I run my Plex Media Server on a Debian VM. I think this is the easiest way to run a Plex Media Server and I prefer it over the Docker container version. I’m using a Debian Buster Proxmox template to set up the base VM quickly.

Plex’s installation article provides detailed instructions for the Plex installation on various operating systems. For Debian it’s straight-forward, just execute the following steps to add the Plex repository and install the Plex Media Server:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install apt-transport-https ca-certificates gnupg
curl https://downloads.plex.tv/plex-keys/PlexSign.key | sudo apt-key add -
echo "deb https://downloads.plex.tv/repo/deb public main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/plexmediaserver.list
sudo apt update
sudo apt install plexmediaserver

Check with sudo systemctl status plexmediaserver.service whether the Plex service is running. You can access the Plex UI at http://<PLEX_SERVER_IP>:32400/web and follow the instructions for the initial setup.

The logs are written to /var/lib/plexmediaserver/Library/Application Support/Plex Media Server/Logs/. In case that the Plex Media Server is not working, check the main log file Plex Media Server.log for error messages.

The “Not authorized” error

During the initial setup, you might see the error message

Not authorized - You do not have access to this server

on the Plex UI. The problem seems to be that the initial setup cannot be done from a different subnet. So if your Plex Media Server runs in a different VLAN, you’ll face the above error message. The setup has to be completed from localhost or using an SSH tunnel. Since I’m running Plex on a server without GUI, I’m using an SSH tunnel to accomplish this. Execute

ssh -L 32400:localhost:32400 user@<PLEX_SERVER_IP>

to establish the tunnel and expose the Plex UI on port 32400 of your local machine. Now you can access the remote Plex Media Server in the local browser at http://localhost:32400/web and finish the initial setup. Once that’s done, you can exit the SSH tunnel and access the Plex Media Server at http://<PLEX_SERVER_IP>:32400/web.