Setting up your own Minecraft server

The online multiplayer mode in Minecraft is often considered to be the heart of Minecraft. However, to play together on the Internet, you need a server that acts as the gateway to the Minecraft world. The available servers differ both in terms of their game modes and the number of players. As a user, you can browse public servers via various Minecraft server lists to find a suitable game world. However, on the Minecraft servers of other users, you have no control over the general conditions of the game, because these are set by the server operator.

You’ll only have a customized gaming experience if you make a Minecraft server - only then will you be able to determine which and how many players are allowed to be in your game world. You can also adjust the game mode and other settings to your preferences. But how do you set up a Minecraft server and which server is best for it? Let’s take a look.

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Minecraft Server: own home server or rent a server?

If you want to create and run your own Minecraft server, you will first need the appropriate hardware. In theory, a home PC is adequate for this – but this also depends on the desired number of players and server setting. For three to five players, for example, the Minecraft team recommends three gigabytes of RAM, 18 gigabytes of hard drive space, and broadband resources of at least 12 MBit for the game. In addition, there are the requirements of the operating system; for Windows 10, this would be another one or two gigabytes of RAM (32-bit vs. 64-bit) and 16 or 32 gigabytes of hard drive space (32-bit vs. 64-bit).

These key numbers already make it clear that you cannot run other programs in parallel to the Minecraft server on the respective PC, so it functions exclusively as a host. The purchase of a second PC in addition to your normal device not only takes up the home broadband quota, but also means additional running costs in terms of power consumption. It is probably only an option for very few Minecraft enthusiasts.

Tip

What actually is a server? In our article on the term “Server” we answer this, and many more questions, addressing, among other things, the ambiguous use of the term in computer science!

The flexible and often even very cost-effective alternative is to rent the hardware resources for a Minecraft server - and this means hosting the game can be left to the hands of the provider, and you can enjoy customizing your game. With this option, you can also set up your server individually and decide whether the server should be public or private. Many server tariffs available today offer you the possibility to increase or decrease the booked hardware performance at any time or at least on a monthly basis - a clear advantage over a home server, where you can’t just scale this up or down.

Note

Rentable server resources are also referred to as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), which is IT infrastructure provided to users by a provider as part of a service.

What are the system requirements for Minecraft server hosting?

In the previous section, we already gave an example for the hardware requirements of a Minecraft server, focusing on RAM and hard drive space. But what does the developer say about the recommended processor performance? And what are the requirements in terms of operating system and other mandatory software? We have summarized the most important system requirements here.

Note

The figures presented below for RAM, CPU, and hard drive space do not include the required computing power of the selected operating system!

Operating systems and other software

To be able to create your own Minecraft server, you’ll need the Minecraft server software. The developer Mojang provides you with a free setup for this, which is only compatible with Minecraft: Java Edition. A current version of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is also required.

Secondly, you will need an operating system to manage your server resources and install the Minecraft server software. In connection with the local home server, it has already been hinted that you can certainly get your own Minecraft world running on the standard user operating systems from Microsoft, such as Windows 10 or Windows 8. Installation on macOS (10.4 or higher) is also possible, according to developer information. For an optimal setup, however, the classic server operating systems (Windows, UNIX/Linux) are recommended:

  • Windows Server 2019 (older editions possible)
  • Ubuntu
  • Debian
  • CentOS
  • openSUSE
Note

It is required that you are able to use Java via the command line. On macOS and Linux, this should be set up by default. In Windows, you often need to enable the option first via enable PATH environment variable.

CPU and RAM

Processor performance and RAM play a major role in the performance of a gaming server. You also have to make sure that you have enough computing power when compiling the hardware setup of your Minecraft server. How much CPU and RAM you need can’t be defined in a general way, because there are a lot of factors to consider:

For example, the number of players on your server and how they interact with the game world is crucial. While a player object only requires about 50 to 100 MB of RAM, the server often has to allocate much more memory per player if:

  • different chunks are visited
  • movement through chunks takes place at a very fast pace (e.g. on a boat, via train or by gliding with Elytren)
  • the game world is large

The latter also automatically increases the requirements for the CPU power needed, which also depends on factors such as the number of redstone elements for Minecraft electronics.

To get an approximate idea of the computing requirements of your own Minecraft server, it is worth taking a look at Majong’s recommendations, which are based on the default settings in server.conf (so, for example, a maximum object visibility of 10):

Windows Server (from 2008)

  CPU RAM Possible number of players
Minimum Intel Core based CPUs 2 GB 1 to 2 players
Recommended AMD K8 based CPUs 4 GB 2 to 5 players
Optimal Intel Nehalem based CPUs 8 GB 6 players or more

UNIX/Linux-Server (GUI-Version)

