Want to buy a minecraft server? Here’s a guide to other free options, how and where to buy, and how much it will cost

by on August 17, 2011


So you’re wanting to play Multiplayer Minecraft with your friends online? Unfortunately, you’ll probably need to buy a Minecraft server to do it. Whilst it’s theoretically possible to play multiplayer Minecraft for free, in practise unless you’re willing to deal with some restrictions or have a fair amount of technical expertise, you’ll be better off with a bought-and-paid-for server.

**Updated 7th September 2012**

**Note** – as of recent versions of Minecraft, it’s now very, very easy to play Minecraft with your friends over a Local Area Network – your house’s wifi or similar. Simply start a single-player game, then press Escape and choose “Open To LAN”. Anyone else on your LAN can now join your game!

If you want to play on the Internet, though, you’ll need to do some more work. So, should you buy – well, rent – a Minecraft server?

There are a couple of options you could consider rather than buying a Minecraft server:

Play on servers already running on the Internet

As we mentioned in our article on Minecraft SMP Servers, there are a lot of lists of already running Minecraft servers out there. It’s possible to simply start playing on one of them with your friends. However, there are a couple of problems.

First of all, Minecraft servers tend to be fairly busy. You may decide to sit down of a night and start playing, only to find that the server you usually play on is already full up. If you become friends with the server admin or donate to the server’s upkeep, you might be able to get a reserved slot, but there’s no guarantee.

Secondly, the server isn’t under your control. On the Internet servers have a tendancy to vanish unexpectedly when the server maintainer’s machine melts, her work gets busy, or he meets a new SO and spends more time doing… other stuff. For most pickup games that might not be a problem, but if you’ve spent the past month constructing a perfect scale replica of the Eiffel Tower and you suddenly can’t get to it any more, you’re likely to find that… a bit irritating.

Thirdly, public servers are, well, public. And the public include griefers, who will merrily run around doing their best to ruin your gaming and smash your stuff. The only way to be protected from them is to play on a private server, either one you control or one you’re invited to.

Overall, if you’re interested in PvP or other “instant fix” gaming, then you’ll be OK playing on a public server. If you’re interested in longer-term projects and big constructions, you’ll want to be on a server you control.

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Running your own server

Not As Easy As It Sounds – although it has gotten a lot easier. Most modern PCs can host at least a few players on the same machine that you’re playing on, although if you’re wanting to run a huge server you may need a separate machine to run the server on, possibly with quite a lot of RAM.

You’ll also need it to be connected to the Internet at reasonably high speeds, both download and upload – which is where most home connections will fall down. See http://canihostaminecraftserver.com/ to get the full scoop on if your spare machine can run it. In short, you’ll need at least 1Mb/s upload speed to be able to host a server, and more to be able to host 4 or more players at the same time.

If you’ve got all that, there’s a good chance you’re expert enough to run a Minecraft server. However, be aware it’s a pretty technical process, even on Windows – although Windows is by far the easiest operating system to run on.

Buying a Minecraft server

Overall, the least painful option if you want to play on the Internet, particularly with a lot of other people, may well be to buy a Minecraft server for yourself – or rather, to rent a Minecraft server from a specialised company which already has Minecraft servers for sale.

You could, of course, simply rent a generic computer server from a Web hosting company and then install a Minecraft server on that. However, from all the costs I’ve seen, it won’t work out cheaper – indeed, it’s likely to be significantly more expensive.

In the US, Multiplayer Game Servers.com are highly recommended for ease of use and general friendliness – they’re the option you’ll see suggested most often on the Minecraft forums. Here in the UK and EU, the MMO Melting Pot team run our own Minecraft server with Multiplay.

In all cases, it’s a very simple process to set a server up: it should take about 15-20 minutes to go from the first page of the vendor’s site to being connected to Minecraft. Sometimes, though, the server setup may take up to a day – bear that in mind and order it in advance of your planned first gaming session!

Costs are extremely reasonable. A 4-player server will set you back about $7 / £4.50 per month, wheras a comparatively massive 16-player server will cost $18 / £12 per month, more or less. Prices significantly higher than that aren’t worth paying – shop around!

A good server hosting company will also have a wide range of additional options available for your server – for example, ClanForge claims to have over 1000 addons ready to install in your Minecraft server. You’ll still need to go through the somewhat painful process of setting them up on your local copy of Minecraft, but the non-trivial server install process will be automated for you.

Any other questions about buying servers? Got a great host to recommend? Comment below!

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other posts from these categories: Archives

{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Hugh Hancock August 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm

One quick note – we’ve been told on Twitter that http://fluctishosting.com/minecraft.php is an excellent choice for cheaper Minecraft hosting. Not sure what their reliablility is, but they certainly are offering better prices than most hosts!

Reply

Solar October 26, 2013 at 2:12 am

Looks reasonably priced at first glance. 4 dollars sounds good for 250 ram……. However i read that vanilla minecraft is recommended to have 600mb ram for its server. And i plan on using bukkit pluggins. *shrugs*

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John March 13, 2012 at 4:44 pm

I buy a server for $10

Reply

Hunter Mason June 26, 2013 at 6:01 am

I could make you a server that can hold 20 players. For Free!

Reply

John July 10, 2013 at 5:37 am

really? how?

