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Minecraft has sold millions of copies worldwide. Up to 2018, 154 million copies had been sold which places the game as the second-best selling, only being beaten by Tetris. While the game is popular among players for building fantasy worlds using blocks, there is a lot more to it.

Minecraft teaches how to get into coding, developers expand it with mods and there is a huge community. Those who delve deeper into Minecraft more seriously go on to make a Minecraft server and here I will explain how.

How to Build a Minecraft Server?

Building a Minecraft server takes five simple steps. I will take you through these steps providing you with all the information needed in order to get up and running.

The five steps are as follows:

  1. Make sure the latest version of Java is installed on the computer;
  2. Download and install the Minecraft server software onto the computer;
  3. Go ahead and configure the server along with network;
  4. Make sure the server is running on the computer;
  5. Ensure that you can access the server.

Before You Start

The first couple of steps I mentioned above are simple to complete. After this, things are a little more complicated. Before starting to make a Minecraft server, I should warn you, setting up the server does require some technical knowledge.

When installing and managing a server knowledge needed includes:

  • Knowing the router and network configuration;
  • Understanding the computer system configuration;
  • How to use a command line;
  • How to network using ports, IP and DHCP.

If you are scratching your head in bewilderment of any of the above, I suggest you first obtain knowledge of the above before moving ahead to make a Minecraft server. If you already understand what I am talking about, then feel free to continue.

Choices for A Minecraft Server – Home or Away

The next decision to make when committing to make a Minecraft server is whether to set it up at home or away.

There is nothing to prevent anyone from running a server from home but I would like to point out you need a powerful desktop computer. Even more so if installing and playing Minecraft on the same computer.

If running the server and playing Minecraft I recommend a computer with a 2.8 GHz CPU at least and at least 6GB of RAM. If installing with a hosting company a computer of 1GB of RAM will suffice.

One thing required to make a Minecraft server is DDoS protection (Denial of Service), along with automatic backup, as is a fast connection.

Another thing I would recommend is using a wired Ethernet connection as opposed to going wireless. This is for connection stability.

You might not have the computer specs needed to install the server at home. In this case, I recommend using the external hosting. This does come at a cost but on the plus side, it does away with having to deal with the server hardware.

In regard to external hosting, I would like to stress choosing shared hosting means keeping a watchful eye on the resources you are using. Alternatively, choose a dedicated server, which comes with a higher monthly cost.

How to Build a Minecraft Server on a Windows Computer

I am going to begin by explaining building a Minecraft server on a Windows computer.

First Check the Version of Java Installed

The first step needed to make a Minecraft server is to determine the version of Java installed on the computer. To do this:

  1. Go to Programs – Windows Control Panel – Java then click on Update;
  2. Next, open a command prompt on the computer then type in “java –version” without the apostrophes;
  3. Check the version number shown;
  4. Head over to the Java website to check the recent version;
  5. If there is a newer version, download it and install it.

Choose Where to Save the Server Files for Minecraft

Now it is time to move forward onto the next step.

Before downloading the Minecraft server files to the computer, choose a location to save them. A word of warning make a dedicated folder to save them in the location on the hard drive. The location can be anywhere you want on the hard drive, it does not matter.

Making a dedicated folder is essential because when running the Minecraft server for the first time it creates configuration files. By making a specific “Minecraft file” folder, all files will be together.

Downloading and Running the Server

With the folder on the hard drive created now is the time to head over to the Minecraft website to download the server software.

The Minecraft server software comes in the form of a Java.jar file. Save this file in the folder on the hard drive. Once the download completes, follow the steps below:

  1. Find the Minecraft server file saved on the hard drive, right click on it and choose “Run as administrator”;
  2. Click to accept EULA and a file with the name of “Eula.txt” will be saved to the folder;
  3. Go into the folder and open Eula.txt with the text editor of your choice. Change the words “eula=false” to “eula=true”;
  4. Save the file.

A Word about Port Forwarding

If only you and friends are playing Minecraft and you plan to host the game on your local network for players there is no worry about port forwarding. In this case, skip the following and move on to starting the Minecraft server information below.

When making the decision to allow people outside of the local network to access Minecraft, port forwarding is required and this brings a risk to security.

The documentation of the router provides information for port forwarding. With Minecraft, the TCP port to forward to is 25565. Anyone forwarding will have to enter the local IP address of the server as the “Output IP” or “Server IP”. In order to get the local IP for your server simply go to the command prompt and type in “ipconfig”.

Starting the Minecraft Server

Now onto the final part to build a Minecraft server, simply follow the steps I have outlined:

  1. Go to the Windows command prompt and open it;
  2. Find the folder with the server files; it should be something along the lines of minecraft_server.1.12.2.jar;
  3. Type in the following into the command prompt without the apostrophes “java -Xmx1024M -Xms1024M -jar {server file name} nogui”;
  4. Put your server file name in the space where it says {server file name};
  5. If other people are going to connect to the server, they may do so using the local IP address on the home network;
  6. Finally, find out if the server can be accessed by using the Minecraft Server Status Checker by typing in the IP address;
  7. If all has gone to plan you should be up and running.