  CPU RAM Possible number of players
Minimum Intel Pentium 4 1.8 GHzAMD Athlon XP 1600+PowerPC 750 1 GHzPower PC G4 1 GHz 512 MB 1 to 2 players
Recommended Intel Core based CPUsAMD K8 based CPUsIBM 970 2.0 GHz 5 GB 3 to 5 players
Gut Intel Core based CPUsAMD K8-based CPUsIBM 970 2.0 GHz+ 6 GB 5 to 7 players
Optimal Intel Core based CPUs with 3.6GHz+AMD K8 based CPUs with 3.6GHzIBM 970 2.0 GHz+ 6 GB 7 players or more

UNIX/Linux-Server (Console-Version)

  CPU RAM Possible number of players
Minimum Intel Pentium 4 2.0 GHzAMD Athlon based CPUs 512 MB 1 to 3 players
Mid Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHzAMD Athlon XP 2600+ 1 GB 3 to 5 players
Recommended Intel Core based CPUsAMD K8 based CPUs 4 GB 5 to 8 players
Good Intel Core based CPUsAMD Ryzen 3 based CPUsAMD Ryzen 5 based CPUs 5 GB 8 to 12 players
Optimal Intel i5 based CPUsIntel i7 based CPUsAMD Ryzen 3 based CPUsAMD Ryzen 5 based CPUs 6 GB 12 players or more
Note

The “console version” means that you start and manage your Minecraft server via the terminal. If you are experienced in using the Linux command line, you can save computing resources this way.

Hard disk space and broadband requirements

Of course, you also need to store the Minecraft server installation as well as user and game world data on your server. The following approximate values can be used here:

  • 1 to 2 players: at least 2 gigabytes of free disk space (5 GB with constant backups)
  • 3 to 5 players: at least 18 gigabytes of free disk space
  • 6 players or more: at least 35 gigabytes of free space

However, size is not the only factor you should pay attention to when it comes to storage units. Relying on SSD storage for your server can speed up the startup process. However, for a smooth gaming experience on a Minecraft server, classic HDD storage is perfectly suitable, too.

Tip

For more on the differences between the two major types of memory, see our article “SSD vs. HDD: What are the differences?”.

The required broadband capacities also result from the number of active players on the Minecraft server. In terms of memory, Minecraft isn’t too demanding: Majong’s recommendations – from 5 Mbps for 1 to 2 players to 45 Mbps for 6 or more players - are not a problem if you rent the hardware and hosting for your Minecraft server. In case you have your own server at home, you will of course have to keep an eye on the key figures and order a larger broadband package if necessary.

Making a Minecraft server: which IONOS solution would suit me?

The search for the right hardware base for your own Minecraft server is not only a question of finding the right provider: You also have to filter out the right server model from the wide range of offers. At IONOS, for example, you have the choice between

  • a vServer (Virtual Private Server),
  • a cloud server
  • and a dedicated server.

With the latter model, you can also choose whether you take over the administration of the dedicated hardware yourself or whether you go for the managed solution, where we take care of the installation and administration of software (operating system etc.) for you.

Tip

For more information on what advantages a dedicated hosting solution offers, see our article onShared Hosting vs. Dedicated Hosting.

A brief overview of the three IONOS server options

A Dedicated Server with specially allocated hardware in our data center is an excellent solution for hosting individual applications. As a basis for server applications like a Minecraft server, this server model is ideal. Billing takes place per-minute with this package.

Note

We guarantee an external broadband connection of the server with up to 400 Mbit/s regardless of the chosen server model.

However, to make a Minecraft server, the virtualized resources you rent with a vServer or Cloud Server are also perfectly suitable. Even if you don’t get dedicated hardware components here, the selected performance is guaranteed at all times. When deciding between vServer and Cloud Server, the payment model might make a difference:

If you are unsure when and how often you want to run your Minecraft server, a Cloud Server Package is the perfect choice, as here we only charge for the resources you actually need and use.

If you rent a vServer, you pay a fixed monthly amount, regardless of whether your Minecraft server is running or not. However, if you’re planning on continuous operation, you will get significantly lower costs than with a cloud server.

Three possible Minecraft server options at IONOS

Whichever server model you choose, at IONOS you’ll find various tariffs that differ in terms of the performance offered. Which of these tariffs is suitable for your purposes depends on how large the Minecraft world is and how many players are going to be active on your Minecraft server at the same time. In the following table, we present three possible scenarios for your gaming server including the appropriate rates within the three server models to help you decide.

 

Minimum requirements (including operating system)

Recommended vServer

Recommended Cloud Server

Recommended Dedicated Server

Small Minecraft world for 1-2 players

 

Windows: 2 GHz, 4 GB RAM, 40 GB storage space

 

Linux: 2 GHz, 2 GB RAM, 20 GB storage space

IONOS VPS (Virtual Server Cloud) RAM M

IONOS Cloud Server RAM L

-

Medium Minecraft world for 3-5 players

 

Windows: 2.8 GHz, 6 GB RAM, 55 GB storage space

 

Linux: 2.8 GHz, 6 GB RAM, 35 GB storage space

IONOS VPS (Virtual Server Cloud) XL

IONOS Cloud Server RAM L

IONOS Dedicated Server L-16 SSD

Large Minecraft world for 6 players or more

 

Windows: 3.6 GHz, 10 GB RAM, 75 GB storage space

 

Linux: 3.6 GHz, 7 GB RAM, 55 GB storage space

IONOS VPS (Virtual Server Cloud) L RAM

IONOS Cloud Server XXL

IONOS Dedicated Server L-16 SSD

Tip

Rent your Dedicated Server at IONOS to enjoy the world of Minecraft together with friends and acquaintances at any time!

