Whether it’s the Creeper Girl expressions or Steve that first caught your attention, and whether you’ve invested in your own Minecraft server or have joined a dedicated server for a better multiplayer experience, Minecraft has become more than just a video game.
Minecraft doesn’t just appeal to the younger generation, with adults finding themselves just as captivated by the gaming phenomenon, and with over 200 million copies sold and counting, it has become one of the most successful game franchises of all time.
There are tons of dedicated servers that cater to the Minecraft multiplayer mode, but don’t forget that joining Minecraft servers could potentially expose your IP to a third-party – so if you’re looking for a safer way to play, we’ve got you covered. This year has certainly opened doors for new server hosting sites, but the leading names in Minecraft server hosting have remained unsurprisingly high in demand this year.
With that being said, we've handpicked the best Minecraft hosting services on the market as of December 2021, and listed the key features that qualified their services to make the shortlist.
What is a Minecraft server?
If you’ve ever played Minecraft, you’ll know that the multiplayer mode makes it a more worthwhile and enjoyable game, enriching the experience considerably. After all, one of the many skills that Minecraft can help you develop is teamwork.
A Minecraft server is essentially a private network that any player can create for a multiplayer experience, allowing other people to join and play together. A server can have IP and username restrictions to control the players who can access it, as well as commands and settings including, but not limited to, rules, enabling PvP, limiting the number of players, etc.
Minecraft servers require hardware to run on, of course, so entail an expense in that regard – and if you’re going the hosting route, that means a fee to rent the actual hardware required.
Top three Minecraft server hosting deals in 2021
Hostinger - Best overall Minecraft server host
With Hostinger, you’ll have complete control of your game server with VPS pre-configured for Minecraft. Save 25% off Hostinger’s Alex plan, which includes 2 vCPU hardware and DDoS protection, plus more for $8.95 per month.
Shockbyte - Minecraft server hosting with a good reputation
Shockbyte has 12 plans for you to choose from, with its cheapest plan going for just $2.50 per month. If all you need is 1GB RAM, Shockbyte’s Dirt plan offers that plus DDoS protection and unlimited bandwidth and disk space.
Apex Hosting - Lag-free servers promised
Apex Hosting’s dedicated hardware features high clock speed CPUs and SSD hard drives providing high TPS and lag free servers. Apex Hosting offers 2GB RAM, as their cheapest plan, for $7.49 for the first month and $9.99 as the recurring monthly price.
These are the best Minecraft server hosting services
Hostinger promises the best web hosting solution for the perfect website, but also specializes in Minecraft server hosting, offering plans made especially for the game including resources that look to optimize Minecraft’s performance to the core.
Hostinger lets you set up a Minecraft Virtual Private Server (VPS) in seconds, saving precious time, for as low as an $8.95 monthly fee. Hostinger plans offer 2GB to 8GB memory for Minecraft hosting, dual CPUs, DDoS protection, full-time support, free MySQL, and even a mobile app – with each plan guaranteeing a 99.9% uptime.
With a few clicks, Hostinger lets you manage your VPS easily, and also prioritizes the privacy and security of your data, and even offers a money-back guarantee.
Instant setup makes getting your server ready in seconds possible – once you’ve registered and paid for the account, you’re good to go. Setup isn’t the only convenient and time-saving element of Hostinger as backing up your files takes only one click, and modpacks and plugins are easy to install through the control panel. The company’s support team will also gladly answer any questions you have about the process of setting up your Minecraft server, and handy online tutorials are provided too.
Hostinger offers Minecraft hosting servers in five locations, namely the US, UK, Netherlands, Singapore and Lithuania.
Shockbyte specializes in game server support, and doesn’t exclusively cater to Minecraft players – this provider also hosts other game servers for titles such as Rust, Ark: Survival Evolved, Arma 3 and Hytale. Shockbyte offers server rentals for as low as $9.99, which includes 24/7 customer support across three continents.
The company’s Minecraft server hosting plan also includes a free subdomain, an automated system to assist with instant setup, 100% protection from DDoS attacks and 100% uptime. Plans offer 1GB to 16GB of RAM starting at $2.50.
Shockbyte has an established reputation in Minecraft hosting and offers powerful hardware, also allowing up-to-date Java Edition and Bedrock Edition support in all Minecraft server versions – Spigot, CraftBukkit, Forge, Sponge, BungeeCord, Vanilla and Snapshots.
