Minecraft Realms: Are They Worth It?

Want a Minecraft server of your own? Maybe realms will do!

Minecraft logo

Bago Games / Flickr

Playing Mojang's Minecraft with friends can be difficult and costly, depending on how you set it up. The developer created Minecraft Realms to simplify the setup and provide an easy way to play with up to 10 of your friends.

What Is a Minecraft Realm?

a screenshot of two characters in Minecraft

Minecraft Realms are Mojang’s answer to hosting a Minecraft server. Playing Minecraft with friends over the internet has never been easier. For a fee of $7.99 per month or a one-time payment for 30-, 90-, or 180-day plans, Mojang sets up and hosts a private, always-online server for you and your friends. Only people you invite can play in your world, and your friends play for free in your realm.

Each server has the functions you usually find in a typical Minecraft experience plus more. All of Minecraft’s various game modes (Survival, Creative, Adventure, and Spectator) are available. In addition, mini-games supported by Mojang are preloaded onto the Minecraft Realms setup.

The Minecraft Hardcore Mode is not currently available in Realms.

Convenience of Minecraft Realm Play

Screenshot of Minecraft Realm configuration

A major plus of using Minecraft Realms rather than a third-party server is convenience. When optimizing a third-party server, you usually need to go onto a website to adjust settings, hoping to find the perfect setup.

With Minecraft Realms, everything is optimized in the Minecraft client itself. If you want to invite a person to your server or switch to a mini-game that Mojang has provided, upload your own world, or customize anything else, you do it all in the client.

A significant downside to using Realms is the lack of support for mods. As modifications to the game are a huge part of the Minecraft experience, this can cause problems for gamers who want to play something like the Aether Mod, for example, with their friends.

Security Aspects of Minecraft Realms

Screenshot of Minecraft Realm players

If you’re afraid to start a server because you think uninvited guests may destroy your world, worry not. When you use a Minecraft Realm for your server, only players who are invited by you may join. As the host, you can add and remove people from the whitelist with ease.

Worlds are automatically backed up for server safety.

You can invite up to 200 players to access to your server, although only 10 can play at any given time.

Platform Compatibility

Minecraft Realms
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Two versions of Minecraft Realms are available from Mojang:

  • Minecraft Realms version for mobile devices, consoles, and Windows 10 platforms
  • Minecraft: Java Edition for PC, Mac, and Linux platforms

The two versions are incompatible, so players using Minecraft: Java Edition on a Mac or pre-Windows 10 computer can't play with players on a mobile device or console.

Overall, Minecraft Realms are a worthwhile and official answer to creating and managing a server for Minecraft if you want a simple gaming experience. Hosting your own server provides a user-friendly alternative to third-party server hosts.

However, Minecraft Realms are not for everybody. If you’re into the scene of modding, you should stick with a host that allows those adjustments.