Do you want to create your own Minecraft server? Choosing the right host is essential for developing your community.
Before you jump in without thinking, it is important to ask yourself a few questions which will keep you from getting stuck after a few weeks.
You all have your own needs, so the same host will not be suitable for all plans.
A newly created or recently launched server will not need a lot of power or functionality. But as your community grows, so will the need for effective tools for server management and administration.
It will be difficult to change hosts once you have started your project, so it is essential to choose a host that meets your needs in terms of price, quality, functionality, and scalability from the beginning.
1/ Clients reviews
What could better help you choose a host than other customers' opinions? Reading the reviews and ratings will allow you to form an initial opinion before spending your money.
Some hosts aim for transparency with a public customer rating program through certified providers such as Trustpilot.
For others, a quick Google search will let you know more about the host you are looking at.
2/ Can I upgrade my server's power?
Do you play with a few friends on your private server, and have no plans to accommodate a larger community?
Does this describe you? If so, you can ignore the following information, because you will probably never need to upgrade your server's power.
Do you want to develop a community around your game server and attract many players? If your project is successful, you are likely to need more power. This is a crucial point to take into account if you do not want to feel too constrained at your host after a few months...
Publicizing your server takes time. Buying a server with 128 slots when it never contains more than 30 players simultaneously does not make any sense! Does this describe you? Think about looking into a Minecraft host that will allow you to change offers at any time, without changing the server's address.
You will then only need to change the server's power based on changes to the number of visitors (an increase or a decrease).
3/ Does the server have automated backups?
A classic situation: a server is closed due to an incident, because its owner did not make any backups... Oh yes, your game servers are not immune to this great computing rule: you MUST make backups!
The loss of data is an important concern. Various incidents can lead to this disaster:
- the server is hacked
- data corruption following a crash
- a handling error - it happens!
To avoid closing the server prematurely, we advise you to look into a host that performs automatic backups of your server. Hosting companies now all have this feature. Any host that does not have a backup feature is considered a poor-quality host.
The difference between hosts will be the data retention period (= time during which it retains backups) and the backup cycle (= time between automatic backups).
For a small private server for friends, a short period of data retention will be sufficient.
Do you have a large community? The risk of an incident increases because the server is used more. Look into a host that allows the server to be restored quickly to limit downtime in case of problems, and choose a host that allows you to keep at least several weeks of backups and that has a short backup cycle (for example every few hours) to minimize the risk of data loss.
4/ How many slots does my server need?
The number of slots on your server will determine the maximum number of players that it can accommodate simultaneously.
The needs are varied:
- Development servers only need 2 or 4 slots
- Private servers with friends usually only need 4 to 10 slots
- Communities, which have larger needs: 20, 40 50, 100 slots!
Hosts use one of two billing models:
- Slot billing: you pay based on the number of simultaneous players, without worrying about the power of the server.
- Billing resources used: you can define the number of slots you want; you only pay for the RAM and the CPU allocated to you. It is your responsibility to define a number of players that corresponds to the power of the server.
Some hosts allow a change of contract without change of address, allowing you to easily vary the capacity of the server according to the evolution of your community: you limit your expenses as long there are few visitors on your server. Make sure to choose a web host based on your future goals.
Always remember to take into account the fact that hosting a significant number of players requires a lot of CPU power and RAM to maintain a good gaming experience without lagging.
5/ Control panel
The control panel accompanies you throughout the lifecycle of your Minecraft server. During its installation, it will allow you to perform basic actions (stop / restart / start / update) and assist you with design and configuration. Once your community is launched, it will help you manage and administer it. A real companion!
Hosts offer a wide variety of solutions, which can be grouped into two categories:
- Control panels using existing solutions
- Custom panels, specific to the host, with their own features and exclusivities
If you are new to creating Minecraft servers or want to create a private server for your friends, consider an intuitive solution that focuses on easy configuration and management.
Do you want to host a community? You will need more customization and features (backups, live console, admin management, monitoring, scheduled tasks, etc.).
6/ Avoid hosts whose legal status is not clear
When looking at the multitude of Minecraft hosts, we suggest that before you start, you check the legal status of your host and check the company's validity. Many irresponsible hosts are present on the market; you are not immune to seeing your server disappear overnight.
If you want to set up a private server with friends, the risk will be small with only a few euros lost; you would simply have to reopen a server at another provider.
The case of community servers is more problematic. The loss of data and address change will have significant negative impacts.
And if you extended your contract for a few months before the host disappeared, the bill may be hefty!
7/ The ping (latency) between the server and the players
Latency is the time it takes for a packet on the Internet to be transmitted from one point to another. For your game servers, it is the latency between a player and the server that is measured. High latency will cause lags for the players, while low latency will provide greater responsiveness and fluidity during your games.
Unlike other competitive games like CS:GO where any latency will have an impact, Minecraft does not need to seek the best latency possible. Nevertheless, if your goal is to offer the best gaming experience to your players, don’t neglect this element.
Several factors can increase your players latency:
- A player may have a slow internet connection
- An overloaded server that cannot process information in "real time"
- An internet network on the server side that is faulty or not optimized
- The geographical distance between the player and the server (the greater the distance, the higher the latency)
The server's geographic location is the factor that has the greatest impact. Select a web host with a data center located the closest geographically to your players. Avoid using a cheap server in the United States with players located in France! The latency will be high and take all the fun out of playing...
The quality of the internet network connecting the server can also have an impact for some players. Companies like OVH have peering points with the biggest ISPs. These peering points allow the players to have better access to the network, and therefore a better ping with your server.
8/ Protect yourself from DDoS attacks
This is specific to the world of gaming: rivalries between communities can quickly lead to computer attacks on your server.
A DDoS attack is a classic. It involves overloading a server by sending a large number of network packets via the internet to make a game server inaccessible. What could be more unpleasant for your players, who will quickly turn to other content?
Ask about the protections offered by your future host. There are specialized solutions to prevent DDoS attacks or minimize downtime in case of an attack.