Updated: Apr 9
I love Aternos because it’s quite literally saved me thousands of dollars over the years.
A while back my partner's son asked if we could play together on a Minecraft server. Before that point, I had often spun up hosted Minecraft servers and then promptly abandoned them only to continue to pay for them for many months. Or had a Minecraft server idea that I thought would make me millions only to quickly realize after buying hosting that the setup was entirely more complex than I had first imagined.
Needless to say, I had fallen for this trap many many times and my wallet was reminding me that I had to do things differently this time.
This is not an advertisement!
It’s also important to say that this is in no way a paid advertisement for Aternos. I have no affiliation to them, and know no one that works at their company. I am only a common superfan user and have been playing with their service for about 2 years now. It’s not perfect, it has limitations, but for specific use cases it is by FAR the best option out there.
HOW TO SET UP A MINECRAFT SERVER USING ATERNOS
Setting up a minecraft server for aternos is actually quite simple!
1. GO TO ATERNOS.ORG
2. CLICK THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE BOTTOM RIGHT CORNER
3. SIGN UP AND CREATE AN ACCOUNT
4. CLICK THE "CREATE A SERVER" BUTTON
DISADVANTAGES OF USING ATERNOS
Minecraft server for free? Sounds way too good to be true, right?
Yeah.. not fun at all.
While there are a LOT of plugins to choose from you cannot upload your own plugins. So that means most paid plugins and custom plugin aren’t available.
Also the Minecraft servers are not online 24/7, you need to start them when you want to play and after 5 minutes of no one being online they turn off automatically.
Also, they are fairly aggressive about kicking idle players. I think about 3 minutes of being idle and you will get kicked.
I think Bungeecord setups would be hard to test with this Minecraft server type, since they would keep turning off, but I haven’t tried it.
The host machines aren’t SUPER powerful, you can easily have 4-5 players online and a chunk distance of 15 is the maximum.
I haven’t tested how many plugins you can have running, but I would assume a lower number is better. So this isn’t for scale.
When I first started looking for free Minecraft servers I assumed it would be WAY worse than this, but as you will see Aternos is almost better than some hosted options for small Minecraft server setups and casual friendly multiplayer sessions with family and friends.
BACKUPS ARE REQUIRED
Aternos also will delete servers that haven’t been accessed in I think 3 months or maybe 6 months.
They only give you 7 days' warning the server will be deleted and when they say seven days they mean seven days to the minute.
I recently had a Minecraft server world deleted and I only saw the email seven days and 1 hour after it was sent and the server was already gone.
I contacted their customer support and they were very polite, but no they don’t save the archived servers, they really delete them.
I wasn’t too upset because it was a bit of a cursed world having been started right through the middle of the world changes in 1.18 and there were a lot of weird chunk errors in places etc. So wasn’t too bad.
Since then I have set up Google Drive backups. The files won’t appear in your Google Drive, they just use your Google Drive for file storage, which is part of the Drive API apparently. I did test the restore functions and everything worked great.
So for my next Minecraft server, I am fully prepared if I forget to play on it for 6 months and have to restore it.
ADVANTAGES OF USING ATERNOS
Okay so first off you have a lot of options for what TYPE of Minecraft server software you want to run. Vanilla, Paper, Bukkit, etc.
I mean just look at this list of options. I haven’t even heard of most of these options. Mostly I have been running Vanilla or Paper on the latest version or 1.16.5 or 1.12.2 if I have to edit or take screenshots of builds etc.
You also get a nice user-friendly interface for changing Minecraft server settings.
And if you want to mess with the entire server.properties file you can access it in the FILES section.
Instead of just giving you the raw file like most hosting platforms you get another nice user-friendly interface.
So if you switch your server to Paper or Bukkit etc you will get a PLUGINS option in the menu.
Again, you get a nice user interface for searching plugins and a single click installs them on your server.
You can still upload the files directly to the Minecraft server and edit the plugin files if needed, but this interface is amazing for quick setups where you just need a few plugins like FAWE or Multiverse Core, etc.
So server starts are a problem if you are the only admin on the server.
Luckily Aternos thought of that in a pretty epic way. You can give access to other Aternos users and pretty nicely handle what they have access to. So you can let your trolly little brother start the server but not stop/restart it for example, or you can give your configuration team access to the Files and the Console, etc.
Honestly, this has been amazing. I have a small private Minecraft server running with just a few friends and they all have Start access, so sometimes I want to play and it’s just on, because one of them is on the server.
In those moments Aternos just feels like a normally paid server.
I’m definitely not a stress tester for the servers. There have been some lag issues when I have more than 4 people on a server at the same time all in different worlds or spread around the same world.
I haven’t noticed any issues with having players in the US and Europe, which we do often. But for a small group of people all playing together and doing things as a group like you would with parents playing with their kids or grandkids this setup works really well in my experience.
Aternos is great for:
Small family sized Minecraft servers
Testing Minecraft server plugin setups
Builds and Build screenshots
Give access to friends
Set up Google Drive Backups!