Nether Portal

From Minecraft Wiki

For a list of all portal-like devices in Minecraft, see Portal (Disambiguation).

A Nether Portal is a manufactured structure made by obsidian that allows a player to travel between the Overworld and the Nether. They were added to Minecraft as a part of the Halloween Update (version 1.2.0) on October 31st, 2010.[1]


A Nether Portal consists of a rectangular frame (4×5 [10 blocks] minimum, 23×23 [88 blocks] maximum) of obsidian. The four corner blocks of the frame are not required to activate the Portal, but Portals created by the game will always include them. Adjacent Nether Portals can share obsidian blocks. Nether Portals will not work underwater.

Once the frame is constructed, a player can set the space inside the frame on fire, using flint and steel, or lava and a flammable block, or some other means, for example, a fire charge. This fills the space within the frame with purple-colored portal blocks, which has an animated swirling texture and resembles a vortex and is accompanied by sound and particle effects. Nether Portals can't be activated in the End.

As of update 1.7.2, Nether Portals can be made into different shapes and sizes, allowing players to build portals on a massive scale, with a minimum size of 4×5 (without corners) and a maximum size of 23×23.

The purple portal blocks emit light of level 11, which is less powerful than a torch but is more powerful than glowing Redstone ore. Like bedrock, portal blocks cannot be broken (although they can disappear); however, they can be placed via mods. It only takes one portal block to teleport to the Nether. Through the use of an inventory mod, Players 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 blocks, even without an obsidian frame. Interestingly, when mined, the portal blocks create a sound like glass blocks. In Bedrock Edition, players can use a glitch to get portal blocks, however, it only works on Realms.

The quickest way to get a portal is to use a bucket of lava and water. You will need to build a "drawing" of a portal, and then put water onto a place where it touches every block of the drawing. Use a lava bucket from an infinite lava source, and put lava on a block of your drawing. Keep doing this until you have a ring of obsidian.


When a player stands inside an active Nether Portal for 4 seconds while in the Overworld, they are teleported to the Nether, and vice versa. If desired, a Player can step out of a portal before it completes its animation to abort the teleport. However, if the user is in Creative mode, the portal will teleport the player instantaneously.

The first time a portal is used, a connecting portal will be created in the place where a player ends up in the Nether. This connecting portal can be used to return to its associated portal in the Overworld. Building multiple portals in the Overworld within certain proximity will all lead to the same portal in the Nether, and vice versa. All connected portals will remain active, but the Nether Portal will lead only to the portal closest to it.

Note that mobs and items are capable of traveling through a portal. Be prepared for the possibility of hostile or peaceful mobs from the Nether stepping through a portal into the Overworld, or for Overworld mobs to end up in the Nether.

Portal Deactivation

TNT, an exploding bed, a ghast's fireball explosion, or an exploding creeper can all disable a portal, but cannot destroy the surrounding obsidian because of its high blast resistance. If this happens, the portal must be reactivated before using it again. One way to prevent deactivation is by sheltering the portal with cobblestone, stone (baked from a furnace), or stone bricks (any stone that doesn't break). Stone slabs and stone stairs also work.

In pre-1.0.0 versions of Minecraft, 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's 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 or ghast fireball, as this will spread random fires and have a chance of igniting the portal.

A player may also choose to deactivate a portal by breaking one of the obsidian blocks which make up its frame.

If a portal is deactivated, and a player dies without activating it again, the next time they enter the Nether, a new portal will be created.

Portal Connections

There is only one Nether per world, so all portals that are constructed in the world will lead to the same Nether. This allows players to use the Nether as an alternate route between two points in the Overworld (e.g. to enter a sealed mine or house from a location outside). The travel distance ratio between the Overworld and the Nether is 8:1 (every 1 block distance traversed in the Nether equals 8 blocks in the Overworld). This means that a player can traverse Overworld distances much faster by walking through the Nether and creating new Portal locations which end up 8-times further in the Overworld. When a portal is activated by a player, an algorithm is used to detect the corresponding location in the Nether (or Overworld) where the connecting Portal can safely be placed.

Linkage Between Overworld and the 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 still 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 the direction of travel. The Y-coordinate is not modified. This translation can be represented by the following pseudocode:
    {X, Y, Z} → {floor(X) x/÷ 8, Y, floor(Z) x/÷ 8}.
  2. At the destination, the game looks for the closest active portal block within a 128-block "radius" (actually, a maximum distance along a horizontal axis) of a player (257 x 257 x 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 a player to the closest one.
  3. If no active portal blocks exist in the above search region, the game creates one by looking for the closest possible valid position within a 16-block "radius" column (33 x 33 x 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 a Player from falling.

This is described in more detail here.

Calculating Portal Positions

If a Nether/Overworld portal connection has already been set up in a game, it's possible to choose a new portal's location using the 8:1 distance conversion and doing the following:

  • Choose a location in the Overworld where one would like a new Portal and build it.
  • Write down the X,Y,Z coordinates of this new Overworld Portal, and divide each coordinate value by 8 (write these values down).
  • Activate this new Portal, but do NOT step through it.
  • Walk through the original Overworld Portal (or another nearby), which already has an active connection to a Portal in the Nether.
  • Dig/walk to the X,Y,Z location in the Nether which one wrote down earlier to build/activate one's new Portal.

