If you’ve been gaming online for anytime at all, then you’ve probably been drawn into the world of Minecraft. Playing Minecraft is fun, but what about when you want to customize the rules of the game and have your friends join in on the fun?
The answer is running your own Minecraft server. Below we show you how you can create your very own Minecraft server. It is a bit technical in nature, but if you’re up for the challenge, then keep reading.
Before you get started, you’ll need a dedicated server that comes with a higher level of security, speed and uptime. HostGator dedicated servers are provisioned, secured, and delivered within 24 hours of purchase. Get one here.
Make Sure You Have the Right Hardware
You computer hardware must be able to support the multiplayer gaming environment. You don’t need to have a high-end machine, but usually netbooks or smaller notebooks won’t work properly. First, you’ll need to have enough RAM. A good rule of thumb is 1GB of RAM for every four to five players you’re going to host on your server.
Beyond RAM you’ll need to have a fast and stable Internet connection for gameplay to work properly. Navigate to CanIHostaMinecraftServer.com, enter the amount of RAM your machine has and the connection speed, and this tool will show you how many players you can support at once.
We just ran a test using the HostGator basic dedicated server plan, which comes with 4 GB of RAM and 100 Mbps speed. You can support 48 people playing at a time, including yourself!
Note: installing a Minecraft server is a technical process, so don’t move forward unless you feel comfortable and have basic server-side tech skills.
Install and Setup the Server
Once your computer is ready to go you can begin setting up your server. Below we’ll dive into installing the server on Windows and Mac machines.
Windows Installation Instructions
Installing the Minecraft server on your Windows machine is a fairly straightforward process, as you’ll see below.
1. Update Java
For the server to work properly you’ll need to have the latest version of Java installed. To see if your machine is running the latest version of Java navigate to the download page.
2. Download the Server
Head over to the Minecraft download page, and download the .jar file under the ‘Multiplayer Server’ section. Create a dedicated folder on your computer where you’ll have all of the server files stored.
3. Install the Server
For Windows all you have to do is double click on the downloaded file and all of the necessary files will be created, and the server will open.
For the server to run properly you’ll need to accept the user agreement. Look for a .txt file titled eula.txt. Open the file and change ‘eula=false’ to ‘eula=true’. Save the file and you’ll be all set.
If you’re looking for ways to further customize your server, then check out this guide from Minecraft, scroll down to the section titled ‘Configuring from the command line’, and you’ll see a list of options.
Mac OS Installation Instructions
Installing a server on Mac OS machines will be a little more difficult (but it’s nothing you can’t handle), for the visually inclined there’s a nice video tutorial:
1. Download the Server
Download the latest version of the server from the same page as above, found here.
2. Install and Update Java
You probably already have Java installed on your machine, but if not, then you need to download Java and ensure you have the latest version running. You can download Java from this page.
3. Setup the Server
Before you setup the server make sure you’ve created a separate folder and put the ‘minecraft_server.jar’ file into it. Then, open Textedit and paste the following code into it:
cd “$(dirname “$0″)”
exec java -Xms1G -Xmx1G -jar minecraft_server.jar nogui
Save the file as ‘start.command’ and place the file into the same folder as the server file above.
Next you’ll need to change the file permissions. To do this open Terminal, and type in chmod a+x with a space after it, drag the ‘start.command’ file into the terminal window and press enter.
To start the server, just double-click on the ‘start.command’ file you created.
In order to customize your server to your liking you’ll be editing the ‘server.properties’ file. Configuration instructions can be found here, and the full list of server properties can be found here.
Invite Your Friends to Play
After you’ve created and installed your own server, then you’re probably ready to invite your friends to join in on the fun. Below we outline three different methods of connecting to the server depending on how the users are accessing the server.
1. Same Machine, Same Server
If you’re playing on the machine that also has the server running, then simply select the ‘Multiplayer’ option on the game screen. Then, type in ‘localhost’ instead of an IP address.
2. Connect Via the Same Network
Users who are connecting on the same Internet connection as you can connect via your internal IP address. To find this type ‘ifconfig’ into the command prompt and look for the address that follows ‘ipv4’.
3. Connect Outside Your Network
Any players you’re inviting to play with you who aren’t on your local network connection will need the IP address of your server in order to connect to the game. You’ll also need to port forward port 25565 to your server IP address so they can access the server. If you need help with this process, then check out portforward.com.
Keep in mind that a lot of the Minecraft server is undergoing testing, so there’s a chance bugs will arise now and then. However, the steps above will enable you to begin playing Minecraft on your very own server with your friends.
Have you had success with running your own Minecraft server? Share your experience in the comments below.