6 Best External Hard Drive for Plex Media Server in 2022

Plex media server is a great storage solution to make your own digital files library. And it allows you to store any digital data on Plex, including pictures, videos, movies, and music. At the same time, the best part is that you can access your stored data from any device like a desktop computer or laptop and even use mobile from anywhere.

In other words, it does not matter whether you’re sitting in the living room, lying in a bedroom, or working in an office; you can stream your favorite movies and videos from Plex storage.

Most importantly, instead of buying a separate storage hard drive for each device, it gives you centralized functionality that works like other servers. Furthermore, the Plex media server can also work with NAS backup storage devices configured with Wi-Fi and LAN interfaces.

Nonetheless, an external storage drive is essential to other Plex configurations to quickly access and stream data. Like drive must have super-fast reading and writing speed to provide quick data response simultaneously to multiple users. Additionally, it should be capable of loading files quickly.

But, not all hard drives are equal in performance and responsiveness. Therefore, this guide will help you quickly find which external hard drive is best for plex. However, the. Seagate Expansion is the best external hard drive for a plex media server. This drive provides blazing speed and is fully compatible with Plex. And the price is much low than others, and the installation process is simple and easy.

Nevertheless, this is not only the best external drive here; other great players are out there. Therefore, keep reading the article to find the main pros and cons of the best HDD drives.

6 Best External Hard Drive Reviews for Plex Media Server

Seagate Expansion External Hard Drive Review

Seagate Expansion Desktop 16TB External Hard Drive HDD – USB 3.0 for PC & Laptop – 1-Year Rescue Service (STEB16000402), Black
  • Enjoy enormous desktop storage space for years to come for photos, movies, music, and more
  • Designed to work with Windows computers, this external USB drive makes backup, easy with a simple drag-and-drop
  • Setup is easy. Just connect the external hard drive to your Windows computer for automatic recognition—no software required
  • Includes an 18-inch USB 3.0 cable and 18W power adapter

Main Specifications:

Storage Capacity 6TB to 12TB
Speed 7200 RPM
Hard Drive InterfaceUSB 2.0 & USB 3.0
Warranty 3-years

Seagate is great for providing the best and most highly reliable external hard drive. And same goes true with Expansion HDD, which will deliver a big bang for your investment. There are a couple of reasons that make it the best HDD drive for a plex media server.

One of them is its lower price. For example cost of 8TB storage is much less than top competitors, even half in charge. But is it a fast performer, reliable, and has some other features that premium drives offering, at a lower price? Yes, of course, it has high-quality characteristics.

 In speed and performance, this drive is much better than the most expensive hard disk is providing. In our test, I have tested max 130MBs speed for reading and 120MBs in writing. While performance is highly flawless, that will justify your investment.

Additionally, this speed will provide a faster data transfer connection, so you expect a much higher data transfer rate for streaming videos from the Plex server. Moreover, taking backup into drives is just a few minutes of games with faster speed. However, it creates some buzzing noise that is sometimes annoying during running. Nevertheless, this is not a big problem to consider in this drive.

 Furthermore, another great feature is just dragging and dropping your backup files in Seagate Expansion HDD. And the best part is that it will start working without installing any 3rd party software for backup.

Just connect with your desktop computer, laptop, or Mac device without following any complex instructions and steps. While, size (1.63 inches) and weight (2.43 lbs pounds) make it a portable storage drive easy to carry where you go. 

So, if you need the best external hard drive for a plex media server for storing videos, movies, and pictures, then look no further. Seagate Expansion will deliver you everything without making any big hole in your pocket. 

  • Much cheaper per GB
  • Faster in performance
  • Quick installation
  • Best for backup
  • Highly portable
  • Noisy during running
  • Average speed

Fantom Drives 7200RPM Review

FD 10TB 7200RPM External Hard Drive – USB 3.2 Gen 1 – 5Gbps & eSATA – GForce 3 Aluminum – Black – Compatible with Mac/Windows/PS4/Xbox (GFP10000EU3) by Fantom Drives
  • The Fantom Drives Gforce3 USB 3.0/eSATA Hard Drive is perfect for Audio and video professionals and consumers alike
  • The Gforce3 offers Plug & play simplicity as well as its rugged Features providing optimal storage for all your photos
  • The USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and represents the pinnacle of host connectivity allowing transfer rates up to 10 times the rate of USB 2.0
  • The eSATA host connectivity allows Fast transfer connection to all other host computers
  • Aluminum casing doubles as a heat sink and provides maximum durability. OS Support: Apple Mac OS X 10.6 or later | Microsoft Windows XP*, Vista, 7, 10 or later.| Windows Server 2003, 2008 or later.
Storage Capacity 2TB to 16TB
Speed7200 RPM
Hard Drive InterfaceUSB 2.0 & USB 3.0
Warranty 3-years

This stylish hard drive is another great storage solution for a plex media server that offers high speed and performance. For example, Fantom drive offers 7200RPM speed which is much faster than 5200RPM. It means your videos streaming experience from Plex will be super-fast without any loading or waiting issues, especially when it has a USB 3.0 connection interface.

