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Build a Better Server: Plugins, Rules, and more!

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Leeberator avatar Leeberator
Level 52 : Grandmaster Button Pusher

Whenever I bump the PMC post for my server, I take a look at some of the other servers posted there. And, frankly, I'm disappointed.

My grief-free survival server is buried amongst a horde of FACTION PVP GRIEFING RAIDING DONATE FOR OP-type servers, and so I ask myself: "where is the creativity? Where is the originality?" It's not necessarily the fact that they're griefing servers that bothers me; it's just that there are way too many of them, and they're all pretty much identical.

So, I've decided to create a blog post about how to build a better server. This post will cover everything from plugins to server specs to staff choice.

Here goes:


When choosing what plugins to install, only choose plugins that will fit your server's theme, if you have one. If PvP and griefing, go with Factions and some combat log plugin; if no-grief survival or no-grief creative (or both), go with Grief Prevention, Anti X-Ray, and CoreProtect if you really think you'll need it.

Plugins like WorldGuard and Residence may work, but they don't do as good a job as Grief Prevention does in preventing grief. To achieve the protection Grief Prevention provides, you'd need a land protection plugin, an anti-spam plugin, an anti-combat log plugin, an anti-spawn camp plugin, a rollback plugin, an anti-TNT plugin, an anti-creeper plugin, an anti-creative mode grief plugin, and more. No joke. Stop fooling around and switch to Grief Prevention.

If you want to run a griefing server, you have several options for subtypes. You can have no protections whatsoever, have limited protection, or run Factions or something similar. Having no protection whatsoever is pretty self-explanatory. Players can't protect their stuff. Limited protections can include door and chest protections, which LWC and Lockette provide somewhat sufficiently.

If you want to run a minigames server, you'd want a protection plugin like Grief Prevention and all the minigame plugins you want. You could also install an economy plugin if you want some sort of economy on your minigames server.


The Bukkit Wiki recommends 20 players per GB of RAM, assuming you have a decent number of plugins. Most medium to large servers idle at about 500-550MB, but again this is arbitrary as not every server runs the exact same plugins.

If you run a 1GB server, 15-20 players should be a safe max amount, assuming you don't have an excess of plugins for your server's theme (if you have a main theme, or any theme).


Choosing who is put on staff on your server is a huge decision and should never be taken lightly. Posting classifieds in a forum will get you lots of applicants, but most will be either griefers, immature children, or power-mongers. Letting people apply for staff on your server's website is a better alternative, but you'd most likely get the same bunch of people. There are some people who genuinely want to help, but sometimes it's hard to distinguish their honestly from the deceit of the rest.

In my opinion, by far the best method to choose staff members is to have the existing staff appoint them.

My server has an appointment procedure that is sure to weed out all the power-hungry immature trolls. If you'd like to see it, click here.

Basically, the existing staff gets together and suggests trustworthy players who meet certain requirements. Then, the possible appointees are narrowed down to a few people, and these people are asked if they would like to be put on staff. Those who say yes are then narrowed down into one player who is then given a small staff position with basic moderating commands. Once the player has proven themselves, then he/she is put in a full staff position.


Most servers need some form of income to keep them running, but these donations should be out of kindness and not necessarily for receiving in-game perks.

However, if this strategy does not work and you need donations, offer donation incentives. DO NOT give overpowered items, ranks, or operator status to anyone who is willing to fork over a few bucks. Instead, give fun commands and fun items (that are not overpowered), like /hat and maybe a beacon or two, or something else that does not create a free-to-play, pay-to-win environment.

Also, don't make the donation incentives too expensive. If your donations start at $20, you're doing it wrong. Start donation incentives at $5 or $10 to give players a better variety.


We've all been in the situation. That situation when it's time to drop the Ban Hammer. Don't hesitate to drop it on someone you know has broken the rules, but make sure you aren't dropping it on someone who in reality did nothing wrong. It happens; no one is perfect. Occasionally you might ban the wrong guy. Well, there's always the appeal system where the player can clear up the misunderstanding and be unbanned. But, what about those actual griefers and such? Should they be allowed to appeal? What about your friends that play on your server?

I believe all permanent bans should be appealable. However, if someone who has significant evidence that supports their ban (i.e. a video, multiple eyewitnesses, a picture, etc.), appeals, if the appeal is approved, the ban should be reduced to a temporary ban, to make sure the offender learned their lesson. Or, alternatively, you can either send rule-breakers and griefers to a jail or an exile world if the appeal is approved, or just exile rule-breakers instead of banning them.

