How are Smaller/Project Servers Going to Survive

I know the changes in the Minecraft EULA have been enforced hard, and are expected to be followed by every single server, and I respect that. I have been working on a project server, thinking, I will get around to that, etc. as we all do xD.

But reality has just hit me, smaller servers, and project servers awaiting to be released just like mine have little to no chance of surviving if all they can do is sell vanity and other items like that for real life money, which we know, is needed to run a successful 24/7 server.

The costs of hosting every month, and the costs of using services like Buycraft and custom IPs, is it really worth it? of course, if someone is lucky enough to pull this off, well good on them, but all of this hard work and determination by my server team and members cant just go with plain disappointment, this is why I turn to you guys, people who know what they are talking about, people who not only manage servers, but spend an awful lot of time playing on some as well.

In order for my server to survive, I need to earn back close to what I put in every month, obviously, but how am I supposed to do this? What things can I sell without breaking the EULA? what other things can I do? are there any ways to get around the EULA? or is this currently 2 year project worthless. (I hope not :disappointed_relieved: )

Guys, please comment with as much information as you can, any support will be greatly appreciated, what can I do to stay alive once I launch! Great work with the forums guys, but I truly need your help!

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I have worked on some server projects before. Using a VPS is a good way to go, if you know what you are doing. You can host multiple servers on one machine for a (usually) lower cost. Domain names aren’t that expensive, usually they cost about $10 - $15 USD per year. I believe that you can still reward people for doing things such as voting for your server on a sever listing site. I don’t have much more advice, but I would love to answer any more of your questions that you have. :smiley:

Thank you @Flibio! I have done some calculations and it would cost me exactly £14.56/month which is £174.72/year. This is not a lot, but the point I was trying to make was, I really want to run this server, why should I give up on something that I am many others have worked on for a few years. But then I have the thought of, my own money is going to eventually be needed to run this server, and if I don’t at least make back what I put in, what the point of running it?

I need ways to get my money back without breaking the, in my opinion, annoying EULA. Sorry if I am being a bit rash in my posts here, but I am very stressed and anxious about the current situation.

By the way that ÂŁ14.56/month, is the hosting, the IP and Buycraft Premium.

Creating a community and playing games together. It doesn’t have to be a business.


@danielfrogs perhaps you could set up a server patreon? You can give people stuff like donor flair, chat spam bypass, particle trails. You cannot sell them stuff like custom equipment, kits, creative mode, and flying. Once people pledge 15 pounds a month on patreon, you are pretty much good to go.

I know it doesn’t have to be a business, and that was not my intention anyway! Creating a great community is the heart of this project, and I would love to see it grow into something bigger. But I would also like to earn some of the money I am spending back @ryantheleach, just to support me in hosting the server.

Could you please explain this to me in a little more detail, I am not quite sure what you mean by this? @Zwei, (My intentions never ever were to accept any hard currency, but I realised I have to in order to run the server, so I am quite new to this side of server information)

I am not familiar with Patreon?

any form of hard currency works, but the end user license agreement limits what you can give as rewards for said hard currency. As long as your reward doesn’t give them a competitive edge or give them soft currency that can be used to purchase a competitive edge, you should be fine. This is why the hypixel menu was so meticulously labeled “aesthetics menu” or something along those lines.

There are still a few borderline cases that aren’t answered by mojang’s 2 QnA’s, but we just assume allowed because mojang support automatically rejects all EULA emails, redirecting you to the 2 QnA’s. [I should know.] 1

EDIT: [Here] 2 is the link for the first blog post, and [here] 3 is the follow-up QnA.

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Patreon is a service that allows people to collect monthly donations from users. You can setup rewards for the user to receive for donating, and much more. It is useful for people like Youtubers, developers, things like that who don’t have a steady income stream from doing what they love to do. For example, Sponge is on Patreon!

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The borderline case I sent the email about was build teams obtaining funds via build teams selling custom-made spawns for servers.

So guys, @Zwei, @Flibio. If I create a patron page I will be able to give the donators anything except for items which will give them an advantage over other players? So things like particles, hats and vanity items are allowed to be given via patron this way? What other things can I offer as pledges which are allowed by the Minecraft EULA?

And as I am new to Patreon, do I just sign up and its finished, or is there a monthly fee? Basically, what is needed to make a Patreon creators page and start running it to bring funds in for my server?

Also @Zwei, if I had two types of currency in game lets say the normal soft currency of Gold which is obtained in game and cannot be bought with hard currency, and this is used to buy real useable items in game. And the other currency, which acts of like a premium currency, which can be used to buy vanity items. Would I be allowed to charge hard currency for the premium in game currency, as long as that premium currency can ONLY be used for items that are available under the EULA?

With regards to your last question @danielfrogs - this is the important wording in the first Q+A (italics mine).

You cannot charge real-world cash for in-game currency

We don’t mind in-game currencies which are earned through playing, but you are not allowed to sell them for real-world cash. Remember – if the stuff you sell affects gameplay, we’re not cool with it.

This would infer that you would not be allowed to do so - however, I would argue that you’ve hit a grey area. What you are suggesting is that the only way to get this “premium currency” is through selling it for hard currency - and the only things that you can get are these so called “vanity items” and not gain an advantage. It’s obvious that this point was intended to prevent people from gaining an advantage, but it hits this situation too.

