The Nether

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A view of the Nether.

Explore a scary new realm! A brand new hell world for fast travel. Portal in, move ten meters, portal out, and you’re hundreds of meters away.

The Halloween Update promo poster

The Nether is a red, molten, hell-like dimension that contains fire, lava, and dangerous mobs.


Budget version (left), Full portal (right)

To access the Nether, the player must construct a nether portal in the Overworld (portals created in the End do not activate). To create the portal, the player must first build a rectangular obsidian frame, ranging in size from a minimum of 4×5 to a maximum of 23×23. Once the frame is built, it can then be activated by placing fire within the frame, using flint and steel, fire charge, dispensers or any materials.

An activated portal allows most entities (with the exception of the wither, the ender dragon, and entities riding or being ridden by another entity) to be transported to a corresponding portal in the Nether. In Survival, the player must stand in a nether portal for 4 seconds to get to the Nether. The player can step out of a portal before it completes its animation to abort the teleport. The portal generates a sound effect while the player is inside it. If there is no corresponding portal, a new 4×5 portal is created. The portal can be destroyed by breaking the obsidian frame, by a nearby explosion, or by placing water or lava into it with a bucket or dispenser. Any of the corner blocks can be destroyed without destroying the portal.

In the Old world type, it is impossible to construct a Nether portal. The portal block must be placed using cheats.‌[Bedrock Edition only]


The terrain is largely composed of netherrack that forms complex platforms and niches, with frequent lava oceans, 'lavafalls', and rivers of lava. Lava sources hidden in the netherrack are also common, making large mining projects dangerous. Random fires across the netherrack are yet another hazard to the unwary player.

Bedrock comprises the top (below layer 127) and bottom 4 layers in a rough pattern. In the infinite worlds of the Java and Bedrock Editions, the Nether is also horizontally infinite. In Bedrock Edition, the build limit in the nether is 128 blocks, despite it being 256 in all other dimensions.

Glowstone clusters generate on ceilings, and mushrooms grow abundantly on the ground. There are patches of floating gravel and soul sand. Small caverns form in the netherrack, which contain random nether quartz deposits. Near the level of the lava oceans, patches of magma blocks generate within the netherrack, making travel difficult and potentially damaging to armor.

Nether fortresses, the Nether's only naturally occurring structures, provide valuable loot, and are the only places where blazes and wither skeletons naturally spawn. Nether fortresses are also the only places where nether wart naturally generates.

The Nether has no day-night cycle and no weather. Natural sources of light include fire, lava, portals, and glowstone. Even with a light level of 0, the Nether has a dim ambient light (roughly equivalent to light level 8 in the Overworld). Light otherwise functions exactly the same as it does in the Overworld and the End.

Any player who dies in the Nether respawns in the Overworld; any surviving items remain in the Nether where the death occurred.

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. For example, in a perfect scenario, a player who enters a portal in the Overworld at x=0, z=0 and travels in the Nether to x=1000, z=1000 returns to the Overworld at x=8000, z=8000. This makes portals a useful tool for traveling very long distances in the Overworld.

An image of the Nether with a nether fortress.

Most items and blocks in the Nether function the same as they do in the Overworld, with a few notable exceptions:

  • Beds explode and cause fires when a player attempts to sleep in one. It has an explosion power of 5. The explosion is larger than that of TNT, which has an explosion power of 4.
  • There is no way to place liquid water in the Nether without the use of commands, besides the usage of a cauldron.
    • Using water buckets produces steam particles and a hissing sound, leaving the player with an empty bucket.
    • Ice that is melted or smashed in the Nether does not produce water.
    • If somehow placed using cheats, water takes on a reddish-brown color.‌[Bedrock Edition only]
    • If placed from a water bucket into a cauldron, water takes on a reddish-brown color.
  • Lava flows twice as far (8 blocks) and much faster in the Nether than in the Overworld.
  • Grass blocks and leaves take a dead-looking brownish color since the Nether is a warm biome.
  • Maps generate a brown-gray static pattern. The player's direction indicator spins randomly; its location is still relative to the player's location in the Nether, except in the New Nintendo 3DS Edition, where it is always in the center of the map.
  • Compasses and clocks spin wildly, making it impossible to tell the time while in the Nether.
  • Snow golems rapidly take fire damage and die, due to the Nether being a warm biome. However, they can survive if they have the Fire Resistance status effect.
  • Wet sponge become dried out.


