Minecraft has consistently been one of the most popular games in the world since it was released ten years ago, largely thanks to the hugely customizable play experience it offers. Alongside a deep single-player mode, the game remains hugely popular as an online multiplayer title.
There are thousands of Minecraft servers available online, offering everything from a straightforward ‘vanilla’ version of the game to PvP combat modes and deep MMORPG games. If you’ve ever thought about setting up your own Minecraft server, either to play with your friends or to open to the general public, the process is more straightforward than it might seem initially.
Here, we’ll look at some of the factors to consider when you’re setting up your own Minecraft server.
If you’re planning on inviting several players to join your server, it’s important that the hardware you use is suitable to support everyone and keep the game running smoothly. Using a game hosting service, rather than self-hosting a server, is recommended for a variety of reasons. From security concerns to bandwidth availability and overall user experience, creating your server with a hosting service removes a significant proportion of the potential issues facing a self-hosted server.
If you host the game on your local computer, it’s highly likely that most of your resources will be consumed relatively quickly and will result in significant lag for all players. It also involves sharing your IP address with all the players, which could be a problem if someone decides to launch a DDoS attack on your home network.
Choosing the right hardware specification for your server will depend on what type of game you intend to run and how many people are likely to be connected. With a hosting service, your primary concern will be how much RAM is available, as things like mods and plugins will consume RAM alongside the core game itself. As you might expect, more players online also requires additional RAM, so it’s best to speak with hosting support to determine the most suitable setup for your particular needs.
With the number of plugins and mods available, it can be hard to decide how to set up your Minecraft server. Generally speaking, most of the best servers are based on Spigot and plugins, as they are easy for all players to connect to and offer a higher degree of customization. However, there are several options available to new server owners.
Vanilla Minecraft – Otherwise known as the default version of the game, Vanilla Minecraft Is the foundation of all other server types. This type of server will only provide the base version of the game, but it’s easy to set up and get started. If you’re just looking to play Minecraft with your friends, a Vanilla server is the best way to go.
Bukkit – More commonly known as CraftBukkit, this modified version of the game uses various plugins to enhance the in-game command options and has various other useful features. It’s also the basis for many popular server game types, such as Bungee, MCMMO, Factions, and more. Many of the bigger servers online run on Spigot, which uses the Bukkit API and an optimized version of the software designed specifically for multiplayer. This setup means that plugins are only required on the server, not the local client, making it far easier for users to connect and play on the server. It also allows access from different client versions, removing another level of complexity from the setup for players.
Forge – Another popular enhanced server version is known as Forge, though the full title is Forge Mod Reloader (FML). While Bukkit uses plugins, Forge uses mods to add features and enhance the game. While they can perform a lot of the same functions as plugins, mods are often trickier to use but generally have a more stable game system built in them.
Getting Connected and Setting Up
Once you’ve set up your server with your provider, they will give you an IP address to use and share with those you want to invite to your server. To connect to the server, simply load Minecraft and select the Multiplayer option from the main menu and click Direct Connect. In the field labeled Server Address, enter the IP address provided by your server hosting company.
Once you’ve connected successfully, you’ll need to start to configure things the way you’d like and to get ready for other players to join.
You can alter the server properties file to change things like the spawn point, alter settings for NPCs and mobs, change the world name, and more. There are plenty of changes that can be made to this file, so researching some of the available functions is worthwhile.
The next step will be to set up your ‘OP’ players, which is essentially giving people full access to execute any command in the game. This includes the ability to provide this power to other players, so be careful who you give it to! This can even go as far as giving other players the ability to kick you from your own server, so many server owners choose to only OP themselves.
You may wish to install mods or plugins to allow you to customize your server. Some game hosting companies like Apex Hosting have a control panel that will allow you to select them from a dropdown menu, while some will require an FTP client to upload them manually to the server. If FTP access is required, simply drop your downloaded plugin into the plugins folder and follow the setup instructions provided. There are various guides online on how to do this, depending on which server configuration you have.
Running The Server
If you’re using a server hosting service, the only real technical issue you need to be concerned with is resource usage. If you’re noticing regular issues with lag, or frequent crashes, it’s best to contact the support team for advice. It may require that you upgrade your server to improve performance, but that is relatively inexpensive.
Moderation is also key when it comes to keeping your server a fun place to be. Some standard measures can be implemented to automate some of this, such as anti-spam and anti-cursing plugins, to prevent some of the more typical offenses. Other administrative tasks can include things like banning players who harass others and intervening to resolve disputes within the game. It can be a lot of work, depending on how many people are online!
While there are plenty of considerations for a potential server owner, it can be a great way of creating a fun and unique gaming experience. If you’re looking to build something new or are just looking for a shared space to hang out with your friends, running your own Minecraft server can be a worthwhile investment.
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