If you have ever gotten lost in the Nether and attempted to leave it by building a second Nether Portal from the other side, you would have found yourself far from your original Portal and base.
Every Nether Portal seems to lead to a place of its own in the world of Minecraft. So how can you link your Portals so you know exactly where you’re teleporting to?
Building Nether Portals
Nether Portals are structures that connect the Overworld of Minecraft with the Nether. The Nether is a dangerous second dimension in Minecraft where you can find different materials and Loot from those in the Overworld.
To build a Nether Portal, the first thing you will need is a Diamond Pickaxe.
The main component in a Nether Portal are Obsidian blocks. These can be found in caves or made manually using Water and Lava. Obsidian can only be mined with a Pickaxe of Diamond or stronger quality.
Even when using a Diamond Pickaxe it still takes quite a bit of time to break the block.
To build the Portal you have to build a frame using the Obsidian. At minimum this frame should be 4×5 blocks in size. To save material, the corners of the frame can be left out.
Of course this size can be greatly exceeded and the shape can be played around with as long as it is a square or rectangular shape.
Once you have built the Portal you activate it by using Flint and Steel on the inside of the frame, which will create a purple “curtain” through which you can enter the Nether.
Nether Portals in the Overworld
In the Overworld you can find remains of Nether Portals. These are usually surrounded by Nether blocks like Magma and Netherrack, but also Gold blocks and a Chest with Loot.
These Nether Portals are always missing several Obsidian blocks. These can then be replaced and the Portal can then be activated as normal.
A lot of these Overworld Portals will also have Crying Obsidian in place of normal Obsidian. These will also have to be replaced, because Crying Obsidian doesn’t register when activating a Portal.
If you are early off in the game and don’t have the resources or material to build a full Nether Portal, these save you the hassle. Not to mention the Loot that can be found around them is pretty good.
Nether Portal Behavior
Once activated, any Entity in the world can use the Portal on either side of it as long as it can fit within the frame.
In Survival mode it takes about 4 seconds of standing within the Portal before it takes you to the other side. At any point before these 4 seconds are up you can step out of the Portal to cancel the teleportation.
If you are in Creative mode you will be teleported instantly.
Upon activation of your Overworld Portal, another Portal will be created in the Nether. This ‘other’ Portal is usually on the exact or close to the corresponding coordinates in the Nether world.
An exception will be if an already existing Nether Portal is within around 128 blocks of the area where the second one should have spawned. In these cases the Player will simply appear in the already existing Portal.
This means that if you place two Nether Portals close to each other in the Overworld you will always spawn in one Portal on the other side.
If you ever want to or need to, a Nether Portal can be deactivated using a Bucket of Water.
Linking Portals in the Nether
The difference between the Overworld and the Nether in terms of coordinates is that they’re proportional between the two realms in a 1:8 ratio. This means that 1 block in the Nether is equal to 8 blocks in the Overworld.
So, in order to calculate where your Nether Portal will spawn once you light up the Overworld one, simply divide your X and Z coordinates by 8. The Y coordinates are not affected.
Depending what platform you’re playing on and if you’re playing in Realms there are different ways to turn on coordinates.
If there is an already existing Nether Portal in the corresponding area or within the 128 blocks of it, the Overworld portals will link to that one.
Because of this rule it means that you can link up multiple Overworld Portals within a single Nether Portal, as long as these Nether Portals are within the mentioned radius. Any Portal within a radius of a 1024 blocks of the original Overworld Portal will link to the same one on the other side.
This graph from the Minecraft Wikipedia perfectly displays this:
It is important to keep in mind where the first Nether Portal will spawn, of course. There are the dangers of it spawning right in or above Lava, or just in a generally dangerous area.
If this happens you may have to destroy the portal on the Nether side, die (or teleport) to return to the Overworld, before destroying the Overworld side Portal. Then, move elsewhere and rebuild it. You will have to cross a larger distance in the Overworld to make up for the Nether distance.
In the case you are doing this alone, it is good to know where you died to get your dropped Items back.