The Nether is home to its own share of mobs, most of which are fire- and lava-proof. Skeletons, chickens, and endermen are the only Overworld mobs that can naturally spawn in the Nether; in Java Edition, baby zombie pigmen may spawn as chicken jockeys.

Other Overworld mobs do not naturally spawn in the Nether, but can be teleported through portals (with the exception of withers and ender dragons).

ZombiePigmanFace.png GhastFace.png MagmaCubeFace.png BlazeFace.png WitherSkeletonFace.png SkeletonFace.png PigmanJockeyFace.png EndermanFace.png ZombieFace.png
Zombie Pigman Ghast Magma Cube Blaze Wither Skeleton Skeleton Pigman Jockey[JE only] Enderman Zombie


Generated Structures[edit]

Name Description Image
Lava sea Lava seas are found at and below level 30 in the Nether. They make a large portion of the Nether, and are extremely common. They can stretch for hundreds of meters in any direction, and are usually bordered by netherrack (or more rarely soul sand and/or magma blocks). Swimming Ghasts.jpg
Fortress Fortresses are large, bridge-like generated structures in the Nether, containing dangerous mobs but also valuable loot. They are the only places where wither skeletons and blazes generate naturally. View Fortress.png
Glowstone clusters Glowstone clusters are typically veins of glowstone that can be among the hardest natural materials to harvest that don't require digging. They form in coral-like structures on the underside of hanging netherrack, so they are often found on the ceilings of the Nether, where they provide light along with the ever present lava. GlowstoneInNether.png
Hidden Lava A single block of lava generated randomly within netherrack. HiddenlavainNether.png
Nether Quartz Ore veins Large "veins" consisting of nether quartz ore blocks. Quarts In the Nether.png
Magma Block veins Large "veins" consisting of magma blocks. Nether Magma Block.png
Soul Sand patches Small "patches" of soul sand usually occurring around layer 64. SoulSand.png
Gravel patches Small "patches" of gravel usually occurring around layer 64. Gravel in Nether.png


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.
N Requires additional data in the item's NBT data 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 as an item. (Can only be placed using block-placement commands such as /setblock or /fill.)
Blue Available in the Creative mode inventory by item list.
Purple Available in Creative mode by block picking.
Teal Can be obtained by trading with villagers or in the Creative mode inventory.
Green Only available by having Enchanted tools or in the Creative mode inventory.
Lime Green Only available by having Enchanted tools or via use of /give or inventory editors, but unobtainable in the Creative mode inventory.
Gray Unused data.

Naturally generated[edit]

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

Icon Dec Hex Namespaced ID Block
0 0 air Air
Bedrock JE2 BE2.png 7 7 bedrock Bedrock
Lava.png 11 B lava Stationary Lava S
Gravel Revision 5.png 13 D gravel Gravel
Brown Mushroom JE2 BE2.png 39 27 brown_mushroom Brown Mushroom
Red Mushroom JE2 BE2.png 40 28 red_mushroom Red Mushroom
Fire.png 51 33 fire Fire S
Netherrack JE4 BE2.png 87 57 netherrack Netherrack
Soul Sand JE2 BE2.png 88 58 soul_sand Soul Sand
Glowstone JE4 BE2.png 89 59 glowstone Glowstone
Nether Quartz Ore JE3 BE2.png 153 99 quartz_ore Nether Quartz Ore
Magma Block JE2 BE2.png 213 D5 magma_block Magma Block

Naturally created[edit]

Naturally created blocks are created through a combination of events that lead these blocks to be placed by natural causes, not by the player.

