How To Setup a Minecraft Server

Danny Stieben 04-03-2013

how to setup a minecraft serverMinecraft has exploded over the last couple of years to become one of the greatest indie games of all time. There’s simply so much you can do with the game 6 Amazing Minecraft Creations That Will Blow Your Mind Alright. Maybe “blow your mind” is too extreme of an idiom for something as simple and not-so-mind-blowy as Minecraft. However, some Minecraft creations truly are jaw-droppingly awesome. In fact, there are quite a few Minecraft-related... Read More – not only by its own, but also with the wealth of plugins that are now available. It’s even available on any imaginable device, including the Raspberry Pi. If you haven’t played the game before, it’s never too late to learn more about it A Latecomer’s Introduction To Minecraft [MUO Gaming] Minecraft, the block-based sensation that took gaming by storm, is now well over three years old. It’s almost hard to believe it’s been that long since the first alpha was posted – and it’s equally... Read More .


With so many people playing the game, there’s no better time than now to learn how to setup a Minecraft server. It’s not too difficult to get started, and with some time you can turn your server into the next big thing.

Client-Based Temporary Server

There’s a number of different ways for you to get a server started. For example, you can easily run a temporary, unmodified server whenever you run the game client. This has been made possible ever since the developers changed the game’s architecture so that it creates its own local server session and then connects to itself to run a single-player game. You can then simply use other clients and connect to them, either via the Internet or via LAN, depending on what’s physically possible.

Just remember that all ports need to be open (and possible forwarded) if you expect people from the Internet to connect.

Launching a Dedicated Server

how to setup a minecraft server

If you want to set up a real “dedicated” Minecraft server, you’ll need to download the separate server binary, which is available as an .exe file for Windows machines or a .jar file for all other platforms. These files can be downloaded directly from Minecraft’s website after logging into your account.


Windows users can launch their Minecraft server simply by double-clicking on the .exe file, while others (such as Linux) should open a terminal, change into the same directory as the .jar file, and run the command :

java -Xms1G -Xmx1G -jar minecraft_server.jar nogui.

Of course, in order to integrate the Minecraft server along with the rest of your installed application, you should follow some additional instructions for moving the .jar file as well as creating a special Minecraft user on your server which will only have the permissions that you explicitly set for it. You can check out these instructions and related start-up scripts by checking out the Minecraft Wiki.

However, for simplicity’s sake, here are the Ubuntu instructions as Linux servers are usually preferred and Ubuntu is easy to set up.


Ports & Server Settings

To finish the process, make sure that you configure other settings, both on and off the server. Such tasks include configuring the port forwarding if necessary, and tweaking the Minecraft server’s settings within the file. The settings allow you to modify basic gameplay characteristics, such as enabling or disabling the nether, enabling or disabling flight, difficulty, game mode, level seeds, and PvP mode.

More information on how to configure the server via the file can be found here.


set up a minecraft server

Once you’re done configuring all of your settings, you need to think about installing some plugins to make your Minecraft server experience one people will remember. There are plenty of plugins available at Bukkit where you also find easy to use instructions. Which plugins you actually install is up to you, however, there are a few which you maybe interested in as most servers currently implement them.


Some of these plugins include functionality such as teleportation and game modes.

Connect To Your Server

how to setup a minecraft server

Once you have your server all set up, it’s easy to connect to it. If the server is within your LAN network, you should be able to find it by simply clicking on the Multiplayer button in the Minecraft client. For servers anywhere else on the Internet, you’ll need to click on Add Server and type in the IP address or domain name, depending on what information is given to you.

Provided that all the settings are configured properly and all necessary ports are open and forwarded, you should be able to connect successfully.



Hopefully, with the steps in mind, you can successfully setup a Minecraft server on which you can play with friends. Having your own Minecraft server allows you to have complete control over what functionality and other features are included in your server, allowing you to have the best, most customized gameplay experience possible.

If you need some suggestions on which plugins to install, check out this article 5 Must-Have Bukkit Plugins For Your Minecraft Server Don't worry, things definitely haven't changed since a week ago when I shared how to use ModLoader to easily install mods to your Minecraft client. Minecraft is still a phenomenon. Notch is still considered to... Read More for some top recommendations!

Do you run your own Minecraft server? What do or would you do on it to make it fun and special? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Alexander Carstensen
    March 5, 2013 at 8:51 am

    I personally use Hamachi to set up a VPN where me and my friends play via that VPN. But thanks for the guide :)

    • Danny Stieben
      March 31, 2013 at 9:13 pm

      That would just be an ad-hoc network of clients only, right? That works too, but doesn't let you do many customizations that will actually stay.

  2. Scott Reyes
    March 4, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    I have managed to set up a server once. It was decent, and running on a 2.3ghz opteron barcelona with 8 gigs of ram. Setting up the server was easy, but administrating it (configuring plugins and keepin peeps happy) was the most difficult part of the process. Although plugins like logblock and towny helped, it was very time consuming to keep up with that. I had to drop it in the end because it was impossible to keep up with that and sports, and more. (I was also hosting it from my own home as well so it needed to be turned on evey day)

    • Danny Stieben
      March 31, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      I personally enjoy the idea of running a server from your own home, but I have to agree that a lot of work can go into it. Once it works, however, it's definitely worth the effort. :)

  3. Garris Rago
    March 4, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    In the past I've had trouble port forwarding. can help (just ignore the buy option which does it for you) - I am not affiliated with
    just saying it's helpful!

    • Danny Stieben
      March 31, 2013 at 9:11 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Garris!

  4. Kamran Mackey
    March 4, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    I would love to setup a Minecraft server, but unfortunately I can't afford to get the actual Minecraft game because I have no money. But, if I do get the game in the future, this information will be very helpful! Thanks anyway! :)