I am trying to set up a "back to basics" Minecraft server, no plugins, no flying, no nothing.

However, the server I set up seems to prevent modifications to the terrain, unless I add the user(s) to the ops.txt file.

I did the following:

  1. Download a fresh 1.3.1 version of the server executable (for Windows) from minecraft.net
  2. Place it into a directory
  3. Start it
  4. Connect to it from the 1.3.1 vanilla Minecraft client
  5. Try to modify the first block I can find

Breaking down the snow in front of me fails.

On one seed I started in a village, and managed to walk through a house and into a fenced-in garden. After doing that I was unable to enter the house, break down the ground or break down the fence.

Is this related to the function that prevents modifications to the spawn area on the server? Can this be turned off if that is the case?

  • 7
    It's the spawn protection. – BlaXpirit Aug 3 '12 at 10:02

The wiki has an excellent guide to configuring your first server.

Configuring the Minecraft Server

  1. Configure the server by editing the server.properties file, the format for which is explained here. Be certain to edit the file with a text editor that does not add formatting (e.g., for italics). Additional configuration may not be necessary as many servers run fine from the default values.

  2. Add your username to the admin.txt and/or ops.txt (newer Minecraft versions may not have an admin.txt file).

    • Ops.txt and admin.txt determine who may execute server commands. In other words, operator ("op") privileges allow you to control certain aspects of the game (e.g., teleporting players).

    • Op privileges may also be granted from the server GUI: type "op " and it will automatically add to the ops.txt file. Being an op will not let you fly and/or have a creative inventory

  • I know that, I know the purpose of the ops.txt file, I was wondering if the spawn protection part could be disabled. The seed we picked (but we haven't started building so we'll just find a different one) made us spawn inside the village we wanted to use, but that meant that doors, as an example, cannot be used within the spawn radius. The client thinks the door opened, but the server disagrees since this would change the block, which is not allowed. So large parts of the village could not be entered or changed. – Lasse V. Karlsen Aug 3 '12 at 14:08
  • @LasseV.Karlsen Edit your level.dat and move your spawn point. – fredley Aug 3 '12 at 14:11
  • 1
    That's what I ended up doing, I moved the spawn point a little distance out of the village, and then it worked. – Lasse V. Karlsen Aug 7 '12 at 7:00
  • You can change the spawn protection area in server.properties – Timtech Jul 26 '13 at 23:19

You need to op yourself, then it will work.


Your spawn area is protected. Only ops can place and destroy objects here. You can change the spawn protection area in server.properties (it is 16 by default, 0 means no spawn protection). Opping yourself is also an easy fix.

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