Minecraft, the king of all sandbox games, has five game modes: survival, creative, adventure, hardcore, and spectator. Multiplayer gameplay is available by four methods: direct game-to-game multiplayer, LAN play, local split screen, and servers (player-hosted and business-hosted). Minecraft players can self-host, meaning they run their own servers, rent server space from a third-party web host, or directly linkup to another gamer’s Minecraft came via Xbox Live. Here, we’re going to unpack multiplayer via servers, and reveal the best Minecraft server hosting provider.
Minecraft Multiplayer Servers
Server Operators (better known as Ops), control and administer Minecraft multiplayer servers. Through server commands, the Op can change game settings such as turning on or off rain/snow in the current world (toggledownfall), add to or set the world time (time <add/set>) or summon entities such as mobs, projectiles, items, vehicles, etc. (summon <EntityName> [x] [y] [z] [dataTag]). With the proper minecraft.command.op permissions, through the (op <player>) command, a player can be turned into a server operator.*
*These Minecraft server commands are based on the CraftBukkit out-of-the-box commands.
Top 5 Minecraft Server Hosting Providers
1. Apex Hosting
Apex Minecraft server hosting truly puts their customers first and has some of the best support around. If you’re new to Minecraft server hosting, or not the most technical of gamers, then I’d recommend you check out Apex for their top-tier setup support. Features and benefits include Java and Bedrock support, 24/7 uptime, one-click mudpack and plugin installs, ultra-low latency, full file and database access, and of course their highly rated live chat support. Automated backups and DDoS protection also come standard.
Apex hosting supports most any Minecraft server setup: Java Edition on Feed The Beast, ATL, Voids Wrath, Technic, Bukkit, Spigot, Vanilla, Sponge, Snapshots, MCPE or Minecraft: Bedrock edition on PocketMine. Changing server versions, adding/removing plugins, and swapping out mods is super easy with the Apex enhanced control panel.
Server locations cover West North America, East North America, Europe, South America, and Australia; a robust global network providing very low ping for global games.
Premium server setups are relatively affordable, beginning at $1.99/month for 512MB RAM and support for 10 players. The most popular plan is $7.99/month for 2GB RAM and up to 44 player support, which is more expensive than the other solutions listed here on a hardware-to-hardware basis, but keep in mind you’re also paying for the best support in the business with Apex Hosting. Quarterly and annual discounts help to save on your server costs, and payments are available in USD, Euro, Pound, and the Australian Dollar, making it convenient for international gamers.
If you’re looking to scale your setup, Apex Hosting does offer setups above 6.5GB, but those are configured on a custom request basis. Keep in mind Apex is recommended to those who may require premium support and setup assistance, not to experts looking to run 100+ player setups. If that’s the case, there are cheaper hosting options on this list to give you more ‘bang for your buck’ for larger setups.
If you place a priority on performance, price and uptime, look no further than MelonCub Minecraft servers (or “cubes” as they call them). With top hardware, a lag-free hosting environment, and a ridiculously quick 60-second setup time, you and your players will be up and gaming in no time.
MelonCube features are many, with dedicated RAM, DDoS protection, unlimited SSD storage, phpMyAdmin access, auto-restarts on crash, free MySQL database, full FTP access, managed support, free backups… just to name a few.
MelonCube claims a 100% uptime SLA on all MelonCube services. This is a bit unheard of, as 99.99% is typically the gold standard, but their stats back up their bold ‘perfect uptime’ claims.
Their four distributed server locations include Montreal, Canada; Miami Florida; France; and Los Angeles, California, giving wide network coverage.
Supported Jars include: CraftBukkit, Spigot, Vanilla, BungeeCord. With custom jar functionality, MelonCube hosting allows for Snapshots, jars and modbacks like: Technic Platform, FTB (Feed The Beast), ATLauncher, Resonant Rise, Voidswrath, and more!
MelonCube support is great, available when you need help, with expert advice from fellow enthusiasts (not just from IT nerds).
Their pricing is straight forward with no “budget” & “premium” tier segments to choose from. All plans enjoy the same benefits across the board, plain and simple. USA pricing begins at just $2/month for 512MB RAM, unlimited player slots, and unlimited SSD storage, and all USA plans are based on a simple $4.00 per GB of RAM model (France and Canada are $3/GB).
Scaling with MelonCube will never be a problem, as their plans go all the way up to a whopping 46GB DDR4 RAM plan with “unlimited” player slots and unlimited SSD storage. If you end up running a Minecraft server of that size, let me know – I’d love to jump into a slot on that ridiculously massive hardware allocation!
