How To Access Your Plex Library From A Remote Computer
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access plex libraryOver the years, I’ve tried my hand at a number of media center software alternatives. Some people swear by XBMC, or swore by Boxee before it stopped developing the Boxee desktop application The End of Boxee on the Desktop & What to Use Instead The End of Boxee on the Desktop & What to Use Instead Boxee fans - it's over. There may be more fun to have with the Boxee Box, but Boxee on the desktop isn't coming back. It's time to find something else if you have a computer... Read More . In the end, I always come back to Plex.

Since our guide on How To Build A Great Media Center PC was written, Plex has matured a lot. Now, it’s not only on of the most eye-catching media center applications, it’s a easy to use solution I would recommend to most people looking to build a media center.

Plex is a dual media solution by default. There’s not one, but two Plex applications – Plex Media Server and Plex Media Center. The server application handles your media, and the Plex Media Center (or client) is used to enjoy it. If both are installed on the same computer, this makes for no remarkable story. However, by separating the two, it’s incredibly easy to access your Plex library on other computers, or even other networks.

Today, I’ll show you how to enjoy Plex on a remote computer.

1. Create a myPlex Account

myPlex is one of the most important parts of this tutorial. It’s a free ‘Plex account’ that bridges your different instances of the Plex server and client applications. These days, you’ll be asked to create a myPlex account upon installing Plex.

access plex library

If you haven’t already, you can create a new myPlex account here.

2. Sign Into myPlex On Your Plex Media Server

You’ll have to make sure you’re logged into your myPlex account on your Plex Media Server. Again, this usually happens during the installation process, but you can do this manually as well.

plex access remote library

Launch the interface for your instance of Plex Media Server by clicking the icon, or by browsing to on your media center PC. In the settings, go to myPlex and sign into your account.

3. Publish Your Plex Media Server

Still in the myPlex settings of your Plex Media Server, choose to publish your media center. If this goes without a hitch, you can skip the rest of this step, but you’ll likely be faced with an error. This is because you need to configure your router to send all traffic to port 32400 on your Internet connection to the computer on which you’ve installed the Plex Media Server. In other words, port forwarding.

In essence, you’ll need to forward port 32400 (TCP and UDP) to the local IP address of the computer on which you’ve installed the Plex Media Server. The specific steps to forward a port to your computer depend on the type of your router. James wrote up a very good primer on port forwarding and how it can help you What Is Port Forwarding & How Can It Help Me? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is Port Forwarding & How Can It Help Me? [MakeUseOf Explains] Do you cry a little inside when someone tells you there’s a port forwarding problem and that’s why your shiny new app won’t work? Your Xbox won’t let you play games, your torrent downloads refuse... Read More , which also includes useful links that may help you forward the port. You’ll also need to use a static IP address for your media server computer. You can learn more about static IP addresses and how to get one What Is a Static IP Address, How Do I Get One & Its Advantages/Disadvantages What Is a Static IP Address, How Do I Get One & Its Advantages/Disadvantages In home networks, IP addresses aren't usually fixed, but they do fall within specific ranges. A static IP address doesn't change. What are the advantages to this, and why would you want one? Read More .

plex access remote library

If you’ve never before forwarded a port, this is the most intimidating step of the article. However, the articles linked above should guide you in the process. If you have a special router provided by your ISP, try contacting them for help on the subject.

4. Connect With The Plex Media Center Client

Next, you’ll want to use the Plex Media Center client to connect to the Plex Media Server application. The main advantage of separating server and client applications is that you can use as many instances of the media center client as you want.

For example, I have one instance installed on my laptop, and one on an old computer connected to my TV. This way, I can access my media on both without hassle.

plex access remote library

Fire up the Plex client application and go to Preferences -> System. Here you can log in with your myPlex credentials.

Signing in to myPlex has a dual purpose. First, it authenticates access to your media files. Second, it allows the media center computer to find the media server computer without having to specify the IP address. In fact, you can even access your media files when you’re on another network, although this will count towards your ISP’s upload and download quota.

access plex media server remotely

After logging in with myPlex, your media files should appear in the Plex client home screen. If not, you can still add the IP address to your media server computer manually, via Settings -> Network.

5. Connect With Your Browser Using Plex/Web

The preferable way to access your media from another computer is probably through the Plex client application. However, using the recently added Plex/Web feature you can even access your media from a web browser!

access plex library

To do so, head to the myPlex website, select a media server and press Plex/Web in the sidebar. Alternatively, you can connect directly through your media server computer’s global IP address. Just point your browser to GLOBALIP:32400/web, where GLOBALIP needs to be replaced by your global IP address. After logging in with your myPlex credentials, you can access and start streaming your media to your browser.

What does your media center set-up look like? Let us know in the comments section below the article.

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  1. John C Daoust
    May 6, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    My Plex server is on my main iMac. If I make it accessible from outside my network, won't it make my iMac more vulnerable to hackers?
    Good article.

  2. James
    August 8, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    I'm glad you like Plex but am surprised you always come back to it. Plex is literally a dumbed down version of XBMC (which is now called KODI). I'm pretty sure they just took their code and rebranded, it is crazy similar apart from not having as many features. If you are in love with the GUI you just have to change the default skin of XBMC and you are off. There are a lot nicer ones out there though and there are a LOT more features and tweaks you can make with KODI... Plex simply doesn't come close to functionality.

