Minecraft is a popular sandbox game for many reasons. It’s very easy to pick up and learn, gives you the flexibility to do whatever you want in the game, is essentially endless, and lets you build anything you want, provided you have the creativity.
However, the biggest reason Minecraft is so mainstream is because of the ability to play with other people. This is not to be confused with online games like Call of Duty where you and your friends play pre-loaded levels together. Online Minecraft allows you and your friends to create an entire world from the ground up with nothing holding you back. In order to play online with your friends, however, you need to set up a server that you can both connect to.
Please note: We recommend getting a parent’s permission before setting up a private server. Parts of this tutorial can cause security risks, you should have a parent with you and do not download anything extra.
What is a Minecraft Server?
A Minecraft server allows multiple people to play together in the same Minecraft world. This can be handled in different ways so it’s important to understand your options.
You can rent a server through a third-party, such as Apex Hosting or Hostinger. It does nearly everything for you, but you need to pay a monthly service fee for it. This can be as low as $5, depending on the service you use.
You can run a server yourself. This saves you paying a monthly fee as well as giving you complete control over how your server is handled. This article focuses on making your own Minecraft server without using a third-party.
Minecraft also runs personal multiplayer servers, called Realms, just for you and your friends. With a Realm, your Minecraft world is online and always accessible, even when you log off.
Recommended: Free Coding Programs for Kids
Things to Consider Before Hosting a Minecraft Server
Benefits of Using Hosting Your Own Minecraft Server
- You are able to have complete control over the entire server at all times. If you want something done, you can make it happen as quickly as you can do it yourself. There is no need to rely on someone else doing things for you.
- You have the ability to upgrade your computer however you desire to increase performance. Many server hosting companies offer higher premiums for higher specs, but if you happen to have the newest generation processor, the maximum amount of ram, and the biggest and most powerful graphics card, then your server can be one of the most powerful servers out there.
- It can be fun to setup and learn how to configure networking. You’ll get to learn about various network features that you probably wouldn’t need to know otherwise.
- It won’t cost you anything other than what it takes to run your computer. Using a hosting company costs money, but by hosting your own server you will only pay what it costs to keep your computer running.
Hosting your own Minecraft server can be very rewarding, but it does have a few drawbacks you should understand before attempting it yourself.
- You will need the proper hardware in order to run your own server. This includes either a PC running on the Windows 7 operating system or a Mac running on MacOS 10.4 or higher. While hosting your own server on a Chromebook is possible, it’s beyond the scope of what is taught in this tutorial.
- Along with the proper computer you will need an active internet connection and access to your router.
- Your computer specs that are needed heavily depend on what type of server you run and how many players are on at any given time. The more players logged onto your server will require higher amounts of RAM and a more advanced processor. The same goes for adding mods to your server. You can get away with a few gigs of ram if you only play Vanilla (meaning no mods!), but as soon as you start adding those awesome mods you’ll want to double, triple, or even quadruple the amount of RAM dedicated to your server.
- Since you will have to run the server from a computer, you’ll want a decent internet connection that is hardwired to your PC that can handle everyone playing simultaneously. No one wants to log onto a Minecraft server only to lag and get booted every 15 minutes for a modem restart. Note that although a computer is needed to run the server, your friends can play on your server from any platform as long as they are using the exact same Minecraft edition that you are running. For example, if you are running a server on Minecraft Java Edition 1.16.4, then your friends will need to have Minecraft Java Edition 1.16.4 installed on their device.
- It’s completely your responsibility on how this server is run. If anything goes wrong, it’s your problem. Players will rely on you to fix any issues or bugs that they may have and if there are disputes amongst players, you’re often the person that gets to handle them.
- It takes more than just downloading a program and turning on your computer. You will have to configure your network and router, learn about port-forwarding, and you may need to use the command-line to edit configuration files.
- The above requirements can lead to cyber attacks on your computer and private information. You may open your network up to security risks such as DDoS attacks. If your IP address falls in the wrong hands someone can find sensitive data about you, such as your address! So please take care if you go this route and ensure you proceed with the following steps safely. If you are looking to run your own server but don’t want to host it yourself, check out our article on using Apex server hosting.
Recommended: Java Classes for Teens
Steps for Creating a Minecraft Server
1. Getting Started: Download the Latest Version of Java
Still here? Great! Let’s begin making our own Minecraft server.
We can start by creating a new folder that will hold all of our downloads. You can put this anywhere you’d like, but I find it easiest to create a new folder on your desktop.
In our examples, we will be placing everything inside a folder called “My Awesome Server” directly on the desktop. To create a folder on your desktop right-click on any open space on your desktop and click “New Folder”. Then you can rename the folder to something of your choosing.
After creating your folder, you’ll need to start downloading the necessary files needed to host your own server. Let’s start by ensuring you have the latest version of Java on your machine. You can do that by going to https://www.java.com/en/download/. That link should take you to the proper download regardless of if you are using a Mac or PC.
Add the installer to the folder we created in the previous step. Once you download the installer, double-click it and follow along with the prompts.
2. Download the Server.jar File
Once you have the latest version of Java downloaded, you need to download the server.jar file.
If you’re following along with the images/gifs in this tutorial, you may find you have a different version number than what is showing. That’s okay, the steps should be the same.
