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Is it important to have a dedicated server for Minecraft?

What is Minecraft?
Minecraft is a high-power online game application written in a programming language called Java. The game allows players access to a large number of items that can be used to develop and customize their online world. As an example, items are available to create buildings, sculptures or anything the imagination can come up with. It is an open-world game, meaning the player has unlimited freedom to do what they like with no central directives. MineCraft is a single or multi-player game, which is determined by the number of slots purchased. The more slots you purchase the more players have access to your world, as one player will take up one slot.

What are the requirements to run a Minecraft server?
It is recommended that a Minecraft server be created with a minimum of 1GB (gigabyte) of RAM (Random Access Memory) to run a ten slot server. Minecraft has many plugins and modifications to enhance and upgrade game play. Control panels have also been created that allow for the creation of user groups with various levels of permissions for Minecraft. It is recommended these control panels be installed on dedicated Minecraft servers because they allow specific functionality such as being able to start or stop the server or enhance game play. However, most add-ons will consume additional resources; therefore it is important to speak with your server host before plugins or server modifications are done to ensure you have the appropriate resources available.

Why use a dedicated server for Minecraft?
Dedicated servers are definitely an option, and indeed a necessary part for truly premium Minecraft hosting. A dedicated server ensures you are not sharing a JVM (Java Virtual Machine), which is where Minecraft runs on the server, a CPU (Central Processing Unit) which is used to run MineCraft calculations, or any other resources on the server. Sharing these resources can adversely impact the performance of your Mine Craft world. A dedicated server will support a larger number of player slots, allowing you to easily grow your online community. With a dedicated server you have the ability to utilize other features in addition to Mine craft. For example, you are able to run a webserver, cPanel control panel and more. Finally, a dedicated server offers unmatched levels of flexibility because it offers root access on the server.

Are dedicated servers more secure than a shared environment?
Dedicated servers are less likely to incur attacks because your Minecraft world resides in your own server environment. For example, if your world is hosted in a shared environment, another client on the same machine could fall victim to a DDOS attack (Distributed Denial Of Service). In this situation the server is flooded with traffic, impacting performance, which can result in poor performance of your world through no fault of your own. However, on a dedicated server, you will be the only client on the server ensuring that attacks aimed at other servers will not affect you.

What dedicated server resources are required for Minecraft?
Dedicated servers, due to their flexibility, ensure you are able to allocate the RAM or CPU required to efficiently run Minecraft. As resources are not shared among multiple servers, you will get as much of the CPU and RAM time as the system allows. You need not worry about someone else's server suddenly getting a flood of traffic and adversely affecting your system.

What other advantages come with a dedicated Minecraft server?
A dedicated Minecraft server gives you superior control over the server's configuration. You have the ability to tune your JVM with custom options, allocate disk space as necessary, and add whatever mods and plugins you please. This is the primary advantage of a dedicated server to host your Minecraft world. You also get root access, meaning that you have full control over everything, including SSH (Secure Shell) access. SSH is a command-line interface that allows you to make changes to the files on the server, and is a powerful asset to those who know how to use it efficiently.

What are mods and plugins? Can I have a control panel for my Minecraft server?
Mods and plugins enhance Minecraft's functionality. A plugin is created for a certain version of Minecraft, called Craftbukkit and allowing changes, new items and other available options to the world. These are essential to larger communities as they can also be used to protect the world against in-game attacks; such as malicious players entering the server and destroying previously-built creations.

A mod, on the other hand, is used to directly modify the central Minecraft.jar file. These mods are used to make significantly larger changes to the world; such as creating power sources or adding machines. These mods are more resource-intensive than plugins, and in some cases require dedicated servers to run. Speak with your service provider for additional information on whether your server has enough resources allocated and upgrade if necessary.

Finally, control panels can be installed to allow remote access for starting and stopping the server, managing your player list, managing files, and other features of your server without using a command-line. BlackSun recommends the Multicraft panel as it is used on our shared Minecraft hosting site (link to Control panels are a must have for larger communities.

So, how do you know if a dedicated server is right for your Minecraft world? It is best to speak with your hosting provider to find out what resources are required for the additional mods and plugins you would like to add to the server.