What is Plex?
Plex is a renowned streaming service/media player system that stores, organizes, and enables users to stream their favorite TV shows/movies on connected devices. Similar to Kodi, Plex gives you an attractive interface to browse or search your shows to find something to watch.
What sets Plex apart from Kodi is the ability to stream your own content from your computer to any device you own and even share that library with others.
Why Set Up Port Forwarding?
Not everyone has the same router settings and each router is configured with its own preset port settings. This blocks certain traffic from flowing in and out of your network. To make the most of Plex and get direct access to Plex’s servers, you will need to set up port forwarding on your router.
Learn more about Port Forwarding.
Manual Port Forwarding
You can manually port forward Plex Media Server via your router. The process is fairly straightforward, but it takes more work than usual. Here’s the process to manually configure port forwarding:
Your Server’s Local IP Address Must be Static
You must know where you want the ports to be forwarded, meaning you must know the local network IP address of the computer running your Plex Media Server. You want the local IP address to remain the same as to not configure the ports each time you wish to access Plex Media Server. Here are two ways to do that:
1. Reserve the IP in your router
You can manually assign your router to pick the same IP address when you connect to the computer.
2. Assign a Static IP on the Computer
By assigning a static IP, your router IP will remain the same without you having to manually configure the IP address each time you connect to the Plex Media Server. This is not necessarily the best method as your router may automatically assign that same IP address to another device that connects to your network, which will cause an IP conflict, so be sure to assign the IP outside the DHCP range specified by your router. Learn more about a static IP address.
How to Forward Ports on Your Router
To begin with the port forwarding process for Plex Media Server, you’ll need the following information with you:
1. WAN/External Port: Although you can use any available port in the 20000 to 50000 range, port number 32400 (TCP) is the default.
2. LAN/Internal Port: This will be 32400.
3. IP Address: This is the local IP Address of the computer running the Plex Media Server.
Note: Although you can choose any valid WAN/external port number of your choice between 20000 to 50000, the port number for the LAN/internal port must always be 32400 (TCP).
How to Set the Plex Media Server to use the Port
After you’ve configured port forwarding on your router, you’ll need to explain to your Plex Media Server how to use it. Here’s the process:
1. Open the Plex Web App and login with your credentials
2. Head over to Settings > Server > Remote Access
3. Click the Show Advanced option to see more options
4. Enable the Manually specify public port checkbox
5. Enter the WAN/External Port previously used
6. Use the Retry or Apply button
How to Manually Port Forward on Multiple Servers
If you are trying to access more than one Plex Media Server on your local network, with port forwarding, you can set up Remote Access for all the servers.
The entire process is fairly straightforward, except that you will need to choose a unique external port number for each server. Here’s the process:
- Opt for a unique port number for each of your Plex Media Servers
- Keep in mind that you must use a different WAN/external port for each server connection you wish to have. For example, you can use ports 32401, 32402, etc.
- Now forward that selected ‘unique external port number’ to LAN/internal port 32400
Issues You Might Face When Configuring Port Forwarding
When configuring port forwarding, you might come across a few issues. Here are some of them:
A Double NAT is when you connect a router behind another router. By doing so, you end up creating two different private networks. For example, connecting your TP-Link router behind a modem/router that’s issued by your ISP will create a Double NAT.
Learn more about Double NAT
Detecting double NATs is simple. Head over to the ‘What is my IP’ page and check your IP address. Now head over the settings of your router to which your computer is connected (you want to look for the IPv4 address). If the two IP match, you’re not in a double NAT situation.
If the two IPs do not match, you are probably in a double NAT situation.
To fix double NAT, you need to put your device in Bridge Mode or via port forwarding your device. Learn more about the process here.
IPs Being Blocked
Some of your devices may have a firewall running that might block your network connection required for streaming Plex TV/Plex Media Server. To bypass this issue, you can always use a VPN.
Learn more about a Plex VPN
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why can’t the Plex app find or connect to my Plex Media Server?
If you’re facing trouble connecting to the Plex app and access Plex Media Server, ensure that:
- You have the latest version of the Plex Media Server
- You’ve signed into the Plex Media Server using your Plex account
- Your app is signed in and connected to your account
Restarting the app or your device usually solves the issue.
2. Is it safe to port forward Plex?
Yes, port forwarding Plex is safe. Just make sure your internet connection is secured with AES 256-bit encryption for optimal online privacy and security.
3. Do you need a VPN for Plex?
If you’re unable to make full use of your Plex account (meaning you can’t access TV shows/movies in your region), then a Plex VPN will be a fruitful option. It’ll help you gain instant access to content that’s unavailable in your region.
4. Is port forwarding safe?
Yes, port forwarding is safe. Millions of people port forward their devices for remote access to devices and services they are unable to access in their region.
Learn more about is Port Forwarding Safe?