Minecraft on PC is basically the gift that keeps on giving, and that's not only thanks to the constant updates from developer Mojang, but also because of the incredibly dedicated community that keeps on creating and sharing its work. And the culmination of years of ambition and hard work have resulted in a selection of the best Minecraft servers around. Each one houses a Minecraft world that can take you to places you know and love, but now with a blocky sheen. These architectural paradises include places like Game of Thrones' Westeros, Lord of the Rings' Middle-earth, and even GTA 5's Los Santos (minus the debauchery and all the blood, this is Minecraft guys).
As you'd expect, there are literally hundreds of Minecraft servers to choose from, but we've gone on a block-tastic journey to discover what we think are the best Minecraft servers around. Each one is its own, self-contained, multiplayer world, complete with their own gameplay styles, rules and engaged communities, so prepare yourself to become a part of their world.
How to access the best Minecraft servers on PC
Once you've found a server that you like the look of, you'll need to grab the host name or IP address of that particular one - don't worry, we've included the relevant host names for our selection of the best Minecraft servers. Start up your game, head to multiplayer and then "add a server". Just whack the IP address in that bar, name the server and hit done. Then it's just a case of heading back to your list of servers and selecting the one you want to play around in today.
Our pick of the best Minecraft servers
Grand Theft Minecart
Host name: mc-gtm.net
If you thought a child-friendly Grand Theft Auto wasn't possible, think again. In Minecraft, anything is possible, and thanks to Grand Theft Minecart you can head on down to a prostitute-free version of Los Santos, known better as MineSantos. Featuring custom weapons and vehicles, the option to own your own apartment or even join a gang, there's plenty to make sure Grand Theft Minecart feels like a jaunt down to Los Santos. There are even two game modes: Grand Theft Minecart itself, with its more traditional GTA gameplay, or ViceMC, which is a factions-inspired game mode, where you need to grow different types of drugs and attempt to build a drug cartel empire. Okay, so maybe not entirely child friendly after all.
Host name: server.pixelmoncraft.com or safari.pixelmoncraft.com
Of all the Pokemon-themed Minecraft servers out there, our favourite has to be PixelmonCraft. It takes the popular Pixelmon mod and turns it into a full multiplayer server. Pokemon MMO anyone? Well, actually it's spread across two servers, to recreate well-known locations from Kanto and Johto regions from the game series with amazing attention to detail. There are Gym Leaders to fight, PokeMarts to shop in, and even long-grass to avoid. If only this was a real Pokemon MMO, but it's close as we're getting for now, and that's incredible.
Host name: build.mcmiddleearth.com
There are definitely plenty of Lord of the Rings themed servers to choose from, but for us it's Minecraft Middle-earth that deserves to be on our list of best Minecraft servers, despite the fact it's not actually complete yet. Based on the Peter Jackson cinematic version of Middle-earth, this is already an incredible feat, and you can help continue to build it (just make sure you follow those rules). Or, you can just explore the Shire, take a sightseeing trip, or drop into the server's PVP zone and test your mettle.
Host name: mc.westeroscraft.com
Game of Thrones x Minecraft anyone? Well, it already exists. Meet WesterosCraft. This modern classic has recreated all the major locations from the TV series, from the Red Keep at King's Landing to the Wall, mostly recreated from the actual HBO TV episodes themselves, so prepare yourself for a visual treat. This is another server that's still being built, but seeing what they've created so far is regularly breathtaking, and if you want to get involved with the ongoing creation you absolutely can. Or just marvel in the wonder.
The Mining Dead
Host name: mc.havocmc.net
Prepare to scream COOOORAL into a world of blocks, because The Walking Dead in Minecraft is a real thing and it's brilliantly called The Mining Dead. Although it plays out more like a Minecraft DayZ - basically a zombie survival game - the entire world inside the server features key locations from the AMC The Walking Dead TV series (and comics), like Woodbury, Alexandria and The Prison. There are custom skins for different characters too, including Rick himself, so prepare to play out The Walking Dead season 9 plot theories out in your own Minecraft version.
Host name: mc.arkhamnetwork.org
Who doesn't want to feel like they're saving the city every damn day? Or at least the saviour of the people? Well, you do right? That's why the Arkham network Minecraft server is fantastic, because it's an amazing smashing-together of comic book worlds that just begging to be explored, swung across or flown through. Of course, you don't have to be a superhero at all, you can opt to watch the world burn instead (perhaps not literally though). Regardless of the side you pick, you can take part in a host of different day jobs for earning some money, and a plethora of modes to play around in too. We'd just advise that you make a few friends or frenemies along the way, because it's a dangerous world out there.
Potter World MC
Host name: play.potterworldmc.com
When authenticity is the name of the game, you know a Minecraft server based on Harry Potter's universe is going to have it in spades. Much like the other servers that ape AAA counterparts, Potter World MC is an absolute stunning piece of work, from Hogwarts itself to Platform 9 ¾ and Diagon Alley. The actual gameplay lets you become a wizard, attend classes, duel other wizards and witches, play quidditch and more thanks to events and minigames. It's a seriously impressive feat. Even Dumbledore would be impressed.
Host name: play.extremecraft.net
The only entry on our list of best Minecraft servers not dedicated to another movie, TV or video game property, but honestly this list would be incomplete without Extreme Craft. It's (rightly) immensely popular because of the sheer number of game modes it offers, which include battle royale/hunger games, skygrid, skywars, survival modes and more. That's not even considering the fact it offers a creative mode, and even an RPG. It basically offers a little bit of everything in one beautiful world, and who can say no to that?
Have we missed any of what you think are the best Minecraft servers? Let us know your favourites in the comments below and we'll make sure to check them out.