Starting a Successful Minecraft Server from Scratch (Guide)

Discussion in 'Server & Community Management' started by Dawnzide, Mar 13, 2020.

  1. Starting a Successful Minecraft Server Guide from Scratch (2020)
    In the last week I have seen multiple people ask about starting a minecraft server and I felt like I could make a somewhat decent guide at doing so. I've ran multiple servers and put quite a lot into them, so I felt like I could help people avoid wasting their money and put them on the right track. This guide will be more of an overall guide on a server rather than specifics like setting up a server.

    This guide is not aimed towards people who plan to start huge servers with thousands of dollars. This is just for people who want to create a small server and grow from there. I might make another guide for people who want to invest a lot of money into creating one. Just know that this is not in order but is what I do personally - feel free to not do branding until you are ready to advertise the server.

    1. Getting Started
    Let's assume that you have an idea in mind of what kind of server you would like to create. Then check to see how saturated that gamemode is at the moment. For example, right now almost all large minecraft servers have skyblock right now - so creating a successful skyblock server is going to be somewhat difficult and expensive.

    I recommend focusing on one gamemode at launch and not having a hub server. Launching with more than one gamemode is unreasonable. Having a hub, survival, skyblock and factions server will just make the server cost more and players will be split across multiple gamemodes. Having a server that is straight to the point is good.​

    2. Domains and Branding
    The next thing to do is to purchase a domain name for the server. You do not want people connecting to the server using an IP address. I would recommend registering a domain name from Namecheap.
    Once that is finished I recommend creating an account on Cloudflare and managing your server's DNS record through there. Cloudflare is an "American web-infrastructure and website-security company, providing content-delivery-network services, DDoS mitigation, Internet security, and distributed domain-name-server services". Please note that Cloudflare doesn't mean that your server has ddos protection. But later in the tutorial Cloudflare will be extremely useful for websites, tebex stores, etc.
    Once you have purchased a domain it would be good to get a logo to identify your server. With a logo you can spend $5 to $150+. If you are tight on money I would recommend not spending 20% of your budget on a server logo - but having a good logo does help! You can purchase a logo from hiring a designer on here.

    After that is all done you should be good to go with branding. I would recommend creating a discord server as well along with social media accounts. You can of course skip all of this if you decide to purchase branding from an established server on here. Onto the next section!​

    3. Plugins and Development
    Since you have the gamemode decided on what you are doing you need to decide what plugins that you would need. This is where you will need to do some research. Some features that you want might need to be developed and paid for. Some will be premium plugins that cost $5-$20.

    If the gamemode that you plan on creating has never been done before and there are not plugins for said gamemode, you will need to hire a developer for your server to make it. Depending on the size of the gamemode it can run you from $100-$1000 depending on the complexity of the gamemode. If you plan on spending that much money on a plugin I would recommend some sort of legal agreement beforehand.

    For just getting small plugins done you can just hire one-time developers or go through a service team to get that done fast. Make sure to get the source code for all of the plugins that is created and make sure you have full rights of the plugin as well.​

    4. Hiring or Purchasing Builders
    You are going to need some builds for the server that you are creating. You don't need to hire builders or purchase builds if you don't want to - but it's recommended because it's what the player first sees when they join the server. If the server has a bad spawn - most players would assume that the server is bad and vice versa. You can purchase builds and hire them on here!​

    5. Server Hosting and Setup
    First and foremost, I would advise not using a hosting service (e.g. MCProHosting). You will end up having to spend more. I would go ahead and learn how to use Linux because it will be useful. If the server that you are running becomes big - you will switch over to using Linux. I would also recommend to avoid using panels like Pterodactyl and Multicraft as that just opens more vulnerabilities for your server, but is just my opinion though.

    You need to find a server from a hosting service that has these things:
    • Good Single Core Performance on a CPU
    • At least 6GB+ of ram, can depend on how many players and plugins there are.
    • Use a SSD - avoid getting a server with only a HDD.
    • Somewhat Decent DDoS Protection
    I suggest starting out with OVH. I have been using OVH for a long time and I have had an amazing time with them. The servers never have issues, good ddos protection and decent support. If you are looking to purchase a dedicated server and are on a budget, I would recommend using SoYouStart, which is apart of OVH. I use SYS a lot because you can get a $120/month server for $65 with ovh support and ddos protection. I also use OVH because of their virtual private servers - the cheapest ones being $3. I could make another guide on setting up a network at a later date.
    If you don't want to use OVH it's fine. There are thousands of options out there - just make sure to get something good and don't work with a sketchy new hosting service.​

    6. Getting Players and Advertisement
    Alright so at this point the server you have is good to go. You have tested it out and made sure there are not any bugs, all branding and custom development has been finished, etc. There are multiple different ways you can find advertisement and this will be sorted from least expensive to the most expensive:
    • Inviting Friends and Word of Mouth (Free)
    • Server Listing Websites (Free)
    • Online Forums and Discord Servers (Free)
    • Discord Advertisement ($)
    • YouTube and Streaming Advertisements ($$$)
    There are other methods to getting people that aren't so ethical or is uncommon - so I just listed out the main ones.

