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How to Start a Minecraft Server (PC, Mac, Linux)

Updated on April 12, 2014

Minecraft is an amazing game with endless possibilities. However, it can get lonely by yourself after a while. Luckily, you can easily bring your friends into the game and add a new level of fun by hosting your own Minecraft server.

Part One: Creating the Server

Okay, so let's make a Minecraft server! Obviously, the first part is to make the server, but how? Its actually easier than it may seem. Hosting a small Minecraft server requires little to no experience, and you don't need a supercomputer to do it. In fact, my server runs on an old, battered laptop that runs Windows XP, yet it can easily handle all of my friends, plus myself, at the same time.

Step 1: Download the Files

First, you need to download the server files from the Minecraft website. Navigate to http://www.minecraft.net/download and scroll down to "Multiplayer Server". From here, click on the link highlighted below to download the "minecraft_server(version).jar" file.

Step 2: Set Up the Folder

First, right click on your desktop and select "new>folder". Name this server whatever you want and open it.

Place your recently downloaded minecraft server file into the new folder and rename it "minecraft_server.jar". Next, open a text editor, such as notepad, and type "java -Xmx1024M -Xms1024M -jar minecraft_server.jar nogui" without the quotes. After that, save it in your new folder as Run.bat. The ".bat" extension is extremely important, as it establishes your file as an executable batch file.

Step 3: Running the Server

Once the second step is completed, double-click "Run". A black command prompt should come up with lines of text appearing across it. This will take a few moments to generate all the essential files for running your server. Simply sit back and let it work.

When the server finishes loading, the command prompt will display a "Done!" message. At this point, you can stop the server by typing "stop".

Step 4: Logging On

Now, the server is ready to take on players. To turn it on, simply double-click "Run". Once the command prompt displays the "Done!" message, players within your local area network (LAN) can log on with your IP Address, which is the unique designation through which the internet identifies your computer. It may look something like "76.23.123.345" (without the quotes, obviously). This can be found online at the websites below. Congratulations: Your vanilla Minecraft server is now running!

Yay!
Yay! | Source

Part Two: Port Forwarding

If you and your pals are planning to play on the same internet connection, you can stop reading now. However, for those who would like to play with others without arranging a physical meeting, your server must be port forwarded so that it can be accessed from outside your LAN.

Step 1: Identifying Your Router

Before port forwarding your server, you must first assess some information concerning your router. In case you were unaware, your router is the small, box-like device (probably with green and yellow flashing lights) that enables your computer to access the internet. This is the "gateway" that handles transfers of data between your device and outside servers. Therefore, outside players must be able to identify your router in order to play on your server.

Pictured Above: Common Routers
Pictured Above: Common Routers

First, we must identify the model of the router, which will be of great importance later on, as the process of port forwarding varies by model. The first part of the model name is often printed in large text somewhere on the router. For example, for the routers above, these are "Linksys"(left) and "2WIRE"(right). The second part of the model name, on the other hand, is often smaller. This name sometimes varies from a set of random numbers and characters (e.g. "2Wire-3801g") to an actual name. In this case, the above Linksys router is a "Linksys Wireless 6".

Next, the administrator password and username for the router must be located. The default usernames and passwords are often printed on the router itself (amazing security!), but in case you can't locate them, they are also available on the website below:

Final Step

Now, armed with your router model, go to the following website. There, select your model and follow the steps. For further information, visit the "Port-forward Minecraft" section of the site.

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