Plex Cloud is your new on-the-go media server

Plex is a fantastic service that helps you quickly and simply build your own media server. Building that server on your PC or a NAS drive has always been a great option, but both have a flaw, albeit a minor one. When you rely on hardware, you rely on it having both power and a network connection in order to use it.

If either of those goes out so too does access to your media.

More: The beginners guide to Plex

Plex Cloud removes that concern by hosting your server in your OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox account. It's currently in closed beta but after spending some time with it, it's clear this could be the best way to cover all of your bases.

You can request access to the beta on the Plex website (opens in new tab). If you're accepted, here's what you'll need to set up your cloud-based server with your OneDrive account.

  1. Sign in to Plex Web using this link (opens in new tab).
  2. Open the server selector in the left-hand sidebar.
  3. Click Set up Plex Cloud at the top.

Plex Cloud

  1. Review the message and click Let's Do This!

Plex Cloud

  1. Choose OneDrive.

Plex Cloud

  1. Log in to your Microsoft Account when prompted.
  2. Your Plex Cloud server will "wake up" and begin scanning your Cloud storage provider. (This could take a while.)

Plex Cloud

At this point, Plex Cloud is only for your own media, and there doesn't appear to be channels support, as you'd find in the regular Plex Media Server application. You won't also just automagically find all your media imported and sorted, so you need to add libraries for music, video and photos.

Plex Cloud means you don't need to leave a PC or NAS running at home when you're away.

The process of importing content remains the same. You point Plex Cloud at the folders where you keep your media, and let it do the rest. The initial setup seems a lot slower than it does if you host the server on a local machine, but once it gets done the setup is the same.

What's also nice is that Plex Cloud is just another server, one you can run alongside even a local host. For example, you might always want your music while on the go but only need movies at home, so you could put all your music in the cloud and stream remotely anytime. If you go on vacation for a couple of weeks, there's no need to leave the PC on at home.

If you use OneDrive, you already have access to this feature for your own music through Groove. But Plex is, of course, for much more than just music. The Windows 10 application is also seriously impressive.

Plex Cloud

Another neat trick Plex Cloud can do is help compile a "watch later" list for online video. By dragging the Plex It button to your bookmarks bar (which doesn't seem to work in Microsoft Edge), you can send a video from YouTube or Vimeo to your Plex Cloud server to watch when you have time. If you're on mobile, you get a unique email address to achieve the same thing. Just send yourself the link, and it'll be there waiting.

For Plex, this feels like the natural evolution of the service. For years it has been one of the very best ways to create and manage your own media server, but with the abundance of cloud storage now available at very affordable prices, this makes perfect sense. If you've been wondering about the best way to use your 1TB OneDrive allowance from Office 365 (opens in new tab), this might be your answer!

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

  • You can also use IFTTT to send videos to your Plex queue email address when a new video appears in an RSS Video. I do this with a range of Channel9 regulars
  • How do you do that? From what I can see, IFTTT doesn't connect to Plex?
  • Plex and Kodi have been impressing me lately. Need to find some time to try them out!
  • One downside to Plex in the cloud is that technically you are almost definitely breaking the law if you rip movies or download them as DRM free - depends on your interpretation and specific laws I suppose, but there's always that question as to whether you store that on a public cloud - In theory shouldn't cause you a problem but best check the ToS for your cloud provider I suppose
  • Under current law, if you own the movie or have owned the movie you are allowed one digital copy. The law is vaege on the specifics of where one obtains a copy. As it stands now, if you have owned the movie at one point you can download a digital copy from somewhere.
  • I am using plex cloud beta with my Google Drive account and it's working great so far. I use a free open source encryption on all my files. I use RCLONE.
  • Does the cloud host also do the transcoding?
  • It has to. But the answer is yes. Been using it for quite awhile now.
  • This sounds like exactly what I need. Only thing is, didn't Microsoft remove the unlimited tier of OneDrive because people were storing all their Media on their OneDrive? I don't really know how I feel about it from a business stand point. It's like people were punished, now they are encouraged for the same thing.
  • That's inevitable about any "unlimited" service. "Unlimited" is probably the biggest misnomer of our technology era.
  • I certainly agree with you, probably the second biggest is "free" but in this case, MS specifically sited that they took away the unlimited storage because of people storeing so much media.
  • That's what I meant about it being inevitable. Every company will cite the same reason in one form or another. Greed is a main component of capitalism. Whether it's greed by the companies or customers. /offsoapbox  :D
  • This sounds awesome. I would like to only alow access to one folder with OneDrive that I would have set up for media streaming, though. I don't want to give full access.
  • I would like to use my Azure storage account. That would be cool!
  • This is good. I just finally got into Plex, and I've been trying to set up a server that i can access on my phone when i travel, but my ISP has the double NAT issue so it doesn't work. This is really what i wanted in the first place, since i already have all my media on one drive.
  • Plex pass needed?
  • Probably.  Only reason why I even bothered to sign up is that I have one.  But we'll see.
  • If they are worried about storage of videos why not just have one copy distributed amongst the many users who were uploading the same video? It is the cloud after all, and once it was matched, they could save tons of storage space. Isn't that the same thing as the way Netflix and Amazon take care of it?