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How to Play Minecraft Online with Friends for Free

Want to enjoy Minecraft multiplayer adventures with your best pals, but don‘t want to spend a dime? Not to worry – with a bit of effort, you absolutely can play Minecraft online with friends 100% free!

There are several solid options to explore block-filled worlds together without paying server hosting fees. This guide will walk you step-by-step through each method, plus provide tips to enhance your free multiplayer experience.

Grab your pickaxes and get ready to start mining with friends!

Weighing the Main Multiplayer Options

Let‘s first examine the primary ways to setup free Minecraft sessions with buddies:

Local Area Network (LAN) World

  • Host a world on your own network for nearby friends to join
  • Quick and simple to enable in game menu
  • Only works when all players are connected to the same LAN

Cracked Servers

  • Public servers that allow access without a paid Minecraft account
  • Freedom to join various open multiplayer worlds
  • Risk of hackers and less moderation than private servers

Self-Hosted Server

  • Create your own persistent server on a spare computer
  • Full control over world, mods, and who can join
  • Requires port forwarding and more technical skill

Minecraft Realms Free Trial

  • Official Mojang-hosted dedicated servers
  • Easy to create private Realms for friends
  • Includes 30 days of free access, then paid subscription

Hosting Service Promotions

  • Take advantage of free months or discounts from server companies
  • Gain high performance and reliability of paid hosts
  • Cancel subscription after the deal period ends

As you can see, each approach has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Keep these key differences in mind as we dive into the details of how to leverage each free option.

Playing on Local Area Network (LAN)

If your squad is frequently together in the same place, setting up a LAN world is a no-brainer for quick free gaming sessions.

Here‘s an easy step-by-step guide to hosting a LAN game:

  1. Make sure all friends are connected to the same local network via WiFi or ethernet. Being on the same router is required.

  2. Open your Minecraft client and load up the existing world you want to play in, or create a new world.

  3. Click "Open to LAN" in the pause menu.

  4. Configure LAN world settings:

    • Game mode – Survival, Creative, etc.
    • Allow cheats – On/off.
    • Difficulty – Peaceful, easy, etc.
  5. Click "Start LAN World". A message will display indicating the port.

  6. Tell your friends to open their Minecraft game and go into Multiplayer.

  7. They should see your LAN world under "LAN Games" – click to connect!

And that‘s all it takes to easily create quick multiplayer games with nearby friends. No costs or configuration outside of the game required – just enable LAN mode and play.

However, this option does limit you to gaming only when everyone is physically present in the same location. But for LAN parties or when buddies are over, it delivers an instant free Minecraft server.

LAN Game Enhancements

To take your LAN sessions up a notch, consider these tips:

  • Set rules on griefing/stealing to prevent disagreements.
  • Use cheats to change time of day or weather on the fly.
  • Load minigame maps for variety.
  • Install mods like OptiFine client-side to improve performance.
  • Schedule gaming nights and take turns hosting.

With a bit of planning, LAN worlds provide endless hours of free entertainment with friends in the comfort of your own homes.

Accessing Free Public Cracked Servers

If your friends are scattered across the world or just want to explore public multiplayer domains, cracked servers allow connecting without an official Mojang account or paid realms subscription.

Here‘s an overview of how to access cracked servers:

  1. Find IP addresses and ports for open cracked servers online.

    • Search "Minecraft cracked servers" for lists and reviews.
  2. Add their connection info into your multiplayer menu.

    • Click "Add Server" and enter name, IP, port.
  3. Join servers and start playing for free!

    • No account needed, just select server and connect.

Popular long-running cracked servers include:

  • MinecraftOnline – IP
  • Manacube – IP
  • Performium – IP
  • PirateCraft – IP

These public servers allow endless multiplayer action without spending a dime. You can hop between different worlds and minigames to mix up the gameplay.

However, beware that cracked servers do come with some downsides:

  • Lack of moderation and anti-cheat tools
  • Potential for hacking, griefing, and scams
  • Lag issues on busy servers
  • Servers could be taken offline unexpectedly

Overall these servers offer a quick free fix, but a self-hosted private server or paid realm provides a safer and more controlled experience.

