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Nether Portal

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Minecraft Portal

A portal ready to be used. The entire portal is not shown, the bottom row is covered by the stairs.

Portal comparison

2 different kinds of The Nether portal

The Nether Portal was part of the October 31st, 2010 Halloween Update.[1] It consists of a 4X5 frame of Obsidian.The corners of the frame are not required to build the portal and can be mined after creating the portal, and only serve an aesthetic purpose. Once the frame is constructed, the player then sets the space inside the frame on fire, using flint and steel, or Lava and a flammable block. This creates 6 portal blocks inside the frame, resembling a vortex. While a Nether portal frame can be built in The End, they cannot be lit/activated.


When the player stands in a Nether portal block for a few seconds, the player is taken to The Nether. The player can step out of a portal before it completes its animation to abort the teleport. A portal will also be created in the place where you enter The Nether, which you can again enter to be returned to the normal world. Building multiple portals on the map within a certain proximity will all lead to the same portal in The Nether, and the same thing happens vice versa.

The purple portal blocks emit light of level 11, which is less powerful than a Torch, but more than glowing Redstone Ore. Like Bedrock, portal blocks cannot be broken (although they can disappear); however, they can be placed with modding. It only takes one block of portal to teleport to The Nether. Through the use of an inventory hack, you can place these portal blocks anywhere, but when a non-portal, non-obsidian block is set down adjacent to it, it will remove itself. The ambient portal music can always be heard from these modded blocks, even without an obsidian frame. Interestingly, when mined the portal blocks create a sound alike to Glowstone and Glass blocks.

TNT, an exploding Bed, a Ghast's fireball explosion or an exploding Creeper can also disable a portal, but cannot destroy the surrounding Obsidian because of its strength. In versions before 1.0.0, portals would also be deactivated if water or lava flowed through the frame. Since 1.0.0, this is no longer possible; however, a bucket of water dropped inside the frame of an active portal will deactivate it. It is possible to "re-ignite" portals by setting the space inside the frame on fire once again. One can also activate a portal in The Nether by using an exploding Bed, as this will spread random fires and have a chance of igniting the portal.

Contrary to popular belief, a fire lit next to a portal cannot deactivate it. This statement was probably due to ghasts' fireballs disabling them. If a portal is deactivated, and the player dies without activating it again, the next time they enter the Nether, a new portal will be created.

The purple portal-interior blocks always occur in groups of six filling the obsidian frame, but if a single portal block is edited in and placed on the ground, it can still be used to travel to the Nether.

Linkage between Overworld and Nether

The Nether is proportional to the Overworld in the 1:8 ratio in terms of horizontal distances. By moving 1 block horizontally in the Nether, players have moved the equivalent of 8 blocks on the Overworld. This does not apply on the Y-axis, as the Nether has the full 128 layers and is 1:1. Portals do not "remember" what portal they are linked to in the other world, but instead perform the following whenever a portal is used by a player:

  1. Calculate the destination coordinates based on the entry coordinates by flooring the X- and Z-coordinates (rounding down, not towards zero—an X- or Z-coordinate of -29.5 becomes -30, not -29), then multiplying or dividing them by 8 depending on direction of travel. The Y-coordinate is not modified. This translation can be represented by the following pseudocode:
    {X, Y, Z} → {floor(X) ×/÷ 8, Y, floor(Z) ×/÷ 8}
  2. At destination, the game looks for the closest active portal block within a 128-block "radius" (actually, a maximum distance along a horizontal axis) of the player (257 × 257 × 128 tall box volume centered on destination coordinate). An active portal is defined as a portal block that does not have another portal block below it, thus only the 2 lowest portal blocks in the obsidian frame are considered. If one exists, teleport the player to the closest one.
  3. If no active portal blocks exists in the above search region, the game creates one by looking for the closest possible valid position within a 16-block "radius" column (33 × 33 × 128 tall box volume centered on the destination coordinate) that has enough space to spawn a portal and is on solid ground. The game prefers to create the exit portal with the same facing orientation as the entry portal, but will check the other 3 directions as well. Regardless of orientation, the closest valid position is always picked.
  4. And if there are no valid spawn locations within the spawn region above, the game will finally create a portal at the destination coordinate (and clamp the Y-coordinate to between 70 and 118), converting any blocks (including air blocks) in the way into a portal. Such a portal has 4 extra obsidian blocks placed on both sides of the portal to prevent the player from falling.

