I’m no Minecraft expert or anything, but I do occasionally play it with my son. I’ve probably spent more time installing mods for him and discussing the merits and pitfalls of the various characters and objects, so I do feel quite familiar with it.
One of the latest requests was to setup a private server so that him and his friends could play together. They do this all the time when they are together (which doesn’t require any extra software or know-how when you are all on the same wifi network), but they now want to be able to play in the same world together when they are apart too.
It turns out this is not too difficult to do. I downloaded the minecraft server jar and just ran it from one of the windows machines at home. I had to open up the firewall for port 25565, but that was about it, and it all seemed to work… but, it was very laggy (as the kids call it, i.e. slow).
So then I thought about Amazon Web Services (AWS). I’d set-up instances before with other projects so did a quick search around and found this excellent guide, which I followed and, well… we now have a Minecraft server in the cloud… and no lag.
I set it up on a ‘t2 small’ instance at $0.028 per hour, which is pretty good value in my opinion, and I just stop and start the instance whenever it is needed, so even he could afford it. Maybe I should get him to pay for it.