Plex keeps buffering? Here is the real fix

Streaming content is the new trend when it comes to entertainment content. However, the practice of content ownership (be it digital files saved on your devices or physical ones such as DVDs and Blu-ray) is still alive and popular.

Unfortunately, if you follow the latter trend, you might find yourself with content spread all over, which can be hard to track.

But what if you could consolidate your collection of entertainment content and then stream it from anywhere? This is what Plex Media Server offers you.

With Plex, you can create your own home media server and access it from anywhere with a range of devices, thus offering you a hassle-free way to watch all of your movies.

However, Plex is prone to some issues, such as constant buffering, which can make an otherwise fun streaming experience a nightmare.

But don’t worry! Below, we have compiled information on some of the top causes of constant Plex buffering, and solutions to fix the issue.

What causes Plex to keep buffering?

There are several reasons why Plex might be constantly buffering when you are watching your videos. Below is a look at some of them:

  • Slow internet speeds
  • Unsuitable Plex server and/or streaming device
  • An outdated Plex media server software
  • Interference from the computer security software
  • Running too many simultaneous streams
  • Memory problems with the streaming device(s)

Solutions to Plex buffering issues

The constant lagging and stopping of videos as you are watching them are rather annoying. Fortunately, several solutions can help you to fix the Plex buffering issue.

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Below is a look at some of the top ones:

#1. Make sure your connection is fast enough

One of the top reasons why Plex stops playing after a few minutes is if your connection speeds are not fast enough. This can be caused by:

  • Slow bandwidth and speeds that don’t support streaming – in which case you need to upgrade the connection or choose a faster one
  • Poor signal quality when using Wi-Fi – boosting the signal quality or changing to a wired LAN connection will help to improve the speeds
  • Speed limitations by VPN – VPNs usually limit the connection speeds. Disabling the VPN when streaming Plex videos can boost the streaming speeds

Other internet speed issues that can affect Plex streaming include bugs, a problem with the network devices, internet speed lagging on the ISP side, congested traffic due to too many devices and high usage, and more.

Read: Best Plex channels

Therefore, the first thing you should do when you encounter buffering issues with Plex is to troubleshoot your connection – by running a speed test – to make sure that it is working perfectly.

#2. Ensure that the server is working correctly

On the server-side, the Plex software transcodes your videos, converting them to the best formats for streaming devices.

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The process uses a lot of CPU power, and thus you need a strong device that is capable of handling the higher-than-usual CPU activity.

Aside from CPU problems, Plex transcoding can also be affected by other issues such as outdated Plex software, outdated device operating system, and interference by security software (antiviruses and firewalls).

Therefore, in addition to having a capable streaming device, you also need to make sure that it is not plagued by other issues.

These issues can interfere with the transcoding, causing your videos to constantly lag when streaming them.

#3. Ensure that the streaming device(s) is working properly

Buffering issues can also be caused by the device you are using to access the Plex videos.

For example, if using an old PC with an outdated operating system, you are likely to experience problems when streaming.

The same issue can also occur with outdated mobile devices or other devices such as Smart TV that don’t have sufficient memory to support streaming.

Therefore, when troubleshooting your buffering issue, you need to make sure that the streaming device(s) are suitable for the job.

Read: Fix Plex error: There was a problem playing this item

#4. Reduce the number of simultaneous streams

Like with any server, if you have too many devices accessing the content from your Plex media server, you will experience congestion and lagging, which will consequently lead to constant buffering of your streams.

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Therefore, if you have more than one person streaming from the Plex media server, you need to make sure that the number of simultaneous streams is not too high. 

This way, they won’t affect the streams negatively.

#5. Change the streaming quality settings

Another reason why your video stream keeps buffering is if the video streaming quality is too high – beyond your entire system’s capability.

For example, if you are streaming on 1080p resolution quality, you might find yourself experiencing buffering issues.

Lowering the stream quality to one that can be supported by your system will help to stop the buffering.

You can fix the issue by going to Plex settings for streaming and choosing “auto quality”. This will allow the stream quality to auto-adjust the quality based on the connection speeds.

Therefore, if the speeds are fast, the stream quality will increase, and if they are too slow, it will reduce to the optimal level.

Read: Fix Playback was not possible. Not enough bandwidth on Plex 

Are you experiencing Plex buffering issues? Having your video streams stopping every now and then is annoying, and it can sour your viewing experience.

Fortunately, with the above solutions, you can fix the buffering issue and enjoy a smooth and uninterrupted streaming experience.

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