Minecraft on Debian and Ubuntu

Updated by Alex Fornuto

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This guide shows you how to set up a personal Minecraft server on a Linode running Debian 8 or Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

Prerequisites

The steps in this guide require root privileges. Be sure to run the steps below as a limited user with the sudo prefix. For more information on privileges, see our Users and Groups guide.

  1. To use a Minecraft server you must also have a version of the game client from Minecraft.net.

  2. Complete our Getting Started and Securing Your Server guides.

  3. Update your Linode’s software:

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    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
    
  4. Install OpenJDK, an open-source implementation of Java, and the GNU Screen package.

    • In Ubuntu 16.04:

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      sudo apt-get install openjdk-8-jre-headless screen
      
    • In Debian 8:

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      sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jre-headless screen
      
  5. Create a new user for Minecraft to run as:

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    sudo adduser minecraft
    

    Assign a secure password, and configure any additional SSH hardening options at this time.

If you have a firewall configured according to our Securing Your Server guide, add the following line to your iptables.firewall.rules file to add an exception for port 25565:

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-A INPUT -p tcp --dport 25565 -j ACCEPT

Install Minecraft

  1. Exit your current SSH session and log back in to your Linode as the minecraft user.

  2. Download the latest version of the Minecraft Multiplayer Server from Minecraft.net. Replace the URL in this example to match the current version:

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    wget https://s3.amazonaws.com/Minecraft.Download/versions/1.10.2/minecraft_server.1.10.2.jar
    

    Refer to the Minecraft server page to check for the latest release.

  3. Create a script to run the Minecraft server:

    /home/minecraft/run.sh
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    #!/bin/sh
    BINDIR=$(dirname "$(readlink -fn "$0")")
    cd "$BINDIR"
    
    java -Xms1024M -Xmx1536M -jar minecraft_server.1.10.2.jar -o true
    

    The Xms and Xmx flags define the minimum and maximum amount of RAM the Minecraft server will use. The settings above are recommended for a Linode 2GB used solely for this purpose. Adjust these values to fit your needs.

  4. Make run.sh executable:

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    chmod +x /home/minecraft/run.sh
    

Run Minecraft

  1. The first time you run the Minecraft server it will create an EULA file and then exit:

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    $ ./run.sh
    [21:39:43] [Server thread/INFO]: Starting minecraft server version 1.8.8
    [21:39:43] [Server thread/INFO]: Loading properties
    [21:39:43] [Server thread/WARN]: server.properties does not exist
    [21:39:43] [Server thread/INFO]: Generating new properties file
    [21:39:43] [Server thread/WARN]: Failed to load eula.txt
    [21:39:43] [Server thread/INFO]: You need to agree to the EULA in order to run the server. Go to eula.txt for more info.
    [21:39:43] [Server thread/INFO]: Stopping server
    
  2. Open the eula.txt file and change the value of eula to true:

    /home/minecraft/eula.txt
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    #By changing the setting below to TRUE you are indicating your agreement to our EULA (https://account.mojang.com/documents/minecraft_eula).
    #Tue Jan 27 21:40:00 UTC 2015
    eula=true
    
  3. To ensure that the Minecraft server runs independent of an SSH connection, execute run.sh from within a GNU Screen session:

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    screen /home/minecraft/run.sh
    

    This time the Minecraft server console will generate a lot of output as it creates required configuration files and generates the Minecraft world:

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    [22:00:06] [Server thread/INFO]: Starting minecraft server version 1.8.8
    [22:00:06] [Server thread/INFO]: Loading properties
    [22:00:06] [Server thread/INFO]: Default game type: SURVIVAL
    [22:00:06] [Server thread/INFO]: Generating keypair
    [22:00:07] [Server thread/INFO]: Starting Minecraft server on *:25565
        
    ....
        
    [22:00:07] [Server thread/INFO]: Preparing level "world"
    [22:00:08] [Server thread/INFO]: Preparing start region for level 0
    [22:00:09] [Server thread/INFO]: Preparing spawn area: 3%
        
    ....
        
    [22:00:21] [Server thread/INFO]: Preparing spawn area: 96%
    [22:00:22] [Server thread/INFO]: Done (14.737s)! For help, type "help" or "?"
    

    To disconnect from the screen session without stopping the game server, press CTRL+a and then d. To resume the running screen session, use the command screen -r.

  4. Optionally, you can take this opportunity to disconnect from the screen session and customize your game settings. When the run.sh script is executed, a world is created with the default variables. If you would like to create a new world with updated variables (like world seeds), change the level-name directive in the server.properties file and modify other settings accordingly.

    After stopping and restarting the server script with the level-name changed, a new directory is created that contains your game data for that world. For more information on available settings and how to modify them, refer to the Minecraft Wiki settings page.

Connect to your Minecraft Server

  1. Open your local Minecraft client. After logging in, click on the Multiplayer option:

    Minecraft Launch Menu.

  2. Click on Add server and enter your Linode’s IP address or domain name. When you’re finished click Done:

    Edit Server Info.

  3. Your server is now available to incoming connections. Click Join Server to connect:

    Minecraft Server List.

    Minecraft Players.

Congratulations! You can now play Minecraft in a persistent world with your friends. For more information on working with screen, check out our guide on GNU Screen.

More Information

You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of externally hosted materials.

This guide is published under a CC BY-ND 4.0 license.