So you’ve managed to master singleplayer gaming and are thirsty for a little multiplaye
r mayhem. But you’re not exactly sure what a Minecraft server is, how to have one, or what the difference between it and any other server is. What’s the deal?
Minecraft servers are like any other gaming server, with two basic types available. There are locally hosted listen servers, and there are dedicated servers. Who uses which depends on the person in question.
Listen servers, run by a player from the same computer used to connect to the server, are ideal for smaller numbers of clients such as a LAN party. Domestic internet connections generally don’t have the bandwidth to support multiple connections, and the host’s computer is generally a personal computer with limited processing power. Both the bandwidth and the power of the hosts’ computer conspire to limit the number of simultaneous connctions that can be maintained on the server, leaving most listen servers ideal for a handful of Minecrafters who want to play together.
Running a listen server is fairly easy, and doesn’t require any special or dedicated equipment. Download the server software from Mojang’s Minecraft site (www.minecraft.net), and get busy. Sadly, the administration of even a basic server is beyond the scope of this article, but there are a plethora of helpful tutorials and examples either on the Minecraft forums or Bukkit.org, home of one of the most popular Minecraft server applications. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The community is extremely helpful and quick to point new server admins in the right direction.
The other kind of server, dedicated servers, are generally run as a business. They require powerful computers and a commerical-grade bandwidth that puts them out of the reach of your average home user, but the benfits are worth the effort. Dedicated servers typically have a nearly 100% uptime (meaning they can always be accessed), much higher limit on the number of simultaneous connections and a much more stable experience with less lag and latency issues. Dedicated servers typically charge its clients per player slot per month, and offer complimentary support and administrative assistance on top of the actual server hosting itself. Some servers even offer a free Teamspeak, Mumble, or Ventrilo VOIP server for your private use in addition to the gaming server! There are a plethora of inexpensive and easy to set up options to those who are interested in renting a dedicated server, and with a little research anybody should be able to find a company that’s willing to work with them and ensure that everybody is satisfied with the arrangment. If you can’t find anything that meets your needs, try asking on the forums. Everybody has an opinion, and chances are that somebody else’s opinion will match your own.
Luckily, whatever type of server you end up choosing, Minecraft will remain the exact same game you know and love. While some users swear by the do-it-yourself ethos and set up listen servers on their home computers, some are more than willing to let the professionals take over and rent a dedicated server. Good luck in your search, and good gaming.
So, what do you think?
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