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Is Minecraft Multiplayer Free on PC? A Complete Friendly Guide for New Players

I‘m thrilled you‘re interested in playing Minecraft with friends! As a fellow gamer and Minecraft enthusiast, I‘m here to give you a deep dive into all your options for playing multiplayer on PC 100% free. I‘ll provide plenty of details, statistics, examples, and tips so you can start creating and battling alongside your pals without spending a dime. Let‘s get into it!

Can I Really Play Multiplayer Minecraft Without Paying?

The short answer is yes, definitely! Unlike the console and mobile versions of the game that require paid subscriptions, Minecraft on PC offers several ways to play with others completely free:

  • Join massive public servers with thousands of players
  • Host your own private server for just you and friends
  • Play split-screen multiplayer locally on one computer
  • Use free limited server hosting services

Exciting multiplayer adventures with friends await without having to pay real money. I‘ll give you all the info you need to get gaming together on PC!

Choosing Between the Two Versions of Minecraft

Before jumping into multiplayer, you first have to decide between Minecraft: Java Edition and Minecraft: Bedrock Edition. Here‘s a quick rundown of their key differences:

  • Java – The original PC game, more mods, exclusive large servers
  • Bedrock – Newer cross-platform version, more stable performance

The good news is both support free multiplayer! And you can buy and play both editions on a PC if you want access to the full range of experiences.

I‘ll make sure to note when multiplayer options differ between the two versions as we go. But you can‘t go wrong picking Java or Bedrock for playing with friends on a budget.

Making Friends from Around the World on Public Servers

Public multiplayer servers let you collaborate, compete, and hang out with thousands of fellow Minecraft enthusiasts from all over the planet. best part – access is completely free!

Here‘s a step-by-step guide to getting started:

  1. Launch the Minecraft launcher and click Multiplayer

  2. Click Add Server to add a new public server

  3. Search for a server or enter its IP address and click Done

  4. Select the server and click the Join button to connect

  5. Start chatting and playing with new friends from around the world!

According to the Minecraft Fandom Wiki, three of the most popular free public servers include:

  • Hypixel – One of the largest Minecraft servers with over 100,000 daily active players
  • Mineplex – Many competitive minigames and game modes to choose from
  • Lifeboat – Casual mini-games and survival maps

Public servers give you tons of replayability and variety beyond just the core Minecraft experience. With different game modes, ranks, collectibles, events, and unique social environments on each server, you‘ll never run out of new adventures.

Exploring servers is also a great way to get inspiration and ideas from the millions of amazing builds by other players. The communities are usually well self-regulated with strict chat filters to ensure a positive gaming environment.

So if you‘re looking to make new friends, test your skills, or expand your creative horizons, public servers are a must-try free option.

Local Multiplayer for Private Fun with Friends

Want to enjoy Minecraft exclusively with friends and family privately? Hosting a local server on your LAN (local area network) is a simple, free choice.

Follow these steps to get started with LAN Minecraft:

  1. Open a single player world in Minecraft

  2. Click Open to LAN in the pause menu

  3. Configure options like permissions, cheats, etc

  4. Click Start LAN World

  5. Friends on your local network can see the world in their Multiplayer menu

  6. Join and start playing together on your private world!

The advantages of LAN servers are:

  • Totally free to create
  • Only accessible by people on your local network
  • Low latency since it‘s hosted locally
  • Easily customizable with cheats and options

LAN is great for quickly jumping into multiplayer with housemates without any setup. Of course, the limitation is that friends need access to your Wi-Fi to join. But for private play sessions a local server is ideal.

Gaming Side-by-Side with Split Screen Multiplayer

Want to play multiplayer Minecraft the classic way – gathered around one screen? Modern Minecraft versions allow split-screen play when you have multiple controllers connected to the same PC.

Here‘s how to set it up:

  1. Start a single player world as usual

  2. Have the second player press a button on their connected controller

  3. Their screen splits off from the first player‘s view

  4. Repeat for up to 4 total players sharing the same screen!

Split screen is a fun throwback to retro multiplayer gaming. Sitting next to your friends as you explore, build, and battle is great for bonding and friendly competition.

Some key specs:

  • Supports up to 4 players on Windows 10 and Xbox
  • Works on both Java and Bedrock PC editions
  • Horizontal or vertical split screen views
  • Each player needs their own controller
  • Limited to players on one PC

For local group gaming, it‘s hard to beat split-screen‘s simplicity. No network or accounts needed – just grab some controllers and enjoy the hilarity of same-screen mayhem!

Does Each Player Need Their Own Minecraft Account?

A common new player question is whether multiple account purchases are required for multiplayer.

The answer is yes, each player needs their own free Mojang account to play Minecraft multiplayer.

Here are some key account basics:

  • Accounts are free to create on Mojang‘s website
  • Provide access to multiplayer and Realms
  • Let you port settings, worlds, and purchases across devices
  • Required even when playing split screen on one PC
  • One license purchase per account to access the full game

The good news is there‘s no limit to accessing your own account from multiple computers or devices to join servers and multiplayer worlds.

And a license code from a single purchase can be applied to multiple accounts. So you only need to buy the game once even if configuring it across many accounts.

While having separate accounts may seem inconvenient, the benefits like being able to pick up your progress from any device outweigh the minor hassle. And again, making accounts is totally free – just takes an email and password.

