How to Play Minecraft With Friends On Java and Bedrock

November 13, 2023 • Shannon Flynn


Wondering how to play Minecraft with friends? You have a lot of options for multiplayer on both Java and Bedrock editions. Multiplayer can get complicated if you want to play on different platforms, though. 

This quick guide will show you seven different ways to play Minecraft with friends, whether you are on PC, mobile or console. Before getting started, though, it’s important to note that you can’t play multiplayer across different versions of Minecraft. Your whole group has to be using either Java or Bedrock. 

How to Play With Friends on Minecraft Java Edition

Minecraft Java Edition is the original version of Minecraft and the go-to for players on PC, Mac and Linux. Notably, Java Edition does not run on consoles or mobile devices. So, the multiplayer options below only work for groups where everyone is playing on Java Edition. 

Public Servers

The easiest way to play Minecraft with friends on Java Edition is through public servers. For example, Hypixel is one of the most popular Java servers in the world today. Anyone can join public multiplayer servers for free by simply entering the server address on the Multiplayer tab in Minecraft. 

To get started, take a look at some of the top public servers online. Some servers have different specialties or activities and some are much larger than others. For instance, Hypixel has hundreds of thousands of players and offers dozens of mini-games and activities, from PVP to survival SMPs. 

Pick a server with your friends and have everyone join it from their device. Check the server’s user guide to see how you can add friends and create a party for playing in groups. You shouldn’t have to pay to use public Minecraft servers. 

Minecraft Realms

The downside to playing Minecraft on a public server is the crowds and lack of control. If you want more privacy, your best option is a private server. The easiest way to make one is with Minecraft Realms. 

Creating a private Minecraft server usually requires choosing a hosting platform and maintaining the server yourself. Minecraft Realms simplifies things. Mojang hosts and manages the server for you. It does require a paid subscription, though, and you can only add ten players to the server (not including the server owner). 

Minecraft Realms is easy and fairly affordable. You can choose from some premade maps and mini-games if you want or generate a survival world. 

If you do want to play with a larger group of friends, it’s possible to host your own private server. You will need to pay a subscription for a hosting service, such as Apex Hosting or Shockbyte. This method is a little more complicated than Realms but gives you way more flexibility and freedom. For example, you can add custom modpacks and plugins to your server. 

LAN Multiplayer

LAN is the most limited multiplayer option for Minecraft Java Edition. LAN stands for Local Access Network. In this case, it refers to the Wi-Fi network you are playing Minecraft on. If your friends are all connected to the same Wi-Fi network, you can create a LAN world to play on together. It’s a private server and free to run. 

The only downside is the person who creates the LAN server has to be in the world for anyone else to play on it. So, if you create a LAN server and go offline, the server will also go offline. Your computer also has to be powerful enough to run a Minecraft server, which may not be possible on low-power devices. 

How to Play Minecraft With Friends on Bedrock Edition

Minecraft Bedrock Edition has all the same multiplayer options as Java Edition— they are just separate. So, for instance, Bedrock players can’t join Java servers and vice versa. 

Public Servers

Minecraft Bedrock Edition has public servers just like Java Edition does. They don’t overlap, though. If you want to know how to play Minecraft with friends on Bedrock Edition, a public server is usually your easiest option. They’re free, open to everyone and offer a plethora of gameplay options. 

Public servers tend to be more common in the Java community, but there are still plenty of great options on Bedrock. The main challenge your group might face is pocket edition support. 

Technically, any pocket edition player can play on Bedrock servers. However, some mobile devices don’t have the processing power to handle large servers or special features. So, you may need to choose a more lightweight server if someone in your group wants to play on a mobile device. 

Minecraft Realms

Minecraft Realms is available on Java and Bedrock Edition. So, you can easily create a private server on any device. Realms works the same on Bedrock as it does for Java Edition. However, your realm can only run on one edition or the other. If you want a realm on both editions, you need two different Minecraft Realms subscriptions. 

Pro tip: if you are setting up Minecraft Realms from a console, it is easier to buy and activate your subscription from the Mojang website on a PC. 

Alternatively, you can host a server with a third-party hosting service. Most leading Minecraft server hosting platforms support both Java and Bedrock. For example, on Apex Hosting, you can choose which edition your server runs on. 

LAN Multiplayer

Minecraft Bedrock also supports LAN multiplayer. All you need for this multiplayer option is a Wi-Fi network everyone can join. You can do crossplay on different devices as long as everyone is playing Bedrock Edition. 

It is often best to run the LAN from the most powerful computer or console in the group, though. For instance, an Xbox Series X is much more capable of running a Minecraft server than a Nintendo Switch Lite. 

Split-Screen Multiplayer (Console Only)

If you want to know how to play Minecraft with friends on a gaming console, you have a bonus option: split-screen. PC users don’t have access to split-screen multiplayer. It is only available on Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch consoles. 

Split-screen multiplayer should start up automatically when you have two controllers connected to the same console with Minecraft running. You can include up to four players, but you all need to play on the same console. 

Does Minecraft Have Crossplay?

If you’re wondering how to play Minecraft with friends, you’re probably also wondering about crossplay. Minecraft does support crossplay, but only on Bedrock Edition. 

Java Edition only runs on laptops and PCs, so it doesn’t support crossplay. In contrast, Bedrock Edition runs on consoles, mobile devices, and laptops and PCs. It’s a newer version of the game, as well. Bedrock Edition may not have mod packs like those on Java, but it does have the Minecraft Marketplace. This is where you can get skins, adventure maps, mini-games and more for Bedrock Edition, including IP content from brands like Star Wars and How to Train Your Dragon.  

If you and your friends want to play Minecraft together from a variety of devices, Bedrock Edition is definitely the best option. 

Best Ways to Play Minecraft With Friends

If you’re wondering how to play Minecraft with friends, you have plenty of options to choose from. The edition of Minecraft you have will determine what type of multiplayer you can use. You will need Bedrock Edition if your group wants to use crossplay. Both Java and Bedrock Edition have multiplayer options on public servers, private servers, Minecraft Realms and LAN.