How to Update Minecraft Server to the Latest Version - Ultimate Guide

Okay, this is the issue every Minecraft server owner has to deal with on a regular basis: updating it as soon as Mojang releases a new version of the game. Basically, the procedure is no brainer. But sometimes people make minor mistakes that lead to the collapse of their blocky worlds.

Our instruction will show you how to update Minecraft server without losing world and having to adjust all the settings anew.

I. Universal method

This way of updating a Minecraft server is prevalent and works nicely for the majority of operational systems including Windows (except XP maybe), Linux and Mac OS.

Here is what it looks like step by step:

1. Server folder

Open the folder that contains all the data of your server. Keep in mind that the server folder isn't automatically generated: you won't find it on your desktop if you haven't made one manually:

  1. Right-click your desktop

  2. Create a folder

  3. Move the server files into the folder.

And don't forget to name it Minecraft Server.

2. Backup

After you finish updating the server, you'll need to recover some data. Copy and store in a safe separate location those files:

  • banned-ips.txt

  • banned-players.txt

  • ops.txt


You will need them to restore configurations and settings.


3. Saving the "world"

Now to save your Minecraft world, copy the folder titled "world" and put it in the same place together with the backed up configuration files. This way the risk of losing what you have created will be nullified.

4. Start script

In case you prefer a start-script, which launches your Minecraft server - copy/place it in a separate location to launch it instantly later.

5. Erase everything

As soon as you have all the crucial server data backed up and stored in a safe place, empty the Minecraft Server folder completely. Such "disemboweling" is necessary to avoid conflict between the older and newer versions of the game.

6. New server

Go to the official website and download the newer server: .exe for Windows, jar. for Mac OS or Linux.

7. Installing new server

Now copy & place the newer server file into the empty Minecraft Server folder.

If you prefer to apply a script/batch file that starts the server then rename the newly obtained server file: erase the digits, which designate the number of the version, from the end of its name. This way the freshly downloaded server file and the starting script will become compatible.

After that click on the exe. or jar. file to run the server and fill the empty folder with the data. As soon as all the files are created - close the server.

8. Restoring settings

To resurrect the previous configurations and the world you've had before - put all the backed up files into the Minecraft Server folder.

Then locate eual.txt, open it and find this line: eula = false. Change it to eula = true, save the txt. file and close it. Note: eula.txt contains Licence Agreement.

9. Success!

Congratulations! You have updated your Minecraft Server almost painlessly.

II. Updating Minecraft Server on Ubuntu

For some of the Linux-users (Ubuntu to be precise), the above-given instruction may prove ineffective. Well the Penguin OS is sometimes known as a hard-to-tame beast.

If you experience any problems, this How to Update Minecraft Server Ubuntu version guide can be helpful:

1. Get your Java right

The very first step is Java installation. Although Ubuntu has no official Java-client, you can trick the system and use an external PPA. For example, the one developed by WebUpd8. Besides you can even install Java Development Kit (JDK) since it includes Java Runtime Environment (JRE).

WebUpd8 method:

  • sudo apt-add-repository ppa:webupd8team/java  

  • sudo apt-get update

  • sudo apt-get install oracle-java8-installer

JDK method:

  • sudo apt-get install default jdk

  • And JDK will be ready for use.

2. Run Minecraft

Now you need to set up a user to run the game, preferably devoid of any sudo-privileges:

  • sudo useradd minecraft

  • sudo mkdir /home/minecraft

After the user has been assigned, create a directory to put the Minecraft files in:

sudo mkdir /usr/local/games/minecraft

Now give the rights to control the directory to the previously created user and switch to that user:

  • sudo chown minecraft:minecraft /usr/local/games/minecraft

  • cd /usr/local/games/minecraft

  • sudo su minecraft

And finally go to and download the freshest server file in the jar. format:

Then find elua.txt, open it and change eula = false to eula = true in order to accept the License Agreement.  You can do it faster via the command:

  • nano eula.txt.

After that run the server by executing this command:

  • java -Xms1G -Xmx1G -jar minecraft_server.jar nogui

Check if it starts correctly and then shut the current user's session.

3. The staring script

Now you need a script that will launch the game every time the server reboots.  Here's the full script:

However to make it work you'll need to do a couple of changes:

  1. Copy & paste the entire scrip-code into your own file: sudo nano /etc/init.d/minecraft

  2. Change MCPATH variable to MCPATH='/usr/local/games/minecraft'

  3. Change BACKUPPATH variable to BACKUPPATH='/home/minecraft/minecraft.backup'

  4. Save the changes you made and exit the file.

To make the file usable enter:

  • sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/minecraft

And automatic launching is possible via: sudo chkconfig minecraft on.

4. Back-up copy

Now stop Minecraft if it's running and copy those files:

  • sudo /etc/init.d/minecraft stop

  • sudo cp -r /usr/local/minecraft ~/minecraftbackup-$(date +%Y-%m-%d)

And now finish the update and restart the game:

  • sudo su minecraft

  • wget -O /usr/local/games/minecraft/minecraft_server.jar

  • exit

  • sudo /etc/init.d/minecraft start

Keep in mind that 1.13.2 is the Minecraft Server version available currently - it may be different at the time you read this instruction.

III. Alternative ways

For those, who use Minecraft Bukkit, Spigot, Forge etc. there are two alternative ways to update the Minecraft server.

1. JAR dropdown

  1. Choose the server you want to update

  2. Go to the Details page

  3. On the Details page locate the value-labeled jar. file and a dropdown that has a list of jar. files, which can be used for instant updating.

  4. Choose the version you'd like to update and then click Save.

  5. Reboot the server so it can load its newer version.

2. Via FTP

  1. Download and install an FTP-client: FileZilla, Cyberduck, Transmit, FireFTP etc. Only a client version, not a server version of the FTP software.

  2. Connect to your Minecraft server FTP - it has the same password as the server control panel.

  3. Download a new Minecraft server jar. file.

  4. Within the FTP browser locate the /jar folder (root of the file server). In case you fail to do so - create it manually.

  5. Upload the jar. file you have downloaded to that folder.

Don't forget that it works only with modified versions of the official Minecraft Vanilla (such as CraftBukkit).