Choosing a Minecraft Server Hosting Provider
Last updated: September 15, 2020
If you’re looking to rent your very first Minecraft server or perhaps want a fresh outlook on what a server hosting company provides, you have come to the right place.
For many Minecraft players it can be a confusing transition from playing on a local server to hosting and managing your own dedicated Minecraft server.
With my helpful little guide below hopefully I will be able to give you a little more insight into what Minecraft server hosting is and how to make the right choice when choosing a provider based on your needs and your budget.
What is a server?
If you’re new to server hosting then I’d like to start by explaining what a game server actually is and how it works in relation to renting from a hosting company.
A server in its purest form is a essentially a powerful computer that a hosting company either rents or owns. That host then splits the server up into smaller chunks that they rent out to their customers in the form of Minecraft server packages.
That company then list these packages at different prices depending on the amount of resources you need which is in relation to how big your slice of the physical server is.
You could rent a dedicated server, but this would cost a lot more than a hosting package and you then have to be able to install and manage everything yourself. I wouldn’t suggest this to new users as it requires some server management knowledge.
Shared server hosting packages (like the ones that are compared on the home page of this site) are fantastic for users wanting to dive straight into playing and running their own server without having to do too much technical work.
What should you take into consideration when choosing a host?
Cost is usually the first thing people consider when purchasing a server. I know it can often be very tempting to buy the cheapest one you find but you do get what you pay for like anything in life.
The most important thing to consider when looking at the price Is what they include, are you paying one price and getting everything included like mod installation and 24/7 support or are you having to pay for this separately?
In my opinion a good price for a small server that supports 10 users and offers support and mod installation is usually around $5 to $10 in the US and £4 to £8 in the UK. Obviously this a very small Vanilla package but it’s the starting price for the majority of hosts. Anything under that price range, I would be a bit wary
Are they providing the support and help that I need?
If you are new to Minecraft hosting, chances are you will need help from the support team. This is usually what separates the good hosts from the bad hosts in my opinion.
A lot of companies I have used in the past have been top-notch with answering my support tickets, however I have used a couple of poor companies before that have either totally ignored my request or taken a couple of days to reply.
In my experience smaller or newer hosting companies struggle with support as their teams are usually very small and they struggle to offer 24 hour support. My advice would be to look at the companies reviews before purchasing the server or test out their support by sending a few tickets and seeing how committed they are to answering them.
Worse case scenario you can always take your business elsewhere after the first month. Exporting your world and moving it is usually pretty easy with modern Minecraft server control panels.
Over the years I have seen that many game-server providers will offer test servers in order to try their services. This can be a very good way to see how well the service will run in terms of your distance to the server.
I’d always suggest choosing a server location that is as close as possible to you and your friends in order to improve your ping and overall experience. If the game hosting company you like the look of doesn’t have a test server it’s always worth contacting them directly, as they will usually allow you to trial one of their test servers. Try before you buy!
Make sure to do your research before spending your hard earned money on a server that may not be as good as it seems.
A word of warning: as TrustPilot do offer companies the chance to remove negative reviews if they pay a monthly premium. So I’d advise looking at multiple review sources before committing to a purchase.
Don’t forget to check out my top 10 Minecraft server hosts reviews section on the home page where I go into more depth about my experience with each host.
Minecraft now has hundreds of Mods and addons that will need to be added to your server individually either by you or the hosting company.
If you’re new to server hosting then it’s worth asking your chosen company if they include mod-support in the monthly price you are paying. Some companies may charge a very low monthly cost for a server but ask you to pay additional money in order to make changes to your service.
Location is very important when choosing a game hosting company as this will drastically affect your servers performance depending on where you and the other users are connecting from. An example; if you rent a server in Australia and you’re connecting from the UK you will struggle with connection speeds due to the distance.
Always keep location and distance in mind when choosing a provider. If a hosting company has a lot of locations to choose from this generally means that they are well established and have been around for a while. Companies with only a few locations are generally newer or smaller.
What to watch out for!
Over-selling of servers or cramming to many people in one server used to be a big issue many years ago and it still does happen with some hosting companies.
They will essentially put too many users on to one server and hope that not all the accounts are active at the same time. In my experience this usually happens with the very cheap hosting companies. This is usually how they are able to offer such low prices as their overheads are a lot less.
Companies not paying their bills
Some companies may be working with small margins and are at risk of failing to pay for the physical machines they rent (or the data-centre rent for their owned machines) and so could lose your world or experience huge downtime.
Companies with no backups
Cheaper companies usually don’t put resources into regular backups. This additional storage and system resources could mean the difference between profit and loss.
Moving onto setting up your server & promoting it
Now that you have chosen a provider from the selection on my home page you will need to set up the initial settings.Check out my guide on setting up your Minecraft world to find out about Multicraft and the technical jargon you need to learn for a healthy server.
Once you are set up running you will need to attract players, I have written another follow-up guide on that: promoting your Minecraft server. There is no point in having an awesome Minecraft server if you don’t have anybody on it!