The Ultimate Guide to Create a Headless Minecraft Server

Introduction: The Ultimate Guide to Create a Headless Minecraft Server

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So you want to build a Minecraft server?

What your going to need:

  • A Server (A 'dedicated' computer that you want to run the minecraft server on: Dedicated server wiki)
  • A computer monitor
  • A separate computer (your normal computer)
  • An internet connection (For updates, and downloading McMyAdmin)
  • Ubuntu linux Server on a Disc or Flash drive (Preferred 64-bit but your machine might only run 32-bit)(Download Here)
  • A keyboard (No Mouse Required)
  • A few hours
  • A Can Do attitude


Whats a 'Headless' Server?

A headless Minecraft server is a server that when finished does not have a Monitor attached to it. You control it using external means like: a SSH (secure shell host) connection for install programs etc, A FTP (File transfer protocol) connection for transferring files and finally we will be using a website to control the actual minecraft server. We will be using a website service called 'Minecraft My Admin' referred to as McMyAdmin to control the server. Its paid software but you can just use the free version until you want to increase the slot limit past 10. There are other ways of running minecraft servers on a dedicated computer, but this I find is the simplest and most modern way.

Can I put this on my normal computer?

NO, The method detailed here uses a completely standalone computer and will DELETE ANY OTHER FILES ON THE HARDDRIVE. There are plenty of guides on the internet showing how to install a minecraft server on your everyday computer. You also cannot use this computer once ubuntu server has been installed to browse the web and check emails etc. The Interface is TEXT-BASED because using a Graphical interface chews up unnecessary resources.


I Accept no responsibility for your actions and you do this at your own risk. You agree that you have read the above FAQ and you understand what this will do to your computer.

Step 1: Preparing the Computer

Take your computer and attach a monitor to it, make sure it has a working harddrive and dvd/cd drive. Make sure any date on the hard drive is backed up if it means anything to you, Remember this will remove ALL DATA from the hard drive. Check that your machine meats both the ubuntu minimum specs:

300 MHz x86 processor
192 MiB of system memory (RAM)
1 GB of disk space
Graphics card and monitor capable of 640x480
CD drive

And the Minecraft server minimum specs:

Intel Pentium 3 1.2 GHz or AMD K6-Based CPUs and better
512 MB of Ram
2 GB empty space+
Should allow about up to 10 players at a time on vanilla minecraft

Note that this is for a low player, vanilla server. To have more plugins / player capacity upgrade to better hardware and more ram!

All the recommended Specs for different types of OS'S and amounts of players are on the respective websites

Ubuntu Minimum Specs

Minecraft Server minimum requirements

Step 2: Installing Ubuntu Server

This is quite a big section as there is quite a few options. So bare with me and follow the instructions provided. Remember: Use Enter to select and use the arrow keys to change options


Starting Out

Firstly, insert the CD or Flash Drive and boot onto it. Usually done by hitting a key and going into a menu where you can select a boot device. Wait for the ubuntu language screen to load then follow the below instructions.

On the first screen you can choose you language for the first screen, choose english

Select Install Ubuntu Server.

Select the language used for the installation process, again choose english.

Select your geographical location.

Configure your keyboard. In most cases you can just click yes.

At this point the system will detect the hardware to find a CD-ROM drive.



The installation will detect and load any additional component.

The installation will detect the network hardware.

Type in the host name you want to configure your server as, I recommend setting this to "minecraft".

Type in the username, I recommend that you call it either "mcmyadmin" or "admin"

Type in a password for the username, anything you like, but preferably something secure. You will use it a lot later.

Choose whether to encrypt your home directory or not. I recommend selecting No as its not really needed.

Configure clock, and time zone.


Configuring the Hard Drive

At this point, the installation is detecting disks, and other hardware.

At this stage is were you partition your disk(s). Select Guided with LVM as it is the default method.

Select the Drive of your choice

Select Yes to start writing the changes to disks, and configure LVM.

Answer Yes to actually write the changes to disk.



The installation will copy data and configure Apt Sources at this stage.

This is were you can configure a Proxy. If you need a proxy you'll know what to do here, otherwise just click continue.

The installation will select the software being installed.

This is where you configure how to install updates, Just choose automatic.

This next screen is where you will select what servers packages to install, USE SPACE TO SELECT THE FOLLOWING 2 PACKAGES THEN CLICK ENTER:

OpenSSH Server
Samba File Server

Select Yes to install grub to the Master Boot Record

Finish the installation. Select continue and remove the disk or USB. (Image)

You're done for the system, now onto McMyAdmin!

Step 3: Secure Shell Access

Firstly start up your computer if it is not already started up, and login. Note the IP address, or collection of numbers separated by dots. Then move to another and:


If your on a Windows, Download Putty and run it

Other Putty Downloads: Putty Downloads


If Your on a Mac, go to Applications ---> Utilities and open 'Terminal'


If you on a Linux Based Machine navigate to terminal.


Putty Tutorial:

  1. Where it says Host Name, enter the IP address you noted earlier on the Minecraft server computer.
  2. Set the Port to 22
  3. Set the Protocol to SSH
  4. Press Open to open a connection
  5. Type in the username you set when installing ubuntu
  6. Type in the password you set when installing ubuntu
  7. You should be prompted with an ubuntu command prompt.

Terminal Mac/Linux Tutorial:

  1. Type the following:
ssh username@ipaddress
  1. Replace the username with the username you set when installing ubuntu
  2. Replace the ipaddress with the one you noted earlier
  3. You will be asked to enter your password, enter the one you made when installing.
  4. You should be prompted with an ubuntu command prompt.