Reply

justin December 24, 2013 at 7:21 pm

can u thank u

Reply

will March 8, 2014 at 1:04 am

can you make me one ive always wanted a server i could own.

Reply

Julian April 21, 2012 at 2:16 am

MCProHosting is the cheapest I’ve seen. 10 player server for 6 bucks. Tis what the MindCrack team uses for their public server, for those who don’t know.

Reply

chase May 28, 2012 at 11:36 pm

can you send me the website :)

Reply

William April 23, 2012 at 7:39 am

Remember you get what you pay for.

Reply

jerick May 1, 2012 at 11:08 pm

i run my minecraft server off my laptop with 35 players max with average of 20 on and play on it on wifi

Reply

Addi May 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm

I can run a Minecraft server on my spare computer. Using the “Can I host a Minecraft Server” website. It suggests that I can run a server with up to 80 members and myself. That’s more than enough, even for a bug server. So I would say that buying/renting a Minecraft server would be for those who do not have a spare computer or a computer with lots of ram and a good internet connection.

Reply

fabs June 1, 2012 at 11:20 pm

hello has anyone got a sever running and what help buildin a city with just let me know asap

Reply

Fred August 20, 2012 at 12:49 am

I’m sorry, but I have to mention that this is nonsense. I can have 10-15 players fine on my quad-core 2.4 ghz with 4GB of RAM and run Minecraft at the same time, the only bottleneck being upload/download speed. I could at the time that this article was published, too. Please don’t cite the bloody wiki, since it was probably written by some kid who wouldn’t know how to turn a computer on without some sort of guide.

Reply

Hugh Hancock August 20, 2012 at 10:36 am

This article is outdated, agreed – I need to rewrite and update it.

I think you may be judging the Minecraft wiki excessively harshly, though!

Reply

chris April 7, 2013 at 8:28 pm

that last post was a little harsh, wasent it fred?
wow. not impressed

Reply

Jackson Cole August 22, 2012 at 5:01 am

Thanks, I’ve been wanting to buy a server for a while, this really helped.

Reply

Benjamin Heto September 6, 2012 at 11:31 pm

I have a baseline macbook pro 13 inch. 4gb ram, 2.4ghz dual core i5, intel hd graphics 3000, and it runs my server and minecraft perfectly. No slowdowns. So some of the information on this article is wrong. Please fix it. Thanks.

Reply

Hugh Hancock September 7, 2012 at 10:16 am

Agreed. This article’s outdated, and I’m going to fix it right now.

Thanks for the comment!

Reply

mcwalter October 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm

how much does it cost for a mine craft server?

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Hugh Hancock October 30, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Depends on how many people you want to be able to play on it. Last time I checked, about $1 / person / month is a pretty good guess.

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kristen March 18, 2013 at 2:43 am

OK, rank newbie, here.
I want to set up a private server for my young sons and their friends. I do not want them to have the ability to chat with other people or deal with griefers so I’d like it password protected. Our laptop is not meant for gaming (it IS a laptop) so we can’t use the render distance -far- without slowing it WAY down, would purchasing a server change that?
Thanks for your help.

Reply

Hugh Hancock March 25, 2013 at 2:48 pm

No, the chances are that having a server wouldn’t massively increase your laptop’s performance. Sorry!

Reply

Riley May 9, 2013 at 1:04 am

Hey, thanks so much for this article.

If I rent a Minecraft server, is my download speed/upload speed/ram still going to affect other players?

Or is that only if I host one?

Reply

Hugh Hancock May 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Only if you host one – otherwise it’s the server company’s hardware that affects other players, not yours.

Reply

leonardo campos February 18, 2014 at 1:54 am

hi i wanted to ask if you have a link for where to by a cheap good server for minecraft please and thank you

Reply

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---___-----person September 25, 2013 at 2:19 am

Um this article helped me alot but is there a way that i could buy (not rent) a server and still have a companies comp. support the server?

Reply

Luke September 29, 2013 at 5:56 pm

If I rent a Minecraft server, can I run it for other people without playing it?

Meaning…can other people be playing on my server while I’m at work and I’m not even on the internet?

Or do I have to have a copy of Minecraft and be logged in to my own server?

Or do I just have to leave my internet connection on while I’m at work, but I don’t have to have Minecraft?

I don’t currently have Minecraft… I’m doing this purely for extra income.

Thanks a lot for any help.

Reply

Clinton December 4, 2013 at 6:27 am

Luke,

If you are renting a server, other people will be able to play on it anytime of the day no matter what you’re doing. Unless the company’s hardware fails, that server will run 24/7. It shouldn’t require your internet connection at all. You also should not need to even own Minecraft.

Reply

Luke September 29, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Does anyone read this blog?

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sigmar January 17, 2014 at 6:44 pm

yes i read this blog

Reply

Aaron December 25, 2013 at 7:18 am

Stupid… Who needs server hosting on internet anyway! Presumably you have got a good job to pay for internet connection, just get an old PC and whack craft bukkit on it install tonnes of plugins like ChestShop or warps configure a few files port forward and your done. I’m currently beta testing my server 86.20.210.155 using craft bukkit with McMMO PVP factions iConomy jail ChestShop… All for free and can get 50 people. I can’t be bothered to get my old computer out clean it run cmd for craft bukkit on it tho. So not entirely 24/7 ah well

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