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How To Start Your Own Minecraft Server for Multiplayer Gaming

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If you’ve played Minecraft, then it’s easy to see how much fun it can be. Running your own server lets you bring all of your friends into the same game, and you can play with rules you get to make or break. It’s the ultimate in an already addictive game!

We’ve already shown you How To Get Started with Minecraft, a Game Geeks Love. What’s better than single player? Multiplayer, of course! You can join one of hundreds of servers at minecraftservers.net to get started, or search around for more exclusive ones, but ultimately you’re bound by their rules and discretion. Running your own server lets you and your friends can play together with your own set of rules, and it’s really easy to do.

Download and First Run

download

Head on over to the Minecraft Download page and go down to the “Multiplater beta server software” section. Windows users can Just download the .exe file and run it.  OS X and Linux users should download the .jar file, then run the server using the following command in Terminal:

java -Xmx1024M -Xms1024M -jar minecraft_server.jar nogui

If you want to devote more (or less) RAM to your server, change the 1024M to something else, like 2048M. The first number is the maximum amount it can use, and the second number is the minimum. Since everything is in Java, you should have at least a spare gig of RAM to devote to Minecraft. Things can get unruly with a decent amount of people playing, especially when you start to do crazy stuff like blowing up huge caverns with massive amounts of TNT.

server windows

In the server window, you’ll see the memory and processor thread use on the left, the list of connected players in the lower left, and the log and chat window on the right side. The first time you run the server, you’ll get some errors at first. That’s normal, so don’t panic!

log errors

The server didn’t find the configuration files it needs, so it’ll make them. You’ll see some new files come up in the same folder as your server.

new files

There’s the “world” folder, which contains your generated map area, an ops list, and a server.properties file, among other things.

Once the world is finished generating, you’ll get a little notice about the help file. Close the server, or if you’re running it in Terminal, just type “stop” (without the quotes). We’re going to tweak and we can’t do that while the server’s running.

Tweaking the Server’s Properties

Open up the server.properties file in notepad. You’ll see something like this:

server

You’ll see some important options.

  • level-name: This is the name of your Minecraft world. If you change this name, the server will look for a folder with a matching name, and if none is found, it will generate a new level with this name.
  • spawn-monsters: If set to false, monsters such as zombies, skeletons, and creepers will not spawn. Often turned off for “op” or “creative” servers, where everyone builds and survival is not the focus of gameplay.
  • spawn-animals: If set to false, animals such as wolves, cows, sheep, and chickens will not spawn.
  • pvp: If set to false, players will not be able to harm one another, although you can still inflict damage by pushing other players off of ledges.
  • white-list: If set to true, the server will only allows the usernames in the “white-list.txt” file to successfully connect and play.

For a complete description of all of the options, check out the Minecraft Wiki’s page on server.properties. Once you’re done changing things to what you want, save the file.

Since it’s your server, be sure to add your Minecraft username in the “ops.txt” file. That way, you’ll be an “operator” with full admin rights. You can generate any item you want, ban players, make other players ops, and change the in-game time.

In order for your friends to connect to your server you’ll have to configure port forwarding on your router. The default port is 25565, but this can be changed in the server.properties file. Your friends will need your IP address (or DNS alias/redirect) and this port number so that they can connect.

When you’re ready, start up the server again.

Playing On a Server

multiplayer

When you start Minecraft, you’re given the option of connecting to a multiplayer server. Clicking on it will allow you to enter its address information.

serverinfo

If you’re playing on the same computer as your server, you can just type “localhost” (without the quotes). Otherwise, plug in your server’s IP address or domain name. Click connect, and you’ll join the server.

Hit T to bring up the chat console.

chat prompt

You’ll see all of the public messages by users, system messages, and commands that you’ve executed. Notice the little prompt (>) in the lower left corner. Typing something and hitting Enter will send a message to all other players in a group chat. You can execute commands here, too, and they always start with a forward slash (/).

