The Nether

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A view of the Nether.

The Nether (also known as "the Nexus" in Notch's blog, and previously, Hell or the Slip) is a hell-like dimension accessible only by entering a nether portal from the Overworld. It is home to several hazards, including fire, widespread standing and flowing lava, and Nether-exclusive mobs, items, and blocks.

Locations in the Nether correlate to Overworld coordinates, but horizontal Overworld distances are scaled down by a ratio of 8:1 for travel in the Nether. Therefore, traveling one block in the Nether means traveling eight blocks in the Overworld.

The Nether functions as a second map in a player's world. When it is entered, the chunks from the Overworld map are unloaded, and the Nether chunks load instead. If the player dies in the Nether, they will respawn in the Overworld; any surviving inventory items will remain in the Nether.

Environment[edit | edit source]

Nether terrain is largely composed of netherrack that forms complex platforms and niches, with frequent lava pools, "lavafalls", and streams, and a lava ocean at its floor; it is essentially a complex cave that is hazardous and horizontally infinite. Lava also flows farther and more quickly in the Nether. Bedrock comprises the very top and bottom layers, unlike the Overworld, which has no upper bedrock layer. Glowstone clusters hang from ceilings, and mushrooms grow abundantly on the ground. There are patches of gravel and soul sand, as well as random fires, which are another common Nether hazard. Small tunnels form in the netherrack, which contain random nether quartz deposits, but there are no hidden caverns to explore as in the Overworld.

Zombie pigmen are common, ghasts can spawn in any 5×5×5 area, and magma cubes can occasionally be found. Nether fortresses, the Nether's only naturally occurring structures, are where blazes and wither skeletons can be found. These can provide important dropped items, but present some hazards. Nether fortresses are also the only place where nether wart can be found.

The Nether has no day/night cycle and no weather. The only natural sources of light are fire, lava, portals, and glowstone. A dim ambient light can be seen throughout the Nether, and is what light level 0 looks like. Light otherwise functions similarly to the Overworld: There are 16 levels of brightness; the brightness granted by a light source is reduced by one level with every transparent block it radiates through; and each light source casts the same luminance as it would cast in the Overworld.

An image of the Nether with a nether fortress.

In the console edition, world sizes are limited to 862×862 blocks. In the Overworld, the edge of a map generates an ocean and (mostly) smooth shores, whereas in the Nether this limit is formed by a wall of bedrock that abruptly cuts off the terrain. These bedrock walls aren't smooth, as they seem to be generated in the same way as the bedrock located at the bottom and top layers of the Nether.

Nether-affected materials[edit | edit source]

There is no way to place liquid water in the Nether in a Survival game without cheats, besides the usage of a cauldron. Using water buckets will produce steam and an empty bucket. Ice that is melted or smashed in the Nether will also not produce water.

Trees grow normally, and their leaves take a dead-looking brownish color like in warm biomes.

Maps only show a brown-gray static pattern. The player's direction will be spinning randomly, although its location is still relative to the players location in the Nether. For maps to display the Nether, they must be activated there.

Compasses and clocks arrows and dials will spin and flail randomly.

Beds will explode when a player attempts to sleep in one. The explosion is larger than that of TNT, and it creates fires.

Lava flows twice as far and much faster in the Nether than in the Overworld (generally 8 blocks, instead of 4 blocks).

Building snow golems will only cause them to melt due to the Nether being a warm biome.

Portals[edit | edit source]

Budget version (left), Standard portal (right)

Nether portals are made by creating a frame out of obsidian and then lighting the inside of the frame on fire. When the portal has been lit, a purple mist, as shown in the picture, appears inside it. An entity (not riding or being ridden by another entity) entering the activated portal will be transported to a corresponding portal in the other dimension, creating this portal if necessary. The portal can be destroyed by breaking a frame block, a nearby explosion, or placing water or lava into it with a bucket or dispenser. Mobs from the nether can teleport to the overworld.

File save location[edit | edit source]

The Nether is saved in the same way normal worlds are, in the following locations by default:




~/Library/Application Support/minecraft/saves/worldname/DIM-1

Note: This Library folder is not the one in Macintosh HD, but the one inside your home folder. The only way to access this is to go to the Go menu, and select Go To..., and type ~/Library.



On all systems, be sure to replace "worldname" with the name of your world.