    Inviting Friends and Word of Mouth (Free)
    This is the best method for someone that does not want to spend $. If someone had a lot of friends - it could open up connections that you would not believe. For example - I got free advertisement just from being a friend of a friend - which would have costed me a few hundred dollars. In addition, friends will ask their other friends to come on and if the server is good, they might start inviting friends.

    Server Listing Websites (Free)
    You can't use this method alone really, this will only work after having people consistently logging on the server and playing each day. You will be able to list your server on a minecraft server list website where users can vote each day for your server to receive in-game rewards like diamonds, crates, or money. Almost all servers use this but it like I said - it will only work if you already have players, but it's free and not that hard to setup. Here are some popular server lists:
    Online Forums and Discord Servers (Free)
    This is another method if you are looking for free advertisement. You can start putting banners and server ips in your signature on forum websites. You could also ask your friends to do so as well.

    Another option is to put links and information about your server in other discord servers. Don't do this with other minecraft servers - this would be good for clans (that allow it) and friend discords. I don't do this method but it's an option.

    Discord Advertisements ($-$$)
    Personally I have not used this method because most of these advertisements are sent into discords that have people spammed a lot with notifications. It is a method that can be done though. It essentially is the same as the one before but it will ping everyone on the server about the message and it would be in a channel towards the top of the server. I also have not used this method but it seems like a lot of people do nowadays so it is an option.

    YouTube Advertisements ($$-$$$$)
    This is the most popular and effective method for getting people on your server - but it can also be a huge waste of $ if you invest into the wrong person. Essentially you would hire someone that has a decently-sized social media following to come and promote your server. Now there are a few things to ask yourself before throwing money at them:
    • What is their average views per videos?
    • Is their channel growing?
    • What kind of content do they upload?
    • How many other servers do they advertise?
    There are a lot of factors for the worth it is to upload a video so I decided to make a good case scenario and a bad case scenario:
    • Good Case Scenario: 30,000 subscribers, ~3,000 views each video, ~300 likes each video, does not upload server advertisements often, uploads lets play videos, decent amount of high quality comments and their channel is growing (check social blade).
    • Bad Case Scenario: 30,000 subscribers, ~400-800 views each video, not a lot of likes on the video, uploads a decent amount of server advertisements and trailers, and there is little to no growth.
    I can't cover all YouTubers because all of them are different. There are a lot of factors to take in to make sure that you get good players. You don't want a bunch of toxic players and cheaters hopping on the server - so it's important to pick the right ads. When speaking to an influencer ask questions:
    • How many people do you usually bring on the server?
    • What is the demographic on your videos? (e.g. age, location)
    • What other servers have you advertised in the last 45 days?
    • How much would it cost per video and how much for a series?
    • Other statistics to help determine if the person has a good fanbase.
    Please be careful when doing this and always consult someone that has dealt with that user before. Last week I saw someone that paid a few hundred dollars for a minecraft youtuber to upload a video of their server for around $300 - the youtuber also had 200,000 subscribers - and I went on the server on the same day and saw 0 people on it. Once again, please be careful and just don't throw money to people with high subscriber counts without doing research.
    I'm going to stop the guide here for the moment. I expect to make changes to this guide but hopefully this gave someone a decent amount of knowledge of starting a minecraft server. If you disagree with me or have some suggestions please let me know and please do so constructively. I made this for people who have 0 knowledge of running servers.

    Hopefully this helped someone on here! :)
    Last Updated: 3/13/2020
    #1 Dawnzide, Mar 13, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2020
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  2. Reserved Post
    If you have some suggestions on things I could add let me know. This was not a technical guide but more of a brief rundown on all of the basics. I just felt like doing this to help out some people as minecraft gets new people everyday. If you have a suggestion or disagree with something please be constructive. I'm open to anything!
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Good advice!
    - you should expand on your building section, including map making and other things
    - change the "there"s to "their" in your youtube advertisement section

    Other than that, it is really informative and helpful!
  4. I fixed the 2nd issue and I will expand on map making soon (to busy right now).
  5. This is beautiful! Really well done!
    You stated that it is better to not use a host. Currently I am using one, only $1/mo for setup uses. I'd much rather hose my own. I put together a $460 Ryzen build. Ryzen 3 2200G, 16gb 3200 memory, and a WD Blue 500gb M.2.
    Figured id rather build to have that piece of mind, and easy upgradeability. I would need to buy an APC just in case I lost power.
    I do have good internet 1gb.
    I was thinking of going trough AWS so everyone would have to connect to that first, though im not too sure that would work. If that wont work I have no idea what i'd do for security with DDoS protection.
    I have almost everything done with the server, but art, and spawn.
    What do you think about all this? Sorry I'm a little scattered when it comes to this.