Plex Cloud

March 10, 2017

So I've used Plex for many years, locally with my own built NAS using FreeNas. In this post I will explain how I've come to upload my library to the cloud and install Plex on a VPS.

Why not PlexCloud. Although I think it's a great addition, I'm looking at having more control over my install, using a VPS allows me to share and transcode my library to more people at the same time (PlexCloud will later limit it at 3) meaning I can scale my VPS up or down depending on demand from my friends and family. I get to control all aspects of the server, so although PlexCloud is more convenient and managed for you I prefer to have better control over convenience.

These are the steps I took:

First I got a Google Drive account, they cost $10 per month per user with a minimum of 5 users to get Unlimited Storage. I like the performance of it, but I am also testing an Amazon Cloud account that costs about $60 per year to see if it works the same. I do like Google Drive and I can justify the cost by splitting it up with 5 other family members/friends if we all pitch in it comes in at a reasonable cost. Look at it this way if you get 5 people to pay the 10 each month each one of them can get an Unlimited Storage drive and can use it to store personal files as well as a Plex Library. I think it makes perfect sense.

I used rClone to upload my local library to the remote storage and I also use it to mount the remote as a local folder for Plex to use.

Then I got a server at a cloud provider I used Vultr, for no other reason than it was the first one that came to mind, you can use any other provider, and test their reliability, Vultr works well for my needs.

Once the server was ready I installed Plex Media Server using the rClone mounted folder as the media source and set it up so that I could connect my Plex clients to it.

I let it run to scan the library, and so far it's been working great, I have fast reliable access to my library from anywhere, my family and friends can also access it, and most of the times I'm not even transcoding anything, I'm streaming the original quality file direct to my client.

Now the setup you get will depend on how you need to use it, at the moment I have a full Plex Server but since I chose a small VPS I'm limited in the amount of transcodes and bandwith, but like I said I have the ability to scale up or down at any point in time, even if just for a few hours. I'm planning on scripting the whole thing so I can do it fairly fast and easy.

Vultr allows you to upgrade the server, only requiring a reboot, but you can't downgrade, and this is why I want to get it scripted so it's all automatic, meaning since I used Vultr's Blockstorage to store the Plex library, the steps to automating it are:

  • Stop Plex Media Server
  • Detach Blockstorage
  • Launch another VPS
  • Attach the Blockstorage
  • Install all the software along with Plex Media Server
  • Symlink the library back to the Blockstorage
  • Start Plex Media Server

Taking these steps will allow you to go up or down independent of the cloud provider support for it, as you will be killing and starting up a new VPS.

And since the library is the same everything remains as it was.

I will write some detailed tutorials on how I did it.

Posted: Mar 10, 2017