Your players will come and go as they play on your server for many reasons. But why let the fun stop when they're not playing on your server? It's easy to keep them up to date and informed about what's going by nurturing your community outside the game.

1) Create A Discord Server

Discord is a gaming centred chat platform that's completely free to use. Discord 'servers' are actually just places to socialise, and setting one up for your server, you can invite your players to get together outside the game, whether by text or voice.

Creating a Discord for your Minecraft server is an important step in server management, with many of the big servers and hosting platforms owning Discord servers for their players to chat and interact.

Discord is not only brilliant at letting your players keep chatting about Minecraft, but also to share their projects and builds and for you to keep them up to date with news and announcements.

Discord has a range of bots that can add features to your server, you can even allow chat messages in your Minecraft server show up in your Discord server and vice versa.

If you're new to Discord you can read more about it here in our PlayerLands University article.

Alternatively, if you're ready to take the plunge, read Discord's guide on creating a Discord server here!

2) Make A Website

Building a website is a useful step in growing your server, and a good place to post information and updates, as well as helping to attract new players. If you've read our guide on Using server listing sites you'll know that your website is the first place potential new users will visit.

Some things worth including on your site:

A map or your Minecraft world using Dynmap
A rules page with all your server's DOs and DON'Ts
Introduce your staff team
Post about upcoming events
Host a forum for users to take part in
Include lots of photos of your server and information about it
Display your server’s status

If you're unsure where to start, the Spigot community has you covered with a range of website templates to choose from, and you can usually host it with the same company that handles your Minecraft server.

3) Create A Forum

Much like hosting a website, you can also run your own forum for users to chat about the game, although that only usually becomes useful when you have a reasonably large numbers of players.

Some of the biggest Minecraft servers have forums, and although those have been falling in usage since Discord became more widely used, they remain very popular.

The three most widely used options for gaming community forums are:

Nameless MC
This is a free solution that requires separate web hosting. Nameless MC offers a number of features designed specifically for Minecraft servers, for example it lets you tie each player's forum account to their Minecraft account. It's still in active development too, so it’s always getting new features.

Enjin is another freebie, and has loads of features to get your forums and website up and running, including DDos protection, a support ticket system, and design tools to help your site stand out. They also offer their own mobile apps. Although Enjin is free they do have paid packages with additional features for growing servers.

For those with a larger budget and wanting something they can really delve into technically, there's XenForo. This software is used on a variety of Minecraft websites from servers to community sites - Spigot's own community runs on XenForo. Using XenForo requires a licence, which starts at $160, and you'll also need to purchase a theme for it. XenForo is not for beginners, but for larger servers this may be the way to go.
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