What about your friends who play on the server? What about the staff who abuse their power? I believe that justice is blind: it doesn't matter who did the crime; the person who broke the rule must be punished in the most appropriate way. If a staff abuses power, simply suspending/removing their staff rank is not enough. He/she should face the consequences that every other player must face when the rules are broken.

About the rules: you should make your rules be common sense. Then, go back and add rules pertaining to your theme (if you have one), any plugins that require additional rules, and any ranks/perks that may require more rules. DON'T FORGET TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT ALL DONATION TRANSACTIONS ARE FINAL, AND MAKE IT CLEAR THAT ABUSE OF DONATOR POWERS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. This way, angry donators who abuse their power and are banned can't try to get their money back, and can't attempt to sue you for what they claim is you taking their money for in-game perks and then proceeding to prevent them from using those perks. MAKE SURE SOME FORM OF THE ABOVE SENTENCE IN CAPS IS IN A TERMS OF PAYMENT THAT MUST BE AGREED TO IN ORDER TO DONATE.

Well, that's all I have so far. If I think up any more advice to give, I'll add to this post!

Have a blessed day.


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08/25/2018 10:34 am
Level 22 : Expert Blockhead
raidarr avatar
Old post with some timeless content.
08/11/2014 12:56 am
Level 44 : Master Theorist
Averli avatar
Nice blog! :D I just now read the entire thing. o3o
08/11/2014 9:53 am
Level 52 : Grandmaster Button Pusher
Leeberator avatar
06/27/2014 7:03 am
Level 24 : Expert Nerd
dooly123 avatar
yes i defently agree grief servers are no fun if you want to build or let your creativity run wild.
i belive they are being created becouse people thing factions so cool!
reminder 101 the reason there cool is becouse people spend thousands on making theres better
your server isent going to be popular with players who want things like 30 servers in 1!!!
03/17/2014 2:28 am
Level 17 : Journeyman Nerd
gabep10 avatar
Hey, I see I am a little late on this post but I like it.  I have a problem with some of my staff who are taking advantage of their powers, it is hard because I usually get to know them well.  Also what amount of plugins would you personally say is optimal? I know it depends on what you want but still.  I am currently thinking of adding a donation system and those ideas helped me, thanks.
03/17/2014 9:48 am
Level 52 : Grandmaster Button Pusher
Leeberator avatar
If they're taking advantage of their powers, there isn't much you can do except suspend their privileges or remove them from staff. I know it's harsh (escpecially once you get to know them well), but if nothing else is getting through to them, a wake-up call like that will let them know who's actually in charge. And, don't back down when they beg for their perks back. Explain to them that they will get their positions back once they've proven that they are capable of handling the responsibility, but don't give in to their pleas. Remember that they aren't in any acutal danger (and the server won't "fall apart without them" as they may try to claim) due to losing their positions, so what you're hearing from them is probably some form of greed disguised as sorrow. I had a few "kickstarters" (they pooled money together to buy the server hardware) who loved to overstretch their bounds, but after suspending their privileges a few times (and a few weeks to a few months at a time), they realized that abuse of power wouldn't be tolerated (and begging wouldn't get their perks back) and became much more responsible with their privileges.

I'm not much of a fan of determining a specific number of plugins based on available RAM, but I think it's safe to say that a good mix of plugins (lightweight ones and heavyweight ones) with a count over 30 for 1 GB of RAM is too much.

If you make a donations system, be sure to force the donators to agree to a terms of donation/purchase that states things like"no refunds whatsoever," "if you are under 18, it is strongly suggested that you have a parent/legal guardian complete the transaction," etc. I know that Enjin lets you do this, and I'd be very surprised if Buycraft did not have this feature.
03/17/2014 9:22 pm
Level 17 : Journeyman Nerd
gabep10 avatar
Ya thanks for the reply.  Good feedback.  And I'm set on RAM according to your rules.  Thanks.
07/01/2013 5:17 pm
Level 15 : Journeyman Taco
ItzPop avatar
This should get more views, Diamond for you :D
07/01/2013 11:10 pm
Level 52 : Grandmaster Button Pusher
Leeberator avatar
08/11/2013 5:25 am
Level 5 : Apprentice Engineer
marrioman13 avatar
is there a symbol for diamond? I wanna spam it to ya :3
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