But the most cooling feature that I like most in this drive is its premium casing design and style, which is adjustable at any place. For example, you can place it in any position (vertically and horizontally) at your workplace. Also, the design is sturdy and durable that will protect the drive from any physical damages.

 Besides that, its aluminium design also works as natural heat sinker, which will keep your drive cool under extreme conditions. Also, there is a power button to quickly on and off the drive. But there is the annoying thing with this drive which is the blue light. This blue light would be stressful for your eyes if you used it longer.

Furthermore, it also offers a 1-year warranty from the manufacturer that will be a plus advantage if you go with Fantom drive. This single drive is enough for all your needs, whether you want to use it for storing backup, NAS storage, or want to play games on PS4.  st

Likewise, it is compatible with all major operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and other OS. Besides this, there is no need to install any software; use a power or USB cable, connect with the device, and start using the Fantom drive.

Additionally, its auto-off sleep feature will automatically off the drive when you’re not using it. Overall, this external hard drive is a perfect storage solution for your plex server, go and buy it.

  • Extreme performance
  • Cross compatible feature
  • Easy installation u002du002d- Plug and play
  • Easy to adjustable in every place
  • Premium design
  • Auto go to sleep feature
  • Annoying lighting on button

BUFFALO LinkStation 720 Review

Buffalo LinkStation SoHo 720 16TB 2-Bay NAS Network Attached Storage with HDD Hard Drives Included NAS Storage That Works as Small Office and Home Cloud or Network Storage Device for Home Office
  • SMALL OFFICE / HOME OFFICE NETWORK ATTACHED STORAGE: Optimized to organize, store, share, and back up your important files.
  • 2X AS FAST TRANSFER SPEEDS – 2.5GbE gives you twice as fast transfer speeds as 1GbE without needing special cabling.
  • HASSLE-FREE INSTALLATION – Hard drives included, and no computer needed for setup. Simply connect the NAS to your router for instant shared network storage for all your devices at the same time. Product is compatible with PC, macOS, Android, and iOS.
  • SUBSCRIPTION-FREE PERSONAL CLOUD – Store and back up videos, music, and photos and access them from anywhere without paying any monthly storage charges.
  • SECURE YOUR PRECIOUS DATA – Storage designed to keep your data safe, the NAS features a closed system to reduce vulnerabilities from 3rd party apps and SSL encryption for secure file transfers.
Storage Capacity 2TB to 16TB
SpeedReading 234 MB/s & Writing 188 MB/s
Hard Drive InterfaceUSB 2.0 & USB 3.2
Warranty 5-years

BUFFALO LinkStation 720 will be a great, all-in-one storage solution for your actual needs. Because this single piece of device is enough without buying any extra device or cloud storage service. And you can connect this external hard drive with a Plex server, NAS device, or any other system.

Its data transfer speed is much higher than previously mentioned drives. For example, it provides 234 MB/s and188 MB/s random speed for reading and writing operations. Additionally, it comes with USB 3.2 ports which support a data transfer rate up to 10 Gbps, which is 5x time higher than USB 3.0.

Also, it has an embedded Hex-core processor — even it will work without a computer. Hence, LinkStation 720, with all of these quality features, is fully capable of handling multiple streaming requests from the plex server simultaneously.

In other words, multiple users can access data from this external hard drive through plex without any lagging issue. However, its price is much higher than others on the list. For example price of 8TB is 3times higher than Seagate Expansion.

Besides all other features, one of its main features that I love most is it allows you to build your private cloud storage, which is a great way to access your plex file from anywhere. Besides this, syncing will make changes in one place in real-time, and it will automatically reflect on all places.  

 While its data transfer connection is highly secure, which uses SSL encryption during transmission, LinkStation 720 also provides native support to connect with any popular cloud storage services, including OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.

While the reliability of this drive is a higher standard, it means your stored data will be safe and secure from any data incidents since it has a RAID 1 data protection feature, which provides an additional security layer from data losses.

So keeping all factors in mind, I can confidently say LinkStation 720 is the best external hard drive for a plex server, making private cloud storage and storing backup files.

