How to set up a free Minecraft server

Follow these step-by-step instructions to set up a fun game you can play with friends

How to set up a free Minecraft server

Photo credit: minecraft.net

Got kids who are into Minecraft? One pandemic-friendly way to host a playdate is to set up a private Minecraft server where they can play online with their friends. Good news: even if you’re not a “techie” person, it’s easier than you think. 

There are two main options for server hosting: you can either pay for a Minecraft Realm from the official website, which costs about $10/Month or set up a free server using a popular host called Minehut

The main difference between the two is the quality of the connection and the potential for interaction with players you don’t know online. While a Realm gives you a great connection, as well as more privacy, Minehut’s connection tends to lag once in a while and requires a little more effort to keep private. 

Since it is free, I would recommend trying Minehut to start, and upgrade to a Realm if your kids use it often. 

Setting up a paid server using Minecraft Realms is pretty straightforward, so this tutorial will focus on explaining how to set up a Minehut server.

Step One: Create an Account

Go to Minehut.com, and create an account. Just click the blue button in the center of the screen and follow the instructions. You need to be over 18 to make your account.

How to set up a free Minecraft server

Step Two: Create a Minecraft Server

Once your account is created, you will see a gray screen with the text “Server Name.” Type in whatever name you choose for your server. Make sure it’s all one word and is easy to remember because you’ll need it to find your server later on. Your server name will also have to be original, so you may have to go through a couple of names before you find one that is available.

How to set up a free Minecraft server

Voila! Your server is made. But you probably don’t know how to join it yet! Let’s find out how.

Step Three: Check your settings & join your server

Now that you have your server made, you need to join it and activate it. Press the large “Activate” button on your dashboard. When you press it, it’ll send you to another screen, where you’ll need to wait half a minute before you can press the blue “continue” button. While you’re there, you can watch a tutorial from Minehut, if you want. 

Now your server is online. But by default, anyone can join it and that’s probably not what you want. Scroll down, and you’ll see a panel with the options, “Visible”, and “Not Visible.” Select “Not Visible” and press “Update.” Now, players will need to know the server’s unique address to join, so they can’t just stumble on it accidentally. No griefers or hackers here!

To join your new server, you’ll need to go to Minecraft and open it up. Go to “Multiplayer” in the main menu, and select the “Add Server” button.


It’ll show a menu that lets you name your server. It can be whatever you want, but below that, it’ll ask you to input the server address. You’ll need to put in the server name that you chose and then add “.minehut.gg” For example, “myserver.minehut.gg”. 

There you go! Your server is added to your Minecraft menu. 

Note: with Minehut servers, they need to conserve bandwidth, so they shut down your server when no one is playing on it. When your server is offline and you join, it’ll send you to the Minehut Lobby, where you can start up your server again. You should be aware that there are other players in the “lobby,” but there’s no meaningful interaction between people here. It is mostly just advertisements for other servers. (If you don’t feel comfortable with this, your other option is to pay for an official Minecraft Realm on Minecraft.net.) .

To join your server from the Minehut lobby, press T to open chat, and then type /join {server name}. Wait a minute or two and repeat your command. You need to repeat it because the first command starts your server, and the second one sends you to your server. After that, you will join your server.

Step Four: Plugins and Customization

If you want your server to be pure normal Minecraft, then you can skip this step, but if you want to really customize your server and add some cool new features using free plugins, follow along. To install plugins on a Minehut server, you need to go back to the Minehut website and go to your server. Once you have activated your server,  look for the ‘plugins’ tab in the menu. From there, you can search through hundreds of free plugins. Installing them is a breeze too! Just click on the one you’re interested in, and click “Install.”

For a better Minecraft experience overall, I’d recommend getting BetterSleeping, which allows only a few players to sleep at once to skip the night. In normal Minecraft, you need everyone to sleep at once, so it’s a lot harder to skip the night. And Vein Miner, that lets you mine a whole vein of ores or a whole tree with one block mined.