Surviving Minecraft Survival Servers
Minecraft survival servers or SMP (survival multiplayer) servers are the most common kind of Minecraft multiplayer servers. The goals in a survival server are basically the same as those in Minecraft single-player survival mode: explore, build things, and don’t die. Most survival servers are free-build with monster spawning enabled, so they play like Minecraft single-player—with friends!
There are other types of servers, such as PvP and roleplaying servers, where players have additional goals besides survival. Some examples of these kinds of servers can be found in Best Minecraft Servers.
Problems & Troubleshooting
With the full game release of Minecraft in November 2011, many of the bugs on multiplayer servers have been solved. However, sometimes you may still run into problems connecting to servers. Some common reasons for failure to connect are
• Server is not running (not a dedicated server or permanently offline)
• Wrong port or port not forwarded
• Incompatible router
You can contact a server administrator for help with some of these difficulties, or look for troubleshooting guides online. Sometimes a computer simply can’t “talk” to a particular server (especially with router problems), and you may just have to find a different server to play on.
Minecraft multiplayer servers are generally set up for a specific number of players (player slots) to keep from slowing down the server. Administrators can make a fixed number of player slots to set the maximum number of players that can be online at one time. On standard servers, admins can use commands like “smite” and “teleport,” can control weather and time of day, and can switch players from Survival to Creative Mode for easier building.
Many admins choose to run Minecraft survival servers with Bukkit a mod specifically designed to support plugins and server commands in SMP servers. Bukkit gives admins greater control over their servers and more command options. You don’t have to download Bukkit for your own copy of Minecraft if you only want to play on a server that runs it.
In general, if you are running Minecraft mods, you won’t be able to play on multiplayer servers. Mods often cause compatibility problems with servers and increase the risk of errors and connection failure. On the other hand, for some survival servers running special mods, you will have to download the same free mods to make your copy of the game compatible. Unfortunately, what works for one computer won’t necessarily work for another. Contact the server administrator if you’re having problems.
Minecraft Survival Server Lists
Minecraft-server-list.com is one of the best lists of active servers. The list “pings” servers regularly to check for activity, and automatically removes servers that have been offline for more than a few hours, so the list is always up-to-date. It is easy to browse by server types and popularity.
MC Server List is another huge server list of small and large servers. It shows the number of player slots available on the far right-hand side, and lists the server IP address. This is a great list to browse for special, out-of-the-way servers.
Planet Minecraft also has a great list of the latest Minecraft servers. Anyone can post new ones. This site is a favorite because of its colorful, professional look. It also has great texture packs!