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How to configure and access a Jellyfin media server remotely

Learn how to configure the Jellyfin media system on Windows, macOS, and Linux and access it remotely from other devices using Meshnet.

Introduction

Jellyfin
is an easy-to-use, open-source media system that enables you to have a single device that covers all your media needs: managing, viewing, sharing, and more. The server can be set up locally on all three desktop operating systems keeping you in full control of your data. However, accessing video files on the Jellyfin server from outside the local area network (LAN) requires port forwarding or advanced networking configurations.
By using Meshnet, you can connect the Jellyfin server and the client devices to a single virtual network without changing your router or firewall settings. This setup enables remote access to your Jellyfin server’s content from anywhere in the world.
For a quick start, check out our video tutorial.
This article also contains written instructions for setting up your personal Jellyfin server and accessing your video library remotely using Meshnet.

Install Jellyfin server

To start setting up, first, install the Jellyfin server software
Windows
macOS
Linux
To install the Jellyfin server on Windows:
  1. 2.
    Download the latest installer file.
    Arrow pointing to the latest installer download hyperlink.
  2. 3.
    Launch the Jellyfin installer. If you receive a Windows Defender SmartScreen dialog, select More info and click Run anyway.
  3. 4.
    Follow the instructions provided by the installation wizard.
  4. 5.
    Click Close to exit the installer.
  5. 6.
    Start your Jellyfin server by doing any of the following:
    • Opening the Jellyfin server app from your Desktop.
    • Opening the Jellyfin tray app from the start menu.
      "Jellyfin Tray App" displayed in the Windows search.
You should now see a Jellyfin icon in your system tray.
Cursor hovering over the Jellyfin icon in the system tray.
Note
If the Windows security alert box appears, select both the private and public networks options, and then click Allow access to allow connections through the firewall.
To install the Jellyfin server on macOS:
  1. 2.
    Download the latest package file.
    Arrow pointing to the latest installer download hyperlink.
  2. 3.
    Open the downloaded .dmg file.
  3. 4.
    Drag the Jellyfin package to the Applications folder.
    Dragging Jellyfin icon to the Applications folder.
  4. 5.
    In Finder
    , navigate to the Applications folder and launch Jellyfin. If you receive a confirmation dialog, click Open.
    "Open" button highlighted.
You should now see a Jellyfin icon in your menu bar.
Jellyfin menu bar icon and its options.
Note
In this section, Ubuntu 22.04.1 LTS distribution is used as an example.
To install the Jellyfin server on Linux:
  1. 1.
    Open Terminal.
  2. 2.
    Execute the Jellyfin installation script with this command:
    curl https://repo.jellyfin.org/install-debuntu.sh | sudo bash
  3. 3.
    Press Enter to confirm the installation.
  4. 4.
    Once the process is finished, check whether the Jellyfin service is active by running:
    sudo systemctl status jellyfin
    Terminal output showing that the Jellyfin service is active and running.

Accessing the Jellyfin web interface

After installing and launching Jellyfin, you can begin configuring your server through its web interface.
  1. 1.
    Open your internet browser and visit the following address: http://localhost:8096
  2. 2.
    Follow the instructions provided by the initial configuration wizard.
  3. 3.
    On the Setup your media libraries screen, click Next without adding any media folders.
    "Next" button highlighted without media libraries added.
    You will find instructions for importing media libraries in the Add media libraries section below.
  4. 4.
    Ensure to select the Allow remote connections to this server option when prompted.
    "Allow remote connections to this server" checkbox selected.
  5. 5.
    Complete the initial setup and click Finish.
Your Jellyfin server is now active.

