Using a dedicated device like a Synology NAS drive to host the Plex media library offers a lot of benefits than using a Mac. In addition to being able to set up a large amount of low-cost storage and freeing up the desktop or laptop from workload, a Plex setup with a NAS drive offers features such as 4K video coding, the ability to record TV shows free and much more. Read with our detailed guide on how to configure Plex on a Synology NAS drive.
If you are unfamiliar with the idea of using a service such as Plex for your media library, the great benefits are that it allows you to store and stream your personal collection of TV shows, movies, music and other media to almost any one device (in a variety of file formats). It includes Mac, iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Windows, Android, game consoles and more. It also lets you share your media library with others and even record for free via TV with a compatible tuner.
Whether you're already a Plex user or thinking to jump in for the first time, follow to get started with Plex on a Synology NAS drive (if you already have a Synology NAS device, jump below for how you install Plex).
8 + specs
For this tutorial, I used Synology's DS218 + NAS. This is a two-bay NAS device that is compatible with both 3.5-inch SATA HDDs as well as 2.5-inch SATA HDD and SSDs. If you do not already have one, remember that most of Synology's NAS drives are shipped without storage. Seagate offers HDDs designed for NAS devices with their IronWolf drives, and Western Digital does the same with its red HDD series.
Synology DS218 + supports up to 16TB of storage with its two drive locations. If you want a NAS drive with greater storage potential, the DS918 + offers four bays that support up to 64TB of storage. Synology also offers NAS devices with eight routes and more, but these are usually beyond what anyone will need for a home media server.
DS218 + has a nice balance between price and functionality that comes in at around $ 300 (before storage). It includes a dual-core Intel Celeron processor, 2 GB RAM (expandable to 6 GB), and supports 4K H.264 / H.265 online transcoding via Video Station and DS video.
To learn more and compare Synology's NAS selection check out the company's website here as well as the Amazon store.
We begin by covering how we get started with a brand new Synology NAS drive. If you've already got up and running, skip to step 2 or the step you're ready for with the links below.
How to configure Plex Media Server on a Synology NAS drive
- Configure Synology NAS drive
- Install Plex Media Server on the Synology NAS drive
- Connect Synology NAS with your Plex account
- How to load you upload media to the Synology NAS drive
- Create Plex libraries to access all of the media from Synology NAS
1. To configure the Synology NAS drive
Start by connecting the Synology NAS drive to your router with an Ethernet cable. Connect the power cable and power to the drive (it may take a few minutes before it connects to the Internet and is ready for configuration).
On the browser head of http://find.synology.com or download the DS, the iOS app will configure the NAS drive.
How to view the process online:
Click on connect to get started. Follow the instructions to set up your account.
Then choose how you want your NAS to receive updates.
Follow the instructions to set up a Synology QuickConnect account. You can drag the shortcut to your desktop or another folder for quick access to your NAS.
Then you can install Synology's recommended software (called packages) or skip this step.
Select whether you want to share the Synology device's network location and you're in!
Now you see the main Synology NAS drive screen in the browser window.
2. Install Plex Media Server on the Synology NAS drive
When the Synology NAS is configured, we install the Plex Media Server software. At the top left corner, click Package Center .
Use the search box at the top to find Plex (the results will not be filled out automatically, so hits return after entering "Plex") Click  Install . When the installation is complete, see Open click on it.
3. Connect Synology NAS to your Plex account
Now you see the ability to authorize Synology NAS with your Plex account.
At this time, you can log in with Plex credentials if you are already a user, if not go to Plex.tv to create one new account. Then come back to sign here to complete the Synology NAS configuration.
You will see a small description of how Plex Media Server works, and you will be able to name the NAS drive.
Be sure to check "Allow me access the media outside my home" for remote access.
Then you can create your first Plex library, click Add the library button.
Select the media type for your first library and click Next (you can create additional libraries later).
Now click Browse media folder .
already has media on the Synology NAS, navigate to the current folder and select it in the Plex configuration (if you haven't saved media on the NAS yet, then continue to cover how you add it in a bit).
You can add more libraries now or click Next to move to complete the original configuration.
You can follow Get the Plex Apps button to download the Plex client application for other devices like Mac, iOS , Apple TV and more.
Click Done to complete the Synology NAS configuration as your Plex Media Server.
When your NAS is successfully configured as your Plex Media Server, you will see it in the upper left corner with a green lock icon. If you already have media on your NAS and successfully configured and linked a new Plex library to the correct folder on the NAS drive, you will see the media begin to populate in the Plex library.
4. To upload media to the Synology NAS drive
If you have not yet stored your media on the Synology NAS drive, then follow the steps below.
Pull the Synology NAS interface back up into the browser. Click File Station on the left.
You will notice a location named Plex that was created automatically during the installation of Plex Media Server on the Synology NAS drive. Click on it, and then right-click the empty window on the right to create a new folder.
Enter a folder name and click Ok  (repeat the same steps to create folders for other media such as Music, Photos, and more.)
Find the media you want to upload (from Mac, external hard drive or elsewhere). Drag and drop it into the folders you created under Plex on the Synology NAS drive as shown below.
You can check the status of your uploads by clicking the up arrow in the right corner of the Synology window.
When you go back to Plex, you should start watching your media populations (as long as Synology folder locations match what you used when setting up Plex libraries
For a smoother experience, head to  Settings in Plex (top left sidebar) and click Library By default, Scan my library is automatically turned off, but you may want to turn it on for Plex to update the changes on the Synology NAS as soon as possible.
5. Create Plex libraries to access all your media from Synology NAS
To create your first Plex libraries (or create more), you can go back to the Plex Home screen. Hold the left sidebar over Libraries and click the "+" icon.
Follow the instructions to add a new library. Select a media type, and then click Next.
Click Browse for media folder.
Select the appropriate folder to match where your media is stored on the Synology NAS drive.
When you have it, click Add.
The last step, click Add Library in the lower right corner.
Now you see the last library added to the Plex home screen on the sidebar, as well as in the other Plex client apps.
For more help, be sure to check out Plex's support articles and forums. Synology also has great resources to delve deeper into the NAS drive.
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