OpenMediaVault is a pretty amazing piece of free software that lets you install other applications like Plex Media Server to create a robust network attached storage device for much cheaper than you would be able to buy one for as you can install this on just about any old pc you have laying around.
NOTE: Plex and Transmission aren’t being supported any longer by their developers. While they may continue to work, you won’t be able to get any update/support from the developers if you run into issues. I’ll be making a video with OMV5 and Docker in the near future that should allow for longer-term support.
First things first, here’s what you’ll need:
- A x86 or x64 pc. Basically anything Intel or AMD
- A network connection, preferably Ethernet
- A USB drive to install Openmediavault
- Additional hard drive (internal or external is fine) for your file storage
Next, download OMV4.1.22 from here: openmediavault_4.1.22-amd64.iso
Use a program like Etcher to copy the iso file you just downloaded to your USB drive.
Plug the USB drive into your old computer and power on the computer. Make sure that you boot from the USB drive to start the installation. You might have to go into the computer’s BIOS to change the setting to boot from the USB.
The installation process is pretty straight forward as it will just ask you to select your location and language on each of the screens.
After that you’ll be asked to setup the network interface. Just select the network card in your computer and click next.
Next, you’ll give your server a name. I named mine “hulk” but you can name yours whatever you’d like. Next, you’ll be asked to assign a domain name. Since you most likely won’t be attaching this to a .com address, you can use something like “hulk.local” (without the quotes, of course).
Then you’ll select your country and will then select the server closest to you in order to download updates for the system.
Once the install is done, you’ll click the button to acknowledge that the process is done and then you’ll remove the USB and the system will reboot.
Now you can plugin your external hard drive if you have one.
When the reboot is complete, you’ll just see a black terminal on your screen. Now it’s time to go to your main pc (probably the one you’re reading this on) and open a browser and type in the domain name you gave your server. Like this: “http://hulk.local” (again, without the quotes).
The login credentials are:
- Username: admin
- Password: openmediavault
You’ll want to change the logout time from 5 minutes to 30 minutes or more in the main settings as well as change the password.
Now, go to Update Management and install any available updates.
Login again and go to Disks under Storage and make sure all your drives are showing up. If they aren’t, then fix that. It’s probably not plugged in.
If all your drives are there, then go to File Systems. You’ll need to click “Create”. Select your hard drive from the dropdown and then give it a name. You can leave EXT4 as the file system.
This will format the drive using the proper file system, but keep in mind that you’ll lose everything on that drive.
You can skip the formatting if your drive is already formated as a supported file system.
Next, go to Shared Folders and click “Add”.
You’ll be prompted to give the share a name and then select which drive you want that share to be on. It will auto-fill the Path. Next, change the permissions to “Everyone: read/write”. Then click “Save”.
Repeat that process for all the folders you’ll need.
I created “Files”, “Movies”, “TV”, and “Kids” for the different types of media I want to have on my Plex server.
Next, click on “SMB/SIFS” and then toggle the “Enable” to the “On” position.
Then Click “Shares in the tab at the top.
Click “Add” and then select the first of the Shared Folders you created before. Change the “Public” option to Only Guests. Then click “Save”.
Repeat this process for each of the shared folders you created.
Installing OMV Extras
Next, go here:
Click the following on the resulting page:
Then download the file titled “openmediavault-omvextrasorg_4.1.11_all.deb”
Now go back to your OMV dashboard and click “Plugins”. Then click “Upload” and upload the “openmediavault-omvextrasorg_4.1.11_all.deb” file.
Now, search for the word “extra” in the search bar and you should see: “openmediavault-omvextrasorg 4.1.11” in the results. Check the box next to it and then click “Install”.
Installing Plex Media Server
You should now see the “OMV-Extras” in the left colum. Click that and then toggle the “Plexmediaserver repo” option.
Go back to “Plugins” and search for Plex. When you find it, click “Install”.
The page will reload. When it’s done, you should see “Plex Media Server” in the left column. Click it and then toggle the option on that page to enable Plex Media Server. Select a drive for the Database Volume and then click Save.
Next, you’ll open another tab. The URL that you’ll put in there will be the domain name you gave your server with some additional information. It will look something like this: http://hulk.local:32400/web/index.html
At this point, you’ll be setting up Plex, so you’ll need to create a user account and get signed in.
It should tell you that it found a server and it should show the name of the server that you setup. Click “Next”.
If it didn’t find your server, you’ll need to go back and see what you missed.
On the next page, click “Add Library”. Select what kind of media library you’d like to create (Movies, TV Shows, Music, Etc.) and then click “Add folders”. Select the folder you want to be associated with that library and click “Add”. Then click “Add Library”.
Repeat this process for each of the media libraries you want for your server.
Now you can add your media files to your server by opening a file explorer window and going to your server’s shared folders by typing in something like this: \\hulk.local (replace this with the domain name you gave your server). Then you can drag files from your computer to the relevant folders on your server.
Once you’ve got all your media transferred over, you can go back to your Plex Media Server dashboard and tell each of your libraries to manually scan the folders for media.
Now you can access your media on any TV, game console, phone, whatever that has the Plex Media Player app on it. Additional customization is available for Plex with regards to access controls and things like that, but that is outside the scope of this tutorial.