Advanced Portal Linking Mechanics

  • Likelihood of 2 Overworld Portals linking to the same Nether Portal - Overworld Portals that are within 1024 distance of each other on either X or Z axis is almost always going to link to the same Nether Portal on initial construction because 1024 translates to a distance of 128 in the Nether, 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 Overworld. Then travel to the Nether. And then dig one's 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 Overworld will force the creation of a new portal within the Nether which the Overworld portal should prefer. This is not recommended as it limits how close Overworld 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 are 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 one 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 Overworld 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 Overworld portal will now link to it.
    If one wishes 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 a 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 a player has a portal in the Overworld at (0,64,0) but makes a Nether portal at (127,64,127) with its perfect Overworld 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, a player can then travel 1436 meters in the Overworld. This specific form of fast travel by portal is one-way since the Nether portal will not find this Overworld 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 Overworld 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 a player in 1 of 2 possible Overworld 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 a 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 a 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 Overworld 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 - A destination portal (either in the Nether or in the Overworld) can spawn floating in the air. If one's 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 the search region to find a suitable spot to place a fresh new portal AND there are no existing portals within the 128 blocks "radius" to link to.


Nether Portals were first added to Minecraft Java Edition Alpha v1.2.0 on October 31, 2010.

Prior to Beta 1.6, Nether Portals could be created in SMP servers; however, they did not function to teleport players to The Nether. This required modding multiplayer servers to access the Nether. This is no longer the case as of Beta 1.6

In the 1.0.0 release, it is no longer possible to deactivate Nether Portals with Water or Lava. Both will stop before hitting the portal and act as though the portal is a solid object.

In 1.7.2, the rules for building Nether Portals were updated so that they could be built at a minimum of 4x5 and a maximum of 23x23.

Construction (Basic)

Obsidian (Optional) Obsidian Obsidian Obsidian (Optional)
Obsidian Obsidian
Obsidian Obsidian
Obsidian Obsidian
Obsidian (Optional) Obsidian Obsidian Obsidian (Optional)

Chunk Loading

Whenever an entity is teleported through a nether portal, the chunk at the linked portal gets a load ticket with a load level of 30, meaning that it is fully loaded and can process entities. This load level also spreads to adjacent chunks but they get lower for each chunk. This results in 8 more fully loaded "entity ticking" chunks with gradually less loaded chunks further out.

These chunks remain loaded for 15 seconds but this timer gets refreshed each time the entity passes through the portal. This can be used to permanently load chunks, creating a "chunk loader." Note that this can heavily decrease the frame rate.


  • Before the Alpha 1.2.0 release, Notch suggested it would be possible for ghasts to rarely appear in the Overworld near a portal,[5] but Jeb later stated that the feature has not been implemented yet.[6]
  • The biggest size a Nether Portal can get is 23x23 blocks of obsidian.
  • If a player warps from world to world, the direction they are facing is maintained. (i.e. if a player was facing east on the Overworld and they warped to the Nether, they would still be facing east in the Nether).
  • An automatically generated portal may be built at a 90-degree angle to the one entered by a player.
  • 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. A player can then again harvest the four obsidian blocks on the corners of that portal, making obsidian a fairly renewable resource.
  • In the Bedrock Edition, players can use a glitch to get portal blocks, though it only works on Realms. SB737's Cursed Portal video explains how to do this.
  • If one runs out of flint and steel and disables all of their portals while in the Nether, it is still possible to reactivate a portal by having a ghast's fireball hit the portal instead of them. Conversely, an active portal hit by a ghast's fireball will be deactivated.
  • When one looks through an activated portal with water behind it, the water will not be visible which will make squids easier to see. Likewise, if one looks 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 a 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 Overworld enters a portal, they will disappear. Mobs can use portals to teleport to the Nether. However, they cannot walk through them.
  • If the game crashes while traveling through a portal, a player's inventory will be deleted, and they will be re-spawned at their spawn point.
  • If a player dies while within a portal block (e.g. by fire), the items they dropped upon death will appear at the Overworld portal where they would have ended up. This only applies if a player has more than one Overworld portal linking to the same Nether portal.
  • Players can travel to the Nether via a portal block placed on any tile using an inventory editor.
  • If players 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 a player and a portal block along any axis. The effect is radial. 
  • Portals cannot be placed next to each other. This means that players cannot create two portals adjacent to each other and have both lit up, which in turn means a player cannot create a very long tunnel of portals for custom maps (e.g. pretend wormholes).
  • Players 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.
  • If a player gets rid of one block of a portal in the Nether, then they drop their whole inventory next to the empty portal frame, and then they kill themselves, when they respawn and re-use the portal in the overworld, they will appear through a new portal in the Nether, close to the old one, thus giving a player 14 obsidian blocks.
  • When the pre-travel swirling animation is happening when in a portal, players will break blocks at the same speed as if they were in the water.
  • Since the 1.0 full release, players can now activate Nether portals in the End.
  • Before the Week 22 Snapshot (12w22a), Nether portals will have an extremely rare chance to spawn a zombie pigman near the portal in the Overworld.
  • In the Xbox 360 version, wolves cannot enter the Nether.
  • Players can build a Nether portal without the corners of the portal.
  • It is possible to make a nether portal without having to mine obsidian at all. You can simply just use a water bucket and a lava bucket. This means one can make it to the nether before even finding diamonds. (This technique is sometimes used in speedrunning).



Click for full Nether Portal gallery.