Setting up a server

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Choosing Hardware

It's recommended that you use a VPS or dedicated server to host a game server which you want to make publicly available. Residential Internet connections tend to be unreliable and also have less upload speed. You may also not be able to keep a server online 24/7 when hosting from home.

That being said, hosting from home will work fine if you have some hardware you can keep online, and you have a good enough Internet connection.

There are two ways to run a Minetest server:

  • Through the client - this is good for local / LAN games. Your admin player will be required to be online at all times, as the server is also hosted by the Minetest client
  • Dedicated server - you definitely want this for a public server. Your admin player is just another player, and may join and leave at will like any other player.

Running the Server

Through the Client

If you want to host a server to play on with friends, then the simplest way to start it is to use the Minetest client. Note that you are hosting the server on your computer, and the server will shutdown if you leave the game.

  • Go to the server tab
  • Make sure a world is selected
  • Enter your username and password
  • Click start

Dedicated Server

Linux

  1. Open a terminal.
  2. Type in YOUR/MINETEST/DIRECTORY/bin/minetestserver or just drop the minetestserver executable (located in /Minetest/bin/) into the terminal (PLEASE READ THE NOTES BELOW!)
    • If you want to specify a specific game ID, the game ID choices are located in /Minetest/games/. Add in --gameid thegameid to the end of the command.
    • If you get the error “Multiple worlds are available.”, the world choices are located in /Minetest/worlds/. Add in --worldname theWorld to the end of the command.
  3. If your server crashes, then look at the debug.txt in /Minetest/bin/
  4. Make sure you make your server safe from damage.

For easy use you can create an file named minetestserver.sh, add the lines below and put it in your /Minetest/bin/ folder. To run the server, just run the file in a terminal.

#!/bin/bash -x

./minetestserver --gameid minetest --worldname world

Windows

  1. Open command prompt by going in the Minetest installation folder, then in the “bin” folder, hold Shift, do a right click on a empty file (not on minetest.exe), click “Open command window here”.
  2. Type this: minetest.exe --server.
    • If you get the error “Multiple worlds are available.”, use minetest.exe --server --worldname world_name instead, where world_name is the name of the world.
  3. If your server crashes, then look at the debug.txt in /Minetest/bin/
  4. Make sure you make your server safe from damage.

If you don't like to start the crashed server, simply start the server out of a batch file which contains the following code:

@echo off
:crash
minetest.exe --server --worldname world_name
goto crash

Allowing external players to connect

Players outside of your network won't be able to join the server unless you port forward.

  1. Choose a port to run the server on. The default of 30000 is recommended
  2. Find out your internal IP of the computer you are running the server on
    • Linux: open a terminal and type ifconfig and hit enter. Look for "inet adr" near "wlan0" or "eth0".
    • Windows
      • Open command prompt: Start → Run …, enter cmd.exe and hit enter.
      • Type ipconfig and hit enter.
      • Look for IPv4 Address.
    • macOS: Open the command prompt and enter netstat -nr.
  3. Login to your router, and port forward UDP on your chosen port to the internal IP you found
  4. Alter any firewalls you may have to allow traffic to the port you choose
  5. Make your server listed in the server list by setting the following settings in minetest.conf
    • server_announce = true - makes Minetest tell the server list about the server.
    • server_name - set the value of this to your server's name.
    • server_description - set the value of this to a longer description describing your server.
    • server_address - if you have a domain name for your server, then set this to the domain name (how to get a domain name if you want one for your server).
    • server_url - if you have a website for your server, then set this to the website URL.
    • motd - a message that is sent to the player when they join. Use this to welcome them.
    • You should restart the server to make sure any changed settings changed

Protecting your server

When setting up a new server, you should consider which protections are needed. This is extremely important for public servers, because you cannot predict who will connect or what they will do on your server.

Common problems include:

  • Accidental or intentional damage to other players' work (griefing).
  • Chat spam (may include swearing or advertisements).
  • Aggression, harassment or other unwanted behaviours between players.
  • Trouble makers who evade bans.
  • Impersonation of well known people within the MT community.


Many of these problems can be removed or minimised by advanced planning and awareness:

  • Install a protection mod, such as areas or protectors. These allow players to protect areas. Protected areas cannot be changed by other players.
  • Enable rollback by adding enable_rollback = true to minetest.conf. Rollback can tell you which player placed a node, and allows a player's actions to be reverted.
  • Install a mod to help you manage bans, such as xban2.
  • Create rules for your server and make sure you have enough time (or a team of moderators) to supervise your server and watch for players who breaks your rules.
  • Never grant privileges to a player just because they use a name you recognise. Player names are not reserved between servers, so you should always confirm who the player is.


Note that tnt and fire spreading, which are both enabled by default in singleplayer, are disabled by default on servers.

Managing your server

Server Configuration

For a detailed explanation of the server configuration file, see the minetest.conf page.

You may also want to consider to use a different database backend for your world.

Server Commands

See the Server commands page for a list of useful commands.

Also see Itemstrings for the itemstrings for use with the /give and /giveme commands.

Privilege System

See the privileges page for detailed information on the privilege system.

See also