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Minecraft Family Server

Minecraft is an amazing game and everyone in the family has played it from time to time. At the moment the family members most enjoying it are Girl and Boy. They’ve been playing in creation mode and done amazing things for a 7 and 10 year old. They were however each playing their own game and nothing they created could be shared or improved upon by the other, except by taking over the saved game which can be touchy between siblings. Then we got the idea of setting up our own MineCraft family server letting everyone in the family be able to join the game and together create something much greater than each of us on our own could.

You can easily download a Minecraft server from minecraft.net and just run an exe file to start a server and begin playing. The default setup however requires you to log into  your Minecraft account to verify your legitimacy which in it self is not a problem since we’ve of course bought the game (and if you haven’t do it now) but we have not bought 5 licenses and think that shouldn’t be necessary and it isn’t if you can find out what to do.

So to help other families out who want to set up a local server for the family to play together I’ve decided to put up a step by step guide for those that want to do that. Note that this is just a basic very simple setup that does exactly that.

BASIC SETUP (works for two players)

Step 1:
Go to http://www.minecraft.net/download and download Minecraft_Server.exe

Step 2:
Put the Minecraft_Server.exe file in it’s own folder wherever you want (ie. FamilyMinecraft on the desktop) and run it.
This step creates all the basic files needed for the server.

Step 3:
Turn off the server that was run in Step 2 (either by typing stop in the command field or using the red x).

Step 4:
Go to the folder you created and find the file server.properties and open it with a text editor
Change the following lines and save:

  • oneline-mode=true to online-mode=false
  • gamemode=0 to gamemode=1  (NOTE! if you don’t want to play in create mode don’t change this line)

Step 5:
Run the Minecraft_Server.exe file again to start the server which is now a local server in create mode.

Step 6:
Run Minecraft as normally and select multiplayer instead of singleplayer
When in the multiplayer menu choose to add server:

  • Sever Name: Choose whatever name you want.
  • Server address: Since this is a local-lan server you should be able to use the network name of the computer where you ran the Minecraft_server.exe
    • To find the network name got to Explorer (WindowsButton+E) Right click on computer on the left menu and select properties. This should take you to the System control panel and you should be able to find the computer name there
  • Press Done

Now you can select the server from the Minecraft multiplayer menu and join the server.

With this setup you should be able to play a two player game without any problems by logging in normally on one computer and play “offline” on another.
That way one of the players will have your normal account name and the other the name “Player”.

The Basic setup works for two players but a problem rises when you want to have more players since from now on additional players cause those that are in the game before them to be thrown out (“Player” if you’re offline and the other if your logged in).

EXTRA SETUP (for additional players)

Step 1:
If you don’t have java installed on additional computers download and install java

Step 2:
Create a new Minecraft shortcut (right click Minecraft.exe and select create shortcut) and put it where you want.

Step 3:
Rigth click the new shortcut and select Properties.

Step 4:
In the target field you replace the current text with the following:
java -Xms512m -Xmx512m -cp “%APPDATA%/.minecraft/bin/*” -Djava.library.path=”%APPDATA%/.minecraft/bin/natives” net.minecraft.client.Minecraft “Dad”
Replace Dad with whatever name you would like your character you  have. We’ve created 5 shortcuts (one for each member of the family).

Step 5:
Run the new shortcut you just created, Minecraft will run and you can go to multiplayer as before (add server on the new computer as before in Basic step 6 if you need to) and you should arrive at the game with your chosen name.

This way the whole family can create a world together in Minecraft or if you prefer keep gamemode as 0 and fight of the hordes of darkness together.
Have Fun 😀



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28 Comments to Minecraft Family Server

  1. Kevin

    Does this still work for you? I get an error: Could not find or load main class net.minecraft.client.Minecraft

  2. Dad

    Yes no problems with this. Using one PC for server and connecting with a mac and two PCs

  3. TheFlamingGit

    When I do Step six, I keep getting logged off. Do you need to buy a separate account for each family member?

  4. TheFlamingGit

    Never mind, I reread the second part. lol.

  5. TheFlamingGit

    “The name ‘java’ specified in the Target box is not valid. Make sure the path and file name are correct.

    I made sure there are no blanks or other hidden characters in the target field.
    java -Xms512m -Xmx512m -cp “%APPDATA%/.minecraft/bin/*” -Djava.library.path=”%APPDATA%/.minecraft/bin/natives” net.minecraft.client.Minecraft “Dad”

    Running windows 7.
    Latest java (release 5?)

    • Evoeryne would benefit from reading this post

  6. TheFlamingGit

    Now even though I have my server,properties set as such:

    #Minecraft server properties
    #Sat Jun 30 22:27:14 EDT 2012
    motd=Happy Land

    I am still in survival mode.

    • Dad

      gamemode=0 to gamemode=1 should change the server mode from survival to create.
      Create mode with monsters spawning still has the monsters attacking.

