Taking the Next Step: Preparing Our Network for Minecraft Server
I need to issue a word of warning, especially if you’re following along with these procedures in your home network environment. Advertising a vanilla Minecraft server to the Internet from home isn’t something you want to do long-term. The reason for this centers on privacy—you likely have more than just Minecraft data on that box. Do you really want to allow anonymous connections from all over the world into your home network and home computer? I didn’t think so.
Sure, for testing and learning the technology it’s fine, but if you want to do anything more than host a few close friends for some Minecraft fun, then I suggest that you consider not only using an honest-to-goodness Minecraft host, but also using a third-party server instead of the vanilla one.
I already mentioned the security and privacy issue as a “deal breaker” for most home-based Minecraft installations. As you work through the rest of this book I’ll make an excellent case for using an online hosting service—be patient!
Discovering Our Computer’s Networking Configuration
You can quickly and easily find out what your computer’s TCP/IP configuration is either by using graphical tools built directly into the operating system, or by using command-line tools. I’ll focus on GUI tools so that we can spend more time analyzing the data and less horsing around with command-line arguments.
On Windows computers, follow this procedure:
- Press Windows+R to bring up the Run dialog box.
- Type ncpa.cpl and press Enter. This command opens your network connections folder and in my experience is much faster than monkeying around with Control Panel.
- In the Network Connections folder, double-click the appropriate network interface.
- In the Ethernet Status window, click Details.
In the Network Connection Details window, shown in Figure 4.3, scan the output, paying attention to the following fields:
- IPv4 Address
- IPv4 Subnet Mask
- IPv4 Default Gateway (this is the router’s internal IP address)
- IPv4 DHCP Server (this should also point to your router’s internal IP address)
FIGURE 4.3 The Windows Control Panel gives us access to all computer TCP/IP configuration settings.
On OS X computers, try the following:
- Open the Apple menu and click System Preferences.
- In the System Preferences pane, click Network.
In the Network window, shown in Figure 4.4, select your Internet-connected network and scan the results. Pay attention to the following fields:
- IP Address
- Subnet Mask
- Router (this is called “default gateway” in Windows, but the two terms are synonymous)
FIGURE 4.4 Viewing our network connection details in Apple OS X Mavericks.
Viewing Our Router’s Configuration
Now this is the tricky part because there exists a huge variety of router hardware. Are you a cable Internet subscriber, or do you use DSL? Or satellite? Does your Internet router have a built-in Wi-Fi access point, or have you “daisy-chained” a Wi-Fi router behind your Internet router? Sheesh—so potentially confusing.
Let’s assume that our internal network devices connect to a single Comcast cable modem router. With very few exceptions, you’re allowed to log in to your router directly to make configuration changes. You already know the router’s private IP address; this is your computer’s default gateway address.
Therefore, open a web browser and navigate to that address by using the web standard Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). For instance, here’s what I need to type in my browser’s address bar to reach my cable modem router:
My router’s web-based console and logon screen is shown in Figure 4.5.
FIGURE 4.5 Most residential routers allow you to log in directly to make configuration changes.
After you’re in the router’s web interface, you can browse around to check settings and make changes. Here are some of the high points:
- Summary of the router’s public and private IPv4 addresses
Details concerning its DHCP setup (shown in Figure 4.6)
FIGURE 4.6 Your router’s administrative interface tells you exactly how the device operates. Here we see the router’s public and private IPv4 addresses.
- Ability to forward specific traffic to the private internal network from the public Internet