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Minecraft is easily one of the most popular games out there, with a mind-boggling 126million. Of course, one of the best parts about Minecraft is being able to build and survive with your friends.
Luckily, Mojang built a really great framework for playing Minecraft online, and in-fact, the Minecraft server software is completely free for you to use!
As such, if you’ve got an extra desktop laying around, or are willing to go buy a relatively cheap gaming PC, you can absolutely host your own Minecraft server for you and your friends to play on.
Minecraft Server Types
You Can Do It on Your Own or Get Someone to Do It for You 👔
Generally speaking, there are two ways you can go about hosting a Minecraft Server: Managed WordPress hosting through an external provider, or by hosting the server on a computer at home.
Home Minecraft Server
One of the big advantages of hosting a Minecraft server on a device at home is that you have a lot more control over how the server runs, and you can alter things on the fly as you need.
This type of server is also great if you have a small group of maybe 5 or 10 people that you want to play with on a regular basis and don’t really need a hosted solutions.
Of course, the downside is that you do need to have some technical know-how and computer literacy. Not only that, but there are certain security issues you’ll have to consider, such as having to share your IP online and be open to DDoS attacks, or maybe other attempts to enter your network.
This means you’ll probably have to tack on a top VPN service as well.
You also have to have a reasonably good connection and relatively good hardware, especially if you plan to also play on the same device that runs the server.
Hosted Minecraft Server
On the other hand, you can mitigate the majority of the above issues if you go with a top hosted Minecraft server.
Usually, these types of servers are managed for you, so you don’t have to worry about installation, keeping things up to date, and other technical issues that might crop up.
Similarly, it solves personal security issues with having to hand out your IP and helps prevent DDoS attacks, as most hosted servers have DDoS protection.
The biggest benefit though is that you can easily upgrade the hardware if you want to expand the number of players you want to join your server.
Speeds are also generally much better, so there’s more bandwidth to handle more people and you won’t have to worry about lag as much.
Setting up a Home Minecraft Server
Your Freedom, Your Responsibility 🆓
The first thing we need to do is to make sure you have a desktop PC that can actually run the Minecraft server. Thankfully it’s relatively lightweight so all you really need is:
- Windows 10 (You can do this on macOS and Linux, but its a bit more complicated and involved
- Around 2-4GBs of RAM. More RAM means more players!
- Lots of bandwidth, as each player can use up to 100MB per hour, so if you’re on capped internet, this might be problematic.
Once you know that you have a desktop with these minimum specifications, you need to install (or update) Java. To do this, go to the Java Website, download and run the software on there.
Always make sure you have the latest Java available, and restart your computer after you complete the initial setup
This is the first Minecraft related step:
Downloading the actual Minecraft server software. Thankfully, Mojang gives it out for free. So it’s as simple as going to the Minecraft Server page and downloading it.
Keep in mind that this is the Java edition of Minecraft that we are using, so it’s not compatible with mobile OS’ like Android and iOS.
Also, your friends will similarly need to have a Minecraft Java edition game to connect to the server.
Also, there are some other packages you can use with Minecraft that involve mods, or special alterations, such as Forge, Spigot, and Bukkit. Each one has their own installation instructions, so we won’t go over that here, so if you want to specifically install one of those, you should check out their tutorials.
Take the Jar file that you download and place it in a specific folder you want. Often times the download will go directly to your Downloads folder, so moving it to a more permanent home in your hard drive is a good idea.
Once you have it where you want it, double click to run the Jar file. This will extract some of the files needed to run the Minecraft server.
Before anything can run, you need to agree to the EULA for using the Minecraft server.
You can look up the EULA and read it thoroughly before agreeing to it.
Once you do, then just open the EULA txt file and change ‘eula=false’ to ‘eula=true’ and then save the file.
At this point, you can also change server settings if you like by opening the ‘server properties’ txt file as well. This can change anything from the server connection settings to in-game settings, so make sure you have everything the way you want it. Once you’re done, remember to save the file.
Once you’ve accepted the EULA and set all your server settings, double click the Jar file again to actually get the server running. You’ll probably get a prompt asking you to allow Minecraft access through your firewall, so click ‘allow access’ to let it through.
Finally, you should see a new window pop up, which means the server is now officially running! Yay!
This window will also give you the stats of your server and how it’s managing the resources on the computer. This is actually a great opportunity in the process to make sure your Minecraft server device has the capability to run the game.
Setting up a Managed Minecraft Server
Professionals Got It Done for You 💼
Thankfully, setting up a managed Minecraft server through a host is incredibly easy.
Though it varies depending on the host.
For the most part, you just need to select the package you want.
I suggest starting out at the lower end if its’ only 5-10 players and you want to test it out.
Getting Everything Ready
Once you’ve selected the package, just sign up, enter your credit card details, get billed and that’s it! You’ll get access to the control panel which will give you the IP and login details, and you might even just get that info through an e-mail so you don’t have to go into the cPanel.
Of course, if you want to apply mods or make any server settings, then going to the cPanel is a must, in which case, just use the login information you signed up with and follow any guides or tutorials offered by your host.
Connecting to a Hosted Minecraft Server
Easy as Abc 🏫
Connecting to a server is actually relatively easy.
First, run Minecraft: Java Edition, and then on the menu click on ‘multiplayer’. In the new screen, click on ‘Add Server’ and enter the server details.
If you’re using a managed server, the details will be in your cPanel or in an e-mail sent to you.
If you’re hosting a server at home, you can find your IP information by searching ‘what is my IP’.
Keep in mind that internet for the home tends to have a dynamic IP address, so you’ll have to update your friends whenever your IP changes.
Once you’ve added the information, click on ‘done’ and that’s it! All you need to do now is login and start playing!
When hosting a Minecraft server at home, you’ll need to do some port forwarding or your friends won’t be able to connect to you. This can vary a lot depending on your router, so it’s best to just google the term ‘port forwarding’ with the make and model of your router.
As you can see, setting up a Minecraft server isn’t really that difficult. Most of the process is somewhat automated for you, and if you go with a managed solution, it’s even easier. The only thing to really keep in mind for both at-home and hosted solutions is that RAM will be the major decider of how many players you can have running on your server.
That being said, if it’s only 4-5 people, I wouldn’t worry about it too much, just go out and have fun!
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