Whether you want to run your Plex Media Server on your every-day computer, you’re looking to use a dedicated computer, or you want to run it on a NAS device, you’ll need to make sure that the computer/NAS is compatible and that it will support what you want to do.
If you’re in doubt about anything before you go to get a system for running Plex Media Server, our forums are a great resource for discussions and advice.
Related Page: Plex Forums
Plex Media Server is compatible with:
- OS X / macOS
- NVIDIA SHIELD
- Netgear Nighthawk X10 router
- Many popular NAS devices such as Drobo, Netgear, Synology, and more
Running Plex Media Server on a desktop computer is a very popular option. This allows you to choose your operating system and you have flexibility in your computer components.
You can run Plex Media Server on a desktop computer running a number of operating systems.
Tip!: You’ll generally want to ensure that you’ve installed all “critical” type updates or service packs for your current operating system.
When running on Windows, the following operating system versions are supported. Minimum support varies, depending on whether you’re installing the 32-bit or 64-bit version of Plex Media Server.
- 32-bit: Windows 7 SP1 or newer / Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 or newer
- 64-bit: Windows 8 or newer / Windows Server 2012 or newer
Plex Media Server supports macOS 10.11 El Capitan or newer.
We have official Plex Media Server releases available for the following Linux Distributions:
- CentOS 7 or newer
- Debian 8 or newer
- Fedora 27 or newer
- SUSE 15 or newer
- Ubuntu 16.04 or newer
Plex Media Server releases are available for FreeBSD 11.2 or newer.
Note: If running in a FreeBSD “jail”, you’ll want to make sure that VNET is enabled. (For instance, FreeNAS has instructions.)
CPU requirements can vary dramatically, depending on how exactly you want to use Plex, which particular Plex apps you’ll be using, properties of your media, how many people will be using Plex at the same time, and more.
As a minimum, we recommend:
- Intel Core i3 (or equivalent) or faster
Note: While Plex Media Server can install and run on a computer with a slower processor, you might not have a very good experience, depending on your usage.
Generally, any modern computer should meet that minimum. However, if you will have multiple people accessing content simultaneously and you’ll sometimes require transcoding of content during playback, then you may well need something faster than the minimum.
If your computer’s CPU is not powerful enough to keep up with transcoding your media, you will notice pausing or buffering as the app waits for the server to catch up. We have additional information to help you figure out what kind of processor you might need for your own particular usage.
Related Page: What kind of CPU do I need for my Server?
Related Page: Why is my video stream buffering?
In general, Plex Media Server doesn’t require large amounts of RAM. 2GB of RAM is typically more than sufficient and some installs (particularly Linux-based installs) can often happily run with even less. Of course, more RAM won’t hurt you and will certainly be helpful if you’re also doing other things on the computer.
Running a Plex Media Server on a NAS device is a popular option as it allows for an all-in-one device that not only runs the server, but also stores lots of content. However, most NAS devices have some limitations when it comes to running a Plex Media Server, so it may not be the best choice for everyone.
Related Page: NAS Devices
Supported NAS Devices
Plex Media Server is compatible with a broad range of devices from a large number of NAS manufacturers. However, not every model from every manufacturer is compatible. We have a spreadsheet listing compatible models and basic information about them.
Tip!: If you’re in the market to buy a NAS to run Plex Media Server, make sure it’s compatible before you purchase it.
Related Page: NAS Compatibility List
Should You Run Plex Media Server on a NAS?
As mentioned earlier, running Plex Media Server on a NAS device can be a great choice for some users, but it may not be appropriate for everyone.
By far, the biggest limitation that most users will encounter is that most consumer NAS devices don’t have very powerful CPUs. In some cases, the device will run on an ARM-based processor that’s not capable of transcoding content at all. Other times, it may run on an Intel processor that’s technically capable of transcoding, but the processor may be too slow to transcode fast enough for most uses.
We have a detailed article to help you decide whether or not it’s the right choice.
Tip!: Before choosing to run Plex Media Server on your NAS, make sure that it’s appropriate for your own particular usage situation.
Related Page: Is Plex Media Server on a NAS Right for Me?