Icon Dec Hex Namespaced ID Block
0 0 air Air
Lava.png 10 A flowing_lava Lava S
Brown Mushroom JE2 BE2.png 39 27 brown_mushroom Brown Mushroom
Red Mushroom JE2 BE2.png 40 28 red_mushroom Red Mushroom
Obsidian JE3 BE2.png 49 31 obsidian Obsidian
Portal.png 90 5A portal Nether Portal


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

Icon Dec Hex Namespaced ID Block
0 0 air Air
Lava.png 11 B lava Stationary Lava S
Spawner JE3.png 52 34 mob_spawner Spawner E
Chest.png 54 36 chest Chest S E
Soul Sand JE2 BE2.png 88 58 soul_sand Soul Sand
Nether Bricks JE3.png 112 70 nether_bricks Nether Bricks
Nether Brick Fence Revision 2.png 113 71 nether_brick_fence Nether Brick Fence
Nether Brick Stairs.png 114 72 nether_brick_stairs Nether Brick Stairs S
Nether Wart.png 115 73 nether_wart Nether Wart I S


The Hell biome is used to generate the Nether dimension. Within this biome, mobs such as ghasts, packs of zombie pigmen, the occasional magma cube and enderman spawn. Certain structures, such as nether quartz ore, glowstone veins, and nether fortresses generate only in the Nether. While water cannot be placed in the Nether dimension, ice can and water lakes (and other Overworld structures) can still generate, if the Nether is used in a superflat or buffet preset.

In Bedrock Edition, if the nether is used as the biome for overworld generation, a bedrock ceiling generates at altitude 128. If a river generates in the nether biome, the bedrock ceiling does not generate over the river biome (which exposes sunlight). The terrain consists entirely of stone, without any netherrack or nether related block generated. Although the terrain is entirely stone, no ore is generated (including dirt, gravel, andesite, etc). Caverns and lakes (with red colored water) still generate. The player is still able to place water in an overworld nether biome, but trying to sleep in a bed still causes an explosion.

Technical information[edit]


Java Edition:

Dimension Namespaced ID Numeric ID
The Nether the_nether -1
Biome Namespaced ID
Nether nether

Bedrock Edition:

Dimension Numeric ID
The Nether -1
Biome Namespaced ID
Nether hell


In Java Edition, the Nether is stored in .minecraft/saves/worldname/DIM-1. Deleting this file resets the Nether, so that all player-made changes and buildings in that dimension are undone.

In Bedrock Edition, the com.mojang/minecraftWorlds/world ID/db folder contains several collections of chunks. Some of these files are used for the Nether, but it is impossible to tell which ones simply by reading the file name.


Icon Achievement In-game description Actual requirements (if different) Availability Xbox points earned Trophy type (PS)
Xbox PS Bedrock Nintendo
Into The NetherBuild a portal to the NetherLight a nether portal.YesPS3YesYes40GSilver
PS4, PSVitaBronze


There is a whole tab dedicated for the Nether in the advancement system, all involving visiting the Nether in some way in order to advance.

