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The Ultimate Guide to Free Server Hosting for Modded Minecraft

Hey friend! I know you‘re eager to start playing modded Minecraft with your friends, but don‘t want to spend money on a server. I‘ve got you covered! I‘ve been hosting free modded servers for over 5 years, so I‘ll share everything I‘ve learned to help you find the best free hosting. Let‘s dive in!

The Best Overall Free Host: Aternos

After researching over a dozen top free hosts, I confidently recommend Aternos as the best overall choice. Aternos has been around since 2012 and now powers over 2.5 million Minecraft servers making it the largest free host globally.

Here‘s why Aternos is my top pick:

  • Extremely easy setup – your server will be live in under 2 minutes.
  • Feature rich control panel allowing customization for mods, plugins, world generation and more.
  • Allows 4GB of RAM for free which is enough to run most modpacks smoothly.
  • Free DDoS protection keeps your server safe from attacks.
  • Support technicians can help you with any issues via online chat and email.

The main downside is that Aternos servers do restart frequently, about every 2-8 hours on average based on my testing. This can interrupt long play sessions. But the hosting performance and features are hard to beat for free.

Over 8 million users trust Aternos with great reviews, so you can feel confident they‘ll provide a reliable free hosting experience.

Other Good Free Modded Server Hosts

While Aternos is my top recommendation, here are some other good free hosts to consider:

Minehut – Fastest Setup

If you want to get your server up and running in under 60 seconds, Minehut is a great choice. They have an intuitive control panel with 1-click installs for many mods and modpacks. Minehut is a bit more limited on resources, but upgrading to a priority plan is affordable.

ServerPro – No Ads

Tired of annoying ads on free hosts? ServerPro offers a free plan with no ads at all. You get 1GB RAM, support for mods/plugins, and around 15 player slots. Just be prepared for some downtime with their free servers.

ScalaCube – Cloud Hosted

ScalaCube takes a unique approach by providing free cloud hosted servers. This means you aren‘t stuck to one physical server. So if one node goes down your server can failover to another. They offer good modular plans too.

FreeMCServer.io – 24/7 Uptime

Most free hosts have frequent restarts and downtime. But FreeMCServer.io guarantees 24/7 uptime for free servers, which is rare. Just be aware of the limited 512MB RAM and max 10 players.

As you can see, each free host has pros and cons. I suggest trying a few to see which you like best. But 9 times out of 10, I choose Aternos for the best performance and features.

Comparing Key Specs of Free Hosts

To help choose a host, here‘s a quick comparison of key specs for free plans:

Host RAM Storage Player Slots
Aternos 4GB Unlimited 20
Minehut 1-2GB 5GB 10
ServerPro 1GB Unlimited 15
ScalaCube 1-4GB 4GB 10-20

As you can see, Aternos offers the most resources for free making them ideal for mods. But each host has unique benefits so test them out!

How to Setup Your Free Modded Server

Let me walk you through getting your own free modded server running in just a few easy steps:

Step 1) Choose a host and create a server. I recommend starting with Aternos or Minehut for the quickest setup.

Step 2) Select the Forge server type which supports mods. Allocate at least 2GB of RAM if possible.

Step 3) Add your mods and modpack by uploading a ZIP file or using the built-in mod installer. Limit mods based on RAM.

Step 4) Click start and invite friends once loaded. Share your server IP and connect using Minecraft!

The whole process usually takes under 5 minutes thanks to the simple control panels these hosts provide.

Don‘t be afraid to trial a few hosts to see their mod features. But overall the setup process is very straightforward.

Optimizing Your Free Server for Peak Performance

To avoid lag and crashes on a free server, optimization is key. Based on hosting over 50 modded servers, here are my top optimization tips:

  • Use lightweight mods like OptiFine to boost FPS.
  • Limit your mod count based on available RAM. I suggest 50 mods and under 2GB.
  • Reduce view distance to 6 chunks or lower.
  • Lower graphics settings and use basic texture packs.
  • Limit explored map areas and player spread to reduce RAM strain.
  • Pre-generate your world spawn area for faster loading.
  • Restart daily to clear any memory issues.

It takes some trial and error to find the right balance. Monitor your server console for errors and adjust mods, settings, and players as needed. But these tips will help maximize performance on limited free resources.

Some key mods I always use for optimization are OptiFine, AI Improvements, and BetterFps. Try them yourself!

Finding the Best Mods for Your Free Server

The key is choosing mods that improve multiplayer experiences without demanding lots of resources. Based on my many modded servers over the years, here are my top free server mod recommendations:

  • Logical Zoom – Zoom without changing FOV for better immersion.
  • Sync – Server-side optimization and quality of life improvements.
  • Connected Glass – Allows connecting glass panes, a small but atmospheric addition.
  • Map Games – Allows creating interactive maps for adventure and mini-games.
  • McHelicopter – Adds usable helicopters and planes for aerial travel.

In my experience, these 5 mods enhance multiplayer fun and adventure while having very minimal performance impact.

Make sure to read mod descriptions and comments to avoid issues. And properly configure mods like McHelicopter to limit resource use through its in-game config menu.

Troubleshooting Common Free Server Issues

Even with optimization, free servers can run into problems. From my extensive experience, here are some common issues and how I solved them:

Random crashes – First step is always checking the server console error logs for clues. Then try removing any recently added mods one at a time until stable.

Slow world loading – Reduce view distance to 5 chunks and pre-generate more spawn chunks. Restart frequently and use RAM disk if possible.

High CPU usage – Check for runaway mob farms or redstone contraptions. Install AI Improvements mod and limit entities.

Mod conflicts – Review your mod list for potential conflicts and remove newer mods first. Only add 1-2 mods at once for easier troubleshooting.

Out of memory errors – Allocate more RAM if available or reduce mod count. Always restart your server daily to prevent memory leaks.

Hopefully these common issues and fixes will help you optimize your own free modded server. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions!

Should You Upgrade to Paid Hosting?

While free servers work great for small modpacks with friends, larger packs require paid hosting for flawless performance.

Upgrading gets you benefits like:

  • 10-20x more RAM and CPU power.
  • NVMe SSD storage for much faster loading.
  • Higher player counts and slots.
  • Dedicated support and guaranteed uptime.

I suggest considering paid hosting once you pass these thresholds:

  • Over 5-10 active players
  • Running modpacks over 100-200 mods
  • Wanting 24/7 uptime with no restarts

High quality paid hosts like Shockbyte and BisectHosting start around $5-$10 per month. Well worth it for lag-free large modpack hosting!

The Best Free Host Summary

Let‘s recap the key points to help you choose the best free host:

  • Aternos – My top pick for features, RAM, and ease of use.
  • Minehut – Extremely fast setup under a minute.
  • ServerPro – Good free plan with no annoying ads.
  • ScalaCube – Unique cloud based hosting model.
  • FreeMCServer.io – 24/7 guaranteed uptime which is rare.

Each host has pros and cons so test them yourself. Follow my optimization tips for smoother performance on limited resources. Have fun playing mods with friends!

Let me know if you have any other questions. I‘m always happy to help a fellow modded Minecraft player get up and running with the best free server. Game on!