How to Set-up a Self-Hosted Minecraft Server – A Comprehensive Guide for Dev

Hey Dev, are you a fan of Minecraft? Do you enjoy playing the game with your friends but wish you had more control over the server and game settings? A self-hosted Minecraft server might be the solution. In this article, we will guide you through the process of setting up a self-hosted Minecraft server using a VPS (virtual private server) or dedicated server. We’ll cover everything from server requirements to installation and configuration, so let’s get started!

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Server Requirements
  3. Choosing a VPS or Dedicated Server
  4. Setting up SSH Access
  5. Creating a New User and Securing the Server
  6. Updating the Server
  7. Installing Java
  8. Setting up the Minecraft Server
  9. Configuring Server Properties
  10. Creating Whitelist and OPs
  11. Installing Plugins and Mods
  12. Backing up the Server
  13. Setting up Automatic Backups
  14. Setting up Scheduled Tasks
  15. Troubleshooting Common Issues
  16. FAQ
  17. Conclusion

1. Introduction

Minecraft is a popular sandbox game that allows players to build and explore virtual worlds. While hosting a Minecraft server can be a fun way to play with friends, it can also be frustrating if you don’t have control over the server settings. A self-hosted Minecraft server gives you complete control over the game and server settings, allowing you to customize the experience to your liking.

In this guide, we will show you how to set up a self-hosted Minecraft server on a VPS or dedicated server. We will cover everything from server requirements to installation and configuration. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a fully functional Minecraft server that you can customize and control to your heart’s content.

2. Server Requirements

Before we begin, let’s make sure your server meets the requirements for hosting a self-hosted Minecraft server. The minimum requirements for hosting a Minecraft server are:

  • At least 1GB of RAM
  • A multi-core CPU
  • At least 10GB of free hard drive space
  • Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 8 or newer

It’s also recommended that you have a fast internet connection with at least 1 Mbps upload speed if you plan on hosting the server for multiple players.

3. Choosing a VPS or Dedicated Server

Once you’ve confirmed that your server meets the requirements, it’s time to choose a VPS or dedicated server provider. There are many providers to choose from, each with their own pros and cons. Some popular options include:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • DigitalOcean
  • Linode
  • Vultr
  • OVH

When choosing a provider, consider factors such as pricing, location, server specifications, and customer support. It’s also important to choose a provider that allows you to install and configure your own software, as some providers have strict policies against this.

4. Setting up SSH Access

Once you’ve chosen a provider and set up your server, the first step is to set up Secure Shell (SSH) access. SSH is a secure way to access your server and perform tasks from the command line.

To set up SSH access, you’ll need to generate an SSH key and add it to your server. This process varies depending on your operating system, but there are many tutorials available online that can guide you through the process.

Once you’ve generated an SSH key and added it to your server, you can use an SSH client such as PuTTY (Windows) or Terminal (Mac) to connect to your server.

5. Creating a New User and Securing the Server

Now that you have SSH access to your server, the next step is to create a new user with sudo (superuser) privileges. Creating a new user is a best practice for security reasons, as it limits the access of potential attackers.

To create a new user, use the following command:

adduser username

Replace “username” with a name of your choice. You’ll be prompted to set a password and other user information.

Next, we’ll disable root login and password authentication to secure the server. To do this, edit the SSH configuration file using the following command:

sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

Find the following lines and either uncomment them or add them if they don’t exist:

PermitRootLogin no
PasswordAuthentication no

Save the file and restart the SSH service using the following command:

sudo systemctl restart sshd

6. Updating the Server

Before we install any software, it’s important to update the server to ensure that we have the latest security patches and bug fixes. To update the server, use the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

It’s recommended that you update the server regularly to keep it secure and up-to-date.

7. Installing Java

Minecraft requires Java to run, so the next step is to install Java on the server. To install Java, use the following command:

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sudo apt-get install default-jre

You can verify that Java was installed by running the following command:

java -version

You should see output similar to the following:

openjdk version "1.8.0_242"

8. Setting up the Minecraft Server

Now that we’ve set up the server and installed Java, it’s time to install the Minecraft server software. To do this, we’ll need to download the Minecraft server JAR file from the official Minecraft website.

First, create a new directory for the Minecraft server using the following command:

mkdir minecraft_server

Next, navigate to the new directory and download the Minecraft server JAR file using the following command:


This will download the latest version of the Minecraft server JAR file to the current directory.

Next, run the server for the first time using the following command:

java -Xmx1024M -Xms1024M -jar server.jar nogui

This will start the Minecraft server in nogui (no graphical user interface) mode with 1024MB of RAM allocated. You can adjust the amount of RAM allocated by changing the -Xmx and -Xms values.

The first time you run the server, it will generate various configuration files and worlds. You can exit the server by typing “stop” in the console.

