Creating your own Minecraft server gives you even more flexibility during gameplay. You can choose the game mode, assign or deny roles to other players, customize your worlds, and more. In this guide, you’ll learn how to set up a Minecraft server on your Windows PC, port forwarding, and ways to invite other players to your server.
If you’re looking for a hosting provider to help you set up your server, be sure to check out our recommended list of the best Minecraft hosting providers.
- Check out the minimum and recommended requirements for running a Minecraft server to ensure your server runs successfully on Windows
- The base of Minecraft is Java, so you need to install Java before setting up the Minecraft server on your personal computer (PC)
- If you’re entirely new to the world of Minecraft and interested in testing the waters, opt for the Minecraft: Java Edition server software
- Port forwarding allows you to connect with devices or players outside your local network
- Run tests to ensure your server is fully functional before inviting friends
Requirements for Setting Up Minecraft Server
Setting up your Minecraft server is almost effortless if you follow the right steps. First, you need a strong and reliable internet connection to manage and configure servers. In general, the requirements are categorized into three:
- System requirements,
- Minecraft server software, and
- Java installation
You need the appropriate system requirements to successfully create and run your Minecraft server on Windows. This is essential for optimal server performance, especially if you plan to have multiple players on the server.
- CPU: Intel Core i3-3210 3.2GHz or AMD A8 – 7600 APU 3.1 GHZ
- RAM: 4GB
- HDD: At least 2GB for game core and 5GB if you’re doing frequent backups
- OS: Windows 7 and higher
- Network: Broadband internet connection with at least 1Mbps
- CPU: Intel core i5-4690 3.5GHz or AMD A10-7800 APU 3.5 GHz
- RAM: 8GB or higher
- HDD: 4GB SSD or higher
- OS: Windows 10 or newer versions
- Network: Broadband internet connection with at least 3Mbps
Minecraft Server Software
Listed below are the popular Minecraft server software for Windows:
Minecraft: Java Edition Server – Best for Beginners
This is the official server software by the creators of Minecraft, Mojang. It’s also the most popular of all the Minecraft server software. Minecraft: Java Edition server allows you to host or set up your Minecraft server via Realms. It supports all game modes, including survival, creativity, adventure, etc. The software is free and open-source for users to download.
- Free to download and use
- Easy to set up and configure
- A plethora of how-to guides and tutorials to help newbies get started
- Compatible with all Minecraft versions
- It has a thriving server ecosystem
- It doesn’t support all devices
- Limited customization options compared to other server software
Vanilla Minecraft Server – Best Unmodified for Beginners
This is another official unmodified Minecraft server software from Mojang. It doesn’t require additional software or plugins, making it suitable for newbies who desire the ‘pure’ Minecraft experience or those with small private servers.
- Compatible with most servers, including Hypixel
- Requires no extra software or plugin to setup or configure
- Easy to set up and configure
- Players have limited control over server settings
- No customization options or features
- Built for single players and isn’t optimized for servers
Forge – Best Modified for Beginners
Forge is built on vanilla, allowing players to create and run Minecraft mods on their servers. It is open-source and free for users to download. It was designed to be compatible with the Minecraft: Java Edition server. This Minecraft server software is perfect for players who are interested in enhancing their gameplay.
- It has extensive customization features and settings
- Easy to set up and use
- Enables players to create and use Minecraft mods on their servers
- It has a handful of tutorials and documentation for first-time users
- Access to already created mods and a large ecosystem
- Only compatible with Java edition server
- Requires technical knowledge to use effectively
- Complex mods can impact game performance
Spigot – Best Flexible and Customized Server Software
This is the most popular Minecraft server software in the world. It is a remodified version of the CraftBukkit, and similar to Forge, it was designed to work with Minecraft: Java edition server.
Unlike Bukkit, Spigot is more efficient in handling more users on the server, hence mitigating performance issues during gameplay. It also works with BungeeCord, allowing you to hook multiple servers simultaneously. Spigot is perfect for players who prioritize speed and performance.
