Starting a server or a network part 1
Starting a server or a network. The goal of many players and the dream of many more. But what does it take to create a successful server/network? This is by no means a guide but the view of a few people that I talked to concerning servers and networks.
So, what do you need? These are a few musts for a server. Not necessarily everything you need, but the minimums.
Starting with server hardware, a lot of people already make a mistake here. People want to immediately start an enormous server and are tempted to get powerful hardware. Dedicated servers costing 80 U.S. Dollar a month for 5 players across 4 different gamemodes, it is far from what you want it to be. Almost all the entrepreneurs I asked confirmed that starting off small is the way to go. A small host to simply build and configure your server saving your company quite a few bucks.
Graphics goes hand in hand with a website and your online presence, so we will discuss that together here. Make no mistake graphics are unmissable. A lot of servers tend to use Xenforo, a service that runs forums. Its starting price is 140 U.S. Dollar annually, that is with no theme, icons or logos. Additionally, you will need custom icons to make your site pleasant to its visitors, a logo for your company, advertisement for other websites and more. It is needless to say that this will be your main source of expenses. If you only want high quality this can rack up to quite a big number.
Now what attracts players the most to a server, I personally look for the gamemode I find enjoyable. For a lot of players that is something they know, like factions, but with a new twist, custom items and enchantments or even more. These prices are hard to put a number on since it all depends on the developer who writes the plugin or if it is an already free plugin. A lot of people say you need something unique, most recommend a gamemode. However, there are other options. You can be different by offering something that is well popular and making it more accessible.
Saving the best for last, marketing. In order to gain popularity, you need to reach a lot of interested players. You can do this by paying influencers to promote your server, whether those are Youtubers or other servers. This can give you the boost you need to get out there. Of course, only one influencer is not enough. You need a lot of people to support you and promoting your brand. A Minecraft server is like any other service, you need to advertise it a lot!
A few useful resources would be the following sites:
To round it up, a server is in my opinion a business that anyone can start and grow. However, it does require a large capital. People that offer me ranks in exchange for services or promotion are usually a no-go for me. You need a lot of people supporting you and helping you. This includes a full-fledged staff team with you at the top, developers, moderators and advertisers. What I often see in new servers are a lot of ranks that have no use. A trial-manager, head-manager, admin, head-admin and it carries on. Make your server user-friendly. Beware that this is in no way, shape or form a guide. This is simply an article informing people how others start.