As an op, you should be able to type “/list” and hit Enter to list all of the connected players. You can also give items to any player (including yourself), ban and pardon specific users, and change the system time. If you’re unsure of a specific command’s requirement, you can type “/help” to get more info. For the full list of server commands, check out the Minecraft Wiki’s Server Commands page.

Now go and tell all of your friends to join! There’s nothing that beats building massive structures, exploring the vast landscape, and mining into moutains, except doing it with 8 of your best friends.

Yatri Trivedi is a monk-like geek. When he's not overdosing on meditation and geek news of all kinds, he's hacking and tweaking something, often while mumbling in 4 or 5 other languages.

  • Published 04/14/11

Comments (95)

  1. lolol

    make a video please! :)

  2. davidosomething

    You can get rid of the “nogui” part on the Java commandline version if you’re on OSX or running X. It’ll give you the same GUI as the Windows version.
    Also, I don’t think you should increase Xms, only Xmx value.
    Finally: http://canihostaminecraftserver.com/

  3. Bjarnovikus

    Nice tutorial, really easy to understand. Could you please make a tutorial on how to start a bukkit server (some default configuration* + plugins? )

    * It’s (as far as I know) the same as the vanilla server

  4. Doctor

    How about port forwarding on a Netgear I could never figure that out it drives me MAD!!!

  5. Ja5087

    What i always needed! Thanks

  6. Ivan Lapis

    Th in game screenshot connected to a player server does not seem to be the official minecraft server based on the welcome message alone… what server is that?

  7. Kicooi

    What is this?!?!?!?!? No mac? :P

  8. thyme676

    He’s probably running bukkit. I have a dedicated server running that mod atm. It’s really handy and you can do just about anything with it and all the plugins there are for bukkit. http://bukkit.org/

  9. Dude

    ??
    Pardon my humble opinion, but I think the server window will not appear when “nogui” is put in the command line. If you would like the server window to appear, DO NOT put “nogui” in the command line.

  10. Griede

    as i am not an expert by anymeans, this coment is ment for the persn named ‘doctor’ on this thread. i have a netgeaar router aswell, i am thinking they use a kind of software that dosent display its ip the normal way, i never fiigured the issue out, however, i did get my server up by simply runing the .exe file from the minecraft site, it set everything up, and i have several friends playing on it atm. i dont know it it did the port forwarding ffor me, but its running the proper port and i didnt have to change my router or any files…

  11. Prometheus

    How would one set up a separate server on the same computer as another server? I’ve got one that me and a few friends just build and screw around on, but I’d like to have one where me and some other friends can actually try and play on (ie, no server commands). Can anyone tell me how to do this or point me in the direction of some information on how it’s done?

  12. g0dFather

    Yes please! I would also like a tutorial on Minecraft + Bukkit and what plugins you use. The Bukkit plugin webpage has no rating system on what is good and bad.

  13. lol

    I have a sever thanks and it is 211.30.221.131 thanks soooo much

  14. a person

    i downloaded the Minecraft_Server.exe, and I got that one thing, and not the other files, like the server properties and stuff…

  15. that guy who needs some help with setting up his minecraft server

    how do you ‘configure port forwarding on your router’???

  16. a guy who needs some help with setting up his minecraft

    it did Not Work!

  17. me

    this doesnt work for me i made it and i got into it once and it was fine and now i cant get into it again

  18. this guyy

    it says connection refused

  19. techkid6

    I am a n00b and I can’t get my chat window to pop up. If it helps, I’m running Windows 7 with my Minecraft running on Firefox. I am running Minecraft and Server 1.6.6. Please help!

    Thanks,
    Techkid6

  20. HELP ME

    how do I let my friends join.
    because they keep getting error messages

  21. Help Please!

    I’ve done the preparing the spawn points part, “stopped” it and changed the server properties, but now I cant work out how to run/start the server again so I get a “Connection: Refused” message when I enter the IP of the server into multiplayer, please tell me how to run the server again

  22. mutt

    just come here

    survival.muttsworldmine.com

    problem solved

  23. the damn guys i who is cry to put up his minecraft server

    hey i finished all this correctly the connecting way you putted up isnt working how can i connect to my server from the browser?