9. Configuring Server Properties

Now that the Minecraft server is installed, it’s time to configure the server properties to your liking. The server properties file is located in the same directory as the Minecraft server JAR file and can be edited using a text editor such as Nano.

Some important server properties to configure include:

  • server-port: The port that the Minecraft server listens on. Default is 25565.
  • server-ip: The IP address that the Minecraft server binds to. Default is blank.
  • max-players: The maximum number of players allowed on the server. Default is 20.
  • motd: The message of the day that is displayed in the server list. Default is “A Minecraft Server”.
  • difficulty: The difficulty of the game. Options are Peaceful, Easy, Normal, and Hard. Default is Easy.

You can also configure various other settings such as game rules, spawn protection, and more. Consult the Minecraft Wiki or the file for more information.

10. Creating Whitelist and OPs

If you want to restrict server access to certain players, you can create a whitelist. To create a whitelist, add the following line to the file:


Next, create a new file called “whitelist.txt” in the same directory as the Minecraft server JAR file. Add the usernames of players who should be allowed to connect to the server, one per line.

If you want to grant certain players administrative privileges, you can add them to the ops.json file. To do this, run the server at least once, then stop it. Open the ops.json file in a text editor and add the Minecraft usernames of the players you want to grant ops to:


Replace “player_uuid” with the UUID of the player (which can be found using online tools) and “player_username” with the player’s Minecraft username. Level 4 grants full ops privileges.

11. Installing Plugins and Mods

If you want to add additional functionality to your Minecraft server, you can install plugins and mods. Plugins and mods are third-party add-ons that can modify or enhance the game in various ways.

Plugins are generally easier to install and maintain than mods, as they are designed to work with the Minecraft server software. Some popular plugins include:

  • EssentialsX: Adds various commands and features, such as teleportation and player homes.
  • WorldEdit: Allows you to edit the Minecraft world using various tools.
  • WorldGuard: Adds various region and player protection features.
  • dynmap: Creates a live map of the Minecraft world.

To install plugins, you’ll need to download the plugin files from the official website or a trusted repository. Place the plugin files in the “plugins” directory in the Minecraft server directory, then restart the server.

Mods are more complex to install and maintain than plugins, as they often require modifications to the Minecraft client as well as the server. Some popular mods include:

  • OptiFine: Improves graphics and performance.
  • Biomes O’ Plenty: Adds new biomes to the Minecraft world.
  • Thaumcraft: Adds new magic-based gameplay mechanics.
  • IndustrialCraft 2: Adds various industrial and technological features.

To install mods, you’ll need to download the mod files and any required dependencies. You’ll also need to install a mod loader such as Forge or Fabric. Consult the mod’s installation instructions for more information.

12. Backing up the Server

It’s important to back up the Minecraft server regularly in case of data loss or corruption. There are many ways to back up the server, but the easiest method is to simply copy the entire Minecraft server directory to a backup location.

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To do this, use the following command:

cp -r /path/to/minecraft_server /path/to/backup/location

Replace “/path/to/minecraft_server” with the path to your Minecraft server directory and “/path/to/backup/location” with the path to your backup location.

You can also use third-party backup software or plugins to automate the backup process.

13. Setting up Automatic Backups

If you want to automate the backup process, you can use a tool such as rsync to synchronize the Minecraft server directory with a backup location on a regular basis.

To do this, first create a new user for backups using the following command:

adduser backupuser

Next, create a new shell script to automate the backup process:


Add the following lines to the script:

rsync -avz --delete /path/to/minecraft_server/ backupuser@backup_server_ip:

Replace “/path/to/minecraft_server” with the path to your Minecraft server directory and “backup_server_ip” with the IP address of your backup server.

Save the script and make it executable using the following command:

chmod +x

To run the script on a regular basis, set up a cron job using the following command:

crontab -e

Add the following line to the end of the crontab file:

0 */3 * * * /path/to/

This will run the backup script every 3 hours. Adjust the timing as needed.

14. Setting up Scheduled Tasks

You can also schedule various tasks to run on the Minecraft server using cron. Some common tasks include:

  • Restarting the server regularly to clear memory leaks and other issues.
  • Backing up the server on a regular basis.
  • Running scripts to perform maintenance tasks or automate gameplay.

To set up a scheduled task, use the following command:

crontab -e

Add a new line to the crontab file with the following format:

* * * * * /path/to/command arg1 arg2 ...

The “*” characters represent the timing of the task. The first “*” represents the minute (0-59), the second “*” represents the hour (0-23), the third “*” represents the day of the month (1-31), the fourth “*” represents the month (1-12), and the fifth “*” represents the day of the week (0-6, where 0 is Sunday).

The “/path/to/command” represents the path to the command or script to run.