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Install Plex Media Server on Ubuntu 20.04



Plex is a powerful and feature-rich media streaming server that can be used to organize your video, music and photos and stream them to remote devices anywhere. It supports many operating systems including Linux, Windows, FreeBSD, macOS and many more. You can access media stored on the Plex server from your Smart TV, smartphone and streaming box using the Plex media client.

Plex has many features, some of which are listed below:

  • Live TV and DVR.
  • Mobile sync.
  • Cloud Sync.
  • Premium music features.
  • Premium photo library.
  • Hardware accelerated streaming.
  • Parental control.
  • Camera charging.
  • Limits for bandwidth and recoding.

In this tutorial we will explain how to install Plex media server with Nginx as a reverse proxy on the Ubuntu 20.04 server.

Conditions

  • A server running Ubuntu 20.04.
  • A root password has been configured.

Getting Started

First you need to update your system packages to the latest version. You can update them with the following command:

apt-get update -y

Once your packages have been updated, you can proceed to the next step.

First, you need to download the latest version of the Plex media server from the Plex official website. You can download it with the following command:

wget https://downloads.plex.tv/plex-media-server-new/1.20.1.3252-a78fef9a9/debian/plexmediaserver_1.20.1.3252-a78fef9a9_amd64.deb

Once the Plex Media Server package has been downloaded, you can install it using the following command:

dpkg -i plexmediaserver_1.20.1.3252-a78fef9a9_amd64.deb

Once Plex Media Server is installed, restart the Plex service and allow it to restart at system startup with the following command:

systemctl start plexmediaserver
systemctl enable plexmediaserver

You can then verify the status of the Plex service with the following command:

systemctl status plexmediaserver

You should see the following output:

? plexmediaserver.service - Plex Media Server
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/plexmediaserver.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Sat 2020-09-05 06:48:06 UTC; 17s ago
    Process: 38369 ExecStartPre=/bin/sh -c /usr/bin/test -d "${PLEX_MEDIA_SERVER_APPLICATION_SUPPORT_DIR}" || /bin/mkdir -p "${PLEX_MEDIA_SERV>
   Main PID: 38371 (Plex Media Serv)
      Tasks: 120 (limit: 2353)
     Memory: 215.0M
     CGroup: /system.slice/plexmediaserver.service
             ??38371 /usr/lib/plexmediaserver/Plex Media Server
             ??38405 Plex Plug-in [com.plexapp.system] /usr/lib/plexmediaserver/Resources/Plug-ins-a78fef9a9/Framework.bundle/Contents/Resourc>
             ??38451 /usr/lib/plexmediaserver/Plex Tuner Service /usr/lib/plexmediaserver/Resources/Tuner/Private /usr/lib/plexmediaserver/Res>
             ??38474 Plex Plug-in [com.plexapp.agents.plexthememusic] /usr/lib/plexmediaserver/Resources/Plug-ins-a78fef9a9/Framework.bundle/C>
             ??38477 Plex Plug-in [com.plexapp.agents.themoviedb] /usr/lib/plexmediaserver/Resources/Plug-ins-a78fef9a9/Framework.bundle/Conte>
             ??38533 Plex Plug-in [org.musicbrainz.agents.music] /usr/lib/plexmediaserver/Resources/Plug-ins-a78fef9a9/Framework.bundle/Conten>
             ??38544 Plex Plug-in [com.plexapp.agents.thetvdb] /usr/lib/plexmediaserver/Resources/Plug-ins-a78fef9a9/Framework.bundle/Contents>
             ??38638 Plex Plug-in [com.plexapp.agents.opensubtitles] /usr/lib/plexmediaserver/Resources/Plug-ins-a78fef9a9/Framework.bundle/Co>
             ??38710 Plex Plug-in [com.plexapp.agents.fanarttv] /usr/lib/plexmediaserver/Resources/Plug-ins-a78fef9a9/Framework.bundle/Content>

Sep 05 06:48:06 ubuntu2004 systemd[1]: Starting Plex Media Server...
Sep 05 06:48:06 ubuntu2004 systemd[1]: Started Plex Media Server.