  24. robo

    i cant run the exe file i cn only open

  25. robo

    got it

  26. TheFairyQueen

    When i try to connect to my pvp server all that comes up is:

    java.net.SocketExecption: Network is unreachable: connect

    I looked it up several times and all that came up was to delete your bin file, so i did and when i re-opened Minecraft the came came up and when i checked my roaming file the bin was there again.

    I think that Minecraft put the bin file back and i havetried several times to delete and re-open Minecraft but i need help.

    PLEASE HELP ME!!!!- TheFairyQueen

  27. minecraftlover

    i can’t seem to use the terminal command (i have a mac) it says command not found

  28. crafter

    how do i know whats my server ip?

  29. i didnt work

    i need help it did not work i tryed it

  30. hellsing36000

    thank you so much that was incredibly helpful

  31. help me please

    i did evrything that is there and whan i tipe in localhost it gives me error message “user not premium”
    that is same when i want to conect to other player servers

  32. connor

    There is no server.properties file in my world file

  33. help me please

    i have the same problem ass ‘help me please’ there is always ‘user not premium’

  34. TabbyBae

    How do I know my server address?

  35. Harry

    I have done all this but to avoid port forwarding it is easyer to download logmein hamachi and use it

  36. kieran

    how do i get my server IP without haveing to go on server properties because i dont have that

  37. tbone

    why dose terminal say “access denied”? pleas help!!

  38. Nope.

    New Folders are not coming up.

  39. Katherine

    I did all of this, I found my IP adress and added it to the server.properties… When I try to log in it says ‘End Of Stream’

  40. yo

    its saying conection failed and aparently you need to go through a complex port setup

  41. IDK

    dude it says, [WARNING] Can’t keep up! Did the systems time change, or is the server overloaded?

  42. No Properties Folder

    WTF

  43. Awesome

    I use dot block for my vps for minecraft, it runs amazing and its only $1 for a 30 day trial! Its amazing and i highly recommend it. Just use the link below to go to their website: goo.gl/14NLK trust me its worth the 1 dollar! Enjoy

  44. confused O.o

    I have no premium account how do i use commands in singleplayer?

  45. Ultrim

    I have a server. Join

    192.168.0.13:25565

  46. Keelin

    It didn’t work! I downloaded the server file, and it did not load anything such as a spawn point. All it is saying to me is ky.a and ky.b. Please help!

  47. cam

    Just created a successfull online world but the only problem is tht it doesnt have any commands in-game like for instance /warpspawn it just says the player tried this but the command doesnt exist can u tell me wats going on ????

  48. Greenway

    Help! I get to the window to where u see ur memory use and stuff but idk what to do now. Help!!!!

  49. iliekdis12

    um i dont have the server properties for some reason and i cant get it back please help

  50. Steven

    Help!!! I was trying to connect to my sever, but it says fail to connect timed out. What is going on?

  51. Troubled Soul

    Whenever I try to run the jar file (I have linux) it keeps saying unable to access minecraft_server.jar :( what am I doing wrong… yes I have it downloaded.

  52. michael

    this was the most eays tutorial ever people its easy when you made the game go to mine craft then multieplayer then type in localhost no space.

  53. James

    HELP ME!! i was on my server and i shut down terminal i dont no how to get my stuff bak coz it wont let me bak on and i made reely awesome things to plz help im begging u guys to help

  54. doodle574

    When i try to re-open the server it says something about start up failed mabye their is already a server open on this port? help?

  55. mxm24

    @ivan lapis
    thats a craftbukkit server (not bukkit, there is a difference.) using essentials and the standard motd (i believe).

  56. mxm24

    @minecraftlover
    you have to change your directory using the cd command first

  57. mxm24

    @IDK
    give your server more ram

  58. mxm24

    @cam
    that requires you to setup a craftbukkit server with a warping plugin (such as xwarp or my warp) . that command is not supported in the offical minecraft server software (like i said, you need a craftbukkit server and a warping plugin).

