The key to success when running a Minecraft server?

Discussion in 'Bukkit Discussion' started by discoverdan, Nov 28, 2011.

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    I just started my own Minecraft server around a month ago, starting out with a small 16 slot, 768MB RAM service. I'd like to eventually expand this to a largely successful server, hopefully around 80 slots but I can't really afford to pay 100's of dollars a month, so I'm just wondering how did all you successful server hosters start out?

    I have a great small community on it currently, but eventually I do want a large server, that is successful.

    Thanks guys, I'd love to hear your stories! :)
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    The key to success is hard work.

    Spent a lot of time on the server and have an active presence.
    Build inspiring and inviting structures.
    Gather up beautiful builds and exciting stories and post them on the website.
    Create and maintain a youtube channel to spotlight the server's latest achievements.

    Be visible and leave a good impression.
    Mukrakiish likes this.
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    Do you run a server (and Youtube channel)? I'd like to see :D
    I used to run a server, small group, wanting to expand.
    I never could expand :| Our community just would not grow.
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    Same, I run a small server and find that players don't stick around.
    Anthony961fm likes this.
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    have a ton load of patience lol! ive ran about 4 public servers and they have only lasted a few weeks becuase i get tired of childish little kids and hacks. Its hard to keep an eye on the server. Its hard to hire trustworthy mods/admins.
    Nathan C likes this.
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    Come up with an original idea, and advertise a lot. :)
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    Raymond Doerr

    The key is to offer something no one else can, or if they can, do it so well you blow them out of the water.

    My server is geared in the direction of offering a mature, griefer free environment with intelligent adults and it's one of the few servers in existence that actually pulls it off that isn't a private "family server". It's an amazing place, and I've worked very hard to make it what I consider every server should be.

    Being an admin is easy, being a good admin is extremely hard. I've spent nearly a year hand crafting my server and developing a great community of adult players, it's not something that just happens. It takes a special kind of person to be an admin. It's not something anyone can just do. There's a reason there's 50 bad servers for every 1 good one. You have to have a lot of self control, be mature, know what you're doing (and be willing to do it) and most important take care of your community. It's not "Your" server, it's "Everyones" server. Never forget that.
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    The server needs to be unique and original. Don't try to make another RPG, another Towny server, etc. My old server that I shut down due to a busy life grew quite popular - it always had 25/25 players on, people were enthusiastic, and more. Understand that it took a month or so to get it to that point, and you need patience and tons of self control. I never did anything for myself, I only did things for the community. A server should be a democracy, not an autocracy. Listen to the player's needs, it will be tiring but worth it. My server was a generic PvP server, but it had something to offer that was different - so lots of people started to sign up every day.

    Once you have a strong, active playerbase of about 50 people, it should be safe to start asking for donations. There is always an extremely enthusiastic player that will make a donation soon after you put up the donate button, maybe within the week. When you start to have a small, but steady, trickle of donations it is safe to say "My server is gaining popularity and it's time for an upgrade."

    Now you need to add something new, to keep the players in. Just for example, look at Lord of the Craft - they have hand crafted dungeons for players to explore and fight in, tournaments, and battlegrounds. If players realize the staff is actively implementing new activities for the server, they will start to spread the news - "Hey, you know, you should come try out <servername>. There are awesome things to do and the staff are active and friendly". News spreads like wildfire in a community such as Minecraft, friends will tell friends, and those friends will tell their friends. Eventually strangers will hear small talk about it from other strangers and they will come and check it out. Having a successful server is truly about the dedication of your players. If you have an active, spontaneous community, you have just found the key to a great server.

    I hope I helped you out a bit, sorry about the length :p Anyways, thanks for reading! Good luck with your SMP adventures ;)
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    You know, as much as I enjoyed reading that, it's pretty basic stuff that I've had that planned for a while, I've had the server up for around a month now, and it seems to be doing alright, there are a few things troubling me though... The current troubles I have include:

    -Spontaneous player-base, meaning I get a good full server for a few days, then it dies off and I never see the players again, leaving the current world looking ugly and unfinished...
    -I'd LOVE to reset everything now that I have experience, and start over with a new world, plugin set-ups and a whole new FRESH approach to running the server, to keep it cleaner and a better place to be overall. But my current players have done so much and worked so hard on the current world, I'd be a bad admin if I did.
    -I have absolutely NO experience with web design or web hosting, meaning I'm finding it hard to get a website up and running... I can't just make a cheap blog either, I can't stand cheap looking websites.