Saving Money by Avoiding Paid Realms

Realms are Minecraft‘s official monthly server hosting service provided by Mojang. But to use them for more than a trial period requires a paid subscription.

Here is how free 3rd party server hosting compares to paid Realms:

RealmsFree Server Hosting
Official Mojang serviceIndependent hosts
Easy configurationMore complex setup
Automatic world savingManual world uploads
$3.99/month for 2 playersLimited slots free plans

For playing exclusively with 2-3 friends occasionally, free server options will likely be sufficient and save you money.

But for larger groups or frequent play, Realms provide a hassle-free experience that may justify the monthly price, especially if split between multiple people.

In summary, relying on free public servers and avoiding paid Realms will maximize your multiplayer enjoyment on a budget. But weigh the benefits of Realms for frequent play with bigger groups.

Dealing with Connectivity Issues and Firewalls

One frustration you may run into is issues connecting to servers due to firewalls or network conflicts.

Here are some tips for troubleshooting and getting access:

  • Add exceptions for Java.exe or Minecraft.Windows.exe in your firewall
  • Open the standard Minecraft ports 25565 (TCP and UDP)
  • Temporarily disable firewalls and antivirus to test if they are blocking access
  • Ensure any VPN allows Minecraft server connections if applicable
  • Restart your router to grab a new IP if blocked by the server
  • Reauthenticate by fully logging out and back into your Mojang account

With the right network settings dialed in, you‘ll be able to join your friends online reliably. Don‘t hesitate to ask the server admins for help – they want you online having fun!

Estimating Your Data Usage

Multiplayer gaming does use more internet data than playing singleplayer locally. Here are estimates for data consumed per hour by server type:

Server TypeData Usage
Basic Multiplayer< 40 MB
Mini-games Server80 – 200 MB
Huge Server (50k+ players)>300 MB

So regular multiplayer is pretty light data usage, while busy minigame networks use quite a bit more. But even at 200 MB per hour, 1 GB would give you 5 hours of playtime.

Of course having an unlimited or high data cap internet plan is ideal. But even limited data plans can accommodate plenty of multiplayer fun if used wisely.

Your internet speed itself is less of a concern – even 5 Mbps is fine for Minecraft. Lower latency always helps, but focus more on having enough monthly data.

Cross-Platform Play with Minecraft Bedrock Edition

A major perk of Minecraft Bedrock edition is its full cross-platform support so you can play with friends on any of these device types:

  • PC (Windows 10)
  • Mobile (iOS and Android)
  • Xbox One and Series X/S
  • PlayStation 4 and 5
  • Nintendo Switch

No more being limited to PC gaming buddies. With Bedrock, your console and mobile friends can join from their devices!

Forming a multiplayer group is now as easy as sending a server invite link or code out to your existing social circle. Bedrock‘s unified platform empowers you to gather classmates, coworkers, and family members for gaming regardless of their tech.

Cross-platform support removes barriers to playing together and maximizes your pool of potential multiplayer partners.

Finding the Perfect Free Server for You

Beyond the hugely popular servers mentioned earlier, searching "top Minecraft servers" will give you even more free options specialized for certain styles:

  • Purple Prison – Competitive prison-themed server with mines and ranks
  • Manacube – Parkour maps and survival gameplay
  • InvadedLands – Roleplaying with jobs, quests, and towny elements
  • PikaNetwork – Minigames like hide and seek and spleef
  • MineTrek – Economy gameplay and McMMO skills
  • PixelmonCraft – Play with Pokemon in Minecraft
  • HiveMC – Wide range of minigames and events

With literally thousands of public servers out there, you‘re sure to find communities tailored to your interests. The variety is part of the fun and keeps gameplay feeling fresh.

Don‘t be afraid to server hop until you find formats that really click. Each one has its own flair so explore to find your favorites.

Safely Monitoring Kids on Multiplayer

Minecraft can be enjoyed safely by kids of all ages. As a parent, be sure to:

  • Create a child Microsoft account with family restrictions

  • Set chat to friends-only or disable it altogether

  • Only allow access to appropriate whitelisted servers

  • Configure parental purchase approval to avoid surprises

  • Limit playtime with regular breaks

With multiplayer precautions for kids, Minecraft becomes an extremely educational and constructive game.

Having their own account lets them progress and create while learning independence. Multiplayer gives opportunities to cultivate teamwork and communication skills.

Managed wisely, multiplayer Minecraft provides immense value for growing young minds while keeping them safe.

Now Get Out There and Play with Friends!

And there you have it – all the tools you need to start your journey into free Minecraft multiplayer on PC!

I hope breaking down all the options like public servers, LAN worlds, split-screen, account and network settings gave you confidence to get out there making friends and memories without spending a dime.

There are endless adventures with amazing communities awaiting you. So what are you waiting for? Fire up Minecraft, shoot some server invites to your friends, and go explore together!

Just remember the key steps we covered:

  • Make individual free Mojang accounts for everyone
  • Find servers that fit your style and interests
  • Use LAN or split-screen for private gaming sessions
  • Adjust your network settings to ensure connectivity
  • Avoid paid Realms subscriptions unless needed

Follow these tips and you‘ll be mastering multiplayer Minecraft in no time. Now grab your pickaxe and go punch some trees with your friends!

Let me know if you have any other questions. I‘m always happy to help new players get the most out of this classic game. Most importantly, have fun gaming together!



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