7 Hidden Plex Settings You Should Be Using
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Plex has several hidden settings available for users. However, they are not available via the main Plex Media Server app’s interface. Instead, you’ll need to delve into Plex’s own files and make the changes manually.

Although they are primarily aimed at advanced users, there are some hidden Plex settings that all users should use. So, let’s take a look at these hidden Plex settings and how to find them on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

A Word of Warning

Before you dive into the article, let us sound a note of caution. If you make an error while adjusting these settings, you could render Plex unusable.

The situation is fixable, but you’ll end up losing your regular settings and have to start from scratch. We’ll explain this in more detail at the end of the article, but you need to be aware before you start tweaking these hidden Plex settings.

How to Find Hidden Plex Settings on Windows

plex registry settings

On Windows, you will need to head to Plex’s entry in the registry. Follow the instructions below to learn how:

  1. Press Win + R.
  2. Type regedit and hit Enter.
  3. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Plex, Inc.\Plex Media Server.
  4. Create a new String Value, Integer, or Boolean term as per the specific setting’s requirements.

(NB: Some values might already exist. If they do, you can merely edit the value to change the setting.)

How to Find Hidden Plex Settings on Mac

plex plist mac settings

If you run the Plex Media Server on a macOS machine, you need to head to the library preferences for the operating system’s user account.

The easiest way to access the library preferences is to open Finder and use the Go menu to navigate to ~/Library/Preferences/com.plexapp.plexmediaserver.plist.

Open the PLIST file in a text editor and either add new lines or amend existing values as required. You’ll need to reboot your machine before the new settings will take effect in the Plex Media Server app.

Experienced users can also achieve the same result from the Terminal by using one of these two commands:

  • defaults write com.plexapp.plexmediaserver [option name] [value]
  • defaults write com.plexapp.plexmediaserver [option name] -boolean [Value]

How to Find Hidden Plex Settings on Linux

Linux users can adjust the secret Plex settings by opening the app’s Preferences.xml file. In most Linux distros, you will find it at $PLEX_HOME/Library/Application Support/Plex Media Server/.

There are some exceptions, however. On Debian, Fedora, CentOS, and Ubuntu, it’s at /var/lib/plexmediaserver/Library/Application Support/Plex Media Server/. On FreeBSD is at /usr/local/plexdata/Plex Media Server/, FreeNAS is at ${JAIL_ROOT}/var/db/plexdata/Plex Media Server/, and on ASUSTOR NAS drives it’s at /volume1/Plex/Library.

The Best Hidden Plex Settings

Now that you know where to find the advanced Plex settings, here are our favorite hidden Plex settings that all users should know about.

1. Change the Default Album Sort Criteria

Option Name: AlbumSort
Value: String

Everyone has their own preferred way of listening to their music collection. If you’re the type of person who likes to enjoy full albums rather than picking and choosing single songs, this secret Plex setting is a lifesaver.

You can choose to sort by year, artist, name, or any other piece of metadata that’s attached to your album file by default. Make sure you choose both the sort option and whether you want the data in ascending or descending order (for example, artist:desc).

2. Remove Authentication for Specific Networks

Option Name: allowedNetworks
Value: String

You can allow users from some networks to access your Plex Media Server without authentication. Doing so will reduce the security of your server, but will allow people to access your media with far less hassle.

To add an allowed network, you need to know the IP address, netmask IP, and netmask. Format them with a slash in between each value ([IP]/[netmask IP]/[netmask]).

3. Change the Number of Log Files That Plex Keeps

Option Name: LogNumFiles
Value: Integer

Log files are a great way to monitor what other users are watching on your Plex server, as well as being a vital tool for identifying and fixing any errors.

By default, Plex retains five log files and deletes the oldest every time a new one is created. To keep more, simply enter your preferred number as a new integer.

4. Enable/Disable DLNA Access

Option Name: DlnaEnabled
Value: 1/0

DLNA is short for Digital Living Network Alliance. It’s a certification standard from 2003 that allows digital media to be shared across various devices.

Plex is DLNA-enabled, but you might not want your library popping up in your computer’s network locations or on your TV’s media page. If you don’t, set the value of the setting to 0. A value of 1 means the feature is enabled.

