How to Install Minecraft Server on Raspberry Pi

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Raspberry Pi can be used in many different projects. One of the Raspberry Pi's most popular use case is to turn Raspberry Pi into a game server.

In this tutorial, we will walk you through the process of installing and configuring Minecraft Server on Raspberry Pi 3 or 4.

Minecraft is one of the most popular games of all time. It is a sandbox video game, which allows its players to explore infinite worlds and build everything from simple houses to massive skyscrapers.

Prerequisites

We’re assuming that you have Raspbian installed on your Raspberry Pi. Plex Media Server doesn't need a graphical interface, so our recommendation is to use the Raspbian Stretch Lite image and enable SSH. This way, your Raspberry Pi will have much more available processing power and memory to run the Plex media server.

We’ll use the mcrcon utility to connect to the Minecraft server. Install the packages required to build the mcrcon tool:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install git build-essential

Enable the GL driver using the raspi-config tool:

raspi-config
  1. Navigate to “Advanced Options” using key up or key down and press Enter.
  2. Select “GL Driver” and hit Enter.
  3. Select “GL (Fake KMS)", press Enter.
  4. Select the “Finish” button, press Enter. When prompted “Would you like to reboot now?” select “Yes” and hit Enter.

Once the Pi is back online, continue with the next steps.

Installing Java Runtime Environment

Minecraft requires Java 8 or higher to be installed on the system.

We'll install the headless version of the JRE. This version is more suitable for server applications since it has fewer dependencies and uses less system resources.

To install the headless OpenJRE 8 type:

sudo apt install openjdk-8-jre-headless

Verify the installation by printing the java version:

java -version
openjdk version "1.8.0_212"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_212-8u212-b01-1+rpi1-b01)
OpenJDK Client VM (build 25.212-b01, mixed mode)

Creating Minecraft User

For security purposes, Minecraft should not be run under the root user. We will create a new system user and group with home directory /opt/minecraft that will run the Minecraft server:

sudo useradd -r -m -U -d /opt/minecraft -s /bin/bash minecraft

We are not going to set a password for this user. This is good security practice because the user will not be able to login via SSH.

Installing Minecraft on Raspberry Pi

Before starting with the installation process, make sure you switch to user “minecraft”:

sudo su - minecraft

Create two directories inside the user home directory:

mkdir -p ~/{tools,server}
  • The tools directory will store the mcrcon client and the backup script.
  • The server directory will contain the actual Minecraft server and its data.

Downloading and Compiling mcrcon

RCON is a protocol that allows you to connect to the Minecraft servers and execute commands. mcron is RCON client built in C.

We'll download the source code from GitHub and build the mcrcon binary.

Navigate to the ~/tools directory and clone the Tiiffi/mcrcon repository from GitHub running the following command:

cd ~/tools && git clone https://github.com/Tiiffi/mcrcon.git

Next, switch to the repository directory:

cd ~/tools/mcrcon

Start the compilation by typing:

gcc -std=gnu11 -pedantic -Wall -Wextra -O2 -s -o mcrcon mcrcon.c

Once completed, you can test it by typing:

./mcrcon -h

The output will look something like this:

Usage: mcrcon [OPTIONS]... [COMMANDS]...
Sends rcon commands to Minecraft server.

...

mcrcon 0.6.1 (built: Sep 19 2019 20:52:13)
Report bugs to tiiffi_at_gmail_dot_com or https://github.com/Tiiffi/mcrcon/issues/

Downloading Minecraft Server

There are several Minecraft server mods such as Craftbukkit or Spigot that allows you to add features (plugins) on your server and further customize and tweak the settings. We will install the latest Mojang's official vanilla Minecraft server.

Head over to the Minecraft download page to get the download link of the latest Minecraft server's Java archive file (JAR).

At the time of writing, the latest version is 1.14.4. Before running the next command, you should check the download page for a new version.

Run the following wget command to download the Minecraft jar file in the ~/server directory:

wget https://launcher.mojang.com/v1/objects/3dc3d84a581f14691199cf6831b71ed1296a9fdf/server.jar -P ~/server

Configuring Minecraft Server

Once the download is completed, navigate to the ~/server directory and start the Minecraft server:

cd ~/server
java -Xms512M -Xmx768M -jar server.jar nogui

When started for the first time, the server executes some operations and creates the server.properties and eula.txt files and stops.