If you want to strictly keep within the confines of the EULA, you may be safer not going down this route.

Ok @dualspiral, it was just an idea! So would you say the best option forward, for fully funding my project every month is by using Patreon? And would I be able to sell things like particle effects, hats, pets and mounts using Buycraft without breaking the EULA?

I am sorry if I am asking a lot of questions I just want to be sure about these important issues, and wouldn’t want to get caught up in any legal disputes.

Despite what @dualspiral said, hypixel got away with it iirc.

Also, particle flairs are a specifically allowed case in the documents I provided. It was used as an example as for what WAS allowed. Assuming your server is a minigame thing oriented around a lobby, I would assume pets and mounts are allowed, as long as mounts cannot be used in any minigame in order to gain a speed asvantage.

What it comes down to is the folks that play on your server need to help offset your monthly costs. You will need to rely on their good will to do this. If this is a public server you have to be prepared for a lot of players that do not contribute towards the monthly operating costs. In my experience this is due mostly to the player not having the means to help out (young, not financially stable, etc.), though there are definately those that that will mooch off your work.

Reading through the thread it seems to me the issue for you is not necessarily the cost of running the server, but the negative idea of moochers. If you cannot accept the fact there will be folks that mooch I suggest you not open the server.

You could make it private/whitelist and increase your odds of contributors by being selective about who you let in. This would, IMO, lead to smaller server population, but generally a better quality of player.

Oh, my server doesn’t have minigames, its a total RPG experience, a large world open for all to quest, and join in with the community. Would I be able to sell pets and mounts then? @Zwei

Oh this is not true, I am not worried about what you call moochers @OreCruncher! I don’t know how I put this across, but I certainly didn’t mean that! :smile:

I don’t mind what type of players play on my server, young, old, financially stable or not, for fun, to talk. Anyone Is Welcome!

Whoever are willing enough to support my server, they are more than welcome to, and those who are not, well that doesn’t matter, because I want to build a small community of Minecrafters, enjoying the server I and some others made.

Cool. Then if you want to do this you could:

  1. Set aside funding for some number of months. You will have to provide the seed money, or if you could find some friends that are willing to chip in, great!

  2. Setup a mechanism for donation. Some folks recommend Paetron - I have never used it but it does appear to be popular with the Minecraft crowd.

  3. Make sure the players are aware that this server needs donation. You can do this ingame with logon messages and the like.

  4. If after several months (the time decided on in step 1) it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. You could also decide that running a server is a pain. :slight_smile:

Regardless I think you should have an exit plan. Sometimes a server succeeds fantastically and actually get more money in than is spent on operations. These are donations given by the community towards the server operation. You will need to think about what will be done with those funds once the server shuts down. For the server I hosted my plan was to donate the money to a worthy charity (feeding the needy, etc.).

As for selling mounts and pets, if they affect game play then it would be against the EULA. I am not a lawyer, etc.


I thought I would impart to you what I look for before donating to support a server:

  1. Community. If there is a good community of folks that play/work well together I am inclined to hang around. If there are a bunch of jackwads, well, I don’t hang around long.

  2. Admin Staff. If the management staff is active and works to keep the jackwads off the server I am inclined to hang around and donate. I play on the server to escape RL and I don’t need crap when playing a game.

  3. Admin Staff is fair. A lot of times staff can go on a power trip or take advantage of special powers. This does not play well. Staff needs to be fair and be able to control themselves.

  4. Viewing players with suspicion. IMO this is one of the fastest ways to kill a community. I been on servers where the operators viewed the players as a threat first and a player second. Most players players are decent and it makes sense to assume players are decent until proven otherwise. See #2 above.

  5. If you got this far in the list you notice there is nothing about a modpack or what version of Minecraft I want to play. I still play Mindcrack on the FTBees server so the newest and shiniest thing isn’t always the best. :smile:


One more thing - can’t believe I forgot this one. It is a variation of #4 above. If the staff responds poorly in the face of server lag it can be an issue. The staff needs to know how to use the tools to properly identify the source of lag. Showing up at a player’s base like the Gestapo doesn’t do anything but piss the player off, and by extension, the other players on the server that are watching. It is better to work with the player to identify the lag and help them resolve it. A lot of times its an education issue, and once the player is educated and the situation fixed everyone is happy.


I’d guess that the Q&A linked by @dualspiral is meant to avoid pay2win servers. I think:

  • having one currency which is used for everything and can be bought with hard currency is not ok

while having:

  • a currency for visuals only which is buyable with hard currency and a second currency for everything else which isnt buyable is fine

I can even think of a separate “premium” world/dimension/section on the server which only donators can access. You would however need to limit this to avoid granting any advantages to donators. I think of something like a creative mode plot world or similar. Thoughts?

This was very, very helpful @OreCruncher, it really cleared some issues up for me! We have, in my opinion an amazing group of loyal and trusted mods/admins who work around the clock to help. For the community part, only time will tell, once the server is released, I will personally be interacting with players, helping with issues, and providing the best server experience I possibly can. I will look at every player as they are a person, we have even got this on our website somewhat, and until proven otherwise, like you said, no snooping will be taken.

I have already accumulated a fair amount of money, enough to keep it running for the first year easy, i just need to learn to use Patreon and we are ready and rearing to go. :stuck_out_tongue: