How to mount media from your NAS shares on Linux using CIFS / SMB



Mounting CIFS network shares for Plex use on Linux .

The basic checklist

A. Prepare the NAS
B. Create the CIFS/SMB credentials file for use in /etc/fstab
C. Create a 'mount point' directory structure on your Linux machine which will be where all your media shares are grafted and made available for Plex use.
D. Create an entry in /etc/fstab for each share you wish to mount.
E. Mount and debug as needed

A. Prepare the NAS.

This is unique to each NAS. In general, you only need grant read permission. Should you desire Read/Write for yourself, we will allow for it

On Linux, Plex uses username plex. The username plex is the most desirable username to use for your NAS as well.

  1. Add username plex to the NAS. If it requires a password, assign it one and you can use it later if/when needed.
  2. Edit the share permissions for your NAS to either export 2a. "Read-only" to your LAN (all hosts) for all usernames -or- 2b. "Read-write" for your username, and Read-only for plex

B. Create the credentials file to pass to the CIFS / SMB server during mount

Create a file to hold the username and password to use. In this example, /etc/plex.cred is used
Using any text editor, create /etc/plex.cred with the following content

domain=CIFS/SMB domain    (this is only required if the CIFS/SMB server requires it)

C. Create the Mount Point directory structure

It usually makes the most sense to create a structure which mirrors your NAS's shares

An example structure might be:


To create this, we simply supply the Linux commands to create the structure and supply the basic permissions to those directories:

sudo sh
mkdir /nas  /nas/movies /nas/movies2 /nas/children /nas/tv /nas/cartoons /nas/photos /nas/music
chmod -R 755 /nas

D. Create the entries to mount the NAS shares at their target locations.

Each nas vendor has a different pathname conventions. Please follow the documentation for your NAS.
In this example, Synology's and QNAP's conventions will be shown.
The photos library will be mounted Read-only to prevent accidental deletion by anyone.

The example systems are a twin volume Synology DiskStation and a single volume QNAP system

You will notice the two nas units are seamlessly blended together here. In the end, Plex will complete the blending into a single library if so desired.

/etc/fstab has the following entries added to it. These will require testing and possible adjustment for your NAS and configuration. NFS is shown here first.

if you have defined the hosts syno and qnap in /etc/hosts, you may use their names here otherwise use their IP addresses.
You may always use hostname or IP address interchangeably as long as there is a definitive resolution.

//syno/volume1/movies     /nas/movies          cifs    auto,defaults,nofail,credentials=/etc/plex.cred,uid=plex 0 0
//qnap/share/movies2      /nas/movies2         cifs    auto,defaults,nofail,credentials=/etc/plex.cred,uid=plex 0 0
//syno/volume1/children   /nas/children        cifs    auto,defaults,nofail,credentials=/etc/plex.cred,uid=plex 0 0
//syno/volume2/tv         /nas/tv              cifs    auto,defaults,nofail,credentials=/etc/plex.cred,uid=plex 0 0
//qnap/share/cartoons     /nas/cartoons        cifs    auto,defaults,nofail,credentials=/etc/plex.cred,uid=plex 0 0

# Two NFS examples in to the same NAS units
# QNAP is .21       /nas/photos           nfs    auto,defaults,nofail,ro 0 0

# Syno is .23      /nas/music            nfs    auto,defaults,nofail 0 0

Save the file and now we begin testing.

E. Begin verifying and testing the new mount points

sudo sh
mount -avt cifs      # each will attempt to mount and give dialog as it does.   Look for "successfully mounted"

# follow up by seeing what actually is mounted

# check to see if you have visibility into each share

cd /nas
ls *     # This will list all the top level output from each share and will be voluminous so be prepared

If you have made any errors, you may work at the individual mount level

sudo sh
mount /nas/movies

ls /nas/movies

# Um,  i don't like that.   ... change mount in /etc/fstab
umount /nas/movies

# after editing, try it again 
mount /nas/movies 

Repeat the above until you're happy with all

There is one final step which will often help avoid permission issues on Linux systems (should the NAS be very security conscious)
This sets the permissions of the directories after they have been mounted too, effectively tweaking the NAS permissions a bit looser (read-only)

sudo chmod 755 /nas/*

All your network (NAS) media is now available to PMS starting with the /nas folder at the top.

For additional information and available options for CIFS/SMB mounts, type man mount.cifs in a terminal window