12 January, 2023
A Minecraft server is a player-owned server that hosts multiplayer games for the 2009 Mojang Studio video game Minecraft. The term "server" is often used to refer to a network of connected servers rather than a single computer. You can either set up your own server using Mojang's software or use a hosting provider to have it run on dedicated machines that are guaranteed uptime. The most popular and largest server is Hypixel, a well-known minigames server.
Server operators have access to server commands, such as setting the time, teleporting players, and setting the world's spawn. Server owners (or users with access to the live server files), can also install plugins and add commands to modify the server's mechanics. They can also restrict who is allowed to enter the server by limiting IP addresses or usernames.
Multiplayer servers offer a wide variety of activities. Some servers have unique premises, rules and customs. To allow players to fight, player against player (PvP), combat can be enabled. Servers can use custom plugins to allow actions not possible in vanilla.
Multiplayer was added to Minecraft in the Classic phase on May 31, 2009. The Minecraft server MinecraftOnline has the oldest server map, "Freedonia". The map and server were created in the first hour of Minecraft multiplayer's release on August 4, 2010.
Mojang launched Minecraft Realms in 2013. This server hosting service allows players to host server multiplayer games quickly and securely without the need to set up servers. Realms servers are not like standard servers. Only invited players can join them. They also don't use IP addresses. Realms will enable Minecraft to play cross-platform between Windows 10, iOS and Android platforms, starting in June 2016. Other platforms will follow over the next two year.
Mojang began to enforce the EULA of computer versions of the game in June 2014. This was to stop servers selling microtransactions. Many players felt that this unfairly affected the gameplay. This led to many servers being shut down.
The Better Together Update was released on September 20, 2017 for Bedrock codebase-derived editions. It added multiplayer servers along with six official featured server: Mineplex, Lifeboat and CubeCraft, Mineville City and Pixel Paradise.
Player chat reporting was added to "The Wild Update", 1.19.1. This allowed players to report abusive messages from other players and could result in players being banned from Multiplayer for violating Microsoft's Community Standards.
Many server owners find managing a Minecraft server a full-time job. Many large servers have a team of developers, managers, artists, and other staff. The Shotbow server had five full-time and three part-time employees as of 2014. Matt Sundberg, the owner of the server, stated that large server networks are extremely expensive to operate and very time-consuming. Chad Dunbar, founder of MCGamer, stated that it costs more to manage networks with more than 1000 concurrent users. These expenses include salaries, bandwidth, bandwidth, DDoS protection, and hardware. Monthly expenses can run into the thousands. Dunbar stated that MCGamer has expenses that can reach "well into five-figures per month" because it has over 50,000 daily users. Hypixel's expenses, the largest server, averaged nearly $100,000 per month as of 2015. To pay for their expenses, many servers sell in-game rank cosmetics and passes to specific minigames or gamemodes.
Vanilla and modified servers communicate with each other using a consistent protocol, but may have very different internal mechanisms. Some server software allows servers to be linked, which allows players to dynamically cross between worlds without having to "sign out". These include BungeeCord and Waterfall for Java and WaterDog for Bedrock. Similar to the above, Java servers can use proxy servers such as DragonProxy and Geyser to communicate both protocols to allow players of the Bedrock edition to sign in.
Hypixel is the most popular Java Edition server. It was released in April 2013 and has over 20 million unique users. This is roughly half of all Java Edition players. Other popular servers include MCGamer which was released in April 2012 and has more than 3.5 million players. CubeCraft Games were released on Java Edition in December 2012 and on Bedrock Edition in 2018. Wynncraft, which was released in April 2013, has more than 1 million unique users. Emenbee, which was released in 2011, also has more than 1 million unique users. According to Polygon, servers like Mineplex, Hypixel and Shotbow receive "well above a million unique users each month" as of 2014.