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.

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Boy playing on minecraft server

Things to Consider Before Hosting a Minecraft Server

Benefits of Using Hosting Your Own Minecraft Server

Hosting your own Minecraft server can be very rewarding, but it does have a few drawbacks you should understand before attempting it yourself. 

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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. 

Minecraft server step 1 Java

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.

Minecraft server step 1 Java
Minecraft server step 1 Java

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. 

Minecraft server step 2 download server.jar

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. 

Minecraft server step 3 configure files

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. 

Minecraft server step 4 run your server

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. 

Minecraft server step 5 port forwarding

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. 

Minecraft server step 5 port forwarding

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. 

Minecraft server step 5 port forwarding

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.

Join friends Minecraft server
Join friends Minecraft 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.

Here’s what my server.properties file looks like when opening it up using windows notepad.

Minecraft server step 6 update server properties

More Minecraft Resources

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.  

Join CodeWizardsHQ Minecraft server
Join CodeWizardsHQ Minecraft server

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Have fun on your new server!