- Optimized to handle multiple players and plugins without hampering performance
- Compatible with several plugins and Minecraft mods
- Large ecosystem and active community support
- It may require sufficient technical knowledge to setup and configure
- Designed to work with the Java edition of Minecraft
- Not so user-friendly compared to other server software
Minecraft Bedrock Dedicated Server – Best for Cross-platform Plays
The Minecraft bedrock dedicated server (or pocket edition server) is the official server for Minecraft: Bedrock edition. It allows players to set up their servers using a cloud-based hosting service or a dedicated machine. The server software is designed to host multiplayer game sessions for the Minecraft bedrock edition.
- Supports cross-platform plays
- Easy to setup and configure
- Have a variety of customization options
- Optimized performance for gameplay compared to Java Edition
- Mods are add-ons and come at a cost
- Difficult to modify as there are no standard mod loaders
- Servers are limited due to a lack of mod loaders for servers
- Paid hosting services
Paper: Best for Performance
Paper is a high-performance fork of Spigot and Bukkit. It was designed by a group of developers aiming to improve the performance issues in Spigot (expect a lot of Spigot features if you run this on your server). If you’re looking for optimized Minecraft server software, Paper will be your best bet.
- Focuses on improving server performance and reducing lags
- Streamlines running a Minecraft server
- Incredibly active developer community
- Incessant updates and bug fixes
- Not so beginner-friendly compared to other software servers
- It may be complicated to setup and configure
Minecraft was written in Java, so you’ll need to install Java to host a Minecraft server on your PC or play the game. Plus, Minecraft runs on Java-based in .jar files. Follow the following steps to install Java on Windows:
Step 1: Head over to the Java official download page to access Oracle, the official Java developer download page
Step 2: Click on the Java 17 and Windows x64 installer
Step 3: Click the link next to the ‘x64 Installer column’ and accept the terms and conditions. Then, your download will automatically begin.
Why Port Forwarding Is Needed
By default, routers block any incoming Internet traffic to protect devices on the network from security vulnerabilities. This can prevent other players from connecting to your Minecraft server. Port forwarding is a useful networking tool necessary for setting up a Minecraft server on Windows because it allows you to connect and play with friends across the internet.
Aside from gaming, port forwarding can also be applied in various networking scenarios, for example, connecting to your home computer from another location outside your local network.
Explanation of Port Forwarding
Port forwarding or port mapping is a process that allows remote or private servers from the internet of your router to access a local network or port using TCP/IP and UDP ports. Without port forwarding, it will be impossible for other devices or servers to see the IP addresses of your servers or devices. This is because the firewall on your server blocks all incoming Internet traffic to your router and prevents it from accessing your Minecraft server unless you forward it to the appropriate ports.
Generally, Minecraft uses port 25565. By sharing your router’s public IP address with your gaming friends and enabling port forwarding on your router, any incoming traffic on this port (port 25565) is automatically redirected to the device running your Minecraft game server. This allows other players across the internet to connect to your game server and join to play.
Setting Up Port Forwarding on Your Router
To forward ports to your router, ensure you have a Minecraft server running on your PC (more details on how to do this in the next section).
Step one: Go to the start menu of your PC and search for the ‘Command Prompt’ app. Click open:
Step two: Once the command prompt opens, type ‘ipconfig’ and enter. You’ll see a ton of IP addresses for your network. Find the default gateway and IPv4 address under the ‘Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection’ or ‘Wireless LAN adapter Local Area Connection’ section. Copy the default gateway:
Step Three: Next, open your web browser on your PC and paste the default gateway you copied in the preceding step into the address bar. You’ll see a small box in the right-hand corner to input the details of your router:
Read more on how to find the username and password of your router.
Step Four: Once logged in, look for the port forwarding settings. This may vary depending on the make or model of your router. Generally, you should find it in the Firewall, administration, advanced or security tab.
Step Five: Click the enabled option. Then, in the ‘ID or service name,’ input ‘Minecraft Java Server’ for the Minecraft: Java Edition or ‘Minecraft Bedrock Server’ for the Bedrock Edition. Add the local static IP address of the computer running the Minecraft server (check step 2). The private and public port is the default Minecraft server port 25565. Apply the configuration for TCP and UDP ports (or just TCP if UDP isn’t an option). Once done, click ‘Apply’ to save your changes.
Step Five: Restart your router and Minecraft server to ensure the changes made are affected. Go to the server console and enter ‘/stop’:
Step Six: Once done, go to a new tab on your browser and enter this search term ‘what is my IP address’:
Voila! Now players should be able to connect to your Minecraft server from the internet using your public IP address (as shown above).