Add media libraries

To add a media library to the server, you need to guide Jellyfin to where your digital content is located on the system. Jellyfin will then scan the added folders and automatically display all of the compatible files on your server.
Note
This section uses a Windows device as an example, but the process is identical on macOS and Linux. The only difference will be the path structure of the media folder directory.
To add media files stored locally on your device, follow these steps:
  1. 1.
    Open your Jellyfin server's web interface and sign in to your account.
    Jellyfin login screen with username and password fields filled in.
  2. 2.
    In the upper-left corner, select the three-bar menu and click Dashboard.
    Clicking "Dashboard"
  3. 3.
    From the menu on the left, under Server, select Libraries and click Add media library.
    Libraries section of the Jellyfin dashboard.
  4. 4.
    In the new window, from the dropdown list, select the desired content type and enter a display name.
  5. 5.
    Click the plus (+) button next to Folders.
    Add (plus) button highlighted.
  6. 6.
    In the Folder field, enter the path to your media folder. Alternatively, you can navigate to it using the options underneath.
    Path to the "Movies" folder highlighted.
  7. 7.
    Click OK twice.
Note
For additional information regarding media library configuration, refer to the “Media” section under “Server Guide” on the Jellyfin documentation page.
"Media" section under "Server guide" highlighted.
Tip
Optionally, you can add shared network locations, like shared folders from your NAS, as media libraries. For more information, see the Add shared media section at the end of this article.

Secure access to your server

Before you start using your Jellyfin server, you should modify some of the settings to minimize the risk of unauthorized access.

Restricting remote connections

First, since the remote access option is enabled on the Jellyfin server, it is recommended to restrict the allowed remote connections only to the Meshnet IP range. You can do so by taking these steps:
  1. 1.
    In the Jellyfin web interface, select the three-bar menu and click Dashboard.
    Clicking "Dashboard"
  2. 2.
    From the menu on the left, under Advanced, select Networking.
    Arrow pointing to "Networking" section.
  3. 3.
    Scroll down to the Remote access settings section.
  4. 4.
    In the Remote IP address filter field, enter 100.64.0.0/10.
    100.64.0.0/10 subnet entered in the "Remote IP address filter" field.
  5. 5.
    Click Save to confirm the changes.

Creating new user accounts

If you plan on sharing access to your Jellyfin server with friends or family, it is a good idea to create unique accounts for each user. This way, everyone can keep track of their preferred content and your administrator account remains private.
  1. 1.
    On your Jellyfin web interface, select the three-bar menu and click Dashboard.
    Clicking "Dashboard"
  2. 2.
    From the menu on the left, under Server, select Users.
    Arrow pointing to the "Users" section.
  3. 3.
    Click the plus (+) button to add a new user.
  4. 4.
    In the Name and Password fields, enter the authentication details of the new account.
    "Name" and "Password" fields filled in.
  5. 5.
    Under Libraries, Choose which media the account can access. Alternatively, select Enable access to all libraries.
  6. 6.
    Click Save to finish.

Remotely access the Jellyfin server

After setting up the Jellyfin server and adding the desired media content, you can access the server remotely.

Method 1: Using Jellyfin Media Player

The first method to access media content stored on a Jellyfin server is by using Jellyfin’s media player software.
Windows
Android
iOS
macOS
Linux
Android TV
  1. 1.
    Download and install Jellyfin Media Player for Windows from Jellyfin’s GitHub page.
  2. 2.
    Copy the server device’s Nord name directly from the NordVPN app.
    Copying the Nord name from the NordVPN app.
  3. 3.
    Launch Jellyfin Media Player and click Add server.
  4. 4.
    In the Host field, paste the copied Nord name, followed by :8096. Click Connect. Example
    Jellyfin server Nord name and port number
  5. 5.
    Sign in to the user account created on the Jellyfin server.
All media content stored on the Jellyfin server is now accessible via the Jellyfin Media Player app.
  1. 1.
    Download and install Jellyfin for Android. You can get it from:
  2. 2.
    Copy the server device's Nord name directly from the NordVPN app.
    "Copy device's Nord name" option highlighted from the three-dot menu.
  3. 3.
    Launch Jellyfin.
  4. 4.
    In the Host field, paste the copied Nord name and tap Connect. Example
    Jellyfin server Nord name
  5. 5.
    Sign in to the user account created on the Jellyfin server.
All media content stored on the Jellyfin server is now accessible via the Jellyfin Media Player app.
  1. 1.
    Download and install Jellyfin Mobile for iOS from the App Store.
  2. 2.
    Copy the server device's Nord name directly from the NordVPN app.
    Nord name and the copy button highlighted in the NordVPN app.
  3. 3.
    Launch Jellyfin.
  4. 4.
    In the Server address field, paste the copied Nord name, followed by :8096, and tap go. Example
    Jellyfin server Nord name and port number
  5. 5.
    Sign in to the user account created on the Jellyfin server.
All media content stored on the Jellyfin server is now accessible via the Jellyfin Media Player app.
  1. 1.
    Download and install Jellyfin Media Player for macOS from Jellyfin’s GitHub page.
  2. 2.
    Copy the server device’s Nord name directly from the NordVPN app.
    "Copy device's Nord name" option selected.
  3. 3.
    Launch Jellyfin Media Player and click Add server.
  4. 4.
    In the Host field, paste the copied Nord name, followed by :8096. Click Connect. Example
    Jellyfin server Nord name and port number
  5. 5.
    Sign in to the user account created on the Jellyfin server.
All media content stored on the Jellyfin server is now accessible via the Jellyfin Media Player app.

