Plex & Multi-User Setup

I have two Minis - a 2012 and a 2018. 2018 is my “main” computer, and the 2012 is my “server” computer. The 2012 is on 24/7, so it has a number of cron jobs and such. It also holds my main backup archives, runs Backblaze, and runs Plex.

Because the 2012 has two network interfaces (wi-fi + ethernet), it seems that Plex occasionally gets confused and decides to just not answer on one of the networks. Which causes unending consternation from my girlfriend, who just wants to watch her TV. I’ve gone through a number of suggestions, and this problem doesn’t seem to be resolving.

My proposed solution is to move the 2012 so that it’s directly connected to the TV. That way she can just use the native Mac browser interface to Plex, and we don’t have to worry about whether Plex knows it’s on the correct network.

If I do that though, I want to sandbox Plex’s data. It’s on an external drive, so I’m assuming it would be safe to give Plex its own login account (effectively), and just use the Unix underpinnings of MacOS to make my data on that external drive 0700 permissions-wise, and make the Plex data globally readable? That way the Plex account can access its data, I can access its data, Backblaze (running on my account) could back up Plex’s data, but the Plex account can’t accidentally torch my backups and such.

That’s how I’d do it on my Linux server, anyway - wondering if there’s any implementation detail I’m missing that would make that non-viable on macOS.


Is there a reason why you don’t simply disable wi-fi and let Ethernet do its thing?

Because Ethernet is a computer-to-computer link to my 2018 Mac Mini, not a cable run to a hub. So if I shut down the wi-fi link Plex isn’t accessible to the computers on wi-fi, and if I try to access Plex via the wi-fi IP from my 2018 Mini it doesn’t work.

The only way to solve that would be after we move in July, to figure out a way to get the 2018 and 2012 both wired for speed purposes - but the design of the new place (a rental) isn’t very conducive to that possibility. I suppose I could run powerline Ethernet, but that’s a little bit on the pricey side last I checked.

1 Like

OK, so it sounds to me that you have a Wi-Fi network that connects to a router and to the Internet. The Ethernet connection is an “ad-hoc” network between your two Mac minis. You are doing this for the speed increase over having the minis communicate over the Wifi network. The two minis discover each other via “BonJour”. It probably won’t be the case that your TV can connect to your server this way, like you are proposing.

Sadly, while the Mac has built-in capability to create a Wi-Fi network, acting like an access port and forwarding to the Ethernet network, the opposite capability does not exist. As it is you would need to add an Ethernet switch and run a cable from it to your router to merge the networks. This is a guaranteed fix.

One thing that might work is to make sure the interface order puts Wifi over Ethernet in your server mini. On the Network page in System Preferences, click on the gear and select Set Service Order and then move Wi-Fi over Ethernet. Good luck!

1 Like

I tried that, unfortunately, and it doesn’t seem to help.

If I can manage the cabling properly when we move in July, that’s exactly what I’m considering doing. Of course that still doesn’t get the Plex to the TV. We don’t currently have a device for that (my girlfriend uses her iPad), but we’d like one - and that’s where the potential combo of “plug the 2012 into the TV and create a separate Plex account” comes in.

At this point I’m mostly wondering about the multi-user aspect, as I’ve largely given up on making the rest of this stuff do its dance properly.

Say I have an external hard drive, shared by me and the “Plex” account on the Mini. I lock down all of my files to my user, permissions 700 (rwx------), and open up the Plex files, permissions 770 (rwxrwx—), with a shared group between me and the Plex user.

That should let the Plex user do its thing, keep my personal files safe from accidental screwiness with the Plex account, and still let my Backblaze back up both…correct?

If so I can probably make the rest of the screwiness work. :smiley:

I don’t have a separate Plex account on my server. Since Plex is configured as to where to find the media files, as long as it isn’t hacked other files are safe. Anyone who can hack Plex certainly could hack the rest of the system, so I’m not really concerned about needing a separate Plex login. I also use Backblaze on the server and it has no problems backing up everything visible to the server account, which includes files backed up from other user accounts to the server using ChronoSync. You can easily check with Backblaze’s UI if your files under a separate account will be backed up. I can’t promise that myself since my server is not set up that way (only one login account).