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Minecraft Realms guide: What is it, and how to set up your personal multiplayer server

Minecraft Realms guide
(Image credit: Mojang)

You may have heard about Minecraft Realms, and be wondering how it fits in with the great game we already enjoy with our family and friends. While all versions of Minecraft allow you to create private games and invite friends to help you build and shape your blocky world, it requires you – or whoever created the world – to be online. But what if you could create a world where you can invite friends or family to join and play, whether or not you are around and playing yourself? The good news is that Minecraft Realms lets you do just that.

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What are Minecraft Realms?

Minecraft Realms

(Image credit: Mojang Studios)

Minecraft Realms are personal multiplayer servers that let you create a world in Minecraft and allows up to ten players of your choice to be online at the same time. You can either create a new world or add an existing world to Realms and new content is made available each month, including maps, mini-games, and character skins.

Your Realm will be online 24/7, so anyone that you've invited to join you will be able to play whenever they choose. And because you have full control over who can play on your Realm – you can revoke access at any time – it's a safe space for younger gamers to gather and play with friends without the worry of who they may be interacting with.

Minecraft Realms is available on PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and various mobile devices, and you can access your Realm from any of these provided you have signed in with the same Minecraft account. Crossplay is also enabled, allowing you to invite friends no matter what platform they are playing on. The only thing you should be mindful of is which version you have if you're playing on PC – the Java Edition isn't compatible with most devices.

Another point to note is that Minecraft Realms doesn't currently support mods, aside from the packs that are included with the Realms Plus subscription (10-player Realms), so if that's something you care about, you may have to look for an alternative.

How much does Minecraft Realms cost?

Minecraft Realms

(Image credit: Mojang Studios)

The monthly subscription, Realms Plus will cost you $7.99/£6.69 for a maximum of 10 players per month. As well as getting your own private, always-online multiplayer server, you will also have access to over 50 Marketplace packs which includes maps, mini-games, and character skins. If you've never used Minecraft Realms Plus before, you may find you're entitled to a 30-day free trial.

Alternatively, if you're looking for something a bit smaller, you can choose to create a Realm for a maximum of two players at $3.99/£3.29 per month. You'll get the same benefits of your Realm always being online but you won't have access to the Marketplace content. There's always the option to cancel later if you feel you're not getting much use from it.

How to set up Minecraft Realms

Minecraft Realms

(Image credit: Mojang Studios)

If you want to start from scratch and create a new world in Realms, go ahead and start setting up the world as you want it, with difficulty, mode (Survival, Creative), along with any other customisations you want to add. Once you're happy with your settings, you should look for the 'Create on Realms' button, just to the right of the default 'Create' option. You'll then be given the option of a 10-player Realm or a 2-player Realm. Once you've accepted the Terms and Conditions and finalised the transaction, you'll be able to access your new Realm – and Marketplace goodies if you selected the 10-player option – straight away.

Minecraft Realms is charged on a month-to-month basis so if you find that you and your friends don't get as much use out of it as you'd hoped, you can cancel at any time by visiting the subscription section of Microsoft's website.

How to invite friends to your Minecraft Realm

Minecraft Realms

(Image credit: Mojang Studios)

The good news is that friends that you want to invite to your Realm don't need to have the subscription to join and play with you. 

To invite friends to your Realm, click the Edit button next to your Realm world, then select 'Members'. You should see a list of friends that you have already invited and you'll have the option to invite more. It seems that the number of invites you can send out is almost limitless but the people that can play on your Realm simultaneously will be limited by your subscription type – so either two or ten players at a time.

This is also where you'll be able to 'uninvite' players if they've outstayed their welcome or haven't been active for a while.

How to change Minecraft Realm settings

Minecraft Realms

(Image credit: Mojang Studios)

You can change the settings on your current Realm world by clicking the 'Edit' button next to the name of the Realm. From there, you can make adjustments such as game mode, difficulty, change the name of the world or add cheats.

How to back up or replace your World in Minecraft Realms

Minecraft Realms

(Image credit: Mojang Studios)

You don't have to stick with the same World when using Minecraft Realms. If you want to start a completely new World or if you want to replace your current one with another, you can do that too. But you might want to back up your current World before doing so, otherwise you'll lose any progress you've made on it.

To back up your existing World on Minecraft Realms, click the 'Edit' button next to your Realm world and select 'Download World'. This will save the World to your device and you'll be able to play it locally or re-upload it again later if you change your mind.

To replace your current World on Minecraft Realms, again click 'Edit' next to your Realm world and select 'Replace World'. You will be then asked to confirm this action before being presented with a list of available worlds to replace it with. Once selected, the new world will be uploaded and you'll be ready to go.

Minecraft Realms Plus updates

Minecraft Realms

(Image credit: Mojang Studios)

If you've opted for the 10-player subscription to Realms Plus, you should keep an eye out for the monthly updates on the official website. New maps, character skins, and mini-games are constantly being added and as they're available for free with Realms Plus, it seems silly not to at least check out what's on offer.

Looking for more block building? Microsoft and Mojang release free Minecraft Education pack to help kids stuck in quarantine.