You may get a warning from your computer saying that this file may be harmful. This is a normal warning for any .jar file. If you don’t know where it comes from, then you should be worried about these. That being said, I think we can trust Minecraft on this one.
If you’re given the option, save this file into the “My Awesome Server” folder. If not, just copy and paste or drag the download into the folder once it finishes.
3. Create Your Server Configuration Files
Once you have your server.jar file inside your “My Awesome Server” folder, either double-click it or right-click > open it to create your configuration files automatically.
There is a EULA agreement (End User License Agreement) that you will need to accept to prevent your server from immediately crashing. Open up the EULA file (it may say eula.txt depending on your machine) and change eula=false to eula=true. Then go to File > Save or press ctrl+s to save this document.
4. Run Your Server
Once again, double-click your server.jar file. You will now generate a handful of new files and also see your server start.
If your goal was to make your own Minecraft server to play with friends on the same internet connection as you then you have reached the end. Congratulations!
For friends on the same internet connection, log onto Minecraft and click the Multiplayer tab and they should find your server you just created. Note that you both also need to be using the same version of Minecraft.
If, however, you wanted to play with your friends who are using a different internet connection than you are using (such as a different home) then we still have some more work to do. In that case, continue on….
5. Set Up Port Forwarding
Warning: This is probably the most challenging part of the tutorial and it’s also the section that can cause security risks. Ensure you have a parent with you when you complete this step and do not download anything extra.
Port forwarding is required if you want your friends to connect to your server when they are connected to a different internet connection than you are connected to. Unfortunately, this step will be different depending on which router you are using. I will list the steps that it takes to get my Xfinity router set-up for port forwarding, but you will have to research your own router and follow its steps.
The first step for me is navigating to the Port Forwarding section on Xfinity’s website. I found this by googling “How to Port Forward my Xfinity Router” so I suggest a similar search for you, but with your specific router’s name.
The next step for me had common configurations to use, including Minecraft, so I went ahead and chose that. If you don’t have this option, the important thing to know is to use port number 25565 for Minecraft.
Any other port number will not work. Note that I blocked off my IP Address, this is the part that you want to keep secure from people you do not know or trust. Depending on your router, they may reserve a custom IP address for you (Xfinity did this for me). If that’s the case, this is the IP Address you will provide to your friends. If they do not reserve one for you, you will have to use your own IP address.
Once you have completed Port Forwarding, your friends should be able to log into Minecraft and click the Add Server button. They can name the server whatever they want (it does not have to match your name) then type in your IP address. If you do not know your IP address you can google “What’s my IP address” and it should be one of the first results.
You may or may not need the :25565 at the end of the IP address when adding the server. We recommend trying without, then with it if it fails to recognize the server.
6. Configuring Server Properties
Now that you have your own server running, it’s time to edit your server how you want. Inside the “My Awesome Server” folder, you’ll see a file called server.properties. Right now your computer won’t know how to open the file. But if you right click it and select Open with you should see a list of options.
You can open this in any text editor of your choosing, but Notepad works just fine if you aren’t attached to another one. When you open it up you’ll see a long list of different server properties. You can edit each one to your liking.
You’ll find a list of all the properties and what they mean here, but let’s discuss some common ones that you’ll want to know about first.
- difficulty – this takes either a string or integer property that sets the difficulty level of your server. Integer values are 0, 1, 2, or 3. The string values are peaceful, easy, normal, or hard, respectively.
- hardcore – this takes a boolean (true or false) value of how your players are handled if they were to die in game. If you set the value to true, then once a player dies they are set to spectator mode.
- level-seed – this is blank by default and will automatically generate a seed when you start your server. However, if you found a seed you want online to use, you can type it here and have a copy of that world.
- max-players – this sets the maximum number of players allowed on your server at one time. You’ll find this useful if you have a computer that struggles to run when many people log on at once.
- motd – this sets a Message Of The Day for all players to see when they log in on your server. It can be useful to provide useful information to everyone at once.
- pvp – this is a boolean value that when set to true allows players to kill each other.
Here’s what my server.properties file looks like when opening it up using windows notepad.
More Minecraft Resources
- How Minecraft Teaches Kids Coding
- The Best Minecraft Texture Packs
- A Parent’s Guide to Minecraft for Kids
- 10 Best Minecraft Mods for Kids
- How to Download and Install Minecraft Mods
- How to Play Minecraft with Friends
Enjoy Your Multiplayer Minecraft Server
And there you have it! You are now running your own Minecraft server and you can have all your friends join it as you wish.
There are many things you can do with your own server such as manage game settings, customizing your own white-list, adding your own mods, and allocating however much memory that you have to spare. We suggest starting small before you get too crazy.
Minecraft can quickly eat up resources that many people don’t have at home and you may find your computer struggles to handle everything you want it to do. Please also remember to not share your IP address publicly or with anyone you don’t know or trust.
We’d also love for you to come and hang out with us on our Minecraft server! Our subdomain (server address) is mc.codewizardshq.com. First, you will have to verify your information using Discord by sending a DM to CWHQ Minecraft Server#9605 where your pin code will be provided.
Want to learn about coding games like Minecraft? Start with a coding class:
Check out our 12-week coding classes and 1-week Minecraft camps to take your gaming to the next level.
Have fun on your new server!