Note that DIM-1 does not contain its own level.dat, as the same level.dat in the upper folder is used for both Overworld and Nether. This means that even if a player changes the level data in the /world folder for a particular save, Nether portals will still take the player to the Nether world originally generated for that save and vice versa.

Blocks, structures, and mobs[edit | edit source]

I Has a different ID as an inventory item.
D Use the item's Damage field to define its durability.
S Requires additional data from the saved game's Data array to fully define the block.
B Requires additional data in the item's Damage field to fully define the inventory item.
E Requires a block entity to store additional data.
Red Cannot be legitimately obtained. Only available using the /give command or via inventory editors.
Light Blue Cannot be obtained no matter what.(Some can be placed using /setblock)
Blue Available in Creative mode by item list.
Purple Available in Creative mode by block picking.
Teal Can be obtained by trading with villagers or in Creative mode.
Green Only available by having Enchanted tools or in Creative mode.
Lime Green Only available by having Enchanted tools or via use of /give or inventory editors, but unobtainable in the Creative mode menu.
Gray Unused data.

Naturally generated[edit | edit source]

Naturally generated includes blocks that are created through the world seed.

Icon Dec Hex Name Block
0 0 minecraft:air Air
Bedrock.png 7 7 minecraft:bedrock Bedrock
Lava.png 11 B minecraft:lava Stationary Lava S
Gravel.png 13 D minecraft:gravel Gravel
Brown Mushroom.png 39 27 minecraft:brown_mushroom Brown Mushroom
Red Mushroom.png 40 28 minecraft:red_mushroom Red Mushroom
Fire.png 51 33 minecraft:fire Fire S
Netherrack.png 87 57 minecraft:netherrack Netherrack
Soul Sand.png 88 58 minecraft:soul_sand Soul Sand
Glowstone.png 89 59 minecraft:glowstone Glowstone
Nether Quartz Ore.png 153 99 minecraft:quartz_ore Nether Quartz Ore

Naturally created[edit | edit source]

Naturally Created means a combination of events that cause a new block to be placed by natural causes, not the player.

Icon Dec Hex Name Block
0 0 minecraft:air Air
Lava.png 10 A minecraft:flowing_lava Lava S
Brown Mushroom.png 39 27 minecraft:brown_mushroom Brown Mushroom
Red Mushroom.png 40 28 minecraft:red_mushroom Red Mushroom
Obsidian.png 49 31 minecraft:obsidian Obsidian
Portal.png 90 5A minecraft:portal Nether Portal

Structures[edit | edit source]

These blocks are generated as part of nether fortresses, but only when the "generated structures" option is on.

Icon Dec Hex Name Block
0 0 minecraft:air Air
Monster Spawner.png 52 34 minecraft:mob_spawner Monster Spawner E
Chest.png 54 36 minecraft:chest Chest S E
Soul Sand.png 88 58 minecraft:soul_sand Soul Sand
Nether Brick.png 112 70 minecraft:nether_brick Nether Brick
Nether Brick Fence.png 113 71 minecraft:nether_brick_fence Nether Brick Fence
Nether Brick Stairs.png 114 72 minecraft:nether_brick_stairs Nether Brick Stairs S
Nether Wart.png 115 73 minecraft:nether_wart Nether Wart I S

Mobs[edit | edit source]

The Nether is home to its own share of mobs. Most nether mobs are completely fire-proof and can often be seen wandering into lava, where it will take them a while to get out due to the slowdown it causes on movement.

  • Ghast
    , huge jellyfish-like creatures, will lazily hover around. They are 4×4×4 blocks large, and have 9 tentacles hanging from them. If they spot the player, they will shoot fireballs at them, which can be deflected by shooting arrows at them, punching them or hitting them with any tool. The reflected fireballs will instantly kill the ghast, if it is hit. These will explode and often leave craters, if the blast-site is weak enough. They make screeching and whimpering noises, something like a purring kitten or an angry baby (actually taken from C418's cat), and can be heard from great distances. Also, they can be killed by firing 2 arrows and hitting the ghast. If killed, they drop gunpowder and/or ghast tears, used in brewing.

