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Start an Experimental Minecraft 1.20 Server

Last modified on May 9, 2023 in General

mc head By Nathan Young


Minecraft’s 1.20 update isn’t releasing this year, making you and others wait a long time before playing it. This can be inconvenient if you’re wanting to test the upcoming features, especially with your friends. Luckily, Mojang added a new server option in Snapshot 23w07a to allow for this ability. It’s a hidden change in the files, as most owners don’t realize they have it. This means the process to enable new features isn’t widely known in the community, leading some to search for solutions. One of these is our easy-to-use panel, as it completely simplifies the entire process for you and other owners. Keeping this in mind, we’ll walk you through the needed steps to create an experimental Minecraft 1.20 server in this Apex Hosting tutorial.

How to Enable 1.20 Features

Minecraft 1.20 Features

As you may know, snapshots are specifically for the Java edition of Minecraft. This means players using that version can start an experimental Minecraft server, while everyone else on Bedrock has to enable the features differently. We’ll be covering both of these editions, but our focus is on Java users. Setting up the snapshot server is a breeze due to our file editor and user-friendly interface. All it takes is a few clicks and entering a few settings, then you’ll be able to enjoy Minecraft 1.20 features. Some of these include rafts and camels to ride!

Preparing the Server

Before playing on an experimental server, you’ll need to enable and load the snapshot.

  1. Head towards your Apex server panel and locate the Game File section.
    Minecraft Game File

    Important: Make sure to be doing these instructions on the correct Server Profile.

  2. Click the currently used version, then lookup Snapshot 23w07a and select it.
    Minecraft Snapshot Server
  3. Continue to press Change Version and Create New World in the following prompts.
  4. Afterward, choose the Restart Now option so the needed files generate in the server.
    Minecraft Snapshot 23w07a Server
  5. Wait for the server to load, then click Stop on the main panel.


Generating Experimental Worlds

Now that the server is using Snapshot 23w07a, it’s time to configure and generate the world.

  1. In the main server panel, click Config Files near the top left corner.
    Minecraft Config Files
  2. Once there, locate and select the Server Settings (server.properties) option.
    Minecraft Server Settings
  3. From here, scroll down to find the initial-enabled-packs setting.
  4. In the text box, enter the following: vanilla, update_1_20, bundle
    Minecraft 1.20 Experimental Settings
  5. At the bottom of the page, continue to Save the changes.
  6. Afterward, select the I’ll Restart Later option and return to the main panel.
  7. Locate the World section and press Change World, then enter a new name.
    Minecraft Experimental 1.20 World

    Note: It’s best to use “Experimental” or something similar for the world’s name.

  8. When that’s done, click Change World and Restart Now in the following prompts.


Loading the Game

The server’s setup is completed, meaning you’re ready to play with Minecraft 1.20 features.

  1. Open the Minecraft Launcher and click Installations at the top.
    Minecraft Launcher Installations
  2. To the far right, check mark the Snapshots option.
    Minecraft Launcher Snapshots
  3. Once enabled, click the New Installation option near the top.
  4. In the Version dropdown list, locate and select the Snapshot 23w07a option.
  5. Upon doing this, press the Play button on your newly created snapshot profile.
  6. This will download the needed files, then automatically launch the game.
  7. At this point, you can now join the experimental server and start having fun!


Experimental Bedrock Edition

Minecraft Preview Edition

If you’re wanting to play with experimental 1.20 features on Bedrock, then you can use the Preview version of Minecraft. This is a different instance of the game, meaning you have to install it on your device. For Windows, you’ll want to head here to start downloading the Preview. As for iOS users, you need to opt into their beta to gain access. This tends to be completely full, but Mojang allows new players on the 1st of every month. People who use Xbox to play Bedrock can search for “Minecraft Preview” and install it on their console. If you want to learn more about this version of the game, then visit Minecraft Preview FAQ. Any of these methods allow you to play with 1.20 features and possibly new upcoming releases.

Common Issues

Server Isn’t Starting
In cases where the server doesn’t load after switching to Snapshot 23w07a, the likely cause is the world. The only way for experimental features to become available is through a new world. Make sure you’re generating a fresh map for this process, as not doing that may result in the issue. Alternatively, this can be caused by incorrect initial-enabled-packs settings. For example, missing a comma or space can break the file’s format and stop the server from working. Ensure you’re using the right values for the option to successfully enable 1.20 features.
Missing Settings
If you’re unable to locate initial-enabled-packs in the Server Settings, then your server is likely incorrectly set up. Make sure the Game File has “Snapshot 23w07a” selected, but the server must Restart to apply it. Once restarted, try searching for the setting again and make the corresponding changes. However, if you still aren’t seeing it then enter into the FTP File Access area from the main panel. This is located near the top left corner and requires your password to login. Upon entering the FTP panel, find the server.properties file and press Edit. Next, add the following line at the bottom: initial-enabled-packs=vanilla, update_1_20, bundle. Continue to Save these changes, then Restart the server with a new world to start playing.

Useful Links

How to Change the Server’s Version
How to Generate a New Minecraft World
Minecraft Server Hosting

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