Plex is perhaps the only all-in-one streaming platform after Kodi.
It is very easy to set up and offers a ton of content to users who know how to get what they want on Plex.
Because of that, Plex is now one of the most popular streaming platform choices for a lot of online users.
However, if you are unable to connect to the internet then all of your movies or other types of content mean nothing.
Encrypted and private connections have become more common than ever before.
However, if you have set up your Plex server in a way that it has no way to connect to the internet without going through a VPN first then there is a good chance that you will not get to see it access any of your stuff through the multiple layers of online security that VPN service provides you with.
In this guide, we will mention everything that people like you need to know for the purposes of getting your own Plex server online and streaming all of your content via your VPN.
In the end, you will not have to sacrifice any of your protection mechanisms to stream content from Plex.
How to route Plex through a VPN
You will have to perform a number of steps in order to get Plex working with a VPN service.
Here are those steps in order.
- First, you will have to somehow find a way to give your given Plex server a new and more importantly, static IP address
- Then you will have to note down a couple of Plex settings for future use.
- After that, you will have to enable the option of port forwarding on your WiFi router
- When that is done you will have to configure the settings for your VPN service so that it allows Plex unrestricted and uninhibited access to the official plex.tv source
When you are finished with all of the steps that we have mentioned above, you will have no trouble in connecting your own private and working Plex server to the internet and streaming content from the official app or even a good web browser from any location in the world.
The way you secure your Wifi home internet connection would not even matter.
If you did not guess it by now, the whole of this process is sometimes referred to as selective routing.
We think that if there is one powerful networking tool that you should know then selective routing is probably it.
We will also go into a bit more detail about the VPN service that you should use with Plex in order to keep things nice and easy on that front as well.
How to set up your own Plex server
This is how you do it.
First, you will need to make some small changes to your existing network in order to get started.
Before we list out the steps, you should know that you have to perform all of these steps directly on your own Plex media server that you use for streaming.
How to have a static IP address on your own Plex server?
Maybe you have not managed to do complete this step already.
But we are here to tell you that there is no getting around giving your own Plex server a working static IP address.
Once you have done so you should have no problems in setting up options such as port forwarding in a proper manner.
Moreover, once you do so, you will also ensure that any kind of modifications that you will make to your current WiFi router or to your default VPN configuration would continue to work properly even after you have rebooted your machine.
- In order to set a brand new IP address for your server, you need to first go the Control Panel section if you are using the Microsoft Windows platform.
- Then you should perform a simple left click on the option View Network Status and Tasks.
You can find this option in the category labeled Network and Internet.
- After that, take a look at the sidebar.
From there need to click the link that says Change Adapter Settings.
- After that, you need to perform a right-click on your machine’s primary internet network connection.
When that is done, you need to click the option that says Properties from the menu.
- Now you should highlight the option that says Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP4).
After that, you should click the button that says Properties.
In the end, you need to choose a static IP address that you will use for your own Plex server.
So what you do now is that you fill out all the information in the boxes for DNS and gateway.
After you have done so you need to click the button that says OK.
Now, this is where we need you to take no of the current IP address that you have input.
If you follow this guide till the end then you will need it in order to properly set up your settings for the VPN service.
One other thing that we would like to mention about a reasonable static IP address is that you should always have it to some value which lies outside of your WiFi router’s own DHCP range.
To take an example, if you have a WiFi router that is able to hand out IP addresses within the range 192.168.1.254 to 192.168.1.150 then you should choose an IP address that goes something like 192.168.1.100.
That should provide you with a bit more safety.
Now, you should also know that whenever your WiFi router assigns you an IP address which is already taken by some other device connected to the same network then it, in most cases, causes a bad conflict.
Hence, you need to make sure that you double-check all of your WiFi router’s DHCP settings.
Only after that should you think about assigning a new static IP address.
Moreover, when you are in the process of selecting a static DNS server, make sure that you use a nice mix of different numbers.
