[Review] Plex Media Server For Linux

Today I’m going to review an app that media fans will enjoy a lot. It’s more than just an app; it’s a media server that stores your media and syncs it across all of your devices so you can access it whenever and wherever you want. Plex Media Server for Linux will be used to sync media. It is available for all operating systems, including Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, and CentOS, as well as all derivatives.

What Is Plex Media Server?

If you have a large media library, including High Definition movies, videos, lectures, MP3s, and photos, and you want to access all media from all of your devices, Plex Media server can help you sync it with all of your devices.

Plex has a Plex Media server. A server can be installed on any computer or laptop. It’s also available for Linux. On the other hand, to get media on other devices such as mobile phones, smart TVs, XBox, PlayStation, and so on, you can install Plex Media Client, which syncs all shared media.

It’s easy to download, install, and begin syncing your media across devices. Simply download and install the Plex Media Server for your Linux distribution. Plex Media Server is available for Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS, and all other Linux distributions based on these major Linux distributions. So, if you’re using Kubuntu like me, don’t worry; simply download Plex Media Server for Ubuntu and it’ll work flawlessly.

How Plex Works?

Simply install the server and client for your specific device, and you’re done. Yes, it’s that easy. You only need to install the Plex Media Server for your Linux distribution and the client application to which you want to sync the media files. Client applications are available for all of the above-mentioned major devices. We’ll use Windows Phone as an example.

Plex Supported Formats, Direct Play, Direct Stream And Transcoding

You can know all about formats supported by Plex native player here at the official blog post.

But when you are all set to stream your media to the client device then there may be a case that your device player does not support the media. Then what? Plex handles it for you.

Just understand this important thing –

Our media has some important properties:

  • File container (mkv, mp4, avi, etc.)
  • Video codec (H.264, divx, xvid, etc.)
  • Audio codec (DTS, AC-3, AAC, MP3, etc.)
  • Subtitle format (SRT, VOBSUB, PGS, etc.)

When you try to sync and play media on the synced device, your Plex app/device should support all four of the above-mentioned properties, namely File container, Video codec, Audio codec, and Subtitle format. If your device does not support any of these, you may have a problem. Plex, on the other hand, takes care of everything for you. Plex converts file properties that are not supported by the Plex app/device.

Plex uses three terms to describe what the Plex server does while syncing. Direct Play, Direct Stream, and Transcoding are the terms used.

Direct Play doesn’t necessitate any conversion. When a media file is directly played, it means it is fully compatible with the Plex client app/device. Plex Media Server’s CPU usage is almost non-existent in this case.

Direct Stream indicates that the file is nearly compatible but that the only container is not supported. In this case, a small amount of CPU power is required to transcode the container for use with the native Plex player.

Transcoding indicates that the native player does not support audio, video, or both. In this case, Plex Media Server transcodes the video, audio, or both of the media files for the native player. On Plex Media Server, transcoding necessitates very high or extreme CPU usage.

How To Install Plex Media Server In Linux?

Plex Media Server is available for Ubuntu, Fedora, and CentOS, which means you can install and use Plex on any of these Linux distributions.

Plex can be downloaded. After you’ve downloaded the server, run it to install it. Depending on the Linux distribution you’re using, you may need to run it differently. Because I’m running Kubuntu, I’ll install the server with gdebi.

install plex media server using gdebi

When the installation is done, launch it from the application menu.

launch plex from application menu

Plex is a media server, therefore, it runs at localhost and port ​32400. First of all, Read and agree to the terms and conditions of using Plex.

Plex terms and conditions

On the top right corner you have a search engine to search your media. On top right corner you have the account menu, settings, and status of the files that you’ve already shared with other devices.

The server by default sets the server name as the computer name. You can see my server name is LinuxAndUbuntu and this is the name will be shown on other devices. If I want I can change the server name to something else.

Below server name, you have manage section from where you can see the status of the files that you have already shared with other devices and you can manage settings.

Plex running on Linux

Libraries Under libraries you can see the online channels. You can subscribe to any channel that you like. You can also create playlists.

How To Create Libraries And Add Media Files To The Server

add media directory to plex media server on linux

To create a library and add media files simple click add library. You will be presented to choose a library type. Just click the library type and enter library name and click next.

name plex media library on linux

Now add the directory that contains your media. Click next.

Create media library to your Plex server

After you click add, all media will be added.

Plex processing adding media to server

Plex serches media for media art

Plex searches and adds media thumbnails automatically.


How To Sync Media With Other Devices?

Syncing is the premium feature of Plex. You can check out their all plans here. It costs somewhere 149 USD for their lifetime plan, called Plex Pass.

You can now sync this media with your other devices. But you need to first create an account. Create an account here. When you have signed up you can log in from Plex Media Manager.

Sign in to plex media serverSign in to plex media server on linux

Now to share media with other devices go to settings and goto Server tab. Sign in here also.

share media with other devices sync plex pass

Now to sync any media click the media and open popup menu, click Sync.

Sync media using sync feature

Select the device that you want to share your media with.

select client device to sync media

One of the best parts is that you can format media that you’re sharing.

format media before sharing with plex client

Now select the media server from your other device. In my case, I have shared media with my smartphone and now I will sync on my phone.

First, install Plex on your device. You can install the Plex client on all major devices.

After you have installed Plex client on your device, you can sync server shared media. Simply from the drop-down select server device and all shared media will be available.

Remember – In order to select the media server, the server should be available online.

Plex client on Windows phoneSync media from Linux to Windows phone using Plex

Now you can see below my server is online and I have libraries available to sync. Remember? I shared Movies. Now I can sync it here.

Plex shared libraries with other devicesSync media and play media using Plex

As on normal Internet connection, the media syncs very fast because it’s first converted by the server and then sent to the client device. And the quality is still very good.

You can also change video quality. The maximum quality is the quality that you set while you were sharing media.

You can tweak settings in your client and server app to fit your needs. You can go ahead do it yourself, it’s easy.

edit plex media client settingssetup plex media client and server from settings


Finally, I believe Plex has done an excellent job of syncing large media files with other devices. I use it to share educational videos with my friends and family. It is very simple and takes very little time to share large videos. The best feature of Plex, in my opinion, is that it formats media without affecting its quality.


Mohd Sohail is a web developer and a Linux sysAdmin. He also loves to write how-to articles, applications reviews and loves to use new Linux distributions.

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