Updated: April 24, 2019
The short answer is Yes.
Shoko Server is the back-end of the entire Shoko suite, which means every single program and plugin provided uses it for accessing and maintaining your anime collection. This makes Shoko Server mandatory and also means Shoko Server must be running to use any of the programs or plugins that connect to it. With the exception of file importing, Shoko Server is no more resource intensive than other programs you probably have running in the background so you don’t need to worry about Shoko Server eating up resources.
If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to download Shoko Server, and then install it. The installer was designed to be pretty straight forward so just follow the directions until you’re done. Please note, Administrator rights are required to install and for the initial run, however after that you can run as a normal use.
Shoko Server stores all your collection metadata in an SQLite database which is created by default the first time you run Shoko Server. This file is located in %ProgramData%\ShokoServer\SQLite and is automatically maintained by Shoko so you don’t need to anything after its been created.
Previously, Shoko did support both MySQL and SQL Server as possible database options due to multiple issues such as database access times and overall speed that were present when using an SQLite database with a large collection. Starting with Version 3.6, we’ve been steadily making improvements to address these issues that the benefits once provided by MySQL and SQL Server are now negligible. To that end and to reduce unrelated issues that could arise when using MySQL or SQL Server, support for MySQL and SQL Server as a database option has been deprecated and the option to select either of them has been removed.
Users who are currently using either MySQL or SQL Server can still edit their database information by directly editing settings.json located in %ProgramData%\ShokoServer.
With Shoko Server installed and your database created and configured, its time to configure the essential settings. If you’re looking for a more in-depth explanation of each function, use the menu on the left and under Configuring Shoko Server select the tab you’re looking for more information on.
The first thing you probably noticed after your database was done was a pop-up asking you to input your AniDB Usernameand your AniDB Password. If you haven’t already done so, input them and click the Test & Save Login button. An AniDB account is required to use Shoko, if you don’t have one you’ll need to Create an Account which should only take a couple of minutes.
AniDB is one of the biggest information databases for anime and stores every file hash a user submits. When Shoko hashes your files, these hashes are compared with the ones from AniDB and when matched, if provides Shoko with all the information related to that series.
Shoko does not send any personal information to AniDB nor do they require it.
Import Folders are the physical locations of where your files are. This means two things, they must be accessible by Shoko Server and they are always online. If using removable media, make sure its connected before running any import functions or file checking functions to avoid Shoko removing the entries from your collection database.
There are two different Import Folder Systems you can use. The first is Single Folder which has Shoko add the contents of the folder to your collection. The second is Drop Source/Destination which has Shoko move files from the Drop Source into the Drop Destination. You can use both of these systems at the same time and/or use them both for the same import folder.
Click New Folder to open the Import Folder Window, select the provider for the import folder and then select the location. Decide on the Import Folder System you’ll be using for this Import Folder and then click the Save button to add the Import Folder. If you need to add additional folders then make sure to do that as well before moving on.
For in-depth information on Import Folders and how they work, check the Import Folders documentation.
This install and setup guide is only meant to cover the minimal requirements required to get Shoko Server up and running. However, Shoko does provide fine-grained options for those who are not satisfied with the default settings. We highly recommend going through all the available options in Shoko Server, Shoko Server Web UI and Shoko Desktop to fully fine-tune Shoko and your collection.