To take an example, you could make use of your router’s initial number which is 126.96.36.199.
This should forward all of your DNS lookups to your ISP or internet service provider.
Now, as a backup option, you should think about using a secure and free Google server either at 188.8.131.52 and/or 184.108.40.206.
When that is done, you are mostly finished setting up your new static IP address.
Note down some of your new Plex settings.
You need to do some things before you begin configuring the settings for your VPN service.
Only after that should you think about passing your Plex traffic to your own server in a direct manner.
First, you will somehow need to figure out a way to connect to your Plex server via the official web interface.
You will need that if you want to confirm your new settings.
Remember that you can always access the official web client for Plex via this simple link.
On the other hand, you can also right-click your Plex tray icon and then select the option that says Open Plex.
This option should appear as an item in the resulting menu.
Now, once you have opened the console you should click the link that says Settings and appears slightly to the left side of the screen.
Then you need to click the option, again, on the sidebar that is on the left that says Remote Access.
When you are done with that you need to note down the exact port that your Plex media player makes use of in order to initiate the remote access.
Of course, you will need to have some remote access in order to use Plex.
You should also have your new static IP address written down somewhere close by.
You will need both of these things in order to set up your WiFi router in the coming steps.
Our research shows that in the majority of the cases, your port should be 32400.
At this point, you should have yourself a static IP address for your own Plex server.
You should also have OpenVPN installed on your system.
Moreover, you should also have sure knowledge of the correct port settings.
If all of the above is true in your case you should move forward to set up your new local network.
Let’s see how to do that.
How to set up a local network
This is the step where you are basically trying to tell your WiFi router where it should send all incoming Plex server connections.
So in your case, you should set your router so that it uses the static IP address which you had set up for your own Plex server.
How to enable port forwarding on your WiFi router?
Well, first you will have to form a connection with your router’s web interface.
Our research shows that for most of our readers, the two links above should work.
When you have clicked the link you need to use your relevant password and username combination to log in to your router.
If you have managed to log in to your WiFi router, you first need to find the options or settings related to port forwarding.
To take an example, given that you have a Linksys WiFi router, you should be able to find the settings for your router’s port forwarding feature under the tab Security which appears in the sidebar on the left-hand side.
After that, you should use the tab labeled Apps and Gaming.
Of course, if you have a router that is different then the above steps will change a little bit.
Now, after you have found out the settings for the port forwarding feature of your WiFi router, you should fill out all the information with the information that you noted down for your own Plex server.
The meaningless text box here is that of Application Name.
The only reason it is there is to make it slightly easier for people to correctly identify exactly which application they are working with.
So you are free to set that option to any value that you like.
But of course, the sensible Application Name that you should use is Plex.
Then there is the text box for External Port.
This is the number that tells your WiFi router the exact place where it should look for all of your Plex traffic in the online world.
You are, again, free to set this text box to any value that you like.
But take care that you do not use any reserved numbers.
And they are more than a few in number.
For the most convenience, use something along the lines of 32401.
Then you should need to set up Internal Port.
This is the option that tells the user’s WiFi router the place where it should send the user’s Plex traffic on the Local Area Network or LAN.
If you followed this guide so far, you should have the value for this Internal Port when you set up the settings for your Plex server.
As mentioned back then as well, the default value for this internal port textbox is 32400.
Then you should fill out the details in the Protocol text box.
It will decide which kind of user traffic should it allow for the purposes of being forwarded.
You should either set it to Both or TCP.
However, you should know that you only need TCP.
Then there is the Device IP box.
It has the responsibility of specifying the static IP address of your very own Plex server.
If you have followed this guide correctly, you should have this number near you.
Refer to the section about setting up the Plex server if you did not do that on the first pass.
Then look at the box that says Enabled.
This would allow the user to enable and disable port forwarding for things like Plex.
You need to make sure that it is set to ON.
