Shared Minecraft hosting vs VPS/Cloud hosting

If you’ve wanted to set up a Minecraft Server, there are generally two ways to do this: Shared hosting, and VPS/Cloud hosting with Linux. In this article I’ll go through the pros and cons of each. I personally think that, provided you have the skills, you are better off going with a VPS/Cloud server. You can read my previous article on setting a Minecraft server up on Linux

Terminology

Shared hosting: When you pay a company to run your Minecraft server. They provide a dashboard and support, but you are sharing hardware with other users, and will typically pay a premium

VPS Hosting: When you rent a virtual machine (VM) with a set amount of RAM and CPU cores. They provide you with a Linux operating system, which allows you to install and run anything you want. It’s a bit more complex, but will be cheaper, and provide better performance

Cost

Cost is probably the most important aspect for most people when it comes to choosing a solution to running their Minecraft server. Generally, VPS/Cloud hosting will be cheaper than shared hosting, and more performant, at the cost of some complexity. Shared hosting providers charge more, as they are renting the same infrastructure that you can, (although at discounted rates), but they must provide support, hire engineers to maintain the servers, develop software for them, and of course, make a profit. This of course has a value and can be great for people who do not want to do it themselves, but if you are willing to do it yourself, you will have more control over your server, have better performance, and save money.

Price comparison: Shared hosting provider (Shockbyte) vs VPS/Cloud hosting provider (Hetzner)

I’m going to compare two popular choices for hosting a Minecraft server, Shockbyte and Hetzner. I personally have used Shockbyte in the past, and currently use Hetzner for many things including Minecraft servers. Although Shockbyte appears to have a cheaper starting price at $2.50, this plan only includes 1GB of RAM which is not enough for a server. Mojang recommend 3 GB of RAM. They say 1 GB is “Acceptable”, but I have found that it won’t be enough, and your server will stutter regularly. Getting 3 GB of RAM with Shockbyte will cost $7.50, while for €5.35 with Hetzner, you can get 2 CPU cores, and 4 GB RAM. This server will perform much better, and cost less.

Flexibility

Running your own server under Linux provides you with much more flexibility than using a shared hosting provider. You can configure your server however you want, run any server version you want, install any mods, or run other game servers at no extra cost. You are also not dependent on your hosting company to upgrade to newer Minecraft server versions as they come out. If you want to switch providers at any point, it’s much easier to do this with a cloud provider, as most cloud providers offer a similar selection of Linux distributions, so you can move between cloud providers with ease.

Performance

Shared servers are, well, shared. You are sharing resources with multiple users without any form of isolation. You often have no clue how much CPU resources you are receiving. Having 4 GB of RAM is fine, but you need a decent amount of CPU performance to have a smooth-running server. You also have no clue what CPUs they are using. They could be slow, low core count, 5-year-old CPUs. With VPS hosting, your server is isolated from other users by the hypervisor, and you have a much clearer understanding of what resources you have. Cloud providers such as Hetzner use modern hardware, which they disclose publicly.

Ease of use

Ease of use is one category, where shared hosting is the clear winner over cloud hosting. Shared hosting provides a simple dashboard, where you can control your server. Cloud hosting is also quite simple, but if you have no experience with Linux and don’t want to learn it, then shared hosting is the clear winner. I’m not saying cloud hosting is super complicated, but in comparison, shared hosting is simpler.

Learning opportunity

Setting up a Minecraft server on Linux can be a fantastic way to learn the basics of Linux and cloud hosting platforms. You might pick up skills that could help you in the future.

Conclusion

If you are looking for the best performance, or to save a bit, then running a Minecraft server on Linux is the best way to go. If you want something dead simple, and don’t mind paying extra or sacrificing performance, then shared hosting is probably the best way to go. I personally use cloud hosting for all my Minecraft servers and projects, but you should use whatever works best for you.

Minecrafttutorials.net is not affiliated with anyone mentioned in this article and does not profit no matter which option you choose.


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