The Nether

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A view of the Nether.

The Nether is a molten, hell-like dimension, full of 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 will not activate). To create the portal, one must first construct a rectangular obsidian frame, ranging in size from a minimum of 4×5 to a maximum of 23×23. Once the frame is constructed, it can then be activated by placing fire within the frame.

An activated portal will allow 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. If there is no corresponding portal, a new 4×5 portal will be 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, and the portal block can only be placed using cheats.


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. On the Legacy Console Edition, bedrock will be found at the world border. On the New Nintendo 3DS Edition, there is no bedrock wall, but an invisible bedrock wall past the border, and the same applies to Old worlds in the Bedrock Edition if cheats are used to access the Nether.

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 will naturally spawn. Nether fortresses are also the only place where nether wart naturally generates (in the Legacy Console Edition, nether wart will naturally generate anywhere on soul sand).

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.

If the player dies in the Nether, they will respawn in the Overworld; any surviving items will 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, if the player builds and enters a portal in the Overworld at x:0, z:0, travels to x:1000, z:1000 in the Nether, then returns to the Overworld, they will be at x:8000, z:8000. This makes portals a useful tool for traveling very long distances in the Overworld.

In Legacy Console Edition and New Nintendo 3DS Edition, the ratio is different. All worlds on New Nintendo 3DS, and Classic and Small worlds on Console, have a ratio of 3:1. On Console, Medium worlds have a ratio of 6:1, and Large worlds have the ratio of 8:1.

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 will explode and cause fires when a player attempts to sleep in one.
    • The explosion is larger than that of TNT.
  • There is no way to place liquid water in the Nether without the use of cheats, besides the usage of a cauldron.
    • Using water buckets will only produce steam particles and a hissing sound, leaving the player with an empty bucket.
    • Ice that is melted or smashed in the Nether will not produce water.
    • If somehow placed using cheats, 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 will only generate a brown-gray static pattern.
    • The player's direction indicator will spin 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.
  • Building snow golems is essentially useless, as they will rapidly take fire damage and die, due to the Nether being a warm biome. However, they will survive if they have the Fire Resistance status effect.


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; 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
Zombie Pigman Ghast Magma Cube Blaze Wither Skeleton Skeleton Pigman Jockey[JELCE only] Enderman


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 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
Magma Block.png 213 D5 minecraft: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 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


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
Lava.png 11 B minecraft:lava Stationary Lava S
Spawner.png 52 34 minecraft:mob_spawner Spawner E
Chest.png 54 36 minecraft:chest Chest S E
Soul Sand.png 88 58 minecraft:soul_sand Soul Sand
Nether Bricks.png 112 70 minecraft:nether_bricks Nether Bricks
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


The Nether biome is used to generate the Nether. Within this biome, mobs such as ghasts, packs of zombie pigmen, the occasional magma cube and enderman spawn. Certain structures, such as nether quartz, glowstone veins and nether fortresses will only generate 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.

Technical information[edit]


Dimension Name ID Numeric ID
The Nether the_nether -1


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, or to go to the Go menu, hold the Option key, and select the "Library" option.



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; the level.dat in the parent folder is used for all dimensions. 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.

Deleting the DIM-1 file will reset the Nether, so that all player-made changes and buildings in that dimension will be undone.



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.YesYesYesYes40GSilver


There is a whole tab dedicated for the Nether in the advancement system, these advancements will involve visiting the Nether in some way in order to advance.