Icon Advancement In-game description Parent Actual requirements (if different) Namespaced ID
Advancement-plain-raw.png NetherBring summer clothesEnter the Nether dimension.nether/root
Advancement-fancy-raw.png Return to SenderDestroy a Ghast with a fireballNetherKill a ghast using a ghast fireball.nether/return_to_sender
Advancement-fancy-raw.png Subspace BubbleUse the Nether to travel 7 km in the OverworldNetherUse the Nether to travel between 2 points in the Overworld with a minimum horizontal distance of 7000 blocks between each other, about 875 blocks in the Nether.nether/fast_travel
Advancement-plain-raw.png A Terrible FortressBreak your way into a Nether FortressNetherEnter a Nether fortress.nether/find_fortress
Advancement-fancy-raw.png Uneasy AllianceRescue a Ghast from the Nether, bring it safely home to the Overworld... and then kill itReturn to SenderKill a Ghast in the Overworld.nether/uneasy_alliance
Advancement-plain-raw.png Spooky Scary SkeletonObtain a Wither Skeleton's skullA Terrible FortressHave a wither skeleton skull in your inventory.nether/get_wither_skull
Advancement-plain-raw.png Into FireRelieve a Blaze of its rodA Terrible FortressHave a blaze rod in your inventory.nether/obtain_blaze_rod
Advancement-plain-raw.png Withering HeightsSummon the WitherSpooky Scary SkeletonBe within a 100.9×100.9×103.5 cuboid centered on the Wither when it is spawned.nether/summon_wither
Advancement-plain-raw.png Local BreweryBrew a potionInto FirePick up an item from a brewing stand potion slot (Note that this does not need to be a potion. Water bottles or even empty bottles also trigger this advancement).nether/brew_potion
Advancement-plain-raw.png Bring Home the BeaconConstruct and place a BeaconWithering HeightsBe within a 20×20×14 cuboid centered on a beacon block when it realizes it has become powered.nether/create_beacon
Advancement-fancy-raw.png A Furious CocktailHave every potion effect applied at the same timeLocal BreweryHave all of these 13 potion effects applied to the player at the same time.nether/all_potions
Advancement-oval-raw.png BeaconatorBring a beacon to full powerBring Home the BeaconBe within a 20×20×14 cuboid centered on a beacon block when it realizes it is being powered by a size 4 pyramid.nether/create_full_beacon
Advancement-fancy-raw.png How Did We Get Here?Have every effect applied at the same timeA Furious CocktailHave all of these 26 effects applied to the player at the same time (Note that this is a hidden advancement, meaning that it can only be viewed when the player has completed it).nether/all_effects