Shockbyte’s highest subscription tiers, the Spartan Plan, Zeus Plan and Titan Plan are aptly named because of their powerful performance levels including 10GB, 12GB and 16GB of RAM, and unlimited slots.
This of course translates to a slick multiplayer gaming experience with the guarantee of no downtime. If you find that none of its plans are perfect for your precise gaming needs, Shockbyte will let you customize a plan to ensure your requirements are met.
Does the convenience of installing and playing your modpack of choice with just one click sound tempting? Apex Hosting has made that possible, and from plugins to mods, to even mini-games and maps, this provider makes Minecraft hosting an easy task.
Other benefits you get from Apex Hosting include a wide variety of 16 server locations which includes the US, UK, Canada, Brazil, Poland, France, Germany, Russia, Israel, Australia, China and Singapore. The various server location options help keep latency at a super-low level.
One of the main reasons Apex is preferred by a lot of Minecraft enthusiasts is probably the full server control it gives, along with world class support, fast connections, and tons of server version options. Apex Hosting’s automated backups are another attraction in terms of safety for your files, too.
The lag-free servers of Apex Hosting have helped this provider make quite a name for itself. It also helps that these servers are fully protected and provide a simple and easy-to-navigate control panel for users, along with quality help and the likes of video tutorials for novices (as well as 24/7 customer support if you get stuck with anything).
Bisect Hosting has been praised for its dedication in keeping Minecraft server hosting as easy and as low-cost as possible, based on the first-hand experience the founders have with being present and past server owners. Whether you’re hosting a small multiplayer community or a huge one, Bisect’s servers won’t let you down with their unlimited slots.
Bisect Hosting provides a number of flexible options in Minecraft server hosting with budget and premium packages offering from 1GB up to 32GB of RAM (starting at $7.99 per month). Bisect Hosting provides easy setup, unlimited slots as mentioned (in premium packages), free MySQL, free subdomains, modpack updates and more, making this provider an attractive choice.
Budget and premium package options allow you to pick the necessary features tailored to your exact needs, and 24/7 support will ensure you get all the help you might need.
With eight server locations across the globe, you’ve got some good options for ensuring latency is kept to a minimum. Those servers are strategically placed around the US (in California, Florida, Texas, Oregon and New York), as well as in the UK, France, Poland, Brazil, Germany, Russia and Canada. It’s also worth noting that your server is safe from DDoS attacks at no additional cost.
For as low as $2.50 for the first month and $5 from then on – for a server which offers 768MB RAM and supports up to 10 players – ScalaCube promises affordable yet reliable Minecraft server hosting.
The platform supports one-click installation for whatever modpack you may want to use, and it will even let you create your own Minecraft launcher using custom forge servers. The launcher lets you configure your server’s settings with just a few clicks – a convenient advantage you won’t easily find elsewhere.
Other strengths of ScalaCube include its user-friendly interface that’s well laid out and easily navigable, its stability, excellent support team and lag-free service. ScalaCube also offers BungeeCord and modpack support, full file access, free MySQL, a backup system, a website/forum, and more besides. On top of all that, this provider is great value for money.
You get a 99.9% uptime guarantee, and unlimited slots within servers are available to optimize your gaming experience. It also helps that there’s a good selection of server locations across the US and UK, Europe, Asia and Australia.
When it comes to choosing your Minecraft game server, ScalaCube offers a wide variety of options including Forge, Snapshot, ATLauncher, FTB, Void’s Wrath, Cauldron, Bukkit, PaperMC, Spigot and a lot more.
Minecraft server hosting pros and cons
A Minecraft server represents a space of your own that you control to invite your friends to play. If you want to set up your own private Minecraft server, you could always do that on one of your own PCs. There are plenty of issues therein, though, not the least of which is that you have to be pretty clued-up and tech-savvy, with a thorough knowledge of your network stuff.
If you don’t, not only could trying to set up the server prove something of a technical nightmare, you might also leave yourself vulnerable to attacks from the likes of hackers if the server isn’t properly configured.
There are, of course, also potential issues around bandwidth in this endeavor, depending on the kind of internet connection you have at home.
That’s why many folks look to take the hassle out of setting up and maintaining a Minecraft server, choosing to pay a hosting company to run their server.
This kind of game server hosting is much like hosting a website. In web hosting, a third-party manages the website’s file storage including images, videos and the like. The web host rents out the server hardware on which the website is run – and without that hardware, the site obviously wouldn’t exist.
