For many users that maintain a Plex server, they usually have a backup plan in place to keep the data stored on their server safe. While your Plex Media Server may not be a critical application, it can be important to backup your Plex data.
Backing up your Plex server serves two purposes:
- It will allow you to restore your Plex server if something were to happen to your current server, such as a hard drive failure.
- If you change servers, you can use your backup as a means of "moving" your Plex Media Server to the new server.
For many people, the first option would be the most important reason for backing up their Plex server. Hard drives, and other hardware, can fail at any time, and having a backup of Plex will allow you to easily have your Plex server up and running again fairly quickly.
Keep in mind, however, that the steps outlined below won't backup your media files. Those you will need to backup yourself, if you choose to backup your media files.
Backing up your Plex Media Server
Backing up you Plex server in Windows requires backing up two locations:
- The Plex settings in the Windows registry.
- The files and folders in the data directory.
Let's look at backing up each of the two locations.
Backing up the Plex settings
The settings used by the Plex Media Server are stored in the Windows registry. The registry keys are located under the registry settings for the user that is running the Plex process in Windows.
To backup the registry settings, use the following steps:
- Log into Windows with the account that is running Plex.
- Type the Windows Key+R to open the Run dialog, and then type regedit.exe. The Registry editior should be displayed.
- Navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Plex, Inc., and then right-click the key Plex, Inc..
- In the context menu, click the Export option, and then specify a location and file name for the registry file.
- Click the Save button to save the registry file. This registry file will now contain your Plex settings, which you can then backup to any location you wish.
Backing up the Plex data directory
To backup the Plex data directory, it is simply a matter of making a copy of the directory that contains the Plex data. To backup the Plex data directory, use the following steps:
- First, locate the Plex data diectory. The default location is the %LOCALAPPDATA%\Plex Media Server when logged in as the user running the Plex Media Server.
- Open Windows Explorer, and then navigate to the Plex data directory.
- Copy all the folders in the data directory to another location as the backup.
To save space, and make your backups smaller, you can exclude the Cache folder, since the data in the folder will be re-created by Plex.
In addition to making a copy of the folders, you may also look at zipping up the entire data directory into a zip or similar compressed archive file to make transferring the data easier, as you will then only need to copy one large file instead of many smaller files.
Also, if you export the registry settings into your Plex data directory, you can then automatically backup both your data directory and the Plex settings with a single copy task.
The above steps outline how to backup both the Plex registry settings and the data directory in Windows. You can simply reverse the process to restore the Plex Media Server, either on the same Windows system, or in another Windows system, if you choose.