This guide is not intended to actually tell you which host you should buy from, or advertise any hosting company. The purpose of this guide is to help you make an informed decision when deciding on which hosting company to buy from. My goal is to keep you engaged while reading this thread, while still educating you. Although some points in this guide may be based on opinion, I try not to just base it on my own opinion.
1.0 Getting Started
This particular segment is formulated around the company, and not what services are provided. The goal of this section is to assist you to find a reputable and well established company.
1.1 Know What You Need
It’s important to determine what you will require, and know how much a server might cost you. Needless to say, each host has various grade, and I’m hoping to assist you to recognize how much a host really should be charging you later in this guide. There’s not actually a limitation on what pricing should be, but it gets to a degree where it isn’t really worth it.
Many hosts offer their servers based on the quantity of RAM allotted to the server, this is actually the fundamental measure for the capacity of a Minecraft server. The normal price hosts cost about $10/GB of RAM. Though RAM is the standard measure for the size of a server, avoid being misled by hosts charging you less, or maybe the same or more for that matter. RAM plays very little part in quality of a server.
It is difficult for me to know precisely how much RAM you’ll need, however I am going to do my best and supply you with a good grasp by making a generalization, though avoid this post as your primary source of deciding how much RAM you’ll need!
It’s impossible for me to tell you exactly how much RAM you need, but I will do my best give you a good idea by making a generalization, although don’t use this post as your primary source of determining how much RAM you need!
A great way to figure out how much RAM you need for your server is by knowing what you plan to use it for, and how many players you think will be online at once on the server.
If you plan to use the server for just a few friends and yourself, it’s likely you’ll only need around 512MB – 1024MB RAM. But if you’re planning to deck it out with 100 plugins and have 10 worlds, you’re going to need a lot more ram.
On an average server, 1GB of RAM can usually hold about 24 players, as-well as some plugins. This is of course not true for all hosts/servers, but it in generally in the right area. The first step to determining how much RAM you need is deciding on the amount of players you expect to have online at a time. For every 12 players, add 512MB RAM to the count of your RAM, and if the amount you need is not a multiple of 12, it’s best to round the amount up (or down if it is very close).
For example, if you expect to have a maximum of 50 players on your server, you should be looking at about 2048MB RAM (512MB x 4). However, then you may want to have 30 plugins and an extra world, that is when you may want to increase the RAM by a further 512MB.
1.2 Finding A Host
Finding a host is the first step to finding the right host, but just because you have found one doesn’t mean it is the right one for you, nor does it mean that the host you have found is even legitimate. While it is rare that you’re going to pay for a server and not receive one, it happens, you need to be wary and research a company before you buy from them.
In my opinion, the best place to find a host is on the Minecraft Forums. The Minecraft Server Hosting forum and the Other hosts are great places to find a hosting company since many hosts post threads filled with information about themselves. This means you can find out about their company, and see all the features they have to offer. There are other places to find hosts, such as BestMinecraftHosts, although it seems this website has become inactive and outdated.
While looking for a host here, you should look for companies that appear professional, they should use proper grammar and spelling. This shows that the company is willing to put effort in, and is likely run by mature staff. At the end of the day, you don’t want to buy hosting off a clueless 13 year old trying to make a quick buck, trust me.
Another place on Minecraft Forums to find a hosting company is the Hosting requests forum, here you can make a thread where you can tell hosts what you need, and instead of you finding the host, the host finds you. After all, In Soviet Russia, host finds you!
Reputation is mainly based on what people think of a company, it can also include the size and age of the company. The best way to work out what kind of reputation a company has is find reviews/testimonials on external sites, such as the Minecraft Forums topic you found earlier of the company, or on websites such as BestMinecraftHosts (as far as I know, this site has become inactive).
If the company has a Minecraft Forums topic, read the replies, find out what customers have to say, but be careful, as the replies may not all be from real people. I’d highly recommend you disregard any posts of users that have less than 10 posts, or still have the default Minecraft Forums avatar, and if you see a lot of these, disregard the entire company. I know that may be a little harsh, but you’ll never know if these reviews are real or fake, and if a company has to write fake reviews, you wouldn’t want to buy from them.
Most hosting companies have an ‘About Us’ page/section on their website or Minecraft Forums topic. Usually it is here that you’ll find out when the company was launched, meaning you now know the age of the company. Just because a company is older doesn’t always mean it can provide a better service, but it may mean the company may be around far longer than newer companies. The majority of new hosting companies shut down within the first few months, and you don’t want to have your server disappear!
I can’t tell you myself which hosting companies have a good reputation, so you’ll have to judge that yourself.
Social Media is a great way to check if a host is active it is good to note how many people are ‘following’ them. If the host you’re looking at has a Facebook page, Twitter account, or use any other Social Media sites, find them. Once you’ve found them, check how long ago their most recent post was, and check how many followers they’ve got. This usually gives a good indication on whether or not a host is actually active, and gives a somewhat indication if a host is reputable.
It is best to avoid companies who are not at least 3 months old yet. Buying from an older host will mean there is a higher chance they will stand the test of time, you don’t want your host closing down halfway through a month when you have a server with them.
2.0 Server Quality
The aim of this section is for you to find out the quality of the services the host provides, and if their prices are worth it.
2.1 Cheaper Isn’t Always Better
This is actually one of the main reasons I decided to write this guide, I can’t stress this enough! Every host offers different quality servers, and cheaper is NOT always better! Contrary to popular belief, RAM is not the deciding factor of the quality of a server. Every aspect of the server counts, the CPU, the data storage device (HDD, SSD etc), the network speed and even the location matters! (Who wants a server hosted in the middle of Antarctica?)
Now, I’m not saying that cheaper means the quality is worse, in some cases it can be better, but you have to be sure. In the following topics of this section, I plan to educate you on how to find the quality of the server.
2.2 Random Access Memory (RAM)
What is RAM? is a common question that isn’t always answered correctly, especially in the Minecraft (hosting) community. This is often confused as the power of a server, but in-fact, it isn’t. RAM stands for Random Access Memory, it is the “working memory” of a server, it is pretty much where everything that is happening ‘now’ is stored. RAM is temporary memory, whereas memory in a storage device, such as a hard drive is permanent.
How does RAM work? I’ll try to explain how it works in an easy to understand manner.
Your brain has a conscious and a sub-conscious memory, the conscious memory is like RAM in a computer, the sub-conscious memory is like the storage device (hard drive, solid state drive etc) of a computer. What is happening right now is in your conscious memory, or in the computer’s RAM. When you need to remember something from the past, this is from your sub-conscious memory (storage device) and then moved into your conscious memory (RAM). So for example, when you open a program, the information comes from the storage device and is moved to the RAM, then once you close the program it is wiped from the RAM since it is no longer needed, this makes room for other programs.
Then why doesn’t it improve server quality? Well it does, but generally not the way you need it improved. The RAM stores things like the current players online, plugin information/data, etc. The more RAM you have, the more of these you can hold, but the thing is, the CPU has to be able to handle it. What I could compare it to is a blender, the size of the blender being RAM and the blade being the CPU. So lets say you’ve got a massive blender, with a small blade, it can’t blend everything at once, and even if it is able to blend it, it’s going to take a lot longer than a bigger blade. The smaller blade has to work extra hard to process everything inside the blender, and could even break or stop due to the work (crash). Now, if you had a smaller blender with the same small blade, it’s going to get through everything in the blender much quicker and be ready for the next lot of things to be blended, or in a server, ready for more data.