Install Jellyfin Media Player

  1. 1.
    Download the Jellyfin Media Player installation file for your Linux distribution from Jellyfin’s GitHub page.
  2. 2.
    Right-click the downloaded file and select Open with other application.
    "Open with other application" option highlighted from the context menu.
  3. 3.
    Choose Software install and click Select.
    "Software install" option chosen and an arrow pointing to the "Select" button.
  4. 4.
    Click the Install button.
    "Install" button highlighted.
  5. 5.
    Enter your account password and click Authenticate.

Connect to the Jellyfin server

  1. 1.
    Copy the server device’s Nord name from the nordvpn meshnet peer list command output.
    Nord name of a Meshnet peer device highlighted in the terminal.
  2. 2.
    Launch Jellyfin Media Player and click Add server.
  3. 3.
    In the Host field, paste the copied Nord name, followed by :8096. Click Connect. Example
    Jellyfin server Nord name and port number
  4. 4.
    Sign in to the user account created on the Jellyfin server.
All media content stored on the Jellyfin server is now accessible via the Jellyfin Media Player app.
  1. 1.
    Download and install Jellyfin for Android TV. You can get it from:
  2. 2.
    Launch Jellyfin.
  3. 3.
    Select Enter server address.
  4. 4.
    Type in the Nord name of your Jellyfin server and select Connect. Example
    Nord name of the Jellyfin server underlined and 'Connect' button highlighted.
  5. 5.
    Choose Add account and log in to your Jellyfin account.
All media content stored on the Jellyfin server is now accessible via the Jellyfin app on your Android TV.
Content of the Jellyfin server visible on the Android TV app.

Method 2: Using an internet browser

You can also access the Jellyfin server through an internet browser, a method that works consistently across all devices using Meshnet.
  1. 1.
    Copy the server device’s Nord name directly from the NordVPN application.
  2. 2.
    Open your internet browser.
  3. 3.
    Paste the copied Nord name followed by :8096/ to the URL field and press Enter. Example secret.meerkat-altai.nord:8096/
  4. 4.
    In the User and Password fields, enter the login credentials of your Jellyfin account and click Sign in.
    Sign in screen of the Jellyfin media server with the login credentials entered.
All media content stored on the Jellyfin server is now accessible via the internet browser.

Optional: Add shared media

You may also add shared network storage locations as media libraries to your Jellyfin server. These locations can vary from shared folders of your Meshnet peers to a remote NAS. However, the storage medium must first be mounted on the server's system itself, only then you can import it to Jellyfin.
Windows
macOS
Linux
Instructions for mounting network shares on Windows can be found in the Mount a shared folder section of the "Configure and access shared folders on Windows" article.
After mounting the shared location, follow the steps from the Add media libraries section to import the content to your Jellyfin server.
The shared location is mounted automatically on macOS after you connect to it. To connect to a network share on macOS, refer to the Access shared folders section of the "Configure and access shared folders on macOS" article.
Once mounted, the path to the shared folder will be as follows:
/Volumes/<NameOfShare>
Example
/Volumes/MeshnetVideos
After mounting the shared location, follow the steps from the Add media libraries section to import the content to your Jellyfin server.
Note
Upon restarting your Mac, you'll need to reconnect to the network share. Until that is done, the media content will be visible but unplayable.
Instructions for mounting network shares on Linux can be found in the Mount a shared folder section of the "Configure and access shared folders on Linux" article.
After mounting the shared location, follow the steps from the Add media libraries section to import the content to your Jellyfin server.
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