A big name in the gaming community, GameServers hosts a variety of popular games, including: 7 Days To Die, ARK: Survival Evolved, Call of Duty: Blackops III, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Rust, Space Engineers, Team Fortress 2, The Forest, Unturned, and of course, Minecraft. They offer a variety of worldwide server locations so you can host locally in your region and avoid lag. They also offer low latency voice servers, and a variety of other services including dedicated servers, enterprise hosting, and more.
GameServers Minecraft servers include McMyAdmin control panel, which offers daily backups, Bukkit, one-click plugin installs, a static IP address, and the option for a free website with MySQL database management. The control panel comes pre-loaded with Tekkit, ChestShop, CommandBook, iConomy, Essentials, GodPowers, Factions, McMMO, WorldGuard, WorldEdit – just to name a few! And, users now have the option to upload their own custom plugins, giving admins even more control over their Minecraft server. One nice benefit to GameServers is that the memory allocation is guaranteed, unlike most other gaming hosts that will virtually redistribute RAM on their shared servers as needed.
Upon GameServer setup, they’ll automatically recommend the best Minecraft server hosting location, based on your geo-ping distance from their server network. Have additional questions? GameServer offers 24/7 support.
Get your own server from GameServers and create a custom gameplay by utilizing the power of the McMyAdmin control panel for Minecraft servers.
Pro Tip: Based on my testing, 512MB of RAM is sufficient for most multiplayer Minecraft setups. If you’re running a lot of plugins, however, then increased RAM is recommended.
The 512MB plan is suitable for 1-8 players and will run you $3.99/month. Plans scale up in tiers to a large 6GB RAM setup suitable for up to 96 players.
BeastNode is, well, a Beast! (And aptly named at that.) Their California based high-performance platform is built for enthusiasts with the latest Intel Xenon CPUs, datacenter-grade SSDs, 99.9% uptime, unmetered gigabit connection speeds, a top-tier network and the most popular Minecraft server admin control panel, Multicraft.
Server locations include Chicago, IL; Phoenix, AZ; and Amsterdam, NLD (great for players in Germany, UK, France, and greater Europe). The Chicago, IL location is most central, and is personally recommended for your initial server setup. The Amsterdam location retains low-latency for US players, and the Phoenix, AZ location performs well in South America, Asia and even Australia.
Pricing options are flexible, starting at just $2.99/month for the initial Budget Minecraft Plan which includes 1GB of RAM, suitable for up to 15 simultaneous players. Plans scale from there, with the most popular budget plan coming in at $11.99/month with 4GB RAM (suitable for up to 60 players).
The Premium Minecraft Plans showcase some added benefits including: unlimited disk space, technical support included, and up to a 15% discount with longer billing cycles. These premium plans begin at $5/month for 512MB RAM (up to 10 players), with the most popular plan at $20/month for 2GB RAM (suitable for up to 40 players). A 4GB+ plan is recommended for mods across both plan types.
For scaling, BeastNode plans run up to 12GB in RAM allocation, for those wishing to host over 100 players.
BestNode also offers SSD-powered cloud VPS solutions, with instant upgrade/downgrade scaling capabilities, starting at just $5/month for the VPS-512 plan (1 core, 512 MB RAM, 25 GB disc space, 1TB bandwidth), with the most popular VPS-1024 plan at $10/month (2 cores, 1GB RAM, 35 GB disc space, 2TB bandwidth).
AnvilNode servers are reliable, up to date, secure, affordable, and blazingly fast. They boast the latest gen hardware (Intel Xenon or i7 CPUs and fast SSDs), robust DDoS protection and 24/7 multi-lingual support in English, Dutch and Spanish. Other perks include daily server backups with 1-month data retention, and a super-fast gigabit connection to make lag a non-issue.
Plans start at $4/month for the 2GB Anvil plan, or the 1GB Gold plan. All plans include other benefits such as Java 8 support, multi-user support, UE & EU server locations, a plugin installer, full FTP access and free MySQL database support. These plans go all the way up to 24GB, making scaling your Minecraft server a breeze. They also have dedicated server options upon request.
AnvilNode is also partnered with some big Minecraft names, offering extended trials of Enjin (hosted platform for creating websites and gaming communities), Buycraft (the best donation plugin for Bukkit and Minecraft servers), and Minetrends (detailed insights and stats on your Mineraft server).
After signup and payment, your Minecraft server is activated instantly, so you can get setup and gaming within minutes.
Don’t have Minecraft yet? You can learn more about Minecraft from the official website here.