Category Archives: Plex

File Server Hardware Update

Following the reuse of most of the parts of the previous file server for the new Plex client PC, I decided to upgrade the parts for the file server. I wanted a processor that would have enough CPU power to handle Plex, and a motherboard with enough connections to handle my need for storage.

The updated server has now the following parts :

Cost: 900 $

My setups consists of one hard drive for the operating system, and 5 for storage purposes.

For the storage, I have one hard drive dedicated to store the backups of all the computers we possess, and four hard drives in RAID1 for the files.

The server is on idle most of the time, and consumes 36W idle.

Client Computer for Plex Server

My family and I have been using Plex since I discovered it, and I was wanting a client connected to our TV. I didn’t want to buy a Roku or AppleTV, as I was worried of the maintenance of such device. I also did not want to live with the limitations of the codecs and processing power of client. For this purpose, I decided to upgrade the parts for the File Server, and reuse parts to build a full mini-PC which would act as a Plex Client.

I installed Plex Media Player on that newly build mini-PC.

The mini-PC has the following parts :

Cost: 80 $

Plex Web Interface Redirection

I have been using Plex for quite some time, and one of thing which was annoying to me was the way to access Plex.

The typical way Plex is accessed is via a local IP address at http://localipaddress:32400/web/. Changing the bit to make Plex available to the outside is a bad idea, as there is no restriction.

I wanted to do a redirection via my domain to have the following: http://plex.mydomain.com

It was not easy to find a solution, and i ended finding that I have to do a reverse proxy, and redirecting the address to the Plex server.

For this, luckily, I already had my Kubuntu virtual machine with Apache.

On top of that, a couple of days later, I stumbled on the very good article of Matt Coneybeare

The right way to do it securely is mentioned at the end of the article.

  1. Setup a DNS entry for plex.domain.com box using the interface of your DNS provider
  2. Setup port forwarding on port 80 to your Plex server’s port 32400.
  3. Add the following code within etc/apache2/httpd.conf:
    <VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerName plex.yoursite.com
    
        <Location />
            AuthType Basic
            AuthName "Restricted area"
            AuthUserFile /private/etc/apache2/htpasswd
            Require valid-user
        </Location>
    
        <Proxy *>
            Order deny,allow
            Allow from all
        </Proxy>
    
        ProxyRequests Off
        ProxyPreserveHost On
        ProxyPass / http://127.0.0.1:32400/
        ProxyPassReverse / http://127.0.0.1:32400/
    
        RewriteEngine on
        RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/web
        RewriteCond %{HTTP:X-Plex-Device} ^$
        RewriteRule ^/$ /web/$1 [R,L]
    </VirtualHost>
    
  4. If you do not have a htpasswd file created already (you probably don’t), you can create one by running the following commands in the Terminal:
    $ cd /private/etc/apache2
    sudo htpasswd -bc htpasswd [username] [password] 

    Replace the username and password with what you would like

  5. Restart the server by running
    $ sudo apachectl restart

    Now you have a secure redirection for the Plex Web interface.
    This will give you access to the Plex Web interface as if you were on your LAN.

Plex

I was looking for a media server and stumbled across Plex Media Server for the first time while I was researching information on Vmware ESXi, by pure luck. I had previously looked at Twonky Media Server and Kodi (formerly XBMC)

I read a lot first about what Plex was and what it was doing. Plex consists of two separate software :

Plex Media Server enables you to stream your media content to almost any device: Iphone, Ipad, other computers, TVs, etc… . It also contains a powerful transcoder to transcode your files to adapt to the network bandwith and capacities of the receiving devices. In addition, you can also transcode some files and put them in the cloud (Cloud Sync) to see them even if in the case where the server is down.

Plex uses a pretty strict way of organizing and naming the files and uses the TVDB for the metadata, it took me weeks to organize my series and animes correctly.

After using it for a few weeks, I decided to buy a lifetime license for 75 $ and was lucky enough to buy it before the significant price increase.

For the moment, I only use Plex Media Server with the web interface and it is meeting all of my needs. All of the users at home use it and love it. Long term, I plan on building a small PC client with PHT and connect it to the TV via HDMI.

I Installed Plex Media Server in a Windows 7 Virtual Machine and allocated it two of the four cores of the i3 3225 of the server that it runs on.

Here is a screenshot.

Plex