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Is Making an Aternos Server Free? The Ultimate Guide

The Short Answer

Yes, Aternos allows you to create a fully functional Minecraft server completely free of charge. There are no hidden fees or costs involved.

Aternos is funded through optional donations and advertisements on their website, allowing them to offer free servers. The only catch is that servers will automatically sleep after 10 minutes of inactivity, but this can be mitigated through some workarounds.

What Exactly is Aternos?

For those new to Minecraft servers, let me start by explaining what Aternos is. Aternos is a Minecraft server hosting provider based in Germany. Since its launch in 2015, it has grown rapidly to serve over 75 million registered users worldwide.

Aternos‘ business model is quite simple:

  • Provide free, easy-to-use Minecraft server hosting financed by ads & donations
  • Allow users to create Minecraft servers with no slot limitations
  • Offer support for plugins, mods, custom JARs, world uploads, and more
  • Let anyone create a server for private use with their friends

This free model has driven Aternos‘ massive growth over the past 5+ years. The service reliably handles over 330,000 concurrent players across 8,000+ servers at peak times.

Creating Your Free Server

Let‘s look at how simple Aternos makes it to create your own free Minecraft server:

  1. Create a free Aternos account
  2. Click "Create Server" and name your server
  3. Select your preferred Minecraft version
  4. Choose a server location close to your users
  5. Click "Create" and wait 5-10 minutes

Within just a few minutes, you will have a fresh Minecraft server ready to be customized. The control panel makes it easy to tweak settings, install plugins and mods, upload maps, and manage your worlds.

Setting up a free server with Aternos takes just minutes without needing to mess with hosting configurations or pay recurring fees. It‘s an extremely user-friendly way for novices to start a private server.

Key Stats and Facts

Let‘s dig into some key statistics behind Aternos‘ free hosting service:

  • Over 75 million registered users
  • Handling over 330,000 concurrent players at peak times
  • Average of 8,000+ Minecraft servers online at once
  • Funded by $10k+ in monthly donations & advertisements
  • Ranked #1 Minecraft server host on Trustpilot
  • 4.8/5 rating based on 15,000+ Trustpilot reviews
  • Adding ~400GB of RAM monthly to scale servers

These impressive stats show that Aternos has proven it can reliably handle massive amounts of free users. Positive Trustpilot ratings also showcase high customer satisfaction with the free service.

Server Specifications

Each free Aternos server comes with these technical specs:

  • 2 GB of RAM (can be boosted by voting)
  • Maximum storage space of 4 GB
  • 1 GB max world upload size
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • No limit on player slots

The hardware limitations are reasonable for a free service. You can also scale up RAM through their voting program if needed.

Key Benefits of Aternos

Why choose Aternos over other free Minecraft hosts? Here are some of the core benefits you get:

Easy Plugin and Mod Installation

Aternos servers support installing plugins and mods in one click from their libraries. You can also upload custom plugin JARs for advanced configurations.

World Uploads and Downloads

You can effortlessly upload your saved world files to use on your Aternos server. Downloading worlds to your computer for backup is also simple.

Unlimited Server Slots

You get unlimited player slots on Aternos servers at no additional cost. Paid hosts often limit slots on free plans.

DDoS Protection

All Aternos servers come with DDoS protection and enterprise-grade firewalls to mitigate attacks. This helps keep your server stable.

No Hidden Fees

Aternos is funded strictly through donations and ads. There are no premium plans or upgrade fees. The service will always be 100% free.

These benefits make Aternos stand out from other free Minecraft hosting options. You get great features with no risky catches.

Limitations to Know

Of course, Aternos’ free model does come with a few limitations to be aware of:

Server Sleeping

The biggest drawback is that Aternos servers will automatically shut down after 10 minutes of inactivity. This conserves their resources.

World Size Limits

Servers are capped at 4GB total storage space. Large modpacks with expansive worlds may not fit.

Resource Restrictions

RAM is limited to 2GB by default. Computational resources are shared, so CPU can occasionally max out.

Random Allocations

You don’t choose your own dedicated hardware, so servers are allocated randomly.

These limitations are all reasonable for an entirely free service. As long as you understand them, Aternos can still be a great option.

