Microsoft recently released a retail version of Minecraft in the UK, following the success of the Xbox LIVE Arcade release. If the console version of the videogame has given you the urge to hop on to your computer and set up your own Minecraft server, you can do it simply with your desktop computer and home internet connection. However, if you want to run a server that can support a lot of traffic, massive world maps and a lot of players, you need something a bit more upscale. When you’re searching for a videogame server to rent, here are some considerations to keep in mind.
When you look for a server for Minecraft or another videogame that allows player-run servers, check the server software to ensure it’s compatible with the operating system you’re selecting. You don’t want to pick up virtual server hosting at myhosting.com that’s Linux-based if your server software uses Windows-only options. Minecraft server software is compatible with Windows, Linux and OS X.
You don’t need the latest and greatest graphic card to run any videogame server, particularly not Minecraft. What you do want, however, is as much CPU power and RAM as you can get. The RAM is used to cache terrain information, which is particularly useful if you have a lot of players on your server simultaneously. Instead of pulling it from the hard drive and introducing lag, Minecraft puts a lot of the terrain information in the cache to be pulled out as needed. Start at one gig of RAM, and work your way up from there, depending on the server traffic.
The pricing for a Minecraft server varies greatly, depending on who you purchase it from, the hardware the account uses and whether it’s a game-optimised server or a general hosting account. It can cost you $5 for a limited slot server and up to hundreds of dollars per month for a server with all the bells and whistles. If you’re using a shared server or virtual private server, confirm with the host they allow game server hosting. When you don’t have a fully dedicated server, it might take up too many resources on a shared server. This leads to performance issues with other users.
Online communities form when players come together. In some cases, this supplements your enjoyment of the game. Even if you’re only playing with real-life friends, your server world takes on a specific flavour due to those players. Sometimes this can backfire, resulting in negative communities. For example, instead of fostering a sense of player community on many servers, player-run servers in Battlefield 3 are home to power-tripping admins and unfair gameplay. You need to make use of all of the administrator tools at your disposal to prevent your Minecraft server from fostering an unhealthy community. You can kick out and ban players from your server if they are harassing other members, and actively control who can access your world.
Have you ever run your own Minecraft server? What was your experience like? Tell us in the comments below.