How to easily host a Minecraft server
Minecraft has many qualities that helped it become a gaming phenomenon: ever-expanding environments to explore, the freedom to craft complex machines from simple parts, and devastating iron golems, just to name a few. But one of my favorite things about Minecraft is how easy it is to host your own server. With just a Windows computer, a decent internet connection (with a static IP), and a little know-how, anyone can create a private world for a few friends to share. Hereâ€™s how to get started.
Create your world The Minecraft Server application relies on Java, so begin by making sure you have the latest version of Java 7 installed (32-bit or 64-bit, depending on your Windows version). Once that’s done, download minecraft servers exe from Minecraft.net and save it into a dedicated folder, like C:\MinecraftServer. Go ahead and run the server application, which will bring up a simple interface window. Don’t worry about any “missing file” warnings, those are normal for the first run. Once the series of “Preparing spawn area” messages is finished by a line that says “Done,” type “stop” in the text field and press Enter. Your new Minecraft world has been created! Now it’s time to configure it.
Customize the server settings In the directory where you saved Minecraft_Server.exe you should see two files called “server,” one of which will be listed as a PROPERTIES file when you hover over it. Right click this file and choose Edit to open it in notepad. You’ll see a list of server settings followed by an equals sign and a value. By changing the values you can configure a number of things about your new Minecraft world. Fortunately, most of the default settings should be fine, but there are a few that you should consider altering.
The gamemode and difficulty options are fundamental for deciding what kind of experience you want your players to have. The default gamemode setting is 0, which creates a survival server. In survival, players have to gather their own resources, endure damage from enemies, and contend with hunger â€” itâ€™s what you probably think of when you think about playing Minecraft. Changing the setting to 1 enables creative mode, which means that players take no damage and can fly around placing and destroying blocks instantly. If all you want to do is build, this is the mode for you.
If you decide to go the more traditional survival route, you can configure the difficulty setting from 1 (Easy) to 3 (Hard) to make the gameâ€™s enemy mobs more or less of a threat. If you want to remove enemies from the world completely, change the setting to 0 (Peaceful). Setting white-list=true is a good way to make sure that your server gets inhabited by only your friends, and not potentially vandals. Once turned on, no one but the users you approve will be allowed to connect and play. In the next section weâ€™ll cover how to add your first few friends to the white-list itself.
Setup your white-list and ops list
Back in your Minecraft server folder, you’ll see another file called white-list — as before, right click it and choose Edit, which should open a completely blank text file. The first player you’ll want to add is yourself, so type your Minecraft username into the top line. Your username will be whatever you registered when buying the game, and is the same thing you use to log into the regular Minecraft client.
Once you’ve entered your username, press Enter to jump down one line, and begin adding your friend’s usernames, each on its own line. When you’re done click File-Save and close out of the white-list. Your Minecraft server folder contains another special list called “ops,” which you add usernames to the same way you did for the whitelist. The difference is that anyone on the op (short for “Operator”) list will be able to execute moderator commands in-game. Since you’ll be in charge of this Minecraft world, you should definitely add yourself as an op. If you’ve got a trusted player or two who can handle the responsibility, add them as well. See the “Learn to Op” below for details on exactly what ops can do.