Icon Advancement In-game description Parent Actual requirements (if different) Internal ID
Advancement-plain-raw.pngNetherBring summer clothesEnter the Nether dimension.minecraft:nether/root
Advancement-fancy-raw.pngSubspace BubbleUse the Nether to travel 7km 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.minecraft:nether/fast_travel
Advancement-plain-raw.pngA Terrible FortressBreak your way into a Nether FortressNetherEnter a Nether fortress.minecraft:nether/find_fortress
Advancement-fancy-raw.pngReturn to SenderDestroy a Ghast with a fireballNetherKill a ghast using a ghast fireball.minecraft:nether/return_to_sender
Advancement-plain-raw.pngInto FireRelieve a Blaze of its rodA Terrible FortressHave a blaze rod in your inventory.minecraft:nether/obtain_blaze_rod
Advancement-plain-raw.pngSpooky Scary SkeletonObtain a wither skeleton's skullA Terrible FortressHave a wither skeleton skull in your inventory.minecraft:nether/get_wither_skull
Advancement-fancy-raw.pngUneasy AllianceRescue a Ghast from the Nether, bring it safely home to the Overworld... and then kill it.Return to SenderKill a Ghast in the Overworld.minecraft:nether/uneasy_alliance
Advancement-plain-raw.pngLocal BreweryBrew a potionInto FirePick up an item from a brewing stand potion slot.minecraft:nether/brew_potion
Advancement-plain-raw.pngWithering HeightsSummon the WitherSpooky Scary SkeletonBe within a 100.9×100.9×103.5 cuboid centered on the Wither when it is spawned.minecraft:nether/summon_wither
Advancement-fancy-raw.pngA Furious CocktailHave every potion effect applied at the same timeLocal BreweryHave all of these 13 potion effects applied to you at the same time.minecraft:nether/all_potions
Advancement-plain-raw.pngBring 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.minecraft:nether/create_beacon
Advancement-fancy-raw.pngHow Did We Get Here?Have every effect applied at the same timeA Furious CocktailHave all of these 23 effects applied to you at the same time. In 1.14,‌[upcoming] additionally have these 2 effects applied at the same time.minecraft:nether/all_effects
Advancement-oval-raw.pngBeaconatorBring 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.minecraft:nether/create_full_beacon


Java Edition Indev
0.31 (January 6, 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.
v1.2.0 October 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.
preview A 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.
v1.2.0 Added the Nether, including ghasts, zombie pigmen, netherrack, soul sand, glowstone, and nether portals.
v1.2.2 Lava 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.
1.6 Test Build 3 Beds in the Nether were made to explode if used.
Java Edition
1.0.0 September 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 Prerelease Many 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 4 With the addition of the Silk Touch enchantment, it was possible to legitimately obtain water using ice in the Nether.
Beta 1.9 Prerelease 5 The ability to pick up ice blocks with the Silk Touch enchantment was removed.
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 can now be obtained with Silk Touch again, but ice no longer melts into water in the Nether.
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.
1.7.2 13w37a Added the /setblock command which can place water in the Nether.
1.8 14w03a Added the /fill command which can place water in the Nether.
14w25a Removed 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.
1.9 15w31a Removed the Nether fog.
15w31c Re-added the Nether fog.
15w49a The wither and ender dragon no longer travel through portals.
1.10 16w20a Endermen 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.
1.13 18w07a Vertical 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.
18w19a Renamed the biome Hell to Nether.
pre5 Changed the biome ID hell to nether.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.12.1 April 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 1 Added the Nether.
You can place water in nether breaking ice.
build 6 Lava now spreads faster in the Nether.
0.15.0 build 1 Endermen can now spawn in the Nether, and can now pick up netherrack.
0.16.0 build 1 Water cannot be placed in nether without inventory editing or using commands.
Pocket Edition
1.0.0 Four ambient music tracks added for the Nether.
1.1.3 alpha Added 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
0.1.0 Added The Nether.
1.3.12 Improved view distance.


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


  • Upon entering the Nether in singleplayer, the Overworld will essentially freeze, and resume 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.
  • In the Legacy Console Edition, everything in the Nether is renewable due to the fact the Nether can be restarted any number of times from the main menu using the "Reset Nether" button. This can be done on Java Edition only by deleting the save folder's DIM-1 file, which resets 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.
  • In the Legacy Console Edition, the nether music in the festive mash-up pack is actually different from the original nether music, with some minor differences.
  • The nether biome was previously called the hell biome.


See also[edit]