This is described in more detail at


  • Likelihood of 2 overworld portals linking to the same Nether portal - Normal World portals that are within 1024 distance of each other on either X or Z axis are almost always going to link to the same Nether realm portal on initial construction because 1024 translates to a distance of 128 in the Nether Realm, and the game checks for existing Portals within 128 "radius" around the destination (the 257x257x128 box).
  • Pairing portals - To setup pairs of Nether portals properly so that they reliably travel to each other, it is best to build both portals manually. Build at desired location X,Y,Z in the Normal World. Then travel to the Nether World. And then dig your way to X/8, Y, Z/8, and build a portal there.
    A less precise method would be to temporarily deactivate all portals within a 128 block "radius" from within The Nether. Through death or with the aid of a second player, entering a new portal from the Normal World will force the creation of a new portal within the Nether which the Normal World portal should prefer. This is not recommended as it limits how close Normal World portals can be placed due to the Zone of exclusions and can lead to unpredictable placement of the resulting portal.
  • Zones of exclusion - The Nether portal spawning algorithm can only spawn portals that is within a 33x33 block column centered on the destination. This will often cause it to spawn a portal at a location significantly different than the corresponding location in the other world. The larger the distance between two linked portals, the larger the zone of exclusion. This zone is the area in each world where you cannot build another portal without breaking the link between the first two portals. One way to think of this zone is as spheres around each portal, each of a true radius equal to its distance to the other. For example, if the Normal world portal was at (0,50,0) and the Nether portal at (0,100,0), then each portal is 50 meters away from the other. In this (simple) case, if a Nether portal was built closer than 50 meters to (0,50,0), then the Normal World portal will now link to it.
    If you wish to ensure that two portals link together, manually build portals as close as possible in all 3 coordinate axes. It doesn't have to be exact, or even all that close, if the player ensures that no other portals will be constructed in the exclusion zone created by the difference.
  • 1-way long distance teleport - The portal choosing algorithm can be used for long distance travel by manual construction at carefully selected coordinates. If the player has a Portal in Normal world at (0,64,0) but makes a Nether Portal at (127,64,127) with its perfect Normal World pair at (1016, 64, 1016), then the portal at (0,64,0) will go to the Nether Portal correctly (1-way trip) because it is the only portal available within the 128 search distance along X and Z horizontal axes of the expected Nether portal position of (0,64,0). In about 15 seconds, the player can then travel 1436 meters in the Normal World. This specific form of fast travel by Portal is one-way, since the Nether portal will not find this Normal World portal. Given that a railway in the nether would need to span only 180 meters to go this distance, it is usually not worth making such portal links. However, it is theoretically possible to make a one-way ring of portals, with each Normal World to Nether jump going a long distance, but such a ring would easily be disrupted due to the huge exclusion zones created.[2]
  • Non-exploit water ladder replacement. - The Nether Portal is an also entirely viable, two-way replacement for the water or conventional ladder.[3]
  • 2-in-1 Nether Portals - It is possible to end up in a situation where a Nether Portal "randomly" places the player in 1 of 2 possible Normal World destination portals. This is simply because the Nether Portal has two effective coordinates as it is 2 blocks wide, say (X, Y, Z) on the left, and (X+1, Y, Z) on the right. If the player entered on the left side, (X, Y, Z) translates to (X*8, Y, Z*8) in the overworld and the game picks the portal closest to that. If the player entered on the right side, (X+1, Y, Z) translates to (X*8+8, Y, Z*8) and the game picks a portal closest to that point instead. This situation occurs when the Nether Portal's location is roughly equidistant between the 2 Normal World portals (within 8 blocks overworld distance difference). However, building 2 Nether Portals side by side is probably better for destination clarity than building a 2-in-1 portal. It is possible to span distances with pairs of portals in this way, though normally faster to simply walk through the Nether.[4]
  • Spawning a portal in the air - It is possible for a destination portal (either in the Nether or in the Overworld) to spawn floating in the air. If your portal spawns in the air, it will generate a 1x2x1 obsidian platform in the front and back of the portal.This can only occur if there is no possible spawn location in the entire 33x33x128 column of search region to find a suitable spot to place a fresh new portal AND there are no existing portals within the 128 block "radius" to link to.