At this time, the Plex media server starts and listens to port 32400. You can verify it with the following command:

ss -lnpt | grep Plex

You should see the following output:

LISTEN    0         128              127.0.0.1:39851            0.0.0.0:*        users:(("Plex Script Hos",pid=38739,fd=4))                                     
LISTEN    0         128              127.0.0.1:46031            0.0.0.0:*        users:(("Plex Script Hos",pid=38779,fd=4))                                     
LISTEN    0         1024             127.0.0.1:32401            0.0.0.0:*        users:(("Plex Media Serv",pid=38371,fd=61))                                    
LISTEN    0         128              127.0.0.1:44661            0.0.0.0:*        users:(("Plex Script Hos",pid=38533,fd=4))                                     
LISTEN    0         128              127.0.0.1:32600            0.0.0.0:*        users:(("Plex Tuner Serv",pid=38451,fd=13))                                    
LISTEN    0         128              127.0.0.1:36637            0.0.0.0:*        users:(("Plex Script Hos",pid=38544,fd=4))                                     
LISTEN    0         128              127.0.0.1:42973            0.0.0.0:*        users:(("Plex Script Hos",pid=38405,fd=10))                                    
LISTEN    0         128              127.0.0.1:38467            0.0.0.0:*        users:(("Plex Script Hos",pid=38824,fd=4))                                     
LISTEN    0         128              127.0.0.1:40035            0.0.0.0:*        users:(("Plex Script Hos",pid=38477,fd=4))                                     
LISTEN    0         1024                     *:32400                  *:*        users:(("Plex Media Serv",pid=38371,fd=60))    

When you are done, you can move on to the next step.

By default, Plex media server storage is disabled in APT. So it is recommended to enable it so that you can update the Plex media server with the APT command. You can enable it by editing the following file:

nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/plexmediaserver.list

Deselect the following line:

deb https://downloads.plex.tv/repo/deb/ public main

Save and close the file, and then add the Plex GPG key using the following command:

wget -q https://downloads.plex.tv/plex-keys/PlexSign.key -O - | apt-key add -

Update the repository now with the following command to apply the changes:

apt-get update -y

Once the repository has been updated, you can proceed to the next step.

Configure Nginx for Plex

It is then recommended that you install and configure Nginx as a Plex reverse proxy. So you can access the Plex media server with port 80.

First, install the Nginx Web Server using the following command:

apt-get install nginx -y

Once the Nginx Web server is installed, create a new Nginx virtual host configuration file with the following command:

nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/plex.conf

Add the following lines:

upstream plex_backend {
        server 127.0.0.1:32400;
        keepalive 32;
}

server {
        listen 80;
        server_name plex.example.com;

        send_timeout 100m; #Some players don't reopen a socket and playback stops totally instead of resuming after an extended pause (e.g. Ch$

       	#Plex has A LOT of javascript, xml and html. This helps a lot, but if it causes playback issues with devices turn it off. (Haven't enc$
        gzip on;
        gzip_vary on;
        gzip_min_length 1000;
        gzip_proxied any;
        gzip_types text/plain text/css text/xml application/xml text/javascript application/x-javascript image/svg+xml;
        gzip_disable "MSIE [1-6].";

       	#Nginx default client_max_body_size is 1MB, which breaks Camera Upload feature from the phones.
       	#Increasing the limit fixes the issue. Anyhow, if 4K videos are expected to be uploaded, the size might need to be increased even more
        client_max_body_size 100M;

       	#Forward real ip and host to Plex
        proxy_set_header Host $host;
        proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;
        proxy_set_header Sec-WebSocket-Extensions $http_sec_websocket_extensions;
        proxy_set_header Sec-WebSocket-Key $http_sec_websocket_key;
        proxy_set_header Sec-WebSocket-Version $http_sec_websocket_version;
       	#Websockets
        proxy_http_version 1.1;
        proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
        proxy_set_header Connection "Upgrade";

       	#Buffering off send to the client as soon as the data is received from Plex.
        proxy_redirect off;
        proxy_buffering off;

        location / {
                proxy_pass http://plex_backend;
        }
}

Save and close the file and verify Nginx for syntax errors using the following command:

nginx -t

You should get the following output:

nginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok
nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful

Then enable Nginx virtual host configuration file with the following command:Advertisement

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ln -s nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/plex.conf /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

Finally, restart the Nginx service to apply the configuration changes:

systemctl restart nginx

You can now check Nginx status with the following command:

systemctl status nginx

You should get the following output:

