How to Set Up a Minecraft Server

If you’ve been gaming online for anytime at all, then you’ve probably been drawn in to 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. 

1. 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. 

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.

2. Install and Setup the Server 

Once your computer is ready to go you can begin setting up your gaming 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

Macintosh HD:Users:kevwoo:Desktop:download server.png

Head over to the 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 Minecraft server on Mac OS machines will be a little more difficult (but it’s nothing you can’t handle).

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 Minecraft 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:

#!/bin/bash
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.

3. 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.

Ready to get started? You’ll need a dedicated server. Get yours now.

Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.