How to Restart Your Plex Media Server

Plex Media Server is renowned for smooth and intuitive user experience, so you might be a bit surprised if you find yourself puzzled over exactly how to restart your server. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Where’s the *@%^ing Restart Button?

If you’re a regular Plex user, you’ve gotten well used to interacting with your Plex Media Server through the web-based GUI—the place where you can handle all sorts of tasks like setting up remote access, sharing your library with friends, and optimizing your media, among other routine tasks and enhancements.

While you can do nearly anything from within the Plex interface, there’s one thing you may have noticed: there’s no reset button. No button, no toggle, no link, not a single reference to start, stopping, or restarting the Plex Media Server to be found anywhere in any of the system menus.

As baffling at that might seem at first, it’s actually a clever way to ensure server stability: you can only restart Plex Media Server if you’re either sitting at the computer it is running on, because that’s the only way to ensure you can turn it back on. If you’re accessing your Plex install through the web GUI away from home (like say on a business trip) and you accidentally shut it down then the server is off until you get home to start it back up again.

How to Restart Your Plex Media Server

So if you can’t restart it from the web control panel, then how do you get the job done? How you restart Plex Media Server varies significantly depending on the system you’re running it on, ranging from the kludgy to the useful. On Windows and macOS, there is no dedicated restart function, and you’re left simply quitting the application and starting it again.

Look for the Plex icon in the Windows system tray (or the macOS menu bar).

Select “Exit” to safely shut down the server.

Relaunch the application as you normally would using a shortcut in your Start Menu, Dock, or the like to fire it up.

If you’re running Plex Media Server on a unix-like platform like Linux or FreeBSD, you’ll start, stop, and restart your Plex Media Server from the command line. The following self-explanatory commands trigger each event:

service plexmediaserver start

service plexmediaserver stop

service plexmediaserver restart

The command-based approach is significantly more flexible because it allows you, if you wish, to set up a cron job to schedule when your server is started, stopped, or restarted.

If you’re running Plex Media Server on a storage appliance like a Synology NAS, you’ll typically find a place within the dashboard of the appliance itself (not the Plex GUI) to restart the Plex application. Synology, for example, has a “package manager” on their devices and you can use the “Action” menu for individual packages to start and stop them, as seen below.

Because most storage appliances are running a NIX-like environment under their GUI’s, you can often set up a cron-like-job—here’s an example from the Synology forum where someone used the Task Scheduler built into the device to schedule a start/stop sequence to restart their Plex Media Server on a schedule.


With the mystery of the missing restart button solved, you’ll know just where to look the next time you need to restart your Plex Media Server.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.