What is a Minecraft Server?

Let me be honest with you guys. When I got asked to write a blog post about “What is a Minecraft Server?” I literally had to sit down and type that exact question into Google. I clicked on every link that popped up on the first three pages of my Google search. I read and I read and I read.

And then I texted my brothers. My text read: Imagine I’m five and that I ask you what a Minecraft server is. Now answer me…

One of my brothers responds with “Anyone can start their own Minecraft server and run the Minecraft software. They can then have other players come and join their version of Minecraft.”

Okay. After I reread that sentence about 12 times, the pieces started sliding into place. It is easy to play Minecraft as a single player and there are minimal set-up hoops to jump through. You simply download and play. However, if you want to play Minecraft as a multi-player game, well, it gets a bit more complicated. This is where Minecraft servers come in. The short answer to the title question of this post is this: it enables you to play Minecraft with multiple players.

Why do I need one?

You need to set up your own server if you (or your kids) want to play in a multi-player format. You can set up your own server or join someone else’s. I consulted my brother on this (he’s a computer programmer and Web developer and life-long video gamer- I trust his opinion!), and here’s what he had to say:

If you are playing games such as World of Warcraft or Fortnite, you are always connecting to the company’s server. With World of Warcraft, you would always connect to the servers run by Blizzard. If you are playing Fortnite, you are connecting to servers run by Epic. But Minecraft lets anyone start their own version of the game. It’s not controlled by any one company.

Still with me?

Do I need my own Minecraft server to play? Or can I use someone else’s?

Either! You can start your own Minecraft server, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you want to start your own Minecraft server, there are several things you need to keep in mind. Setting up your own Minecraft server is a great project, but before you can release your server to the public, you need to make sure you have the right hardware requirements as well as security and maintenance protocols. You will likely not want to host your Minecraft server on your personal computer because it will slow your computer down. Here is a great tutorial to help you if you want to set up your own Minecraft server.

If you are new to Minecraft and want to play in multi-player mode, it might be easiest to join someone else’s server first. PC Gamer keeps a great list of top Minecraft servers to consider joining.

If you are ready to start your own Minecraft server to engage in a multiplayer game, you can download Minecraft now.

Happy Minecrafting!