Setting up your Minecraft server on Windows is easy if you have adequate technical knowledge of the required steps:
1. Creating a folder for your server files
For quicker accessibility, create a folder to store the server files. To do this, open ‘Files Explorer’ on your computer. Locate and click ‘New Folder’ or type ‘ctrl + shift + N.’ Then, name your folder, preferably something you can easily remember, like ‘Minecraft Software’:
Then, proceed to download the Minecraft Server files from their official website. (If you haven’t installed Java yet, check the ‘Requirements for setting up Minecraft’ section in this article to guide you through the process):
Next, extract the files from the Minecraft server file by double clicking the downloaded file tagged ‘server.jar’ and drag it into the ‘Minecraft server’ folder you initially created:
2. Configure Server Properties
In this step, you have to set up the server properties by configuring the files. First, read the Minecraft End User License Agreement carefully to understand their terms of service. Once you’re done, locate the ‘eula.txt’ file, accept the agreement terms, and save.
Then, locate the server.properties file to configure the server settings, including game mode, difficulty level, memory, etc. Adjust the settings to suit and preferences and save accordingly.
3. Creating a Batch File To Run The Server
Create a batch file inside the Minecraft Server folder for easy editing. Simply right-click any part of the folder and select New>>Text document’ You can give it any name of choice:
Then right-click the text document, and you’ll see a notepad window. Type the following command on the Minecraft download page:
java -Xmx1024M -Xms1024M -jar minecraft_server.1.18.1.jar nogui
You can twerk the command to set the minimum and maximum values allocated to your server by adjusting the -Xmx and -Xms values. The more RAM you give it, the faster it runs. For example, this is the command for 2048:
java -Xmx2048M -Xms2048M -jar minecraft_server.1.18.1.jar nogui
Lastly, change the .txt file to .bat and click save. Congratulations! You’ve finally set up your Minecraft server on your Windows computer.
Testing the Server
Now that you’ve successfully installed your Minecraft server, it’s expedient to test the server to ensure everything is running perfectly. It also verifies the absence of bugs or other issues impairing performance during gameplay with other players. To do this:
1. Join the Server from Your Own Computer
To explore the new Minecraft server from your own computer, follow these steps:
- Launch Minecraft and select ‘Multiplayer’ on the main menu:
- Then, click ‘add server’ to add the server address:
- Next, click on ‘Join Server’ immediately the server name as it appears on your list
2. Inviting Friends to Join Your Server
You need to share your public IP address with friends to play with them. To get this information, go to your browser and type ‘what is my IP address?’ Your IP address displays as follows:
Then, share your IP address and Minecraft port number with your friends. They can add your information to their list of ‘Multiplayer’ using the same process in the preceding section.
What happens if your friend can’t connect to your Minecraft server?
If your friends are having issues joining your Minecraft server, it can cause a glitch in the internet connection, or you’re using a different Minecraft version. Other probable reasons include misconfiguration of your network settings or playing on a server you’re blacklisted from. Whatever the issue may be, here are some ways to troubleshoot the issue:
- Ensure you have the same Minecraft version installed on your devices
- Port forward your router using the steps in the ‘Port Forward’ section
- Ensure your friend has the correct IP address and port number of your Minecraft server
- Try reinstalling the Minecraft server
Now the fun begins! Since you’ve successfully created and configured your Minecraft server on your PC, you can fully control your Minecraft adventure. Pick up your ax and start exploring new items to build! To mitigate or avoid security vulnerabilities, safeguard your server’s IP address and port number by sharing them with people you trust. Preferably, use remote.it to share your game with other players without providing your IP address.
Next Steps: What Now?
- Find the Best Minecraft Hosting Providers
- Best Windows Dedicated Server hosting providers recommended for hosting Minecraft servers
- Essential tips and tricks for surviving in Minecraft (how to build a crafting table and tools included)
- If you’re a parent, read more on how to manage parental control on Minecraft
- Maintain your Minecraft server to keep it up and running at all times
Further Reading – Useful Resources
- Learn more on how to set up Minecraft servers on Windows like a pro
- 20 things you should do when starting Minecraft as a newbie
- Top Linux Hosting Providers
- How to decipher the best time to change to a dedicated hosting server for your Minecraft game