How To Set Up Multiplayer in Minecraft (PC)

Minecraft is just as fun to play on PC in 2020 as it was when it originally released back in 2009 thanks to a selection of amazing mods and a welcoming community of players. The Mojang developed sandbox survival game is brilliant for tapping into your creative side and can be a great way to make friends. There are several different ways to set up multiplayer in Minecraft, including LAN, online servers, Minecraft Realms, and local split-screen.

Here, we’ll be providing step-by-step instructions for each method and best practices for setting up Minecraft multiplayer on PC. It’s recommended you know which edition of the game you own beforehand since multiplayer in Minecraft: Java Edition works a bit differently than the Windows 10 version. With some basic computer skills and a couple of mouse clicks, you should be setting off on new Minecraft adventures with your friends in no time.

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Local Area Network (LAN)

Local Area Network

Playing on a local area network, or LAN, is the go-to option when playing Minecraft with friends connected to the same network as you. The steps you have to follow will differentiate based on which version you’re playing and whether you’re hosting or joining.

Minecraft: Java Edition

Hosting

  • Start the game with a PC powerful enough to run both the game and a server for players to join
  • Make a new world or edit a current one by selecting the pen icon
  • Once you’ve loaded in, press Esc, then select ‘Open to LAN’
  • Select a game mode: Survival, Creative, or Adventure
  • Select ‘Start LAN World’
  • Other players on the same network will now be able to join your game

Joining

  • Connect to the same network as the player you wish to join
  • Navigate to the ‘Play’ menu
  • Select ‘Multiplayer’ and search for any available LAN games

Minecraft: Windows 10

  • Ensure every player is on the same network and running the same version of the game
  • Decide who will be the hosting player
  • Select ‘Play’ and create a new world or edit an existing one using the pen icon
  • In the World Settings, select ‘Visible to LAN Players’
  • Select either ‘Create’ or ‘Play’
  • Other players on the same network will now be able to join your game via the ‘Friends’ tab

Online Server

Multiplayer Minecraft Online Server

Joining an online server or setting up your own for others to visit is a useful way to play with friends online. However, if you want to try to create your own server for Minecraft: Java Edition, you’ll first have to download this file. If you simply wish to join a server, do the following:

Minecraft: Java Edition

  • Start the game and select ‘Multiplayer’
  • Select ‘Add Server,’ then enter the IP/web address associated with the server
  • Start playing

Minecraft: Windows 10

  • There are three official Minecraft servers you can join by default: Mineplex, InPvP, and Lifeboat
  • To add an external server, select ‘Add Server’ and enter the server’s info
  • Start playing

Minecraft Realms

Minecraft Realms

Minecraft Realms is a paid, subscription-based multiplayer service created by Mojang that allows you and up to 10 other users to play together in private servers ran by Minecraft.  Realms are always online and accessible to other players, even when you’re logged off. There are a variety of options based on the number of players in your group and your game version.

Minecraft: Java Edition

  • Start the game and select ‘Minecraft Realms’
  • Select ‘Create and Configure Your Realm’
  • Create and name your new Realm or start with an existing one
  • To begin in Survival mode, double-click your Realm

Minecraft: Windows 10

  • Start the game and navigate to ‘Play’
  • Select ‘Create New’ then ‘New Realm’
  • Create and name your Realm 
  • Invites friends to join your Realm

Split-screen

Split screen

You may be wondering whether or not you can play Minecraft in split-screen on PC. Unfortunately, the ability to play simultaneously with up to four players locally is a console-exclusive feature and not available on PC versions of the game. However, if you are playing on console, simply begin the game and connect each player’s controller, Minecraft will take care of the rest.

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Justin Fernandez
Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.