Setup a Minecraft Multiplayer Server on the Rackspace Cloud with Ubuntu

Using a Rackspace Cloud server is a cheap, easy and fast way to setup a Minecraft multiplayer experience. The server size I use only costs $.03 an hour which works out to around $20 a month. This mini setup guide will take you about 10 minutes to an hour depending on how comfortable you are with the command line.


  • Setup a Rackspace Cloud Account if you don’t already have one. You should have Cloud Servers enabled.
  • An SSH client. On windows, use Putty. For Linux or Mac OSX, use the command line tool called ‘ssh’. On Ubuntu/Debian, you can easily type ‘sudo apt-get install ssh’.

Create your cloud server

This is the standard method for creating a basic Rackspace Cloud server.

  • Login to the Control Panel
  • Click Hosting > Cloud servers
  • Click ‘Add Server’ then click ‘select’ next to ‘Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal)’
  • On the next page (Server Configuration) set the server name to ‘minecraft’ and your server size to at least 512MB/40GB.
  • Click ‘Create Server’
  • Copy the root password and store it some place safe. Close the window that popped up.
  • You are now on the server details page. Under the sub-heading ‘Technical Details’, copy the IP address.

Server setup basics

You will need to install some software before you can begin. On windows, use Putty to create a new connection to your server, entering username, password and IP. If you are using linux/Mac, enter the following into a command prompt, followed by your password when prompted:

ssh root@[yourServerIP]

Install Sun Java

This line will allow us to use command line tools to update the source repositories. If you are not root, you will need to add ‘sudo’ to the beginning of each command.

apt-get install --reinstall python-software-properties
dpkg-reconfigure python-software-properties

Add the repository that contains our sun java package.

add-apt-repository "deb lucid partner"
apt-get update

Begin the java installation. Accept all the defaults by pressing [enter]. You need to also accept Oracle/Sun’s license agreements, it will be a blue/white screen.

apt-get install sun-java6-jre

Test to ensure a successful installation:

java -version

The response to this command should be similar to the following:

java version "1.6.0_26"
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_26-b03)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 20.1-b02, mixed mode)

Install Screen

Screen is a tool that allows you to keep your Minecraft multiplayer server running without having to stay logged into the server.

apt-get install screen

Setup Your Minecraft user

For security purposes, you should setup a different user that will actually run the Minecraft server. Type the following. When prompted, enter your password and accept all other defaults by pressing [enter].

adduser minecraft

Finally, log out of your root account:


Setup the Minecraft server

Login as the [minecraft] user you created in the prior step.

SSH into your server using the Minecraft user you created in the previous step. With Windows Putty, simply create a new connection and insert your username/password/IP. In linux/MacOSX, type the following from a command prompt:

ssh minecraft@[yourIPAddress]

Download and Unpack Minecraft

Download the minecraft server using the linux tool ‘wget’.


Run the server with screen

screen -dmS minecraft java -Xms256M -Xmx512M -jar minecraft_server.jar nogui

If you get no errors, than your server is now starting up. It should take about 15 to 30 seconds to finish generating worlds and finish starting-up. To check on it, use screen to see how it is progressing:

screen -r minecraft

If you see the following, your server is now ready to use:

'2011-11-25 17:49:46 [INFO] Done (9753734653ns)! For help, type "help" or "?"

Since the server is now running, detach from your screen session by pressing [control]-[a]. Type the letter [d] and hit [enter].

Now, open minecraft on your home computer and craete a new multiplayer server. Use the IP address of your server. Enjoy! Remember, the Minecraft multiplayer version must match the Minecraft client installed on your home computer.

4 thoughts on “Setup a Minecraft Multiplayer Server on the Rackspace Cloud with Ubuntu

  1. Jessy Cormier

    Hey Awesome setup Guide. I did the same thing sometime back, For 20 bucks however its not really worth it? and if you need more ram it becomes overpriced? (of course if you have your userbase paying to play on your server or “helping out” running a web forum and some other custom code like I suppose this is an awesome startup Guide)

    Either way I’m bookmarking this until I get another chance to play around with it.
    Thank you!

    1. joe Post author

      I guess its all about what your alternative options are. If you have an extra computer at home laying around, you can probably use it as a server combined with something like Dynamic DNS in case your ISP changes your IP. That is likely the cheapest solution. However, you probably won’t get the same upload/download speeds that you would get from a professional host.

  2. Bruce

    Thank you worked very well for me. Now I need to learn more command line stuff to stop or kill once started in order to backup etc.

    thanks again


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