How To Start A Successful Minecraft Server In 2020

Minecraft servers are a great business.

Whether you are passionate about Minecraft, interested in starting a side-hustle to make some extra money, or trying to grow a community of like-minded people to interact with, starting a Minecraft server could be a good venture for you.

I have been managing various game servers for the last 5 years or so and I have recently just gotten back into the realm of Minecraft server management. I decided to do this in order to create a close-knit community of Minecraft enthusiasts who enjoy the game for what it is, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. KastCraft has been an outstanding community and it has helped me to learn more about starting, managing, and creating a successful Minecraft server.

So, in today’s post, I am going to share some tips and tricks that I have learned in order to help you start a Minecraft server as a complete noob in 2020.

1) Lay the foundation.

The first step in a successful Minecraft server, is determining what type of server you want to create. There are tons of different and unique ways to play Minecraft, so you are going to want to find a gamemode that works for you and start from there.

Here are some examples of the most popular Minecraft gamemodes:

  • Survival
  • Creative
  • Skyblock
  • Prison
  • Minigames

There are quite a few others, but there are what I would call the “core” gamemodes. If you are unsure of what each of these gamemodes are like, I would recommend playing on other servers to get the gist and see what the experience entails.

Secondly, you are going to want to choose a Minecraft version. Every time Minecraft has an update, there is a new version that comes out. At the time of writing this, the latest version is 1.16. This really stems down to personal preference and is something that you will have to decide on your own. But, the version you choose is the version that your players will be forced to use, so choose wisely.

2) Decide what you want to customize.

In order for gamemodes to function properly, you need plugins. Plugins are basically server addons that change the gameplay in order to add specific features. For example, in Skyblock, players spawn on a small island in the sky and have to work hard to expand their island. Normal (Vanilla) Minecraft doesn’t have this as a standard feature, so you need to install these addons that make something like this work.

Installing an API

In order to install plugins, you are first going to need to choose an API. An API sets up a framework that allows these plugins to work properly. Vanilla Minecraft doesn’t allow for plugins, so you have to install one of these if you would like to use them. There are a few different APIs, but the most popular are Spigot and Paper.

Spigot is the most widely used API for Minecraft, and it is very functional and well-designed. If you are planning on starting a somewhat simple, low-population server, Spigot will suffice at first. Paper, on the other hand, is a more performance-oriented alternative that aims to fix some of the issues that have shown up with Spigot. I personally use Paper, but you can use either of these options.

Installing Plugins

Once you install your API, it is time to get some plugins. There are thousands of plugins available online in various places, and you can pretty much find anything you need for a starter-level server. If you are using Spigot or Paper, you can find a lot of free plugins on the Spigot plugin page. Most of the time, you will be able to find what you need without having to pay money for it, especially if you are just starting out. If you are looking for some higher-quality premium plugins with specific capabilities, you can always go to the premium spigot page.

When choosing plugins for your server, make sure the plugins work on your chosen server version. You can see what version the plugins work on by simply checking the top of the page for each individual plugins. It will show a list of compatible versions.

Sometimes finding the right plugins can be a bit difficult. It can be hard to figure out which plugins you need to combine in order to get a fully functional server. If you are struggling with this, you can always look for a premade setup on mc-market. Premade setups are pre-configured and pre-assembled groups of server plugins that are being sold. They are usually very reasonably priced and can help you to get all of the basics that you need for a specific gamemode without spending hours upon hours searching for plugins. Plus, they are pre-configured so the difficulty of initially setting up each and every plugin becomes a lot easier when you do this.

Regardless of what you decide to do, make sure you put some real thought into the configuration of your server. A lazily configured server will turn players away and if you have a bunch of generic and configured plugins, it is going to be hard to attract new players.

3) Choose your hardware.

Most Minecraft server tutorials start out by telling you to choose your server host before anything else. However, I would recommend until after you have an idea of what exactly you want to do. If you have a more complex server configuration and plan on having a larger amount of players, you are going to want something a bit stronger than if you are just hosting a simple skyblock server.

Shared Hosting

There are a lot of different hosting companies out there, and each one is going to tell you that they are better than the other. But, realistically, many of them are the same and the only thing that truly varies is customer support. Especially as a beginner, it is very important to make sure that you have good customer support, because trust me, you are going to mess things up every once in a while.

A majority of the popular Minecraft server hosting companies that you see are going to be primarily shared hosting. Basically, what this means, is that the company splits up their customers Minecraft serves on one shared machine, allocating specific amounts of RAM and memory to each one. This means that you are going to be sharing hardware with other server owners.

This will ABSOLUTELY suffice for smaller sized servers. This is the most affordable option and there is no need to go with something more expensive unless you plan on having multiple game modes or 100+ concurrent players. Your performance DOES depend on your setup, but generally, this will be fine.

If you are looking for a good shared hosting option, I would recommend ApexHosting. I used to use them for shared hosting packages before I needed to upgrade to sustain our larger player count. But, their support is amazing and their servers have really good performance. Check out ApexHosting here.

Dedicated Hosting

If you are planning on having multiple gamemodes on the same server or expect a large amount of players on at one time (~75+), dedicated hosting is the best option.

You know how I mentioned that shared hosting is where the hardware is split up between various servers? Dedicated hosting gives you an entire machine in which you are the sole server being hosted. This allows you to utilize all of the resources available without having to share them with anyone else.

Again, this is definitely the best option for servers with multiple gamemodes. But, if you are just starting a server for the first time, I would recommend starting with one gamemode and expanding as needed. It is unnecessary to start with multiple, and is better to focus your time and energy on one at a time.

4) The dirty work.

So at this point, you know what gamemode you want to use, you have chosen an API and have a list of plugins that you want to use on the server. Now comes configuring. Each and every plugin has something known as a configuration. This is basically a file in which you can change settings in order to tweak the plugin to act in specific ways. This is what turns a generic plugin into something custom for your server.

Configurations vary quite drastically and can be a bit of a daunting task at first glance. But, I promise you, the more you work on them, the easier they become. I would recommend using a program known as Notepad++ to edit these files. All you have to do is download each config, right click, and choose “edit in Notepad++” to change them.

If you are overwhelmed by all of the things that show up in the config, I completely understand. As I said, it can be a bit overwhelming at times and it takes some getting used to. So, if you need help, you can always pay someone online to configure plugins for you. Again, check out mc-market if you are trying to find someone to help you configure your plugins.

As I said before, the way in which you configure your plugins really depends on each individual plugin. Most of the time you can find an example config and explanation on the page in which you download it from, so I would recommend checking that if you are curious about what certain things mean.

These are the basics of what you need to do in order to take your first steps into creating a thriving and successful online Minecraft community. This is more-or-less the foundation that you can use the expand and create something truly amazing.

If you want to learn more about how to grow your minecraft server, check out our other article below.

4 Ways To Grow Your Minecraft Server