  7. TheFlamingGit

    I can see in the server window that I keep logging myself out when I try and log onto more than one computer at a time.

    • Dad

      You should only log on with one account. The rest should be offline accounts, either directly though the MineCraft client (play offline) or with a name script like in step 4 in the advanced setup.

  8. MrNoToes

    I keep getting a java error on step 6 of the first procedure, java.lang.illegalargumentexception. I am using a desktop that is connected to the local network wirelessly. I would appreciate any help to resolve. ~MrNoToes

    • Dad

      Not sure what the problem is. Have you been able to run Minecraft at all?
      I’d start by trying to update java and see if that helps.

      • MrNoToes

        Hi Dad. I am able to create a world and play in create mode. What is the syntax for the server name? the folder is on a folder at “C:\Minecraft” and my computer name is “Howard,” and the name of the wireless network is “Workgroup.” I installed Java already. I am running Windows Vista SP2. Could the problem be because I am using a wireless adapter on this computer? However, I get this error on this computer, it should not have to access the network. Thank you.

      • MrNoToes

        When I just put “Howard” Minecraft says that it can’t reach the server.

      • MrNoToes

        The Multiplayer screen says “scanning for LAN Worlds.” I assume that is because it cannot find the server? Is there a place in the server.properties file, that I can define my server location?

        • Dad

          If you can’t find the server from a different PC on your lan my best guess is that firewall settings on the server machine are blocking minecraft from broadcasting it’s position. You might need to change the firewall settings and give minecraft extended rights.

  9. Bob Flutie


    I just went through this process and I am OK up to the point where I need to make the aliases.shortcuts. On a mac running mountain lion, how do I do step 4?


  10. Johnson

    Thanks for the directions. Everything works great with setting up server and connecting from the same Windows machine. When I try to connect from my mac, it can’t seem to find the server. Do you have any advice?

    • Dad

      Most likely reason for not finding the server from another machine on your home network is that the firewall settings on the server are too restrictive.
      I’d recommend temporarily disabling the firewall to verify that is the case and then turn the firewall back on and adjust the rules for it to allow discovery of the minecraft server.

      • Johnson

        Thanks for the reply but when I turn off the firewall, I still get Can’t resolve hostname when I try to connect from my Mac to the Server which is running on Win8.

  11. Thanks for the tutorial. The 2 player setup works great. However, when I try to make custom shortcuts to bring in a third player, I get the following error message:

    Error: Could not find or load main class net.minecraft.client.Minecraft

    Any ideas? Thanks

    • Dad

      My best guess is that the Minecraft installation on the third PC is in a different directory and you need to tweak the shortcut because of that.

      • Jim

        I’m having the same problem. What specifically is the shortcut looking for, so I can tweak it? My minecraft install is in I:\games\minecraft, but there is also a c:\users\name\appdata\roaming\.minecraft directory. There isn’t a \bin under that directory though, so I’m having some trouble reverse engineering the syntax 😉

  12. Dad2

    Family Minecraft 1.5.2 server; Kid friendly. Newbies welcome.

    No Cost
    To get setup just open Minecraft and add Server Address:

    If you don’t have Minecraft you can install it free here…

    If you have trouble test your java requirement at ..
    or http://java.com/en/

    onlinemode-false servers

  13. pcunite

    Is this method still supported with version 1.7.4? It seems this is not the case via post #15 in this thread: minecraftforum.net/topic/1894665-not-able-to-play-offline-in-the-16-launcher

    • Dad

      Unfortunately most of the info here is way out of date 🙁

  14. Mr D

    Good new everybody! It can still be done in 1.8!

    Download the server & set it to be offline as above, then log in with your main account.
    You will then have valid login data in: C:/Users//AppData/Roaming/.minecraft/launcher_profiles.json

    Take a backup of this file.

    To log in as another account, edit the ‘displayName’ parameter in this file, then set the file to READ ONLY
    This stops the launcher overwriting it with your proper display name.

    You can then log into your local LAN server with a new character of the correct name.

    You can set this up with a batch file too – just make copies of the JSON with names for each family member, and then add a batch file to:
    remove read only flag,
    copy the correct file over,
    set read only,
    launch minecraft.exe,

    Occasionally the security parameters may change, so you just need to get a new ‘accessToken’ by making the file writable, then log in with your real account again, then copy the new ‘accessToken’ to the other json files.

    NOTE: You need to have a full minecraft account, and you can only log onto a server that is in ‘offline’ mode, because your server name won’t match your account name. But you can at least host a server for your kids again!

  15. Tom

    I am about to purchase a copy of Minecraft for my children. I would like to buy just the one copy and play with 2-4 of us on our in-home LAN. I have a separate PC for the server software, and each of us will use our own laptop. Will the above instructions still work? If not, does anyone have a set of instructions that will?

    Thanks in advance. …It is unfortunate that MS seems to expect a family of 4 to pay $110 in order to play.

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