  • Zombie Pigmen
    spawn in groups and wander aimlessly. They will not harm the player unless attacked. If they are, all Pigmen within a 32 block radius become hostile, and will rush the player (sprinting speed) if they move within 16 blocks. This often causes ambushes from behind as the player attempts to attack while fleeing. If killed, they drop rotten flesh and sometimes a gold nugget, and even more rarely, a gold ingot. They may also drop their golden swords, which may have one or two low-level enchantments, commonly Sharpness and Knockback enchantments, though rarely Fire Aspect and even rarer, Looting, may be found. Other golden objects may also drop, like a helmet. There are also baby zombie pigmen, which have a 5% chance of spawning instead of a normal pigman and can move considerably faster than their adult counterparts.

  • Blaze
    are found in nether fortresses and are primarily spawned through monster spawners found inside the fortresses. They are able to float and shoot 3 fireballs at the player in quick succession. They appear to catch fire just before shooting fireballs, then "cool down" until they can shoot again. If killed, they drop blaze rods.

  • Magma Cube
    are spring-like mobs that are the Nether version of slimes. If killed, they split into 2-3 smaller versions of the original one. Magma cubes are moderately rare. If killed, they drop magma cream, used in Brewing.

  • Wither Skeleton
    are the Nether equivalent of skeletons and spawn in nether fortresses. Unlike skeletons, however, wither skeletons use stone swords and are over two blocks tall. When hit by a Wither Skeleton, the player may be inflicted with the "Wither" effect for a few seconds, darkening the health bar and further damaging the player. When killed, the mob may drop coal and bones, and very rarely drop a wither skeleton skull (probability: 0.025) and the stone sword. The skulls are the key items to creating the wither.

  • Skeleton
    rarely spawn in nether fortresses in place of wither skeletons. They are one of two mobs (the other being chickens, see below) that naturally spawn in the Nether that are not fireproof.

  • Pigman Chicken Jockeys
    are extremely rare mobs that consist of a baby zombie Pigman riding a chicken. They have the same movement speeds as regular baby pigmen and are immune to fall damage like chickens. If the Pigman rider is killed then the chicken will remain, which will lay eggs as if it was in the Overworld.

Other Overworld mobs like pigs and zombies do not randomly spawn in the Nether, but they can wander or be shoved through a portal. Throwing eggs and constructing golems works as normal (however, snow golems will die from the heat). Spawn eggs work normally in the Nether.

Video[edit | edit source]

Achievements[edit | edit source]

Icon Achievement In-game description Prerequisites Actual requirements (if different) Version restriction Xbox points earned Trophy type (PS)
We Need to Go Deeper Build a portal to the Nether DIAMONDS! Enter a nether portal and then travel to the Nether. PC N/A N/A
Into The Nether Acquire Hardware Light a nether portal. Xbox, PS, and Windows 10 40G Silver

History[edit | edit source]