The following is a video walkthrough of how to get Obsidian, building a Nether Portal, activating it with Flint and Steel, and then entering The Nether


  • In 1.7.2, Nether Portals can now be made bigger or any shapes (cannot be made smaller).
  • Prior to Beta 1.6, Nether Portals could be created in SMP servers but did not function to teleport players to The Nether, thus SMP servers required modding to access the Nether.; since 1.6, Nether Portals now work in SMP.
  • Since 1.9 pre-release 4, the portal has changed, having a slight darker look.
  • In the 1.9 prereleases, it was possible to smash portals by simply punching them.
  • In the 1.0.0 release, it is no longer possible to deactivate Nether Portals with Water or Lava. Either will stop before hitting the portal and act as though portal is solid object.




  • Prior to the Alpha 1.2.0 release, Notch suggested it would be possible for Ghasts to rarely appear on Earth near a portal.[5] but Jeb later stated that the feature has not been implemented.[6]
  • If you warp from world to world, the direction you are facing is maintained. (i.e. if you were facing east on the overworld and you warped to the Nether, you would still be facing east in the Nether)
  • An automatically generated portal may be built at a 90 degree angle to the one you entered.
  • Even when a portal is built with only 10 blocks of Obsidian (by leaving out the corners), the portal frame spawned on the other side will have the full 14 blocks. You can then again harvest the four obsidian blocks on the corners of that portal, making obsidian a fairly renewable resource.
  • If you run out of Flint and Steel and disable all of your portals while in The Nether, it is still possible to reactivate a portal by having a Ghast's fireball hit the portal instead of you. Conversely, an active portal hit by a Ghast's fireball will be deactivated.
  • When you look through an activated portal with water behind it, the water will not be visible which will make squid easier to see. Likewise, if you look through a portal with water in front of it, the portal blocks will be invisible.
  • Portal blocks are invisible if they are looked at from behind another portal block, mimicking glass.
  • In 1.8 Creative, when broken, portal blocks make the glass breaking sound as well.
  • Portal blocks cannot be moved by Pistons.
  • If TNT is struck with Flint and Steel before a player enters a portal, but does not explode, the TNT will explode upon the player's return to the Overworld. Likewise, furnace burning and redstone circuitry is suspended while in the Nether, and vice-versa.
  • If a mob from the real world enters a portal, they will float in the portal as if it was water. Mobs cannot use portals to teleport to the Nether, however they can walk through them.
  • If the game crashes while traveling through a portal, your inventory will be deleted and you will be re-spawned at your spawn point.
  • If you die while within a portal block (e.g. by fire), the items from your death will spawn at your main portal. (This is the one that you warp back through in the Overworld. This only applies if you have more than one Overworld portal linking to the same Nether portal.)
  • You can travel to the nether via a portal block placed on any tile using an inventory editor.
  • If you place a portal block obtained through hacking beside another user-placed portal block, the first one will disappear.
  • The sound emitted by the portal decreases in volume and frequency with the distance from the portal, and appears to fade entirely with at least 15 blocks between the player and a portal block along any axis. The effect is radial.
  • In order to deactivate a portal without destroying it, pour a bucket of water or lava next to the portal, so that the liquid flows into it. Water is only viable in the overworld, but lava works to shut down portals in either world.
  • Portals cannot be placed next to each other. This means you cannot create two portals adjacent to each other and have both lit up, which in turn means you cannot create a really long tunnel of portals for custom maps (e.g. pretend wormholes).
  • You cannot pause the game while entering a portal by pressing the pause button, however selecting another window (i.e. alt+tab) will pause the game.
  • In 1.8's Creative mode, the portal block can be broken like any other block.
  • Portals can be created without mining diamond and only mining four iron ingots and flint. The ingots can be crafted into a bucket so that lava can be placed in select locations within falling water and create a portal. The last ingot is used for the flint and steel
  • if you get rid of one block of a portal in the nether, then drop your whole inventory next to the empty portal frame, then kill yourself, when you respawn and re-use the portal in the overworld, you will appear through a new portal in the nether, close to the old one, thus giving you 14 obsidian blocks
  • When the pre-travel swirling animation in happening when in a portal, you break blocks at the same speed as if you were in water
  • Since the 1.0 full release, you can now activate nether portals in the end.
  • prior to the Week 22 Snapshot(12w22a), the Nether Portals will have an extremely rare chance that it will spawn a Zombie Pigman near the portal in the Overworld.
  • In the Xbox 360 version, wolves can not enter the nether.U
  • You can build a Nether Portal without the corners of the portal.


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