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I want to understand how servers work and if it was possible for me to make the Minecraft server private so only myself and a select few of my friends could play?

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Once you have run the server software and port forwarded, in a file named server properties, set whitelist to true. When you've done that, there will be another file called whitelist where you can list the players names that are allowed to join.

  • Where is the file? – Ichimaru Mew Uchiha Mar 21 '15 at 20:46
  • thw whitelist file and the properties file can be found in the same folder as your minecraft-server.jar file! or maybe if you are using plugins it may be in another folder! – mike6715b Mar 22 '15 at 20:13
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In addition to the whitelisting option mentioned, you can simply turn on your server when only you and your friends are playing and turn it off when you're done (this will save your progress and no one else will be able to log in without you knowing). Just leave the server address as the default external IP. It's extremely unlikely that anyone will find it and log in. I host my own mini server all the time and only people we know have ever logged in.

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In game or in the console you can do /whitelist on which will only allow certain players to join. To add a player to the list do /whitelist add {player name}. To remove: /whitelist remove {player name}. To see the list of people on the whitelist, do /whitelist and it will give you more information! If you are using a console (above) do not use the "/" in front of the command!

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