How to Make a Minecraft Server on a Mac Computer

Now I am going to talk about the steps needed to build a Minecraft server using a Mac computer.

If the MacOS is one of the latest versions, it will have Java. If it is an older version of MacOS, legacy Java version needs downloading from Apple.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Make a folder in which to keep everything related to the Minecraft server on the hard drive;
  2. Head to the Minecraft website and download the software for the server to the folder created;
  3. Open up “TextEdit” then choose plain text format and type in the following, changing the {server file name} with your own server file name:

#!/bin/bash

cd "$(dirname "$0")"

exec java -Xms1G -Xmx1G -jar {server file name} nogui

  1. Choose to save the file and give it the name “start.command” making sure it is saved in the folder with the .jar file you downloaded.;
  2. Open up the Terminal, give permission for the file named start.command in the window of the terminal, and then hit the Enter key.

Refer to the information about port forwarding above for the Windows installation if wishing to make a Minecraft server available outside of the local network. If not, continue by following my instructions below.

Running the Server on MacOS

Go to the “start.command” file created as above. When double-clicked, the Terminal window appears. Pay no attention if there is an error at this point this is typical.

With the Minecraft server up and running, others can be invited to connect to the Minecraft server you just installed through the local IP address. Again, find the IP address by making a Google search.

Installing the Minecraft Server on the Linux OS

Installing a Minecraft Server on Linux is a little more confusing than on Windows or MacOS, as it requires using the command line.

Just as with Windows PC, it is possible to build a Minecraft server at home or via a hosting plan for Linux.

One of the benefits of choosing a hosting plan to make a Minecraft server is that no hardware management falls on you. The biggest benefit, however, is that your private home network is not exposed to members of the public.

A shared plan will suffice if there are just a few players. A dedicated server is essential for many Minecraft players.

Make Sure Java Is Installed on the Computer

To connect hosting with SSH on Linux and set up the Minecraft server follow the steps I have outlined below.

  1. While being root user and being SSHd into the host type in the command “apt-cache search openjdk”;
  2. The OpenJDK packages available to install Java will be shown;
  3. To update the list from the repositories type in “apt-get update”;
  4. Go ahead and install the software package chosen, for example, “apt-get install open-7-jdk;
  5. You will be asked to give authorization for the storage space so press Y;
  6. Verify Java has been installed using the command “java – version”.

Choose Where to Store the Server Files

Make a directory on the hard drive where you will store the server files for Minecraft and change to the directory by typing the following:

mkdir minecraft

cd minecraft

Go Ahead and Download the Server Files

While remaining inside the directory you created, you can use the following command and the server files will download. Type in:

wget -O minecraft_server.jar https://s3.amazonaws.com/Minecraft.Download/versions/1.12.2/minecraft_server.1.12.2.jar

I recommend checking on the Minecraft download page to find the latest version. If there is a newer version, replace the download link in the line above.

Install, then go ahead and run “screen”. This allows the Minecraft server to continue to run while not connected. Type in the following:

yum install screen

screen

Running the Minecraft Server

To start the Minecraft server type in the following:

java -Xmx512M -Xms512M -jar minecraft_server.jar nogui

I do want to stress the fact that it is possible to swap the –Xmx and –Xms settings. This is linked to the memory allocated for the Minecraft server. An example might be entering -Xmx1G -Xmx1G if there is a need to change the RAM to 1GB.

Bear in mind that the available memory will depend on the shared hosting plan you chose, if you have gone down that route to build a Minecraft server.

You can make sure things are running correctly by stopping the Minecraft server using the command “stop”.

Now edit the file “server-properties by typing:

enable-query=true

Giving the Minecraft Server a Domain

To make things easy for players I recommend giving them a domain name. An IP address is hard to remember whereas a domain name is not.

This is not as complicated as it sounds.

Go to the domain and update records. Do this by adding in the record “A” for the domain. This is done by @ as hostname, while using “mc” for instance, pointing to the IP address of the Minecraft server.

Bear in mind that when altering DNS records it may take as long as 24 hours for the changes to take effect around the world.

Overcoming Errors

I very much hope that all went well with your Minecraft server installation. However, it is conceivable errors will crop up from time to time when hosting your own server.

If they do, and they invariably will, one of the first things is to check the control panel console. This is where errors crop up. Many server errors can be resolved by simply restarting the server.

Occasionally plugins cause issues with the server, more so when they update.

If the above does not rectify issues, I would recommend starting the server with a different world to determine whether it is the world itself causing issues.

Conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed reading my introduction about how to build a Minecraft server at home or using a hosting company.

I hope that you have your Minecraft server up and running now and it all went relatively easy for you. While it may seem daunting when first starting out I am confident that if all has gone well you are enjoying all that Minecraft has to offer by way of multi-player on your own server. If so, it will have been worth it.

There is plenty of information online about Minecraft and running and maintaining a server along with more detailed information on how to build a Minecraft server for specific operating systems. All that is left to say is welcome to the world of Minecraft servers and all the fun it has to offer.

Written by Mark Bynum

Mark Bynum is tech writer and WordPress enthusiast from Atlanta. He loves playing with latest tech gadgets and testing various products and services. When he is AFK, you can find him hiking somewhere in the woods.

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