 300$. However, if you’re adding drives, the number could go up.

Are Plex Server Legal

Plex servers are as legal as they come. Plex is a legitimate and registered company. The company was founded in 2007 and has been in operation since then. It currently has about 100 global employees. As it stands, Plex is recognized worldwide as one of the best streaming platforms; it is also affiliated with some reputable platforms, so, yes, Plex is definitely legal.

As long as you use Plex in the right context, uploading personal content that you got and produced legally, and streaming from their server.

However, some can still use it for illegal means, such as posting illegally obtained or pirated media content.

Can Anyone Access My Plex Server

Not anyone has access to your Plex server. Although Plex allows you to share your media library with others, not just anyone can access it.

Before someone can gain access to your Plex server, they must first have a Plex account, and then they must have received an invitation from you.

You can only have 15 members in your Plex Home, and these are the only people that can access your account.

You can also create another library that only you can have access to. Say there are movies you don’t want to share with your friends, you can put them in another library.

Can Plex Server Run on Android

Yes, Plex Server can run on Android.

The Plex website confirms that there is a Plex for Android app, and it can be downloaded on Google Play or the Amazon app.

After installing the app on your phone, you will need to activate it and unlock it with a one-time fee of $5. This should not be confused with the Plex Pass Subscription.

Can Plex Server Be Hacked

Plex prioritizes security, and they have different security measures in place to ensure that your account details, media library, and devices or accounts connected to you are safe from hacking and data leaks.

There is a free SSL certificate for all users. This certificate encrypts the connection between your device and the server, protecting sensitive information like your login details and library from infringement and hackers.

There’s also a green lock icon on the app’s interface that tells you if your server, media library, and other devices have a secure connection.

However, there is only so much they can do as there have been some reports on Reddit about some clients complaining about a hack.

A news article in 2015 also claimed that the forum and server were affected. However, the payment info was deemed safe

2015 was a long time ago, and with the everyday advancement in technology, there would have certainly been some improvement in the security measures.

What Is Plex Pass And How Does It Work

While the basic features that come with Plex are free, you will still need to pay a couple of fees to access and fully use Plex.

First off, to be able to access and unlock the app, you will need a one-time activation fee of 4.99$ to unlock the app. This activation fee isn’t for an account or server; for every device, you will download or use the app on, you will need to pay 4.99$ to unlock the app. However, you can download the app for free on any device.

After this one-time payment, you will have full access to the server, media, movies, news, and every other basic feature on Plex.

However, to enjoy other premium features and benefits, you will need the Plex pass subscription.

Plex pass is a monthly subscription and it costs 5$ per month, 40$ per year (saving you 20$). You can as well opt for the lifetime subscription offer which costs 120$.

How To Set Up Plex Media

To set up Plex on your computer, you’ll have to install it on your computer or on the device where your videos, music, and other media are stored.


You’ll see a list of operating systems or platforms, select the one you use.

Click on download.

After downloading, install the software.

Then launch the software.

Before you’ll be able to use the app, you need to have an account with them. Follow the necessary steps and sign up.

Is Plex the Best Media Server

Due to its versatility and the features it offers, Plex remains one of the best media servers for streaming and organizing your media collection in a centralized location.

The app is compatible with various operating systems, easy to set up, and is also free.

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