Most Minecraft players will at some point think about running their own server, or at the least will think about getting a friend with more technological skills to do it for them! It isn’t as daunting a task as it may sound, there are just a few things to think about first.
Your server could be something that looks like the mess in the left of the picture, or it could be a lovely clean expensive server like the one on the right. Either way you will need to think about how many people are going to play on the server, and how big the map is likely to get.
The server that I manage has ten registered players, it is just between me and my friends. Although over time it is growing as friends invite friends and so on. In all honesty my server is more like the left hand one than the right, just with less cables on the floor!
The first choice to make is self hosted, or data centre? You could run the server yourself if your internet connection is fast enough (both up and down speeds), or you could look at one of the many popular hosting companies (one to look at is MineCraftServerHost.net).
If you choose to run your own server rather than renting one then you will need to look at the machines specification. A absolute minimum of RAM is 2GB, depending on how many players you are going to have, I would recommend going for the maximum you can afford. A duel core processor is a must, remembering that you are not just running the server but the operating system and any security programs also.
The best choice for a Minecraft server is to run a Linux operating system, I find that Ubuntu is an easy OS to handle for anyone who hasn’t tried Linux before. Linux has a smaller footprint in terms of memory and processor usage, so it leaves more resources to your actual Minecraft server. A second plus is that it doesn’t need the same level of security as a Windows server (no need for high end anti-virus, firewalls, etc).
Of course you will also need the Minecraft Server program, which can be downloaded directly from minecraft.net, both for Linux and Windows hosts. There are a few more tools that I find useful in running my server, that can be found over on my “Minecraft Admin Tools” page.
If you are serious about setting up a Minecraft Server then please take a look at my “set-up instructions” written from my experience of setting up a server a week after I started playing the game (it’s been running since December 2010)!
If you want to run your own server, but don’t want to host it from home then you could look at renting a server from a standard web host such as 123-reg, take a look at their site and make a decision based on the prices! Or you could try hosting from home, and then thinking about migrating to a hosted server. Just remember that you need a server, not a web hosting package!!
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