When all of the above is taken care of you should have no problems in clicking the button that says OK.
After that, you should exit the WiFi router’s web interface.
How to set up your VPN
At this point, you should have set up your router properly in terms of setting the forward port option.
If you have done that then you should have no problems in setting up a VPN service as well.
The VPN service that we recommend to use with Plex is not a single one.
While it would be very easy for us to name a single good VPN for Plex, but the fact is there is none.
Different Plex users have different machines and different requirements.
And that means the best anyone can do or should do is to tell the user briefly about the best that the industry has to offer.
Click here to read our guide about the best VPN service providers available in the world right now.
We hope we do not have to say too much about why one should use a VPN service.
You should use a VPN service if you want to surf the web with complete anonymity.
If you do not want slowdowns or difficult config files or difficult installation procedures then go with a VPN service that is on our list of best VPNs in the world.
Remember, a good VPN service is the one that does not log your information.
Each and every VPN service on our list of best VPNs does not log any of your data.
In fact, all of them operate on a 100 percent zero-log policy give or take.
You will have to read a bit more about them to know more details on how much information they log and for what purpose.
A good VPN would also make sure that your online connection is genuinely private.
With a good VPN on your side, you will never have to worry about your internet service provider or any other agent spying on any of the stuff that you do in the online world.
If that is not worth getting a VPN subscription then we do not know what is.
For the purposes of this guide, we will show you how to set up Plex for a VPN like IPVanish.
- First, go to the official website of IPVanish and download the VPN app file for your web browser.
- Install it on your machine and write down the app’s pathname.
- You will use it to edit one of your configuration files.
- Our research shows that the default path is C:\Program Files\IPVanish.
- You should not change this location if you can.
- Restart your PC after your IPVanish install.
- Then go to the pathname of where your IPVanish is installed.
- It should be C:\Program Files\IPVanish.
- We will also need you to locate the relevant OpenVPN directory so that you can edit a specific file.
- So go ahead and open up the OpenVPN directory.
- Then select the IPVanish.config file and perform a right-click on it.
- Then choose open.
You should make use of the Windows Notepad application to open the IPVanish.config file.
- Once you do that, you should open it for editing.
- Then you should add the text ‘route plex.tv 255.255.255.0 192.168.1.1 right at the end of your opened config file.
- After that we want you to save all the modifications.
- Start IPVanish.
- Form a connection with a good VPN server.
- Because you edited the IPVanish.config file your Plex traffic will not get any attention from your VPN app.
In other words, your Plex traffic will connect to the internet without your VPN.
If you do not have IPVanish subscription and don’t want one then follow the steps below.
How to install and then configure OpenVPN
- Download the installer for OpenVPN from the official website
- Then open the file.
- Grant it run permission
- Start the installation wizard
- Click through all the default values
- Click Finish once you reach the end
- At this point, you will need to search Google for a guide on how to set OpenVPN up.
The official website has instructions for that as well.
So go read up on those and then connect to a free OpenVPN tunnel that is located in the US.
- Once you are done with step 7 we want you to right-click the official tray icon for OpenVPN.
- Then click on the menu item that says Connect.
You should see a message that will inform you about how OpenVPN has enabled you to establish a VPN tunnel.
The message will also tell you that OpenVPN has actually changed your public IP address.
Know that once you have connected your OpenVPN tray icon should change its color to green.
Remember, that will only happen if there is a successful connection.
How to set up a mobile device
This is the method that you would want to follow if you are one of those people who do not want anything to do with setting up different things on your streaming device.
If you have your own Plex server then it should have no problems in making sure that it is able to browse the vast world of the internet completely anonymously.
However, when we are talking about various streaming media content, then expect things to work pretty much as usual.
It does not matter what type of Plex client you are using.
You could be using Plex on your,
- Streaming stick
- Smart TV
- Android tablet
All of them should connect seamlessly to your own Plex server regardless of the fact if you are using a VPN service on your mobile device or not.