    Those are my main issues I have at the moment, as for the uniqueness and originality of my server... I want to leave that to the players. I want the players to decide what plugins to run and what not to run. I want the players to decide what type of server they like. I'll probably post a topic on and see what kind of server people want, and see what I can do.

    Thanks for taking the time to reply to me though, I really appreciate it!
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    Ahh ok, I just didn't know how old your server was judging from the OP post.

    Anyways, what is your server about? What is the aim, is there any incentive for players to keep playing on your server? To help I do need this information, and if it wouldn't hurt I would like to know what plugins/mods you use. If you aren't comfortable with posting it in public, feel free to start a private chat. Players start to leave servers because they are getting bored, because the gameplay can feel the same after a while. I'm sure you already knew that, but I can't help a whole lot with your spontaneous playerbase issues until I get more info about the server's atmosphere.

    As for restarting, I've been in the exact same position as you. It is a really hard decision and it doesn't feel good to make - but if you feel as if the server isn't getting anywhere and you realize that you see way too many faces flash by and never come back, it could be the right decision. I'm not trying to make you restart and make a fresh start for yourself, I am just trying to guide you. So don't feel obliged to do what I say, OK? You could always make a new thread or a new poll and link the more active, dedicated users to it to discuss about what you have to say or propose. That was how I handled my first fresh start - but I can't say it went too well because I transferred over to RP instead of a new PvP experience (Stupid me! RP is never the way to go...). Anyways, get their opinions, find out how they feel about a fresh start, and ask them about their interests in what you have planned. From then on, everything is up to you.

    For making a server website, I try to find a good web building service such as or* to craft my websites. They offer custom HTML and CSS editing, so you can always find someone to guide you through that and find a graphic designer for more customized graphics and backgrounds for your site. It may cost a little bit of money for hiring someone to design your website, but at least you aren't stuck with the feeling that "Other people who use this service have the exact same theme as I do...".

    When you mentioned that you want to leave the path of the server to your players, it isn't necessarily the best idea to give them almost all of the power in deciding what plugins go and what plugins stay. You want to keep a main theme and have a strong infrastructure to expand on. Of course you should ask opinions of your playerbase for adding plugins and take polls to weigh different ideas but don't end up with a completely different server then YOU wanted. One of the satisfying points of hosting a Minecraft server is the fact of how you made your own way of gameplay and others really enjoy it, and want to keep playing it. Also, half of the people you encounter won't know what they are talking about when it comes to Bukkit, and trust me, I know this from experience, more often then not, a band of popular players try to manipulate the others and the staff to add a plugin that will only benefit that small band of players. Once again, don't feel obliged to follow my advice. A server run by the community could be very interesting and extremely unique! Just play around with it a bit, and construct a foundation before taking suggestions from your playerbase.

    *Their services are for free if you use their subdomain, but I recommend purchasing web hosting from them. It does come with a control panel and support, so don't feel shy about technical problems.
    discoverdan likes this.
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    Nathan C

    First off, you need a real website and domain. That would be a start.
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    From my experience you need a few basic things:

    1: Trust worthy admins and mods. I had one that used his powers for griefing and he made a mess of things. Thank god Big Brother fixed most of it. Most of my admins/mods are from when i originally put my server up. They came from the first users.

    2. IP Banning, with subnet baning using Easy Bans (offline mode), or McBans(online mode). I ran into a nasty player who kept changing his IP in order to circumvent my IP banning on my offline mode server.

    3. Like the others said, offer something new and unique. I offer the free use of flight when one gets promoted. And I only ask for one thing for a player to be promoted. I have multiple levels of players, and if/when i ever want to get "donations" i'll promote a new class or items for in game reward.

    4. Have a website. I use XAMPP to host an Apache server and run a website. Or you can host one on .Webs. I do this all from my house. Nothing I have for a server is purchased or rented from a third party. So, for your website, use a template and make it yours. Host a facebook page to publish news and get more hits. Also, youtube to publish videos to promote your site/server.

    5. Host a message board if you want feedback. I use phpBB for a message board so that my users can leave messages for myself or others. They suggest new ideas, plugins, and bring up bugs with my server.

    6. Remote admin - Have a plan to be able to remotely administrate your server. This helps if you need to be able to get into your server and reload/restart it. I use an android app and other means to remote into my server. Heck, not to brag, but I've been maintaining my server from Iraq while I've been deployed. Not an easy task.
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