Create Minecraft server: step-by-step guide (Windows Server)

After you have decided on a suitable server, you can now create and set up your Minecraft server. Whether you choose Windows Server or a Linux distribution like Ubuntu or Debian as your system base is up to you.

Tip

Extensive instructions on how to create a Minecraft server for all operating systems are provided by the official Minecraft wiki.

In the following tutorial, we will show you how to get a Minecraft server running on Windows Server 2016 as an IONOS customer (vServer, Cloud Server, Dedicated Server).

Step 1: Create a connection to the server

The first step is to establish a remote connection to your server. If you have not yet set up access, you can do this directly via the IONOS Cloud Panel. To do this, first log in to the Login page with your login data.

Select “Server & Cloud” from the menu and click the server you want to install and host Minecraft on from the listing. Scroll down and press the download link next to the “Remote Desktop Connection” entry:

Either select “Open with” directly or open the file by double-clicking it after the download. In the following dialog window, click on “Connect” and select “Use other account” under “More options”. Now you can enter the login data to your server – if you have not yet assigned a password, you will find the start password in the “Initial password” line.

When you connect to the server for the first time, you will see a warning about the security credentials. To continue, simply click “Yes” here. This will establish the remote connection to the server.

Tip

You can terminate the remote connection to your Minecraft server at IONOS at any time by clicking on the “X” in the connection bar presented at the top of the screen!

Step 2: Install Java

The official server software for Minecraft to date is the Java edition, as already mentioned, so you now check your system for an up-to-date version of the runtime environment. To do this, download the Java Uninstall Tool and run the application after downloading it. Click “Agree”, the software will automatically check if you have the latest version or if you have Java installed at all.

If an update or installation is necessary, the uninstaller will present you with the message “Out-of-Date Java Versions Detected” or “No Java Versions Detected”. First remove the old Java version (if present) and then press the “Get Java” button.

After that, the tool will automatically find the download link to the appropriate Java edition and you just need to confirm the download. In the last step, you install Java using the downloaded file.

Step 3: Install the Minecraft-Server

Download Software for the server (Minecraft: Java Edition Server). Then create a new folder anywhere on your server system and run the downloaded JAR-File from there to start the installation.

Accept the end user license agreements by opening the eula.txt text file and replacing the “eula=false” entry with “eula=true” and saving the changes.

Click the server JAR file again to have your Minecraft server created.

Step 4: Share port

Your Minecraft server must be accessible via an open port for all potential players on the local network or Internet. By default, Minecraft provides the TCP-Port 25565. To check this or to assign a different port, you can open the server.properties file with any text editor (e.g. WordPad) and check or adjust the number at the entry “server-port=...”. and check or adjust the number.

Afterwards, you have to release the respective port on your server. To do this, call up the IONOS Cloud Panel again, switch to the “Server & Cloud” area and select “Network” and then “Firewall Policies” in the left-hand menu area:

Click on the installed operating system and scroll in the following menu to the “Incoming” menu area. You will see some port entries that are opened by default on the IONOS servers for external communication - for example port 80 for incoming and outgoing traffic from web servers. In the input line, enter port 25565 or the port you want to use for your Minecraft server. Leave the field “Allowed IP” empty, optionally you can write a description for the released port. Finally, click on “Add rule”:

Step 5: Join the server

Now your own Minecraft server is ready to go. You can now invite Minecraft Java Edition owners to explore your multiplayer game world at any time. To do this, you just need to share your server’s IP address (this is also the address you connect to when you connect remotely). If you no longer have the IP address of your Minecraft server handy, you can find it out at any time in the Cloud Panel (under “Infrastructure” > “Server”).

To connect to the server, players now launch the Minecraft application and select the multiplayer section. After clicking on “Add Server”, any server name as well as the address is to be entered. Another click on “Done” and your Minecraft server is available as a selectable server (“Join Server”):

After joining the server, you can start right away - in our Minecraft world, it’s already night and we get to deal with a heavy rainstorm right away:

Step 6: Adjust the settings of the Minecraft server

As a server owner, you can make numerous settings for your Minecraft world. This is done primarily via the server.properties file. You can set the number of players (“max-players=”), change the difficulty level (“difficulty=”), enable or disable PvP (“pvp=”) and make many other modifications. To do this, enter the desired number in the respective line or change the command to “true” or “false”.

For an overview of the various settings options, see the article about the server.properties file on the official Minecraft wiki.

Tip

Want to host other games, too? In our Digital Guide you can also find instructions for a CS:Go server and a Farming Simulator server among other articles!


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