How much does it cost to setup & run a Minecraft server?
Setting up and running a Minecraft server correctly from the start is crucial. Before you decide on creating a server, you should first understand all associated costs. Without the correct investments, your project can easily turn into a disappointing experience. You can expect to pay anywhere between $10.00 to $6,000.00 a month, depending on the size of your server (~5 players vs. large network). You should consider what your needs are and determine which option is worth the cost.
If you’re comfortable with the technical aspects and plan to run a dedicated server from your home computer, then you can opt-out of hosting, which essentially makes it free to run. However, if you're looking at a home-hosted server, you should consider Minecraft Realms. They can cost about $7.99 per month and will relieve you of the burden of keeping the server online and setting it up. This is a simple route if you plan to keep your server small with only you and a handful of friends. If you prefer to have the security and assistance associated with remote hosting services, you can expect to absorb the monthly cost of hosting plans.
Recurring hosts (hosting)
Keep in mind there are two versions of Minecraft: Java and Bedrock. The version you decide to play will affect the cost of your Minecraft server. Consider the users you intend to play with and understand that Java and Bedrock users will not be able to play together on the same server. If you intend to play with both versions, then you’ll require two separate servers for each of them to run on.
The primary version of Minecraft that’s most often used is Java, which means you’ll need a PC that runs Microsoft Windows, Linux, or Apple’s macOS. The Bedrock version of Minecraft runs on Windows 10, gaming consoles, Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV, and tablets. If you’re planning to incorporate modded platforms, you’re better off choosing Java edition, as the Bedrock version doesn’t support mods.
Depending on the provider you choose for remote hosting, which is the best option for most users, the price per month can be as low as $10.00 for 2GB RAM. 2GB is sufficient for most basic servers and mod packs. Some of the most popular options include 4GB RAM or 5GB RAM, which comes out to $15.00 to $20.00 per month. To operate confidently without lagging, and maintain an uninterrupted gaming experience for all users, remote hosting is the way to go.
The most cost-effective option (AKA free) is to do it yourself. This is especially simple for the initial server setup and configuration. However, you do have the option of purchasing a pre-made setup for about $30.00, which would include pre-configured plugins, permissions and commands. You can also obtain pre-made maps at about $15.00 each. For custom server setups, you’re looking at around $200.00.
If you have a more generous budget, you can hire a building team to create your map, including interiors, exteriors, terraforming, and all the goods. Expect to pay around $300.00 to $400.00, depending on requirements and complexity.
You can find tons of free plugins for your Minecraft server online. For example, Shockbyte provides you with a list of free plugins, along with an installation guide to simplify the process for you. The only caveat is you need to be running Spigot or CraftBukkit as your server type. You can also find premium plugins that range from $10.00 to $20.00 per plugin.
When it comes to custom plugins, you’ll likely need to connect with a developer who has their own rates and fees to make something for you. Expect to pay around $75.00 for a custom-coded plugin, depending on complexity. But first, be sure the plugin isn’t already available. If a plugin doesn’t have all the features you need, it’s best to connect with the developer of the plugin versus going out and hiring someone else to work on it.
Graphics Advertisement, Staff Members
When it comes to graphics, you can create your own for free, but if you’d like a more professional-looking logo, you can expect to pay around $180.00 for it alongside a server icon. If you’d like an animated video trailer, expect to pay between $100.00 to $150.00.
You can advertise for free through Facebook groups and forums, like minecraftforum.net. If you have the budget to pour into marketing, you can pay for Facebook ads, or go through Discord, to get your name out there.
For $300.00, you can get a sponsored slot on a Minecraft server list for about a week. Or you can use those funds for a YouTuber shoutout. If you want to go big, you can shell out $1k for a sponsored listing on a mid to large server list for the span of 15 days to a month.
You can easily set up a website for free, but if you’re looking for a premium server-shop and forums, you’ll need to consider the $18.00 per month cost for Tebex - Along with a XenForo license, that allows you to create forums (an additional $185.00).
If you’re going to be building out your Minecraft server to encompass a huge pool of players, you may need to incorporate staff payment rates into your overall budget. Competent server managers, administrators, and moderators are usually never free. If you reach this point, you can negotiate an hourly rate you are comfortable with to accomplish the tasks you set forth.