    I guess if you are looking for a really straight forward media server it makes sense, or if you don't have a dedicated media centre PC and are simply using a smart TV. Plex certainly has it's place in this scenario. I would however encourage everyone to try out KODI though. It's the more fleshed out option which is constantly in development and gets better as each year passes.

    • John C Daoust
      May 6, 2018 at 6:05 pm

      Thanks, I will check Kodi out.
      Does Kodi offer an app for the AppleTV?
      I'm currently checking, but I they are not clear.

  3. Alexsander
    January 19, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    Thank you!!!

  4. Anonymous
    October 25, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Thanks for the tips!!!

  5. jay
    May 5, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    Plex is the best about yet still frustrating when things go wrong
    for example Remote Access is the worst issue
    Plex server connected via Lan
    Kindle fire hd connected via Wlan
    both on same network Plex works like charm
    problem is Any Device connected to different network wont find
    Library but if firewall is disabled then Any Device does find library
    Now I have allowed Plex thru firewall yet the problem remains
    any suggestions would be appreciated !!

  6. Mark
    April 27, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Hey ,
    I have a Plex Server setup on my PC. Everything works fine, but when i try to connect with my
    iPhone plex app i can stream media on my iphone, but i don't have the ''little tv button'' on the bottom that I can use as a stream from my iphone to tv.
    Do you know why? And how can I setup it.

  7. jc9
    January 29, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    I had a few hiccups setting everything up, but this guide got me the rest of the way. Thanks a ton.

  8. ScottBouch
    January 5, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    I've become a massive fan pf PLEX. I have the server installed on a headless Ubuntu Server machine at home. The headless install over SSH was relatively painless for someone. fairly new to Linux.

    I use the PLEX app on a mobile device, at home and out and about. When I'm at work, I use the web interface to stream my music.

    Only real limitations so far:

    > my home internet connection has a pathetic upload speed, so we can't stream movies, but music is fine.

    > I installed PLEX server in the hope of it providing access to the BBC iplayer, 4 On Demand, etc... as I'm an XBMC (Raspbmc) and Openelec (on raspberry pi) user - the iplayer XBMC addons recently all stopped working due to the content providers changing the way they do things.. I was hopeful that PLEX may be my answer but alas, no iplayer available. we now have to get the laptop out and plug it into the TV to visit the TV channells websites to see the on demand content ... very agrevating as it used to work seamlessly.

    >browsing music library is better using a computer and the website, as you can easily hop to a letter of the alphabet, but the mobile / tablet app doesn't make this easy at all..

    >I tried installing the raspberry pi PLEX OS but found it's user interface clunky - much prefer XBMC (either Raspbmc or openelec) to run my TV.

    But, for what I've found it to do well, I'm most impressed by, and use it very regularly.

    Cheers, ScottBouch

  9. keta
    December 24, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I want to disable download link option in plex how can i?

  10. Jason
    August 11, 2013 at 8:10 am

    At home, my wireless and wired devices don't share a subnet. I've had no luck accessing my wired PMS from a wireless Plex client. GDM fails due to separate subnets and specifying an IP to the wireless Plex client has made no discernible difference. Has anyone solved this?

    • Simon Slangen
      August 11, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      Specifying the IP address is normally the way to go, so there must be something else going wrong.

      (I assume, even though PMS and the client are on different subnets, they're still on the same LAN (e.g. subnets 192.168.1.X and 192.168.2.X with a common modem/router).)

      - Make sure you've signed in to MyPlex on both clients (even when manually specifying the IP, your MyPlex account is used for authentication).

      - Open the port on PMS (the client and PMS also communicate through MyPlex for discovery).

      - Here's a workaround for some of the authentication issues. However, if you do this, manually specify the IP and close the port on PMS. (This disables secure remote access.)

      - Update to the latest PMS release.

    • Simon Slangen
      August 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      On your wireless device, can you access your PMS using your web browser? (Try connecting to "[PMS local IP]:32400/web")

  11. Jerry Guillory
    July 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Very confusing when something does not work! Things work well for any files which I have on my computer, but I am having too much difficulty in getting any of the channels to function as expected. I keep getting "The Media Server responded with an error."

    I have spent days on this problem, and do not see a solution in sight.

    • Simon Slangen
      August 11, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      Which operating system are you using Plex on? Some channels (like Netflix) use (e.g.) Silverlight, which is unsupported on Linux.

  12. Damien Murtagh
    April 9, 2013 at 2:56 am

    I have been having a running battle with media players in relation to subtitles. My fiancé is deaf, and, therefore, needs to have subtitles. I am yet to find any media centre software which can easily play subtitles from DVD, TV (teletext) and video files.

    Please tell me that Plex does it.

    • Simon Slangen
      April 14, 2013 at 11:34 pm

      Plex plays subtitle files from DVD's and video files (if they are included in the same folder as the video file). Plex isn't intended to work with live TV, though.

      You can also add OpenSubtitles as a metadata agent, so subtitle files are downloaded automatically when a video file is being processed. More information here. However, these automatically downloaded subtitles aren't always correct.