What are Minecraft SMP Servers? And how do I find SMP servers to play on?

Minecraft comes in three different flavours of game – Creative, which is currently only available in Classic (old) Minecraft, where you have infinite blocks and are just there to Make Things, Survival, where you’re mining for resources and monsters spawn and try to kill you, and soon, Adventure, which we don’t really know much about yet. However, if you’ve been browsing through talk about Minecraft, you’ll have heard of Minecraft SMP servers. What are they?

It’s simple. IN Minecraft, SMP means Survival MultiPlayer. So, if you want a game where creepers explode your beautiful statues, and you then get to complain to other players about it, SMP is the server type for you.

Where can you find a good Minecraft SMP Server list?

There are a fair number of server lists spread across the Internets, but finding one that’s actually reliable and updated is harder.

First thing to be aware of – a multiplayer server can have multiple different attributes. So, just because you see a PvP server listed, don’t assume it’s not also a Survival server – Survival is just a flag on the server which can be set in addition. So if you want a world where other players and green cactus entities are likely to be equally bad for your health, a PvP Survival server is the place for you. Don’t step on the TNT in the doorway.

As for actual Minecraft server lists – there are dozens of them on the Internet, but most of them look dodgy as hell.

For a server list that might be hard to use but is apt to at least still reliably be there in a month, you could try the huge community site Reddit’s Minecraft server page. They’re user-submitted and the most recent ones at time of writing were pretty damn current – although there’s not a lot of filtering or organisation.

Beyond that, the official Minecraft site is probably the best source for server names – it’s very minimal and not exactly full of detail, but at least it’s guaranteed to be fairly reliable and not full of malware. here’s their server list.

Finally, the way that a lot of Minecraft players recommend is to ask around on your social network and any gaming forums you’re in, and see if someone you know has a server. If so – go go go.


If you can’t find a server in Minecraft – host a server?

There are two ways to host a Minecraft server – the easy way and the really, really hard way.

I’ve looked into hosting a Minecraft SMP server on a machine I own and control – and frankly, it’s a scary prospect. You need a very powerful machine with a pretty considerable Internet connection. Forget about hosting it on the same machine you’re playing on (probably. Some people seem to be OK with doing that, but the Minecraft wiki advises against it). Forget about hosting on a laptop – the Minecraft wiki mentions that running a Minecraft server on a laptop can actually melt it!

And even assuming you have a seperate server (connected by wires to the Internet, if you’re following the wiki’s recommendation) that isn’t a laptop – the configuration is just scary. (Although slightly less so for a Windows machine – but it’s still not at all trivial, particularly if you’re running a firewall.)

I set up the software for the website you’re reading, customised the theme, wrote a bunch of code for it. This server also runs other content management systems which I wrote from scratch. I’m pretty comfortable installing and setting up a Linux server.

I still chose to go for Option B.

What’s option B? Pay someone – generally not very much – to set up and run a Minecraft server for you.

In the US, Multiplayer Game Servers.com have a very good reputation. Here in the UK and EU, we run our Minecraft server with Multiplay. For about £8 / $12, you can have a powerful, automatically updated, easily customisable Minecraft server. In our case, it took us about 5 minutes to go from “ooh, wanna play SMP Minecraft?” to having a server to play on.

(We’re not paid anything to say this stuff, and those aren’t affiliate links. We were just really impressed.)

Honestly, if you want to play Minecraft multiplayer, until there are much more sophisticated matchmaking services around, and you don’t already know someone with a server, this is probably the best way to do it – get a server, invite friends, go!

And that’s it! Hope that was helpful. If you have any tips for great Minecraft server lists, hosting servers, or other SMP server related mayhem, share it below!

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