Since it was first created by Markus Persson in 2009, Minecraft has become phenomenally popular, with many millions of players building their own world within the world of the game. One of the most compelling features of Minecraft is the ability to create your own version of that world running on a server. Unfortunately, many balk at the idea of managing their own Minecraft server. But, it’s not really all that complicated. Once you’ve done the research and run through the installation process a couple of times, it will become second nature.
Creating a self-hosted Minecraft server is a natural extension of the game’s builder ethic, but the first step of that process — choosing a hosting platform — can be daunting for people who haven’t tangled with servers and hosting before. To help you out, we’re going to take a look at your hosting options and run through a few of the factors you’ll need to keep in mind to give you and your users the best possible Minecraft experience.
The Best Hosting Options For Minecraft Servers
Hosting From Home
While hosting your Minecraft server on your home network is certainly a possibility, there are some limitations that you should be aware of. Home networks are not usually designed for running Internet services, so, while you may have the necessary hardware and what appears to be adequate bandwidth, it’s probably not going to provide the best experience.
Games like Minecraft require require minimal lag to perform well, which means that ideally they should be placed on networks that have access to a very fast, low-latency connection to the Internet. Home networks are generally fine for browsing or streaming media, but not adequate if you require low latency.
Hosting companies will either own their own data centers with a direct link to Internet backbone routes or have their servers located in third-party data centers with similar facilities. The network infrastructure will use high-speed, ultra-reliable switches and routers that are significantly more expensive and capable than the average home router.
Additionally, consumer-grade hardware is neither as reliable or as fast as server-grade hardware. Servers are built with very high-quality, expensive components so that they can be relied on to provide an optimal performance. That includes everything from I/O hardware like hard drives and the buses that move data around the server, to server grade RAM and processors.
Virtual Private Servers
While there are specialist Minecraft hosting companies, if you want maximum control of your hardware with a price tag that won’t empty your wallet, virtual private servers are the best option.
A Minecraft VPS combines the best aspects of hosting your server on your home network with all the advantages of superior server quality hardware and a low-latency, high-bandwidth connection to the Internet.
A virtual private server is for most purposes identical to a dedicated server. You get full root access with the ability to install any software that you need. But, it also has the additional flexibility that virtualization brings. Virtual private servers enable you to start small, paying for only the resources you actually need to support a few initial users. If your server grows in popularity and you want to increase the number of users, it is very easy to scale up a virtual private server in a way which is not possible with dedicated hardware.
Hosting a Minecraft server on a home network is fine if you only have a couple of users who don’t mind about the degraded performance of a server running on a network that isn’t optimized for low latency. But, the less expensive option, which also offers a superior experience and greater flexibility, is to build your Minecraft server on a virtual private server.