Launching Your Own Dedicated Server

For the best performance, functionality, and flexibility – setting up your own Minecraft server on a spare computer is a fantastic free option.

This allows you and your friends to play in your own persistent world with full control over mods, plugins, and settings.

Here is an overview of steps to host your own free Minecraft multiplayer server:

Choose Server Hardware

Old PC, laptop, or Raspberry Pi. Should have:

  • At least 4GB RAM
  • Wired internet connection preferred
  • Public static IP address
  • Minecraft supported OS like Windows or Linux

Install Server Software

  • Download free Minecraft server JAR file.
  • Create folder for server, place JAR inside.
  • Launch once to generate config files.
  • Accept EULA in eula.txt.

Configure Server Settings

  • Edit file to adjust:
    • Message of the day
    • Allowed players
    • Difficulty
    • Gamemode
    • Spawn location
  • Set Java launch flags for performance.

Access From Internet

  • Port forward port 25565 on your router to server.
  • Give your friends your public IP to connect remotely.
  • Optionally purchase a domain name to connect via.

Customize Gameplay

  • Download free plugins like Essentials.
  • Install mods to add gameplay features.
  • Build cool spawn areas, towns, arenas, etc!

Your very own persistent world and gaming community, hosted free on your spare hardware. While taking more effort to configure up front, you gain endless long-term enjoyment and customization.

Using the Minecraft Realms Free Trial

For those seeking maximum simplicity in setting up a server for friends online, Minecraft Realms are worth considering.

Realms provide managed servers hosted by Minecraft directly, with all the technical details taken care of. This does require a paid subscription after an initial free trial, but that trial gives you plenty of time to experience quality multiplayer hosting.

Here is an overview of starting with a free Realms trial:

  1. Make sure each friend has purchased Java Edition.
  2. Sign up for a Realms account.
  3. Create a fresh world or upload existing one to Realms.
  4. Invite your friends to join from their Realms menu.
  5. Explore together for the 30 day free trial period!

Realms provide excellent performance and reliability in an official Mojang-hosted environment.

Some key advantages during your trial:

  • Easy automated world backups to cloud.
  • Built-in minigame templates like Fortnite Creative and parkour maps.
  • Support for adding community mods and addons.
  • Multiplayer access from mobile and consoles.
  • No port forwarding or networking headaches.

After the free period, Realms cost $7.99 per month, which is quite reasonable split between a group of friends. But you can experience all the key benefits free for 30 days first!

Taking Advantage of Hosting Deals

Beyond one-off free trials, you can often get great deals on paid Minecraft server hosting services for a month or longer by taking advantage of promotions for new customers.

Many well-known hosts like Shockbyte, Bisect, Apex, and more offer discounts or free months to attract new players. This lets you evaluate their services at little or no cost.

The process generally works like:

  1. Research hosts and find discounts for new sign-ups.
  2. Select a plan and use promo code during checkout.
  3. Get access to powerful hosting resources.
  4. Cancel subscription before paid period starts.

Some top hosts to watch for deals from include:

CompanyTypical Promotions
ShockbyteFirst month free
BisectHosting40% off first month
Apex HostingSeasonal sales like summer specials
ServerMiner$1 first month

This approach takes advantage of premium hosting quality and features the major providers offer, essentially "test driving" them for free.

Some benefits during your discount period:

  • Top-tier server hardware performance.
  • Quick support response times.
  • Modpack and plugin installs included.
  • Daily backups and DDoS protection.

The hosting company handles all the work while you simply enjoy playing with friends during the deal duration!

Choosing the Best Free Option for Your Needs

With the variety of ways to play Minecraft together for free, you can choose the method that aligns with your priorities:

  • LAN worlds – For local buddy gaming sessions.
  • Cracked servers – When anonymity is preferred.
  • Self-hosted – For total control and customization.
  • Realms trial – For easiest setup but limited duration.
  • Host deals – To sample premium hosting perks.

Consider your number of players, desired features, technical expertise, and convenience to select the optimal free multiplayer approach for you and your crew.

No matter which method you leverage, countless adventures await in the blocky landscapes and crafting systems of Minecraft.

The game provides practically infinite possibilities to survive, build, and create with friends online – without spending a single penny!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.