5. Adjust Transcoding Priorities

Option Name: BackgroundTranscodeLowPriority
Value: 1/0

Transcoding is the process whereby Plex changes the file format and resolution of a video file to suit the type of device that you’re watching on.

Unfortunately, the process eats through a lot of CPU power. If your Plex Media Server runs on a low-power machine, it makes sense to divert the power to real-time streaming over background transcodes. To do so, set the value of the setting to 1.

6. Change Library Scan Intervals

Option Name: ScheduledLibraryUpdateInterval
Value: Integer

You can make Plex scan your library for new content at specific intervals. However, in the server’s user interface, only seven options are available: every 15 minutes, every 30 minutes, hourly, every two hours, every six hours, every 12 hours, or daily.

If you want to set a customized amount of time, set the integer as the number of seconds you want to elapse between scans.

7. Ignore Words When Sorting Titles

Option Name: ArticleStrings
Value: String

You can get Plex to ignore specific words from movies, artists, song titles, and other media when sorting alphabetically. For example, you could get Plex to ignore “The” in the “The Beatles” so that the band would appear under the letter “B” rather than the letter “T.”

Just enter all of the words that you want Plex to overlook as a comma-separated list (for example, the, a, in, that, to, etc.).

How to Undo Changes to Plex’s Hidden Settings

As you’ve probably gathered from reading this article, the process for changing Plex’s secret settings can quickly become rather confusing. Due to the nature of the files you’re editing, a typo or misplaced option name could mean Plex no longer works as expected.

If you encounter issues, you can remedy the problem by either deleting the Plex preferences file (Mac and Linux) or removing all Plex entries in the registry (Windows).

When you reload Plex, it will create a new, blank preferences file. All your previous settings will be lost, and you’ll have to re-customize them, but at least the Plex Media Server will be functional again.

Learn More About Using Plex

Plex’s hidden settings are a great way to customize the app. But there are a lot of other things you can do to make Plex work the way you want.

If you’d like to learn even more about getting more out of Plex, be sure to read our articles detailing how to watch and record live TV with Plex and the best Plex plugins for power users The 10 Best Plex Plugins for Power Users The 10 Best Plex Plugins for Power Users You don't need addons to use Plex. But power users may want to get more out of it and these Plex plugins will help. Read More .

Explore more about: Media Server, Media Streaming, Plex.

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  1. romy
    October 6, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    nice

  2. nnamerz
    October 3, 2019 at 8:05 am

    Why on Earth would you try and guide people to make changes through the registry (which can be a dangerous place for some people), when almost all these settings are available right through the OEM user interface?
    A lot of people, especially newbies, come to sites like this for experienced & trustworthy advice...so you need to be much more diligent in doing proper research and trying to teach users the fastest & EASIEST way of accomplishing something.
    Just my 2 cents.

  3. Smith
    September 24, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Stupid article. None of them are hidden. Just click show advanced and go through the ui. I've don't half if them and never edited registery files for plex

  4. Pete Stapleton
    September 24, 2019 at 5:22 am

    I've not accessed any secret settings, nor have I set it up in the UI but Plex already ignores the word "the"

    Great post ;)

  5. Me
    September 24, 2019 at 4:32 am

    This article is hopeless. None of the settings are hidden.

  6. Tommy Norris
    September 24, 2019 at 2:48 am

    This article was worthless..

  7. Drew
    September 24, 2019 at 1:55 am

    Other than 1, 3 and 7, all of the other settings he mentions are available if you just click the Show Advanced button.

  8. JoeShmoe
    September 23, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    Number 2, 4, and 5 are in the normal settings

  9. Bing
    September 23, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Option Name: BackgroundTranscodeLowPriority
    Value: 1/0

    Will the value of 1 stop transcoding completely?

  10. Joe S
    September 23, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    "If you encounter issues, you can remedy the problem by either deleting the Plex preferences file (Mac and Linux) or removing all Plex entries in the registry (Windows)."

    Or, for Mac and Linux, how about just copying the Preferences.xml file to Preferences.xml.ORIG before you futz around? That way you have your previous settings saved. (you can also backup and export the Windows Registry keys as well).