The website ArsTechnica.com and the Minecraft wiki at GamePedia.com provide detailed instructions on how to start a Minecraft server. Users may manually set up the server or pay for a pre-configured server. Server providers such as ServerCraft and BeastNode offer fully configured Minecraft servers for a monthly fee. The steps to manually configure a Minecraft server include installing Java Runtime Environment, installing "Minecraft Multiplayer Server" from the Minecraft website and setting up the server.
The Minecraft server requires Java Runtime Environment to run, available at the Java website. For security reasons, it is important to update Java to the latest version. If you try to install "Minecraft Multiplayer Server" without having installed Java first, the program opens a browser window redirecting to the Java website.
Once Java is installed, download "Minecraft Multiplayer Server" from Minecraft.com. Windows users may download this program in EXE format or in JAR format. Mac and Linux users must download the JAR file. Create a directory for Minecraft and download the EXE or the JAR file in that directory. Then, run the downloaded file to start the Minecraft server. The Minecraft wiki and ArsTechnica.com provide detailed instructions on the commands to run a JAR file.
After installing the Minecraft server, users may manually configure it. The Minecraft Wiki has a detailed list of the properties of the server, such as the number of players, difficulty and game mode.