Plex Guide - Restricting content in Plex from different local and remote users

Discussion in 'Media Guides' started by Nimrod, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. Nimrod

    Nimrod Exotic Vendor

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    Plex is a great way to index and provide libraries of content to all the screens and devices in your home, but sometimes for various reasons you may wish to restrict the content different users can view. Say for example if you have young children in your home and you want them to be able to watch movies but wish to restrict violent or adult movies from them or if you want to download TV Shows specifically for one user temporally but don’t wish for whatever reason to share with everyone else in your home or via the internet.

    One would have hoped Plex made this easy to do, as it has all the movie / tv information and could easily lock out content based on say Age Restriction, however the feature isn’t just there yet. However you can take advantage of MyPlex sharing (even on your home network with this guide) to achieve a similar result and lock out different users from accessing certain parts of your library.

    Here is a step by step guide on how to achieve this:

    Step 1: Signing up for MyPlex

    Ok, first thing’s first fire up your web browser and navigate to the MyPlex site and create some accounts for you and everyone who will need access to your library.
    This can be done at: https://my.plexapp.com/users/sign_up

    When making accounts, if you only intend to use them on your home devices and not fussed about making proper accounts with details (or if say your making accounts for your children who don’t have email addresses) you can easily just temporary email addresses or the + trick on Gmail (ie: myemail+plex1@gmail.com, myemail+plex2@gmail.com) and make some accounts for family usage.

    step1.png

    If this is the first time you have made a myplex account, your need to login with the primary account on your actual plex server to assign it as the ‘owner’. To achieve this, login to your Plex Server via the web interface and in the ‘Settings > MyPlex’ sign in your server to your myPlex account. This account will now be the one that owns the server, so think of it like a Master / Admin account. You don’t need to do this for any of additional accounts you created for family / friends as they will be users, and not owners of the server.

    Step 2: Locking down your local access and requiring MyPlex logins

    Browse to your Plex/Web interface on your local network and click on ‘Settings’, browse to MyPlex and select the Show Advanced Settings. You will then see the option below ‘Require authentication on local networks’. Tick this and save your settings.

    step2.png

    What this does, is stop local users using being able login to your Plex Library without an account. By default Plex will let any local network user in with master access meaning any of the restrictions you make later on will not take affect for users on your local network.

    Step 3: Reorganizing your library

    Ok, so you got accounts and locked down your server. Now you will need to reorganize your library a bit. At the moment, I’m going to assume you have two libraries (but you could have more), one for Movies and one for TV Shows. In this example I’m going to show you how to organize Movies, but you can easily repeat this process for TV Shows, Music and other libraries you have.

    First of all, we need to organize the file structure. So let’s assume you have C:/Movies at the moment, first thing your need to do is make some new folders within that, like ‘All’, ‘Kids’, ‘Family’ etc like below

    step3b.png

    Next, you need to move all your content into the relevant folders, which will be locked down. So say you have a Family folder you put all the content in there which you want to share with the Family, then another folder say with your name where your push content you don’t wish to share. The reason for this is that we will make separate libraries for each folder and selectively share them with different users.

    Once all the folders are made, you will need to go back to your Plex Interface and delete your current libraries you have like so:

    step3c.png

    Then you can re-add them one by one by first clicking Add Library and selecting its content:

    step3d.png

    Then selecting the new folder (with name) it’s located in by clicking ‘Add Folder’:

    step3e.png

    Last but not least, give it a nice name. As your making multiple Movie Libraries, I’d recommend giving them a name like ‘Family – Movies’ or ‘Kids – Movies’ etc.

    step3f.png

    Once done, click Save and the library will begin indexing just the folder you made.

    Now repeat this process for each folder you made for different access levels, and again for TV Shows and any other library types you have. At the end, you should end up with something similar to the below:

    step3g.png

    You are almost done at this stage, though Plex may take a while to re-index everything based on the size of your library, so could be a good time to have a break :)

    Step 4: Sharing specific libraries with users

    So at the moment you have accounts for all your users, and you have specific libraries setup, now it’s time to share those libraries with users. To achieve this you have to go onto the MyPlex website (not your Plex Server) and sign in with the master account (the one your Plex Server is logged in as) and click on the Server’s tab.

    step4.png

    Once on there, click on the Shared with ‘x’ other people like above. On the page that loads, look at the bottom where it has Share with server and enter one of your usernames for a user you wish to give access to and then untick the ‘Share all sections’ and select the specific sections you wish this user to have access to like so:

    step4a.png

    Once done, click Share and they will receive an email with a link to click to accept the invitation. Repeat this process with all the users you wish to give access to and set the relevant permissions.

    As an added bonus, if you (master account) have a Premium PlexPass, by doing this you separate out the watched/unwatched per user, meaning no longer will family members mess up your watched status on Movies or TV shows. However if you don’t have premium, this will still be shared amongst all users.

    Step 5: Finishing Up

    Good, you are mostly done now! Just a few things left to do. One of the first steps required you to lock out un-logged in users on your local network so for every device (be it a Samsung Smart TV with Plex, an iPad or PC running the Plex app) you will need to click login and sign into a MyPlex Account. Until you do this, it will not be able to access your library. So for the Kid’s iPad, log it into there account which only has access to Kid-safe Movies etc.

    For your own devices, log in with the Master account and you will have access to every library.

    That’s it, your all setup and ready to enjoy a multi-user permission based Plex library! :)
     

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