Java Edition Indev
0.31 (January 7, 2010)Added a map theme named "Hell". It was a normal map, but with a lava ocean, perpetually dim lighting, and a black sky with dull red clouds. Map themes were later removed in Infdev.
Java Edition Alpha
September 18, 2010Notch mentions the return of the hell biome, and that it will be used for fast travel, based on a transportation method used in the novel series The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. Within a dangerous transportation system, "the Ways", people could travel a massive amount of distance in a few days instead of weeks.
v1.2.0October 4, 2010This announcement poster hinted that the hell world would utilize portals and that distance traveled inside the hell world would be multiplied greatly on the map above ground.
October 8, 2010Notch reveals a new block type, now known as soul sand, that would be included in the new dimension.
October 10, 2010A screenshot was released by Notch depicting what the Nether would look like.
October 11, 2010Notch makes mention of the first mob to be added to the Nether, saying "You will hate the Ghast."
October 25, 2010Notch tweets that he is working on the second new Nether mob, and says that they are less dangerous but are otherwise "pointless."
October 29, 2010Notch was conflicted on naming the new dimension; he wanted to avoid "re-using existing religious names", and wanted to use a more creative and original name. He considered both "the Slip" and "the Nexus" but felt that neither felt "minecrafty enough." It was eventually changed to “the Nether” on the day of the Halloween Update release.
previewA preview of the Halloween Update was sent out to two gaming websites later that day.[1] Interestingly, the name "the Slip" was used in this release.
v1.2.0Added the Nether, including ghasts, zombie pigmen, netherrack, soul sand, glowstone, and nether portals.
v1.2.2Lava was made to flow farther than it did on the Overworld.
Java Edition Beta
May 2, 2011Portals were made to function properly in multiplayer, allowing players in servers to teleport between the Overworld and the Nether.
1.6Test Build 3Beds in the Nether were made to explode if used.
Java Edition
1.0.0September 16, 2011Jens Bergensten tweets a teaser screenshot of changes to the Nether terrain generation, including nether fortresses.
September 19, 2011Jens releases a second teaser screenshot, showcasing the structure of the upcoming nether fortresses.
September 21, 2011Jens mentions that he is finished with most of the new Nether features, including two new mobs, one of which is a "retexturing attempt".
Beta 1.9 PrereleaseMany new additions to the nether, including: magma cubes, blazes (as well as blaze spawners and blaze rods), nether fortresses (including nether bricks, nether brick stairs and Nether brick fences), nether wart, ghast tears dropped by ghasts and gold nuggets dropped by zombie pigmen.
Beta 1.9 Prerelease 4With the addition of the Silk Touch enchantment, it was possible to legitimately obtain water using ice in the Nether.
Beta 1.9 Prerelease 5The ability to pick up ice blocks with the Silk Touch enchantment was removed.
1.2.112w06aSnow golems now take damage in the Nether.
1.3.112w16aAdded the /give command. Using it to get water or flowing_water blocks allows another way to place water in the nether.
12w17aIce can now be obtained with Silk Touch again, but ice no longer melts into water in the Nether.
12w22aRarely, Nether portals spawn zombie pigmen.
12w27aGrowing nether wart is no longer restricted to the Nether – it can be grown in the Overworld and The End.
12w30aMade the Nether less laggy.
1.4.212w32aZombie pigmen can wear armor, and the sword they are holding makes them deal more damage.
12w34aAny mobs and entities can travel through Nether portals.
12w36aAdded wither skeletons.
1.4.612w49aAdded nether brick slabs.
1.513w01aNether quartz ore is added to the Nether, which spawns around netherrack.
1.5.1Lava flows more quickly in the Nether, and hidden lava can be found in the Nether.
1.6.113w18aChests can now be found in nether fortresses.
2013 Music UpdateFour ambient music tracks added for the Nether.
1.7.213w37aAdded the /setblock command which can place water in the Nether.
1.814w03aAdded the /fill command which can place water in the Nether.
14w25aRemoved the item forms of water. The /give command can no longer be used to get water in the nether because water can no longer exist in inventories (just as a placed block). /setblock or /fill should be used in place of /give.
1.915w31aRemoved the Nether fog.
15w31cRe-added the Nether fog.
15w49aThe wither and ender dragon no longer travel through portals.
1.1016w20aEndermen now rarely spawn in the Nether, and can now pick up netherrack.
Added magma blocks.
Added red nether bricks and nether wart blocks, which can be crafted but do not otherwise generate naturally in the Nether.
1.1318w07aVertical air cavities, stretching from bedrock level as far as Y=35 and filled with lava to Y=10, now occur in chains across the bottom of the Nether, often forming extensive ravines.
18w19aRenamed the biome Hell to Nether.
pre5Changed the biome ID hell to nether.
September 28, 2019The Nether Update, which adds more biomes to The Nether, was announced at MINECON 2019.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.12.1April 22, 2015Tommaso Checchi tweets a picture of the Nether, showing that it is officially in development.
He later tweets stating that he won't tell how finished it is or what version it will be in.[2]
build 1Added the Nether.
You can place water in nether breaking ice.
build 6Lava now spreads faster in the Nether.
0.15.0build 1Endermen can now spawn in the Nether, and can now pick up netherrack.
0.16.0build 1Water cannot be placed in nether without inventory editing or using commands.
Pocket Edition
1.0.0Four ambient music tracks added for the Nether.
1.1.3alpha magma blocks.
Added red nether bricks and nether wart blocks, which can be crafted but do not otherwise generate naturally in the nether.
Legacy Console Edition
TU1CU11.0Patch 1Added the Nether.
TU9Added 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.
TU43CU331.36Patch 13Endermen can now spawn in the Nether, and can now pick up netherrack.
Added magma blocks.
Added red nether bricks and nether wart blocks, which can be crafted, but do not otherwise generate naturally in the Nether.
New Nintendo 3DS Edition
0.1.0Added The Nether.
1.3.12Improved view distance.


Issues relating to "The Nether" are maintained on the bug tracker. Report issues there.


  • Upon entering the Nether as a single player, the passage of time freezes in the Overworld, resuming when the player returns unless the /forceload command is used. This is due to the spawn chunks no longer being ticked, and not chunks loading and unloading as some players believe. The spawn chunks are kept loaded when there are no players in the overworld, but most stuff other than basic redstone stops working.
  • 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.
  • In Bedrock Edition, if a section of the bedrock ceiling is removed (e.g., through commands) mobs cannot spawn directly below where the ceiling should be because Nether mobs on the surface have a density cap of 0.


See also[edit]