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Build a Modded Minecraft Server on Linux

Condensed Version

WARNING: Only download Forge from the official site at files.minecraftforge.net. Always beware of scam sites.

Take me back to the full version

Minecraft Server Version: 1.12.2
Minecraft Forge 1.12.2-
Java Version: OpenJDK

Get free hosting credits towards a dedicated server with DigitalOcean by using this link.

Step 1 - Install Java
Step 2 - Verify Java
Step 3 - Setup Your Environment
Step 4 - Download the Forge Installer file
Step 5 - Configure your new Modded Minecraft Server
Step 6 - Optional-- Configure Minecraft to start on bootup
Step 7 - Connect to Your Server
Step 8 - Hardening Your Minecraft Server if Visible on the Internet
Step 9 - Backup Your Server Frequently
Step 10 - Recovering a Corrupted World
Step 11 - Creating Automatic Backups

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Step 1 - Install Java

    apt install openjdk-8-jdk

Step 2 - Verify Java

    i) java -version

You should see the following;

    openjdk version "1.8.0_312"
    OpenJDK Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_312-8u312-b07-0ubuntu1~18.04-b07)
    OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.312-b07, mixed mode)

Step 3 - Setup Your Environment

    apt update && apt -y upgrade
b) Install screen (This will be needed to run your minecraft server console while logged out of your Linux server).
    apt install screen

Step 4 - Download The Forge Installer

    cd /opt
    mkdir minecraft
    cd minecraft

Now download the version 1.12.2 Forge Installer. Pick the Latest Installer file (not the Universal file) and copy it to your /opt/minecraft folder.

You should now have only one jar file in your /opt/minecraft folder.

Step 5 - Configure your new Modded Minecraft Server

a) run the forge installer file with the --installServer flag.
    java -jar forge-1.12.2- --installServer
Now run the newly created forge jar file as follows;

    assuming a server with 2048MB (2GB RAM)    
    cd /opt/minecraft && java -Xms1024M -Xmx2000M -jar /opt/minecraft/forge-1.12.2- nogui  

b) accept the EULA. The first time you try to run your minecraft server you will be required to accept the EULA.

    nano eula.txt
c) Change the following line to true and save the file
d) copy your mods to the newly created mods folder.

e) Run the server again to generate your world. World generation will take a little longer the first time. Subsequent server starts will be much quicker.
Before doing this, you can download the following server.properties file and replace the one that was created automatically. (or copy/paste directly to your existing server.properties file from the console).
This server.properties file will give you a standard survival world on normal difficulty.

Edit the file with your preferred seed if you have one and it will generate the world that you specify.

    nano server.properties
    change the following line with your preferred seed directly after the = sign
    If you leave it blank Minecraft will generate a random world on first launch

f) make things a little easier on yourself by using a script to start minecraft

    cd /opt && mkdir scripts
    cd scripts
    nano minecraft.sh

g) Copy and paste the following in your minecraft.sh file
    cd /opt/minecraft/ && java -Xms1024M -Xmx2000M -jar /opt/minecraft/forge-1.12.2- nogui
h) Save the file and make it executable
    chmod +x minecraft.sh
i) Start your server
    screen <---hit enter at the informational message
    To exit the screen session hit 'CTRL AD'

Step 6 - Optional-- Configure Minecraft to start on bootup.

a) Add a command to /etc/rc.local to start your Minecraft server everytime the server boots up.
    nano /etc/rc.local
Right before the last line 'exit 0' add the following command, save and exit the file. This will allow the minecraft server to start in a detached screen session when the server boots up.
    screen -dm -S minecraft /opt/scripts/minecraft.sh 

Note: rc.local still works on some Debian derivitaves such as Ubuntu 16.04LTS. On Debian proper and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, rc.local has been deprecated. To re-enable rc.local you can simply re-create /etc/rc.local file as follows;
cd /etc
nano rc.local
in the rc.local file copy and paste the following
screen -dm -S minecraft /opt/scripts/minecraft.sh
exit 0
Save the file and make it executable
chmod +x rc.local

If that doesn't work you may have to re-enable the rc.local service. Use the following set of instructions. However this should not be necessary.

Also note that I have not tested this on Ubuntu 20.04LTS but you should be able to re-enable rc.local there as well.

b) To access your console after bootup use the following command;
    screen -r minecraft
    To exit the screen session use the following command

Step 7 - Connect to Your Server

Add Server Image

d) Enter your world for the first time and have fun!!!

New Server Image

Step 8 - Hardening Your Minecraft Server if Visible on the Internet

To help you get started please refer to my article on setting up The Linux Five Minute Firewall.

b) Activate whitelisting. It is extremely important to activate whitelisting if your server is visible on the internet.
In your server.properties set the following value to true;

Restart your minecraft server and run the following command at the console for each user you would like to allow.
    whitelist add minecraft_user1
    whitelist add minecraft_user2

To remove a user

    whitelist remove minecraft_user2   

Step 9 - Backup Your Server Frequently

To backup your server do the following;
    login to your server
    cd /opt
    tar -zcvf minecraft_backup.tar.gz minecraft

Step 10 - Recovering a Corrupted World

Delete your existing minecraft folder

    cd /opt
    rm -r -f minecraft  
copy your previously saved minecraft.tar.gz file to your /opt folder.

restore your world

    tar -zxvf minecraft.tar.gz

That's it, restart your server and you have successfully restored from your last good backup. Any changes you made since that backup are gone, so it is important to do your backups regularly.

Step 11 - Creating Automatic Backups

This will create a 7 day rotation of backups with the oldest being overwritten with a new one.

a) Create your script.

    cd /opt/scripts
    nano mcbackup.sh
b) copy and paste this script into your mcbackup.sh file you have open in the nano editor. Change the dest= line to point to the folder you want your backups to reside in.

# Backup minecraft world to a
# specified folder.

# What to backup.  Name of minecraft folder in /opt

# Specify which directory to backup to.
# Make sure you have enough space to hold 7 days of backups. This
# can be on the server itself, to an external hard drive or mounted network share.
# Warning: minecraft worlds can get fairly large so choose your backup destination accordingly.

# Create backup archive filename.
day=$(date +%A)

# Backup the files using tar.
cd /opt && tar zcvf $dest/$archive_file $backup_files

c) Save the file by pressing CTRL-X and entering Y

d) Make the file executable

    chmod +x mcbackup.sh
e) Test your script. Before creating the scheduled task ensure your script works


f) Create a scheduled task with the cron scheduler
Make sure you are logged in as root so that it writes to your root user crontab.

    crontab -e
Enter this line at the end of your root crontab and then save it.
    02 2 * * * /opt/scripts/mcbackup.sh &> /dev/null
This will create your backup every day at 2:02 am.

Every day your oldest file will be replaced with the new backup giving you a seven day rotation of backups.


If you found these instructions helpful a small donation is appreciated. I will be keeping these instructions up to date with the latest versions of Minecraft and Oracle Java.


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