As a tech geek and data analyst who loves gaming and streaming, I‘m often asked – is it really possible to setup a fully free Minecraft server that runs 24/7?
The answer is yes! With the right approach, anyone can setup their own free dedicated Minecraft server. I‘ll share all my tips and tricks in this comprehensive guide.
Use a Free Hosting Service
The easiest way is using a free Minecraft hosting service. Here are the top options:
- Aternos – My favorite free host. Provides servers with up to 2GB RAM and unlimited slots. However, servers sleep after 30 minutes of inactivity.
- Minehut – Great free service by Minehut. Offers 1GB RAM servers with 45 minute AFK limit and requires registering an account.
- FreeMCHosting – Completely free with no limits, but very low resource servers.
These free hosts work great for running small to medium servers for you and your friends. Just be aware of the usage limits.
How to Setup a Server on Aternos
Let me walk you through setting up a Minecraft server on Aternos, my favorite free host:
- First, go to Aternos.org and register for a free account.
- Click Add Server, select Minecraft, and choose a name for your server.
- Aternos will automatically deploy your server in seconds!
- Customize your server settings like mods, world, permissions etc.
- Click the Play button when ready and Aternos will provide you a direct join link.
- Share the join link and have your friends start playing immediately!
It only takes 5 minutes to setup a free 2GB Minecraft server on Aternos. The advantage is unlimited slots and easy management. Just be sure to save periodically as the server sleeps after 30 minutes.
Here‘s a pro tip for extending your Aternos server‘s idle limit. Use a site like UptimeRobot to ping your server every few minutes. This will keep it awake indefinitely!
Host on an Old Computer
If you have an extra desktop/laptop lying around, it can run a 24/7 Minecraft server. This offers full control without limits for free.
- First install Java 8+ and download the Minecraft server .jar file.
- Run the .jar to setup your server name, world, port, etc.
- Port forward the server port on your home router.
- Give friends your router‘s public IP and port to connect.
Almost any computer can run a Minecraft server. For best performance, use at least 4GB RAM and an Intel i5 or equivalent processor. Make sure the system has a stable internet connection.
An old desktop would use around 72 kW hours of electricity per month. That‘s less than $10/month! A great deal for your own unlimited 24/7 Minecraft server.
Want to save more power? Use a single-board computer like Raspberry Pi which uses only 10w per hour. This would cost just $1/month to run nonstop!
Rent a Cheap VPS
For the best performance and flexibility, I recommend renting a VPS (Virtual Private Server). These start at around $5/month for entry-level plans.
Here‘s how to setup your own VPS Minecraft server:
- Rent a Linux VPS with at least 2GB RAM and 2 CPU cores.
- Install Java and the Minecraft server software via SSH.
- Configure the server properties and world as needed.
- Start the server, check logs and optimize as necessary.
VPS hosting gives you full root access to a virtual machine that can run a Minecraft server smoothly. It also provides guaranteed 99.9% uptime, DDoS protection, and better connectivity.
Some good budget VPS providers include Hostinger, Hostwinds, Kamatera, and Virmach. Shop around for deals as low as $3/month!
Opt for a VPS with an easy control panel like Plesk or cPanel. This gives you an interface to host and manage your Minecraft server without using SSH. Very handy!
Repurpose Old Phones & Tablets
Believe it or not, you can setup a 24/7 free Minecraft PE (Pocket Edition) server on an old Android phone or tablet!
Just follow these simple steps:
- Install the free MCPE Server app from Play Store.
- Run the app and set your server‘s name, game mode etc.
- Note down the device‘s IP address and port.
- Give this IP:Port to your friends to connect and play!
Your old phone/tablet can easily handle up to 10 players online simultaneously. Make sure the device is connected to a power source and high-speed internet.
One advantage of this method is you can take the server with you anywhere by tethering internet from your mobile device. Pretty cool for LAN parties!
Having connection issues? A simple solution is installing the MCPE server app on an old phone and using mobile hotspot from a newer phone. This improves server connectivity and internet speed!
Once your Minecraft server gains a sizeable community of players, you can attract sponsorships and partnerships to fund the hosting costs.
Some ways to acquire sponsors:
- Offer branding placement in your server spawn area/website for a monthly fee.
- Contact gaming gear, merchandise and apparel vendors relevant to Minecraft players.
- Negotiate affiliate deals to promote suitable products to your audience.
- Make sure sponsors follow server rules and do not disrupt gameplay.
Even a few medium sponsors can fully fund a powerful Minecraft server hosting plan with no out-of-pocket costs!
Be selective about sponsorship deals and vet partners carefully. Pick brands that your community identifies with to ensure mutual value.
Leverage Cloud Platform Credits
Most major cloud platforms offer free credits up to $500 for new users to explore their services. These credits can be used to run a Minecraft server.
For example, Google Cloud gives every new account $300 in spending credits. This could run a $50/month cloud virtual machine for up to 6 months for free!
Steps to setup a cloud server:
- Sign up for a cloud platform and verify your account.
- Browse their VM marketplace and deploy one with your free credits.
- SSH in to the VM and install Java + Minecraft server.
- Configure the server properties and launch it.
Cloud VMs provide excellent uptime, DDoS protection, and auto scaling. Make the most of your free credits before the trial expires!
Always stop your cloud server when not in use to avoid surprise billing when the trial ends. Most cloud platforms offer robust automation to start/stop servers on schedules.
Hosting a completely free 24/7 Minecraft server is absolutely possible with the right approach! I hope this guide gave you plenty of ideas to setup your own server on a budget.
If you want a reliable and powerful server, my recommendation would be getting a cheap VPS plan. But services like Aternos work great if you want a free hosted option.
Feel free to reach out if you need any help setting up your free Minecraft server. I‘m always happy to help fellow gamers and provide more tech tips & tricks!