1.2.0 October 4, 2010 The Nether was one of the key features to be added in the Halloween Update. This announcement stated that there would be a "hell world" that could be used for fast travel.[1] It hinted it would utilize portals and that distance traveled inside the Nether would be multiplied greatly on the map above ground.
October 10, 2010 A screenshot was released by Notch depicting what the Nether would look like.
October 29, 2010 When the preview was sent out to a couple of gaming websites, the new dimension was called the Slip to avoid offending religious people and to have a more original name. It was referred to as 'The Nexus' on his personal blog.[2] It was finally changed to “the Nether” on the day of the Halloween update release.
Halloween Update With the rest of the Halloween Update's features, such as ghasts, zombie pigmen, netherrack, soul sand, glowstone, portals, and pumpkins were added, the Nether was released, and the name - "The Nether" was also changed from the Slip.
1.2.2 Lava was made to flow farther than it did on the Overworld.
1.6 Portals were made to function properly in multiplayer, allowing players in servers to teleport between the Overworld and the Nether.[3]
A bug where the player could have menus open while inside portals. When teleporting, the text on screen would appear totally gray.
Beds in the Nether were made to explode if used.
Official release
1.0.0 Beta 1.9-pre1 Many new additions to the nether, including: Magma cubes, blazes (as well as blaze spawners and blaze rods), nether fortresses (including nether brick, nether brick stairs and Nether brick fences), nether wart, ghast tears dropped by ghasts and gold nuggets dropped by zombie pigmen.
Beta 1.9-pre4 With the new "Silk Touch" enchantment, it was possible to legitimately obtain grass and water using ice in the Nether. Because passive mobs and squid spawn in the only place available, it was possible to use this to control the spawning, which allowed the player to make highly efficient passive mob grinder, something extremely difficult to do in the Overworld since passive mobs stopped despawning in Beta 1.8.
Beta 1.9-pre5 The ability to pick up ice blocks with the enchantment was removed in this pre-release. Water also made Nether mob grinders easier as it can transport items without burning them as well as drown Nether mobs that are immune to lava, such as magma cubes and zombie pigmen.
1.2.1 12w06a Snow golems now take damage in the Nether.
1.3.1 12w16a Added the /give command. Using it to get water or flowing_water blocks allows another way to place water in the nether.
12w17a Ice doesn't make water in the Nether anymore.
12w22a Rarely, Nether portals will spawn zombie pigmen.
12w27a Growing nether wart is no longer restricted to the Nether – it can be grown in the Overworld and The End.
12w30a Made the Nether less laggy.
1.4.2 12w32a Zombie pigmen can wear armor, and the sword they are holding makes them deal more damage.
12w34a Any mobs and entities can travel through Nether portals.
12w36a Added wither skeletons.
1.4.6 12w49a Added nether brick slabs.
1.5 13w01a Nether quartz ore is added to the Nether, which spawns around netherrack.
1.5.1 Lava flows more quickly in the Nether, and hidden lava can be found in the Nether.
1.6.1 13w18a Chests can now be found in nether fortresses.
2013 Music Update Four ambient music tracks added for the Nether.
1.8 14w03a Added the /fill command which can place water in the Nether.
14w26a water and flowing_water removed from the /give command.
1.9 15w31a Removed the Nether fog.
15w31c Re-added the Nether fog.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.12.1 April 22, 2015 Tommaso Checchi tweets a picture of the Nether, showing that it is officially in development.[4] He later tweets stating that he won't tell how finished it is or what version it will be in.[5]
build 1 Added the Nether.
build 6 Lava now spreads faster in the Nether.
Console Edition
TU1 Added the Nether.
TU9 Added new music to the Nether.
Added nether fortresses.
Added Reset Nether option to force regeneration of the Nether. This is helpful for older saves that didn't have a nether fortress.

Issues[edit | edit source]

Issues relating to “The Nether” are maintained on the issue tracker. Report issues there.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The idea for the Nether came from a transportation method used in the novel series The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. Within this transportation system, the Ways, people could travel a massive amount of distance in a few days instead of weeks. Like the Nether, the Ways has many dangers.[6] Notch also once said that Jake, his co-worker, was a big key to the Nether. It isn't clear exactly what that means.
  • One of the level themes in Indev was Hell. It was a normal map, but with a lava ocean, perpetually dim lighting, and a black sky with dull red clouds.
  • Upon entering the Nether in singleplayer, the Overworld will essentially freeze, and resume when the player returns. This is due to chunks loading and unloading.
  • If the player stands on soul sand with lava at the same level adjacent to the soul sand, the player will take damage if he/she steps near the edges of the soul sand. This is due to soul sand being slightly lower in height than other blocks.
  • Pressing F3 in the Nether will display the biome as "Hell".
  • In the Xbox 360 Edition and PlayStation 3 Edition:
    • There is a wall of bedrock surrounding the map to stop the player from crossing the map limit as shown here.
    • Everything in the Nether is renewable due to the fact the Nether can be restarted infinitely.
  • Water in the Nether instantly evaporates and disappears; placing water from a bucket would only make a hissing noise and steam.
    • It can, however, be placed by /setblock, and would act as it would in the Overworld.
    • The /fill command can be used to place water in the Nether.
  • When you place a grass block, it will appear as a faded greenish-yellow color. The faded color also applies to the dirt block.
  • It is possible to complete the game (access the End) without ever entering the Nether.
  • The numbers for the 3 dimensions are: -1=The Nether, 0=The Overworld, 1=The End. This implies that the Nether is the next dimension over from the Overworld in the "down" direction and The End is the next dimension over in the "up" direction.
  • Skeletons and chickens are the only Overworld mobs that can spawn in the Nether. Skeletons have a chance of spawning in nether fortresses, and baby zombie pigmen can spawn as chicken jockeys.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]