Game server hosting works in much the same way, and just like web hosting, renting out the hardware requires a monthly recurring fee. So, there’s one question you may have at this point – is it worth shelling out the cash for this kind of service?
Let’s look at some pros and cons of running your own Minecraft server via a hosting company, starting with the advantages:
Tighter security and privacy. As you may have heard a couple of hundred times, joining public IPs (third-party Minecraft servers) may increase the risk of your data being pilfered somehow. Running the server yourself can have obvious benefits in terms of keeping security in check.
Install one modpack after another, because why not? Switching is made easier, and with tons of modpacks made available in your private Minecraft server, who’s to stop you from making your experience as optimized as you want?
The potential to generate income. Okay, so this might be a long shot, but if you can set the slim odds aside and believe that it is a possibility after all, this might be a good reason to start investing in a Minecraft server. As a rule of thumb, keeping the server afloat with merely the (expected) donations is not advisable – aim higher, if you can. Successful Minecraft servers are able to start generating profit, but always remember that’s usually after tedious – not to mention nerve-racking – efforts to gain visibility.
Having full control. Not that you have to be a control freak to enjoy this advantage, but running a Minecraft server allows you to stay in control – configuring restrictions, permissions, giving commands, setting up rules and so forth. You become the master of your own Minecraft destiny, as it were.
All that said, there are also some disadvantages as follows:
The inevitable hosting issues. Managing a Minecraft server isn’t all keeping order and making rules. Hosting problems are one of the main reasons Minecraft servers do not last – it might seem a relatively straightforward route on the face of it, but it can certainly have challenging aspects. Think having to switch hosting provider multiple times until you find the one you’re most comfortable with, all whilst dealing with a range of specific issues for each individual hosting company just to keep your server afloat.
Shelling out more cash. As we’ve already touched on, hosting itself obviously comes with a cost, and attempting to gain exposure to make your Minecraft server more popular will do, as well. The possibility must definitely be considered that you may be left considerably out-of-pocket by just maintaining the server in the longer run.
Say goodbye to playing? Dealing with hosting a Minecraft server (or indeed running one yourself at home) and the technical issues which might pop up, as well as potentially promoting the server, will all take time. Perhaps to the extent that you struggle to find the time to actually play Minecraft…
Choosing your Minecraft server hosting
Once you’ve made the decision that running your own Minecraft server via a host is what you want to do, the next step is to find the right hosting outfit for you – and of course, we’ve already covered the best hosting options that we recommend (see above).
When choosing a host, however, there are a lot of considerations to juggle. Let’s finish off this piece by weighing up some of the key factors you might want to mull over as part of the decision process to ensure you get the right Minecraft server hosting provider for you.
Hardware: We cannot stress the importance of hardware enough when running online multiplayer games. If you’re planning on having a number of players with different mods, Minecraft can be demanding when it comes to hardware. Choosing the right kind of processor (and enough RAM) to handle such heavy hardware requirements is critical in keeping your multiplayer environment optimized. In choosing the hosting for your Minecraft server, the hardware will definitely be a dealmaker… or a dealbreaker.
Pricing: Of course, since you’re relying on third-party services to take care of hosting your Minecraft server, costs will also be a factor. Aside from the hardware, your hosting service will also be providing security, maintenance, plugins, features, the list goes on. The good news is that hosting companies offer several kinds of plans that cater to whatever your needs may be.
Easy configuration: Let’s face it, you don’t want to waste time and get frustrated by a convoluted setup process, so providers that offer an easy and swift setup are obviously attractive. That said, it’s one thing to be novice-friendly, but also make sure that the hosting company gives you full control over your server so you can make any necessary changes in terms of settings and so forth.
Support: There’s always a chance that things will go awry, even with the best hosting companies, and so it’s safe to assume that you will need customer support at some point. Whether you find yourself unable to change an important setting, or you need help to defend against or respond to something truly nasty like a DDoS attack, it can be crucial to have customer support which responds quickly. Any downtime could put off your precious players, after all.
Maintenance: Furthermore, in general terms it’s absolutely vital for the server to always be up, otherwise players will leave, take their game elsewhere, and you’ll lose money. This is a scenario you obviously want to avoid at all costs. Some of the things you might want to look for include FTP access for when you’re switching between mods and a web-based control panel.
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