  59. mxm24

    @confused
    you need a mod called single player commands, aka spc.

  60. sum guy who hates this page

    this is dumb and makes NO sense

  61. Jen

    Hi
    my son wants to do this – is this safe and secure? how do you find your IP address on Apple mac – I know how on a PC

  62. dude123

    (for anyone wondering why there is no server properties file ect)
    put the server.exe in an empty folder (call it server or something) and then run it. you will see in the box with all the commands, it will say 10%….20%…. when it gets to 100 you can close the program. then in the folder you made, there will be server.properties, and ‘world’

    hope that helped.

    oh and anyone wondering about port forwarding, just use portforward.com its so easy. if that doesnt have your router on it, just type in your external ip address and try and figure it out yourself :)

    you have to edit the server.properties file to allow more than 1 person btw ~

    ->

  63. random person

    i dint get a word of this

  64. johan70

    I still getting this error
    failed to connect to the server
    connection refused: connect

  65. walter

    On the last part, to change the port number, I don’t get how to find your router port number? Please help!

  66. HELP EASY Q

    i have the ops file so do i put my mc username then just save it as a text file? thanks

  67. Steve

    HELP! I did what you said but i don’t know how to find the ip address! Please help!

  68. steinmetz

    I keep getting outdated server warnings need help

  69. Leah

    This is AMAZING help, been trying for hours and it worked. Thanks sooo much! <3 xx

  70. Clay

    If u shut down terminal or the minecraft.jar thing…dont you have to keep it up and running or it wont work
    just leave them openn all the time :)

  71. Clay

    ok if it cant access the minecraft.jar thing MAKE SURE IT IS NOT IN A FOLDER. PUT THE .JAR THING ON YOUR DESKTOP SO IT CAN ACCESS IT

  72. AidanPig

    Thanks!!!

  73. AidanPig

    The computer that I made the server on is working, but when i try to connect on another computer it won’t let me! Help plz!

  74. john

    how do i install plugins

  75. asscakes

    DUNNO HOW TO PORT FORWARD! im not a nerd about the connection and port forwarding WHAT THE F IS PORT FORWARDING ANYWAY!

  76. mxm24

    @jen
    what version of osx do you have?

  77. mxm24

    @asscakes
    Basically, port forwarding is opening ports so programs and processes can send and receive data on those ports.
    heres a link that explains it more

  78. mxm24

    link is portforward.com

  79. NeburPT

    I did everything you said but when I tried to conect to the server it’s said conection lost faild login: bad login what do i do now?

  80. NeburPT

    and Idid restart de game and de server many times

  81. forThoseWhoOnlyGotTheJar

    you need to double-click the jar which gives u all the files

  82. someguy who needs help

    It just says user not preimum when i own the server and im a N00B

  83. zander_owen

    hey guys plz go to my server but not tomorrow only for today if you go on tomorrow i’ll ban you 20 people can be on this server the server is minecraft.kf7eup.com but be on only for toady

  84. zander_owen

    wait actually dont

  85. zander_owen

    i’ll ban you if you show up

  86. jamesrocks99

    can i do this on a laptop?

  87. WTF?

    OMGOMG NYANYANNYANYANYANYAN!

  88. Cody Klimkofski

    Uh, the notepad thing isn’t working so I cant change anything. HELP!

  89. VipDude

    I had done the stuff but i cant get into my server! It says time refused: connect. HELP

  90. Rusty

    Doesn’t work

  91. hamda147

    i’ve done every thing you said but it tell me in the serve lost conniction when i try to get in the server
    ( i play in 1.9 3 release )

  92. nathan

    how do you find your Ip

  93. alen

    this dosnot work at my comp!!!!

  94. michael_12

    i do not understand what to enter when u open up minecraft and go to the multiplayer screen where it says to enter the IP of a server

  95. yetiman

    what happens if it says failed to conect

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