Recently, there have been a flood of new Minecraft public servers appearing on many different Minecraft communities. They all offer pretty much the same things: fun, no whitelist, staff, and lots of cool mods. But, is it worth it to start a server? If you take all the different factors in starting a server into account, it may be too difficult and expensive for the average Minecraft player to do. But still, dozens of Minecraft servers are popping up. You may wonder how they do it, but the real question is, should they actually be doing it, and should you?
Starting a Minecraft server may take money. A lot of it. And you may be prepared to spend all that, which is understandable if you have a stable, well paying job. But you may want to understand what you're getting in to before you break the bank for your server. Here are some things to take into account.
In order for you to host a lag free, fun to play server, you need a VPS or dedicated server. Many VPS companies offer cheap VPS's, sometimes for only $15-20 a month (like this one), but some VPS's can be in the $70s, and most dedicated servers are near to or at $200. This is a huge investment to make, because there is usually no guarantee that you're ever going to get a stable player community, or ever make back your money.
If you run a new server, you may have a hard time getting players. One way to speed up the process of getting a stable player base is to get your friends to help out. Have them tell their Minecraft playing friends to join your server, and soon you'll have a great community.
Griefers are a common sight in Minecraft servers. They are players that intentionally destroy other players' work with TNT, Lava, or with tools. They commonly target high profile servers with big structures, that will anger the players (especially those who worked on the griefed structures). Common ways to combat greifers are anti-grief mods, autobackup mods, and active staff. But not all servers have these, so griefers can easily disrupt peaceful gameplay. I can pretty much guarantee you that you will lose a lot of players if you allow your server to be griefed.
When asking for donations, make sure to provide strong reasons why someone should give you their money. Someone is most likely not going to give you their money for no reason, they want something in return. Also, be prepared to not get donations. I'd say that 1/5 players donate. Maybe more or less in your experience, but in mine, 1/5 is a good average. So don't expect to see the dough rolling in the second you launch your server. It may take days or weeks before you start getting steady donations.
In the end, I don't think someone should start a Minecraft server unless they're completely sure that they can make back the money for their initial investment, and enough money to cover the costs of the monthly server fees.
Now that you've heard my opinion, I want to hear yours. Post a comment to this article telling me whether you agree or disagree with me, and why.