Plex Premium pass or Roll my own with Jellyfin?

Hey all!

EDIT: Let me start off by saying that supporting projects like Plex and Jellyfin is a great idea for those who have means to enable the developers to keep developing the awesome software being used! That said, this question is a little more focused on how hard it would be to create a secure external connection to a local Jellyfin server, or whether Plex just making everything work “automagically” is better than the headache of what it might entail to get Jellyfin set up to stream from outside my local network securely.

I have a question for anyone who might have some knowledge. I have a growing media library and I currently use the free tier of Plex to stream my media anywhere (not just on my LAN). Plex makes this super simple (I literally have to do nothing) to stream media from my home server to anywhere I am when traveling, or letting others stream from my library.

I have been intrigued by Jellyfin, though, and I know it is basically the open source version of Plex with all the same features and capabilities (or mostly).

My question is this: I want access to a feature (streaming my music library to my phone) which is behind a pay wall in Plex: Plex Pass | Plex. This functionality is available on Jellyfin without any paywall, but I would need to roll my own way to securely access my home server while I’m outside of my LAN (maybe something like this blog post? Setting up a media server (Jellyfin) and making it securely accessible from anywhere in the world | by Fabrice | Medium) and I really have no idea what I would be doing.

Right now, my streaming costs me absolutely nothing. Plex is free for what I need and I can access it anywhere. Plex premium starts at $5 a month, and gets cheaper from there for a year or lifetime. This would allow me to stream my music to my phone. If I have to make a Jellyfin external site setup, it looks like domain names can cost money on a regular basis, too. Maybe there’s other infrastructure I would need to pay for to host as well?

I’m lost, and curious if anyone has any thoughts, insight, or experience with hosting a media library for cheap (or free) which is accessible anywhere in the world (or maybe to an app on a phone).

Thanks for reading!

I’d like to address something important that might not be immediately obvious. When it comes to using Plex or Jellyfin, it’s crucial to support the developers of these apps. It greatly helps in their continued improvement and stability. One way to contribute is by purchasing a Plex Pass or making a donation to Jellyfin.

Additionally, if you’re interested, there’s some good news on the horizon. Next month, Plex will be offering a lifetime pass at a discounted rate (They usually do around holidays). For those looking to save even more, you can explore options like using a VPN and making the purchase from a South American region. Keep an eye on the /r/plex subreddit – those types of discounts usually get posted there.

That’s a good note. It is important to support these developers whether by subscribing or donating to them. I would be interested in supporting them in either case, but I saw the JellyFin option as an opportunity to learn how to host things myself, and am weighing whether the savings of cost (however minimal) and the learning curve are worth the time, if I could simply just subscribe to Plex pass. However, the notion that these paywall features are simply available in JellyFin does irk me a little.

One quirk I saw in your comment here was the imperative to donate/support devs, but you give a route to spoof location in order to pay even less to the devs by appearing to be purchasing in South America. Is that what you meant?

No. I mis-read your post that money was an issue. I apologize for the misunderstanding.

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No trouble, maybe I should clarify my question above. I’ll edit it.

Turns out I was wrong and Plex does let me play my music without paying for premium with the Plexamp app. Looks like I don’t need to set up a Jellyfin server, though I am still interested in it as the open source alternative to Plex.

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Very useful, and data streaming from a local network can save a lot of network resources at the server side. Since you have plex setup, would you mind running Wireshark, and sharing the network activity generated by the software?

You can filter by port.tcp==ipaddress



and press enter after any of those. This way, you can filter the view for just the ip address of your local computer, without seeing all the light beige bars of local network address announces. I would like to know how much activity leaves the network, even though it is supposedly all local.

Have you considered using Kodi or similar for just local media streams?