Having been a server owner for over 9 years now, I think it's safe to say I've been around long enough to see what works and what doesn't. Many people think having their own server makes them "cool" or "special" and rush into creating a server without knowing any of the essentials. Hopefully upon reading this guide, you'll understand what to do and what not to do.
Knowing what your server will be about
This is the most integral part in coming up with your own server. Before starting your server, you should have a general idea on what you want your server's purpose to be. The majority of servers on this site are effortless and generic freebuilds that offer little-to-nothing except for a freebuild map and overseer maps. You'll notice that these types of servers rarely get players because they are inherently boring and bring nothing new to the table.
If you really want to stick with the freebuild genre, you should at least come up with some ideas on extra features to add to the server to ensure people don't get bored. Here are some ideas you could try:
Themed freebuild maps
An economy/money system
A server theme. E.g, oriental/fantasy, sci-fi/futuristic, modern, medieval etc.
Your server's image
So you've come up with your server idea, now you just need a fancy name to lure the players in. You should include something related to your server's genre in your server's name. For example, if you are running a zombie survival server, you could set it to something like this: [Zombie Survival] Reign of Blood . This will tell people what your server is about and improve your chances of getting them to join.
You should try and stay away from names that include your username. For example, Venk's Server. This is very boring and people probably won't join.
Maturity and professionalism
The way your server comes across is very important. If you want your server do well, you should typically stay away from messages that are rude or contain swearing/slurs. Don't get me wrong, there are a bunch of toxic servers out there that occasionally do well but at the end of the day, they all die out eventually. Grammar and punctuation is optional but it helps a lot. You should avoid stuff like this in any form of representations of the server:
Bad: if u guys wanna go to other maps u should type the cmd /goto map
Good: You can join other maps by typing /goto [map].
In regards to maturity, you should at least try and act mature but you do you... Below is an example of what to include and not to include in your rules.
Bad: dont grief or u'll be banned!! WE DONT ALLOW GRIEFERS ON THIS SERVER SO JUST DONT!!!
Good: Griefing is not allowed on the server.
Hiring the right staff
Chances are, you're not going to be on the server all the time, right? Having trustworthy staff online is a huge help and will heavily benefit you further down the track. Every server has their own expectations of staff but here is a template on what to look for in a staff member:
Have they been active on the server? If they've only been on for like a couple of hours total, they're probably not a great choice as you may not know much about them.
If they ask for staff, don't give it to them. Back in the day we used to call these people "Leeches" and muted them right off the bat...
Are they respectful towards other players? You should probably refrain from hiring someone who is constantly carrying on and being rude to other people.
This should ultimately go without saying but don't abuse your power. Just because you have a higher rank than someone doesn't mean you can behave like an ignoramus. I've seen countless instances where staff members abuse players and it's just despicable. You should also put your personal feelings towards someone aside and only punish them if they've actually violated the rules. "I just don't like them." is not a valid reason to punish somebody.
If you want to provide a memorable experience for your players, you should make the server visually pleasing. A good-looking server hub or lobby is a great start as it immediately shows players that you've put some time into the server. If you don't consider yourself a good enough builder, I recommend asking a friend that you think is a good builder and see if they are willing to help.
This might not seem to be that important but colours also help promote visual aesthetic. You should try and stay away from setting colours that are so bold and defining such as black, gray, maroon or navy. These colours are quite irritating to look at when used frequently. In MCGalaxy servers, you can add your own colours with the /customcolours command.
Textures and block palette
If your server software doesn't support these features, feel free to skip this section.
As much as the default textures provide a sense of nostalgia, it gets old fast and people want to try something new.
More tips coming soon!