Installing and Updating Plex Media Server in a FreeBSD Jail (FreeNAS) via ‘pkg’

plex-logo-e1446990678679One problem I had with the FreeNAS plug-in architecture is the lack of a user-friendly update system. (Either it is hard to find, or that it doesn’t exist, it’s not user-friendly either way.) The version of Plex media server I received using the default plug-in installation process was several versions out of date and it looked like I was pretty stuck. In order to update, Google found manual instructions that were… well, let’s just call them ‘nontrivial’.

When I found out Plex media server is also offered as part of the FreeBSD Ports and Packages Collection (tracked via “FreshPorts“) I hoped that might be a much better way to go. I had to manually create the FreeBSD Jail running on my FreeNAS box, which was harder than the built-in plug-in version but was not horrible. Plus, if this goes well, it would be a one-time cost.

After the FreeBSD jail was set up, I opened a shell window into it and typed pkg install plexmediaserver which thankfully took care of downloading and installing all the binaries. The install process also ended with a few paragraphs of instructions on how to configure Plex to automatically start every time that instance of FreeBSD (in my case, the FreeBSD Jail) boots up. Copy-pasting the commands worked as advertised and everything was fairly painless.

I was then able to enjoy my home Plex media server for a few weeks. But there was one unknown: upgrades. I didn’t know how upgrades would work until I needed to perform one, so it’s just a waiting game for a new version of Plex to be released and see how things propagate. This week, the wait was over!

The first notification was from my home Plex media server. Apparently it checks for updates periodically and notifies me when one is available. After waiting a day or two, the update propagated to FreshPorts. Once that occurred, I opened a shell window into the FreeBSD jail running Plex and issued the following commands:

  • service plexmediaserver stop to halt the old running Plex.
  • pkg update to download the latest database of available packages.
  • pkg upgrade to perform updates of any new packages, including Plex.
  • service plexmediaserver start to start the new version of Plex.

I reconnect to the web interface of Plex running on my FreeNAS box, and I see the latest version up and running. Success!

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