Caveat… an EC2 server is likely not the option you want to pursue for a small to medium scale Minecraft server… Lightsail will be more cost-effective due to the amount of data transfer involved. Also, this is partly an exercise it navigating Amazon Linux as a largely Ubuntu user. If you really want to host your own Minecraft server on a virtual server, I’ve also done this exercise minus 90% of the steps on a 2GB Linode (get a $100, 60-day credit through that referral link) and you will not get a huge egress bill for the insane amount of data you transfer out. OR if you want a fairly plug-and-play solution, PebbleHost offers Minecraft hosting for as little as $1/month ($3-5 basic plan recommended depending on your needs)
Purchase a Domain
I’m going through Namecheap for a .online domain because… well… it’s cheap… and registering
revrestfarcenim.online (.online domain through Route 53 would be $39 vs. $1.88 for the first year with Namecheap).
Launch an EC2 instance
If you’re trying to use free-tier resources for this, you’ll want to go for a t2.micro, but you’ll also need to modify the
java parameters for the server to fit within those memory limits.
- Go to the EC2 console via Services -> EC2
- Scroll down in the main window to “Launch instance” and click [Launch Instance]
- Select Amazon Linux 2 AMI (should be the first option)
- I’m selecting t3a.small ec2 instancetype for this to be similar in “virtual” resources as the $10-15/mo virtual server hosting providers (including Amazon Lightsail).
- Click [Next: Configure Instance Details]
- You’ll get a default vpc and subnet created and selected… if you don’t want to use these, you can click the available links to create new ones.
- For “Auto-assign Public IP”, I have “Use subnet setting (Enable)” because I’m going to want to have this publicly accessible.
- Scroll to near the bottom of the “Step 3” form and find “T2/T3 Unlimited” and uncheck “Enable” unless you want to run up a bill because you forgot about the Minecraft server.
- Click [Next: Add Storage] to configure your space.
- Click [Next: Add Tags]
- Click [Next: Configure Security Group]
- Click [Add Rule] and add a Custom TCP Rule that allows traffic to port
25565(the port for Minecraft) from
- Click [Review and Launch]
- Click [Launch] and choose “Create a new key pair” named “minecraftserver”
- Click on Instances and select your new instance, noting the IPv4 Public IP in the instance details below (leave tab open for reference in the next section)
Create a Hosted Zone in Route 53
- In a new tab, go to Services -> Route 53 -> Hosted Zones
- Click [Create hosted zone]
- Type in your domain name for your server and select “Public hosted zone”
- Copy the values for the NS record and populate those as the nameservers for your domain (for me, this is on Namecheap
- Now go back to Route 53 and [Create Record]
- Choose “Simple routing”
- Click [Define simple record]
- Leave the record name blank.
- Under “Value/Route traffic to” select “IP address or another value depending on the record type” and paste your IP in.
- Be sure “Record type” is “A” and click [Define simple record]
- Click [Create records] on the “Configure records” screen.
Install and setup Minecraft
- Using your keypair from instance creation, ssh into your your instance
chmod 400 minecraftserver.pem # or whatever the filename is ssh -i minecraftserver.pem email@example.com
- Create minecraft server folder and user
sudo mkdir /srv/minecraft-server # assuming EBS mount sudo adduser --system --home /srv/minecraft-server minecraft sudo chown minecraft.minecraft /srv/minecraft-service
- Do updates and install java
sudo yum update sudo amazon-linux-extras install java-openjdk11
- Download minecraft server, run for the first time, and set the eula.txt
sudo -u minecraft wget https://launcher.mojang.com/v1/objects/a412fd69db1f81db3f511c1463fd304675244077/server.jar sudo -u minecraft java -Xmx1024M -Xms1024M -jar server.jar nogui # you'll get an error, so edit the eula.txt sudo -u minecraft nano eula.txt # or vi, just set to eula=true # run minecraft again and try to connect to server at revrestfarcenim.online
Making Minecraft a service
sudo nano /lib/systemd/minecraft-server.service
- Paste a config similar to:
[Unit] Description=start and stop the minecraft-server [Service] WorkingDirectory=/srv/minecraft-server User=minecraft Group=minecraft Restart=on-failure RestartSec=20 5 ExecStart=/usr/bin/java -Xms1024M -Xmx1024M -jar server.jar nogui [Install] WantedBy=multi-user.target
- Now, enable the service with
sudo systemctl enable /lib/systemd/minecraft-server.service
- And start the service with
sudo systemctl start minecraft-server.service
- As it’s starting, you can check the status with
sudo systemctl status minecraft-server.service.
- With this
systemctlsetup, you should also be able to reboot the instance and have the Minecraft server come back up
- If you don’t go with the default gateway and subnets created with the instance, you may find yourself having to explicitly set up an Internet Gateway and a Route Table (0.0.0.0/0 to your igw)
- Make sure the associated security group is allowing port 25565 to connect (especially if SSH is working)
Be sure to delete your hosted zone (you’ll need to delete the A record before deleting the zone) and terminate your instance to avoid running up charges for things you’re not using. I deleted the VPC as well just to avoid clutter and half-baked subnets and security groups, but that’s only because I have nothing of long-term value in the account.
There are multiple hits that you’re going to take by hosting this on EC2:
- egress costs (9¢ per GB after your first GB): In my limited tests, the Minecraft worlds we started up required 100-200MB to initially download per session. It’s unclear if that’s the case for every session, but if you have 20 of your friends use a server, that might be 9¢ x 0.20 GB x 20 for one session each… 36¢ per average number of sessions… that could add up quickly. By contrast, you could get a different hosting provider (including Lightsail) to bundle 2TB of transfer instead.
- hosted zone cost (50¢ for a distinct domain’s hosted zone)
- If you use a separate EBS volume, minimum cost there is 80¢.
- EC2 pricing for a t3a.small is 1.88¢ per hour or $13.53/month… you could have the server shut down during off-hours, but then you’re not comparing to “always-on” options.