How to set up a Plex media server and access it remotely

Discover how to configure a personal media library using the Plex media server on Windows, macOS, and Linux, and access it remotely over Meshnet.


Plex is a powerful media server software tool that allows you to organize, watch, and access your personal media files from various devices. You can use Plex to conveniently manage various types of media — for example, videos, pictures, and music.

Self-hosting a media server, such as Plex, can be empowering because you are in full control of your files and don’t have to upload them to the cloud. However, if you want to access your media while away from home, you would need to resort to setting up port forwarding. While opening up ports in your firewall may not be too difficult, it can leave your home network vulnerable to malicious attacks.

With the use of Meshnet, you can connect your Plex media server and all client devices to a single virtual network. This configuration allows you to remotely access your media from any device without exposing the server to outside connections.

This article contains instructions on how you can set up a media server using Plex on desktop devices and use Meshnet for secure remote connections.

Before you begin

To use Plex as a media server, you are required to have a Plex account. You can create a free account on the Plex sign-up page. Alternatively, you can use your Google, Facebook, or Apple account.

Installing Plex media server

First, you need to install the Plex software on the device that you will use as the media server.

To install the Plex media server on Windows:

  1. Download the Plex media server installer for Windows.

  2. Follow the instructions provided by the installation wizard.

  3. Click Finish to complete the installation and launch the Plex media server.

Access the Plex dashboard

Once the Plex media server has been installed, you can start the setup process by visiting its web interface.

  1. Open your internet browser and navigate the following URL: localhost:32400/web/

  2. Select your preferred login method and log in to your Plex account.

  3. On the How Plex works page, click Got it!.

  4. Enter a name for your Plex media server, clear the Allow me to access my media outside my home checkbox, and click Next.

  5. Remove the pre-configured media libraries, if there are any, by clicking the X button next to them. Click Next.

  6. Select Done.

Adding media libraries

Upon finishing the server setup, you can freely navigate and customize your media server. Currently, you have not imported any media content to your server. You can choose to import locally stored media or shared media, such as shared folders.

Add locally stored media

To add media content that is stored directly on the server:

  1. Open your Plex media server web interface.

  2. On the left, under Manage, click Libraries, and select Add library.

  3. Select the type of media for this library. You can enter a custom name or leave the default one. Click Next.

  4. Click Browse for media folder.

  5. In the Add folder pop-up window, select the folder containing your media files. Alternatively, you can enter the folder’s path. Click Add.

  6. Click Add library.

You should see a new entry for your added media location on the Libraries page.


If content from your media library is unavailable after adding it, restart your computer.

Add shared media

Aside from locally stored media, you can have network shares from your network-attached storage (NAS) devices or shared folders from your Meshnet peer devices. Media stored on such mediums must first be mounted to the operating system and only then can they be imported to the Plex media server.

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 drive, follow the steps from the Add locally stored media section to import your remote media files to your Plex media server.

Enable automatic library updates

If you regularly expand your media library, manually initiating a library scan each time can be tiresome. To avoid this, you can enable automatic library updates.

  1. Open your Plex media server web interface.

  2. On the left, under Settings, click Library.

  3. Select the Scan my library automatically checkbox.

  4. Scroll down and click Save changes.

Your media library should be updated automatically each time there are any changes to its content.

Allowing Meshnet connections

Since Meshnet IP addresses use a different subnet than standard local area networks (LANs), devices in your Meshnet running Plex applications cannot automatically discover the media server. However, Plex allows you to specify custom URLs that are used for server discovery. You can use this option to provide your Meshnet details and enable connections to your media server over Meshnet.

  1. Open your Plex media server web interface.

  2. On the left, under Settings, select Network.

  3. Click Show advanced.

  4. Clear the Enable relay checkbox, to use direct connections to your server.

  5. In the Custom server access URLs, enter the following string replacing <NordName> and <MeshnetIP> with your media server’s Nord name and Meshnet IP address, respectively: http://<NordName>:32400/,http://<MeshnetIP>:32400/ Example http://secret.meerkat-himalayas.nord:32400/,

  6. Click Save changes.

Accessing your Plex media server over Meshnet

With your Plex media server fully set up, you can access it over Meshnet to watch your media content remotely.

Method 1: Using an internet browser

A convenient method to access your Plex media server from any device without installing additional software is via an internet browser.

  1. Copy the Nord name of your Plex media server from the NordVPN app.

  2. Open your internet browser.

  3. In the URL field, paste the copied Nord name followed by :32400/ and press Enter. Example secret.meerkat-himalayas.nord:32400/

  4. Log in to your Plex account.

Upon logging in, select your media library from the menu on the left. All of the content from the selected library should appear.

Method 2: Using the Plex app

Another way to access your Plex media server is by using the Plex app on each device.

Install Plex for Windows

To install Plex on Windows:

  1. Visit the Plex downloads page.

  2. Open the downloaded installer file.

  3. Follow the installation wizard instructions to install Plex.

Connect to your media server

After installing the Plex app:

  1. Launch Plex.

  2. At the top of the page, click Sign in and select Sign in once more.

  3. Log in to your Plex account and close the browser window.

  4. Select the preferences for your media and click Finish setup.

  5. From the menu on the left, click More.

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