? nginx.service - A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/nginx.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Sat 2020-09-05 06:57:20 UTC; 1min 47s ago
       Docs: man:nginx(8)
    Process: 40059 ExecStartPre=/usr/sbin/nginx -t -q -g daemon on; master_process on; (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
    Process: 40070 ExecStart=/usr/sbin/nginx -g daemon on; master_process on; (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
   Main PID: 40072 (nginx)
      Tasks: 3 (limit: 2353)
     Memory: 3.6M
     CGroup: /system.slice/nginx.service
             ??40072 nginx: master process /usr/sbin/nginx -g daemon on; master_process on;
             ??40073 nginx: worker process
             ??40074 nginx: worker process

Sep 05 06:57:20 ubuntu2004 systemd[1]: Starting A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server...
Sep 05 06:57:20 ubuntu2004 systemd[1]: Started A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server.

When you are done, you can move on to the next step.

At this time, the Plex Media service is installed and configured with Nginx. Now open your browser and access the Plex media server with URL http://plex.example.com. You should see the following page:

Plex Media Server

Log in now with your Google or Facebook account. You should see the Plex Media Server Dashboard on the following page:

Plex Dashboard

Secure Plex with Let’s Encrypt SSL

It is then recommended to secure Plex with Let’s Encrypt SSL. You must first install the Certbot Let’s Encrypt client on your server to install and manage SSL. You can install it with the following command:

apt-get install python3-certbot-nginx -y

After installing Certbot, run the following command to install Let’s Encrypt SSL on your domain:Advertisement

certbot --nginx -d plex.example.com

You will be asked to enter a valid email address and accept the period of service as below:

Saving debug log to /var/log/letsencrypt/letsencrypt.log
Plugins selected: Authenticator nginx, Installer nginx
Enter email address (used for urgent renewal and security notices) (Enter 'c' to
cancel): [email protected]

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Please read the Terms of Service at
https://letsencrypt.org/documents/LE-SA-v1.2-November-15-2017.pdf. You must
agree in order to register with the ACME server at
https://acme-v02.api.letsencrypt.org/directory
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
(A)gree/(C)ancel: A

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Would you be willing to share your email address with the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, a founding partner of the Let's Encrypt project and the non-profit
organization that develops Certbot? We'd like to send you email about our work
encrypting the web, EFF news, campaigns, and ways to support digital freedom.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
(Y)es/(N)o: Y
Obtaining a new certificate
Performing the following challenges:
http-01 challenge for plex.example.com
Waiting for verification...
Cleaning up challenges
Deploying Certificate to VirtualHost /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/plex.conf

Then select whether to redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS as shown below:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1: No redirect - Make no further changes to the webserver configuration.
2: Redirect - Make all requests redirect to secure HTTPS access. Choose this for
new sites, or if you're confident your site works on HTTPS. You can undo this
change by editing your web server's configuration.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Select the appropriate number [1-2] then [enter] (press 'c' to cancel): 2

Type 2 and press Enter to complete the installation. You should see the following output:

Redirecting all traffic on port 80 to ssl in /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/plex.conf

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Congratulations! You have successfully enabled https://plex.example.com

You should test your configuration at:
https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=plex.example.com
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

IMPORTANT NOTES:
 - Congratulations! Your certificate and chain have been saved at:
   /etc/letsencrypt/live/plex.example.com/fullchain.pem
   Your key file has been saved at:
   /etc/letsencrypt/live/plex.example.com/privkey.pem
   Your cert will expire on 2020-10-30. To obtain a new or tweaked
   version of this certificate in the future, simply run certbot again
   with the "certonly" option. To non-interactively renew *all* of
   your certificates, run "certbot renew"
 - Your account credentials have been saved in your Certbot
   configuration directory at /etc/letsencrypt. You should make a
   secure backup of this folder now. This configuration directory will
   also contain certificates and private keys obtained by Certbot so
   making regular backups of this folder is ideal.
 - If you like Certbot, please consider supporting our work by:

   Donating to ISRG / Let's Encrypt:   https://letsencrypt.org/donate
   Donating to EFF:                    https://eff.org/donate-le

 - We were unable to subscribe you the EFF mailing list because your
   e-mail address appears to be invalid. You can try again later by
   visiting https://act.eff.org.

You can now access your Plex media server securely using the URL https://plex.example.com.

Conclusion

Congratulations! you have successfully installed Plex Media Server with Nginx as a reverse proxy on the Ubuntu 20.04 server. Now you can upload your media, music and photos and access them from your smartphone, TV or other streaming boxes. Feel free to ask me if you have any questions.


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