Keeping Your Server Active 24/7

Since Aternos servers sleep after inactivity, keeping them 24/7 takes a bit of work. Here are the best techniques:

Use an Auto Reconnect Mod

A mod like Aternos Anti-Afk will automatically reconnect your client every few minutes. This mimics players being active.

Install an Anti-AFK Plugin

Plugins like NoIdleKick and AFKUtility will prevent your server from going idle in the first place.

Run a Local Client 24/7

Keep a computer on your network logged into the server at all times. This guarantees at least 1 active player.

Use a Server Pinging Service

Websites like can ping your server every 5 minutes to keep it alive.

Combining a few of these techniques will help bypass Aternos’ inactivity policies. I suggest at least using AFK plugins and an external pinging service to maximize uptime.

Migrating Away from Aternos

One concern with free hosting is vendor lock-in. However, moving your server away from Aternos is straightforward:

  1. Download your world files for backup
  2. Cancel your Aternos server
  3. Set up a new server on your desired host
  4. Upload your saved world files
  5. Reconfigure plugins and settings

As long as you have your world data backed up, migrating hosts is painless. Most hosts make transferring worlds easy.

I suggest downloading backups regularly in case you ever decide to leave Aternos. Never rely on any single service to be your sole source of important data.

Is Aternos Safe and Reliable?

When using free services, security and reliabilty risks are understandable concerns. However, Aternos has proven itself trustworthy over the past 5+ years:

  • No major security breaches reported
  • DDoS protection on all servers
  • Consistent uptime with rare downtime
  • Good transparency and customer service reputation
  • 4.8/5 Trustpilot rating based on 15,000+ reviews

While no software is 100% foolproof, Aternos follows industry best practices. Their reputation shows most users are satisfied with the security and reliability of the platform.

Of course, still be diligent by always backing up your world data and applying security plugins. But you can feel confident trusting Aternos with your free server.

How Aternos Compares to Other Free Hosts

So how does Aternos stack up to alternatives like Minehut and ServerMiner? Here‘s an overview:

Aternos Minehut ServerMiner
Ease of Use Excellent Good Fair
Uptime Good* Excellent Fair*
Feature Set Great Limited Limited
Scalability Very Good Fair Poor
Ads / Upsells Minimal Intrusive Intrusive

*- Requires workarounds to stay 24/7

Aternos holds its own against competitors, offering a great blend of features, scale, and usability. Minehut matches uptime but trails on features, while ServerMiner has more friction.

When Does a Paid Host Make Sense?

While Aternos is great for small private servers, you may eventually need to upgrade to paid hosting if:

  • You want guaranteed 24/7 uptime with no effort
  • Your mods or world size exceed Aternos’ limits
  • You need strong dedicated hardware and resources
  • You plan to host a large public community

Once your server graduates beyond just friends, paid hosts remove limits and provide enterprise-grade hosting. But Aternos is perfect for getting started for free.

Tips for Running Your Aternos Server

Here are my top tips for effectively managing your Aternos server:

Find the Best Server Location

Create test servers in different regions to determine the lowest pings for your users. Locations closest to players give the best experience.

Install Helpful Plugins

Plugins like WorldGuard and GriefPrevention help protect the server when you can‘t actively moderate it.

Tweak Settings for Performance

Adjust options like view distance and mob caps to improve server performance. Disable unused features too.

Seed Your World

Pre-generate structures, villages, dungeons and loot chests to give players stuff to explore right away.

Set Up Permissions and Moderation

Use a permissions plugin to control abilities of different player ranks. Appoint trustworthy moderators.

Create a Discord Community

Having a Discord server gives players a place to chat when not actively playing on your server.

Final Verdict on Aternos

So in summary – yes, Aternos does offer a fully functional Minecraft server for free. Within the reasonable limitations, it‘s an incredibly powerful service for new server owners.

For running a private server with friends, Aternos removes all hosting costs and management burdens. The feature set is extremely robust for a free option.

Just be prepared to handle sleeping servers and data backups. As long as you understand the boundaries, Aternos lets anyone create their ideal Minecraft server completely free of charge.

I hope this guide has given you a comprehensive overview of whether Aternos fits your hosting needs. Let me know if you have any other questions!