Now to Install McMyAdmin...

Step 4: Install McMyAdmin

To install McMyAdmin you must first check whether you are running a 32-bit or a 64-bit Operating System.

Enter the following into your terminal:

uname -a

If The system is 32-bit the response should look something like this: Specifically i386 or i686 at the end

Linux discworld 2.6.38-8-generic #42-Ubuntu SMP Mon Apr 11 03:31:50 UTC 2011 i686 i686 i386GNU/Linux

If The system is 64-bit the response should look something like this: Specifically X86 at the end

Linux discworld 2.6.38-8-generic #42-Ubuntu SMP Mon Apr 11 03:31:50 UTC 2011 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux


32-bit Instructions

Copy and paste the following line by line:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jre

sudo apt-get install mono-complete

Mono Installed :P

mkdir ~\McMyAdmincd





mono McMyAdmin.exe -setpass (password) -configonly

Change (password) to a password of your choice

Finally run the following:

cd ~\McMyAdmin; mono McMyAdmin.exe

Then proceed to the next step


64-bit Instructions

Copy and paste the following line by line:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jre
sudo su

iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 8080 -j ACCEPT

cd /usr/local


unzip; rm

login (username)

replace "(username)" with your normal user than enter your password when prompted

mkdir ~/McMyAdmin
cd ~/McMyAdmin
./MCMA2_Linux_x86_64 -setpass (password) -configonly

Change (password) to a password of your choice

Finally run the following:

cd ~/McMyAdmin; ./MCMA2_Linux_x86_64

Then proceed to the next step

Step 5: Configure McMyAdmin

Now open up a web browser such as Firefox or Chrome and type in the IP address of the server followed by :8080

For instance:

Once you have done that you will be prompted with the McMyAdmin Login screen. Use the username: 'Admin' and the password is whatever you set on the last step. If you are not sure it will most likely be (password) .

Now you will be in the McMyAdmin control panel, feel free to change any settings and setup your actual server software in the configuration. When you are ready, go to the status page and press 'start server'. Then open up Minecraft and enter the ip address of the server, followed by 25565.

For Instance:

Connect to the server, and pat yourself on the back, you just created a headless minecraft server and lived to tell the tail.

Step 6: Congratulations!

You now have a server, but if you want other people to play your going to need to port forward. if you want your computer to start the minecraft server automatically if you start it up then you will need to edit the crontabs. If you want to access the files on your server you will have to use a FTP client such as Filezilla. There are so many other things you can do to enhance your server experience. So many things I couldn't possibly put them all in this tutorial! Google is your friend!

Good Luck!

And Have Fun

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Question 9 months ago

I know that this is a five year old post, but when installing McMyAdmin, is this installed on the server computer itself or the other computer


2 years ago

I know this was written up years ago, but it was very helpful in getting me setup. I have some suggested edits.

Virtualbox setup
CPU: 1/4 of the number of CPU cores you have
RAM: 1/4 (or less) of the amount of RAM your system has (minimum 1GiB)
HDD: I left mine at 10GiB (I don't plan on more than 2 players on my system)

Install Ubuntu Server
* I snagged 18.04
* I only selected the LiveUpdate for the package suggestions
* sudo apt install unzip
* Also open port 25565 using `iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport 25565 -j ACCEPT`

Installing Java. (Especially on Ubuntu Server)
* `sudo apt install default-jre`

Post McMyAdmin install
* There may be a couple of warnings, this is normal.
* Run McMyAdmin by doing `screen` then running `./MCMA2_Linux_x86_64` (This way you can shutdown PuTTY without worry.)
* Logging into McMyAdmin the username is NOT "Admin" it is "admin" (It is case sensitive.)
* McMyAdmin will give you the option to install Minecraft.

Finally, as of this date (2018/07/31) minecraft-server.jar has been updated to 1.13 and had its name changed to server.jar. As such, it fails to work with McMyAdmin easily. Fortunately, you can fix that. Download the minecraft server manually, change the name to minecraft-server.jar, then copy it into the ~/McMyAdmin/Minecraft folder.

The safe steps to this are:
1. Stop the minecraft server from McMyAdmin
2. mv ~/McMyAdmin/Minecraft/minecraft-server.jar ~/McMyAdmin/Minecraft/minecraft-server.jar.1.12
3. cp ~/Downloads/server.jar ~/McMyAdmin/Minecraft/minecraft-server.jar
4. Set the sleep setting to No (In the configuration page on McMyAdmin)
5. Restart the minecraft server from McMyAdmin

And, finally, if you truly want to run a headless system (i.e. no having to start up a virtualbox window), follow these instructions:


Reply 1 year ago

VM's are an interesting way of running a minecraft server. Back in me-old day we would just screen the live java process (usually stupidly running as root) because we wanted the process to have as little overhead as possible. Bukkit with 70-100 plugins would easily guzzle through 64GB of ram with 100 people online.

We spent a lot of time optimising by writing our own server plugins and focusing on effective database management for our plugins (as our database was hosted externally on a CDN). If Minecraft server has gotten better as this, as have mod developers, then I can see the inspiration for the change. Now-days for important processes I would automatically virtualise everything on a bare-metal box for the sake of component safety, efficiency and overall security.


4 years ago

Thanks for the instructions, I had been trying to host my own server for a while with little success. Do you know how you would increase the amount of ram the server is allowed the access?