Minecraft is well-suited for solo play, but having a few friends join in on the action makes the experience all the more enjoyable. Setting up a multiplayer game in Minecraft is a simple process, but it varies slightly based on which platform you’re using and whether your friends are nearby or half a world away. Here are the four ways to play Minecraft multiplayer.
The basics of Minecraft multiplayer
Minecraft gives users four different ways to connect with each other, each one with its own advantages and disadvantages. But before you jump into a game with your friends, it’s important to verify that all players attempting to join the multiplayer session are running the same version of the game. This means you’ll want to check that your version is updated with the latest content patches; otherwise, you’ll run into some bumps while trying to meet up with your friends. This can be done by heading over to your preferred platforms app store, or by browsing the Minecraft Help Center on PC.
You’ll also want to make sure all interested parties are running the same edition of Minecraft — either Java or Bedrock. Java is only available to PC players, so if you’re playing on mobile or console, that’s one less thing you need to worry about. Once you’re certain that all players are running the same version and edition of the game, you’re ready to start adventuring together.
Local area network multiplayer (LAN)
If you’re looking to quickly set up a world for friends who are in the same room as you, look no further than setting up a LAN game. As long as all players are connected to the same network, they’ll be able to see and join your server.
Minecraft: Java Edition LAN setup
Here’s how to start a LAN game for those of you running the Java Edition:
- Start up Minecraft and select Single Player.
- After the world has finished loading, pull up the Menu screen by pressing the Esc key
- Select the Open to LAN option
- Choose the game mode you wish to host.
- Select Start LAN World.
- Players who want to join the game should select Multiplayer from the main menu.
- If they are connected to the same network, your LAN game should be detected.
Things are a bit easier if you’re playing the Bedrock Edition on PC, Xbox, iOS, or Android. Here’s all you’ll need to do to start a LAN game:
- Start the game and press Play, then create or edit the world by pressing the pen button.
- Select the Multiplayer option and turn on the Visible to LAN option.
- Launch the world.
- Players can join the game by going to the Play menu, navigating to the Friends section, and looking for the corresponding LAN game.
Creating an online server
Things get a bit more complex when you decide to host your own server. These platforms will allow multiple players to join a single session, regardless of location in the world. Creating your own server is ideal for people who want a lot of control over all aspects of their world, and don’t mind working through a bit of technical jargon. Minecraft has a bunch of tutorials that detail the server setup process, but here’s a quick overview of how to launch and join them.
Minecraft: Java Edition online servers
- To create your own server, you’ll need to install the server file from the official Minecraft website.
- Once the server has been created by you or your most tech-savvy friend, you can join the world by clicking the Multiplayer button, then selecting Add Server and entering the appropriate IP address.
- You can also join public servers using this method, so long as you know its official IP address. Joining public servers is a great way to quickly get into some multiplayer action without having to build your own private server.
Minecraft: Bedrock Edition
- Only three official servers are supported by the Bedrock Edition — Mineplex, InPVP, and Lifeboat.
- Navigate to the Servers tab and select the one you’d like to join.
- External servers can be added using the Add Server option and inputting all the necessary info; however, this feature is restricted on consoles.
Using Minecraft Realms
Arguably, this is the way that Minecraft wants you to experience its multiplayer. Built from the ground up by Mojang, Realms offers dozens of incredible worlds to explore while also letting you create and host your own games. You’re limited to 10 friends, but setup is surprisingly easy compared to most other methods.
Both versions follow a similar set of steps for connecting to Realms. Here’s how it works:
- First, you’ll need to create a Realm for your friends to connect to. Simply click Play and then select the Create on Realms button once you’re done configuring its settings.
- Next you’ll need to invite players. Head back to the main menu and click the Play button again. From here, select the Edit icon and click the Members tab.
- You’ll now be able to send out invites to any of your friends. Once they accept the invite, they can join your Realm by selecting the Minecraft Realms option from the main menu and clicking on your corresponding world.
If you’re having issues with Realms, Mojang has a detailed rundown of common issues on its official website.
Although it’s only available on consoles, playing Minecraft in split-screen is pretty straightforward. Just make sure you have enough controllers for all your players (up to four) and they are properly connected to your system. Once you start your game, the screen should automatically split to accommodate everyone playing.