[21:06:23] [main/ERROR]: Failed to load properties from file: server.properties
[21:06:24] [main/WARN]: Failed to load eula.txt
[21:06:24] [main/INFO]: You need to agree to the EULA in order to run the server. Go to eula.txt for more info.

To run the server you'll need to agree to the Minecraft EULA. Open the eula.txt file and change eula=false to eula=true:

nano ~/server/eula.txt
~/server/eula.txt
#By changing the setting below to TRUE you are indicating your agreement to our EULA (https://account.mojang.com/documents/minecraft_eula).
#Thu Sep 19 21:06:24 BST 2019
eula=true

Close and save the file.

Next, edit the server.properties file to enable the rcon protocol and set the rcon password. Open the file using your text editor:

nano ~/server/server.properties

Locate the following lines and update their values, as shown below:

~/server/server.properties
rcon.port=25575
rcon.password=strong-password
enable-rcon=true
Do not forget to change the strong-password to something more secure. If you don't want to connect to the Minecraft server from remote locations, make sure your firewall blocks the rcon port.

While here, you can also adjust the server's default properties. For more information about the available settings, check the server.properties page.

Creating Systemd Unit File

To run Minecraft as a service, we will create a new Systemd unit file.

Switch back to your sudo user by typing exit.

Open your text editor and create a file named minecraft.service in the /etc/systemd/system/:

sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/minecraft.service

Paste the following configuration:

/etc/systemd/system/minecraft.service
[Unit]
Description=Minecraft Server
After=network.target

[Service]
User=minecraft
Nice=1
KillMode=none
SuccessExitStatus=0 1
ProtectHome=true
ProtectSystem=full
PrivateDevices=true
NoNewPrivileges=true
WorkingDirectory=/opt/minecraft/server
ExecStart=/usr/bin/java -Xmx768M -Xms512M -jar server.jar nogui
ExecStop=/opt/minecraft/tools/mcrcon/mcrcon -H 127.0.0.1 -P 25575 -p strong-password stop

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Modify the Xmx and Xms flags according to your Raspberry Pi version and resources. The Xmx flag defines the maximum memory allocation pool for a Java virtual machine (JVM), while Xms defines the initial memory allocation pool. Also, make sure that you are using the correct rcon port and password.

Save and close the file and reload the systemd configuration:

sudo systemctl daemon-reload

Start the Minecraft server by issuing:

sudo systemctl start minecraft

Check the service status with the following command:

sudo systemctl status minecraft
● minecraft.service - Minecraft Server
   Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/minecraft.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: active (running) since Thu 2019-09-19 21:11:58 BST; 1min 27s ago
 Main PID: 1992 (java)
    Tasks: 17 (limit: 1604)
   Memory: 338.9M
   CGroup: /system.slice/minecraft.service
           └─1992 /usr/bin/java -Xmx768M -Xms512M -jar server.jar nogui

The first time you start the service, it will generate several configuration files and directories, including the Minecraft world. Use the tail command to monitor the server log file:

tail -f /opt/minecraft/server/logs/latest.log

Once the Minecraft server is started the output will look something like this:

[21:19:25] [Server-Worker-3/INFO]: Preparing spawn area: 98%
[21:19:25] [Server thread/INFO]: Time elapsed: 201586 ms
[21:19:25] [Server thread/INFO]: Done (418.339s)! For help, type "help"
[21:19:25] [Server thread/INFO]: Starting remote control listener
[21:19:25] [RCON Listener #1/INFO]: RCON running on 0.0.0.0:25575

Enable the Minecraft service to start at boot time automatically:

sudo systemctl enable minecraft

Accessing Minecraft Console

To access the Minecraft Console use the mcrcon utility. You need to specify the host, rcon port, rcon password and use the -t switch which enables the mcrcon terminal mode:

/opt/minecraft/tools/mcrcon/mcrcon -H 127.0.0.1 -P 25575 -p strong-password -t
Logged in. Type "Q" to quit!
> 

When accessing the Minecraft Console from a remote location, make sure the rcon port is not blocked.

If you are regularly connecting to the Minecraft console, instead of typing this long command, you should create a bash alias.

Conclusion

You have successfully installed Minecraft server on your Raspberry Pi. Please note, Minecraft may not run smoothly on systems with low resources.

If you hit a problem or have feedback, leave a comment below.