  • All in one storage solution
  • Automatic backup
  • RAID 1 protection
  • Super secure
  • Embedded Hex-core processor
  • Super-fast speed
  • USB 3.2 ports
  • Supported with primary cloud storage services
  • Higher Priced

Toshiba Canvio Basics Review

Toshiba Canvio Basics 3.0 1 TB Portable Hard Drive (Black)(HDTB210XK3BA)
  • USB 3.0 interface and backwards compatible with USB 2.0
  • Canvio Basics 3.0 Portable Hard Drives offer plug and play ease of use that’s ready to go out of the box with no software to install.
  • Extremely portable with a compact design, the sleek looking and post card sized Canvio Basics 3.0 Portable Hard Drives are an ideal travel companion.
  • Portable Drives are compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Storage Capacity 1TB to 4TB
SpeedReading 234 MB/s & Writing 188 MB/s
Hard Drive InterfaceUSB 2.0 & USB 3.0
Warranty 1-years

Toshiba is also an excellent brand for making the best hard drive. And most of its internal and external storage drives are reliable; for example, according to a study conducted by Backblaze on best reliable hard drives, Toshiba was on top with a low hard drive failure rate (0.33%).

From design to shape, Canvio is a highly portable drive because it is lightweight size is just 0.77 inches, and weight is 0.48 pounds.  Additionally, smudge resistance will keep the drive from physical damages. 

Speed of Canvio is average level that is up to 5400 rpm like writing speed is 120MBs. While it supports USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 data transfer connections, it provides a 5GBs transfer rate on a 3.0 interface connection while 480MBs on USB 2.0.

Need to mention, this drive got hot during heavy workload and sometimes worked slowly while copying large files. So, the not ideal solution to handle massive size data.  However, the price of 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB is much lower which is easy to afford. But, if offered only limited storage selection like there is no 8TB size option.

 Also, some standard features that other storage devices provide, like password protection and automatic backup, are not supported in Canvio Basics. Which means it is not great for backup purposes.

However, this is not a severe problem since our primary goal is to use the drive for Plex media. So for this job, Canvio is an excellent choice. Hopefully, this statement can change your mind toward Canvio Basics to buy your next plex media server external drive. 

  • Extremely portable external drive
  • Beautiful design
  • Smudge resistance
  • Quick installation
  • 1year warranty
  • Very cheap 2TB and 4TB model
  • Limited storage options
  • Got hot during extreme running
  • Average speed

WD My Cloud EX2 Review

WD 8TB My Cloud EX2 Ultra Network Attached Storage – NAS – WDBVBZ0080JCH-NESN
  • High-performance 1.3 GHz dual-core Processor for lag-free streaming
  • 1GB of DDR3 Memory to multitask with ease
  • Centralized network storage and access from anywhere
  • Automatic file synching across all your computers
  • Simplified file and folder sharing
Storage Capacity 4TB to 36TB
Hard Drive Interface USB 2.0 & USB 3.0
Warranty 3-years
Processor 1.3 GHz dual-core Processor

The WD My Cloud EX2 is a great storage solution for a plex media server. This is a more reliable option with a higher storage capacity than Seagate Expansion, BUFFALO LinkStation 720, and Canvio Basics.

This means that My Cloud EX2 is the only hard drive providing storage capacity up to 32TB. So, this is the perfect choice for someone who needs a significant amount of storage capacity yet is a bit expensive per gigabyte.

 The EX2 is also snappy and fast, meaning users with large media libraries will not have to wait for videos, pictures and other files to load. It has an embedded 1.3 GHz dual-core processor, making the execution process supper fast. And also faster transfer speeds for large files. With this speed of the EX2, it is perfect for playing back media in full 1080p with no lag whatsoever.

Additionally, it is packed with 1GB of DDR3 RAM, making the multitasking experience on the high end. Meaning multiple users will be able to use the Plex server and access data from EX2 at once without any delay or lagging issue. Thus, this external hard drive is perfect for multiple family members who want to read and store media from all over the house at central locations. 

Not only you can access your stored files from home but also from anywhere. Because of WD, My Cloud EX2 allows you to make your own mini private cloud storage network. That is the best way to avoid expensive subscriptions of cloud storage services. And you will find almost the same cloud services features in the EX2 hard drive like remote access, sharing, syncing, and encryption-based security. 

With the help of syncing, your content will automatically update across all devices. While, file and folder sharing features are also pretty good to share pictures, videos, and digital content with your friends and family anywhere.

For security, EX2 encrypts data using 256 AES encryption algorithms. So no one can see and read the meaning of your data, whether it is transforming on a cloud server or vice versa. 

Overall, this external hard drive has lots of storage space, making it perfect for those who have an extensive collection of movies, videos, and music to store on a plex server. This hard drive even includes a Time Machine which will help those with a hectic backup schedule.

So, the WD My Cloud EX2 is an excellent choice for a home media server. And also it is more reliable than a personal cloud and offers more storage options. 

  • Extreme performance with Dual-core processor
  • Embed RAM for multitasking
  • Offer larger storage capacity up to 32TB
  • Incredible drive to build own private storage network
  • Sharing and syncing feature included
  • Highly secure
  • Time machine for automatic backup
  • Expensive per gigabyte
  • Slow admin interface

SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD 1TB Review

SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD 1TB – Up to 540MB/s – USB 3.1 External Solid State Drive, Black (MU-PA1T0B/AM)
  • Superfast read write speeds: SSD with V-NAND offers ultra-fast data transfer speeds of up to 540MB s (up to 4.9x faster than external HDDs); Ideal for transferring large-sized data including 4K videos, high-resolution photos, games and more
  • Compact and portable design: Top to bottom shock resistant metal design fits in the palm of your hand and easily slides in your pocket or purse to take work and entertainment on the go
  • Secure encryption: Optional password protection and AES 256-bit hardware encryption keeps your personal and private data more secure
  • Seamless connectivity: Includes USB type C to C and USB type C to A cables to connect to PCs, Macs, smartphones and other devices
Storage Capacity 1TB to 2TB
SpeedReading 540MB/s & Writing 520MB/s
Hard Drive InterfaceUSB 2.0 & USB 3.0, 3.1

We have only discussed HDD storage drives, but if you’re not a fan of traditional storage drives. Then we have specially included this SSD drive for you. We recommend this SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD because it is the fastest storage solution for the Plex server. 

All of the features in this SSD are awesome. It is made of a metal casing, is durable, and ensures the reliability of your data from shock resistance. And this SSD is available in 5 different colours, including black, rose gold, blue, etc.

Moreover, T5 is slim and light with only 0.1125-pound weight, and thickness is only 0.41. Even, you can quickly put it into your pocket. The speed of this SSD is blazing fast compared to any other drive mentioned here.

The T5 has an increased reading and writing speed of more than 540 MB/s, approximately five times faster than a standard drive. And it is capable of playing high-resolution videos (up to 4k) smoothly without any lagging delay. Just open and play any high pixels video or pictures from the plex server.

Additionally, it comes with a USB 3.1 Gen2 connection interface that provides a much faster data transfer rate than USB 3.0. However, as it is SDD storage, it will charge a higher cost than HDD per GB. And also, it has only 1TB and 2TB storage options. Therefore, Samsung T5 is only good if you need fast storage for the Plex server but not suitable for storing massive data in a plex server.

Furthermore, from a security perspective, T5 is a highly secure storage solution. Which supports hardware-based encryption, which stores data in encrypted forms and provides a built-in password protection option. So one can access stored data without your permission.

  • Durable design
  • Blazing fast
  • Extremely portable drive
  • High secure
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 port
  • Expensive
  • Limited storage capacity
  • No backup utility

FAQs on Best Hard Drive for Plex Server

Can I use an external hard drive with Plex?

Yes, the Media Plex server allows connecting and using an external drive.

Can I use an external hard drive as a server?

You can, but It can be tricky in the beginning to set it up correctly. So to start it from zero, you need to get the external hard drive you want to use and install an operating system on it first, for instance, a Linux-based OS or Mac OSx or even a Windows OS. As soon as you have installed the OS on it, the tricky part comes, and this is how you set it up as a network drive.

Is SSD good for media servers?

SSD storage drive provides the best speed, performance, and responsiveness. So in terms of these factors, SSD is a great storage solution for a media server. But it is going to be very expensive for extensive size data. Since there will be ample size data on the media server, it will be much more costly than HDD if you go with SSD.


If you’re looking for the best external hard drives for a plex server, you’re in luck. The above recommendations are some of the best drives for plex media on the market today. These models have been tried, tested, and reviewed by experts like me.

So, whether you’re looking for the best storage for a plex server with super-fast speed, backup mirror feature, or something more advanced, take my advice and choose one from this list to give your digital collection a little bit of breathing room.

Rob Boirun

Rob Boirun

Staring in the storage industry in 1999, I worked for a DVD Burning API company that provided the burning engine for iTunes and other burning software. Today my love for all types of storage is being displayed here.

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