Minecraft servers make the world go round. Or, at least, the worlds of Minecraft. It’s no secret that the PC community houses the most ambitious players in the world. There’s no better evidence of this than in the expansive servers of Minecraft. The architectural artist’s paradise, Minecraft has been a great creative outlet for players who can build to their heart’s content, all without needing to know a single line of code.
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Their works and ideas are immortalised in thousands of servers. Every server is its own self-contained multiplayer world, with its own rules, gameplay style, and communities. We’ve had a hunt around to find the very best, featuring anything from breathtaking constructions and vistas to worlds with whole new rules and game modes.
How to join Minecraft servers
Joining a Minecraft server is wonderfully easy, but here’s a quick walkthrough to help you out if you’re new to all this multiplayer lark:
Firstm find a server you like the sound of – like any of the ones mentioned below – and grab the IP address. Start up Minecraft, click ‘multiplayer’, then ‘add a server’. All that’s left to do is pop in the IP address and name the server. Click 'done' before heading back to your server list and finding your desired server. Simply click the ‘join server’ button and you’ll find yourself in a new, wonderful world of blocks, and people who like said blocks.
Grand Theft Minecart
IP address: mc-gtm.net
Grand Theft Minecart brings two of the biggest games on PC together: Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto. Not old enough to walk into a brick and mortar branch of GAME to let loose on Los Santos with Trevor and chums? With houses to own, weapons to shoot, and pesky policeman to evade, you can have a fantastic recreation of the GTA experience here - making this one of the best Minecraft servers out there.
IP address: mc.mineagepvp.org
Marrying the fast and frantic combat of Minecraft with the faction and PvP zoning of Runescape, Mineage Factions is one of the best servers around for large-scale, blocks-flying warfare. What it lacks in game modes, it more than makes up for in the sheer scope of its battles.
IP address: server.minewind.com
You won’t be promised a particularly pleasant experience upon landing in the Minewind server – instead, what you get is the ultimate playground for griefers, player-killing, and deception. Your goal is simple: try to survive for as long as possible, just like in vanilla Minecraft… except that on top of the endless mobs, you’ll also be up against double-crossers, robbers, and killers.
IP address: mc.mafia-craft.com
A roleplaying server, MafiaCraft relocates you to an NYC-like city and asks what you will make of yourself. Will you join the police and uphold the law? Or join the underworld and make money on the drug circuit?
As a gangster, you can farm various illegal substances and sell them on the black market. You can become part of player gangs and take part in raids on enemy safehouses, ransacking their stashes and causing a lot of murder. Being part of the mob wouldn’t be appealing without a bit of heat, so MafiaCraft has a full armoury that can be crafted. Of course, shooting people is a federal offence, and should you be caught by police players you can be locked up and serve time (a cushy two minutes).
There’s something slightly childish about MafiaCraft, with its ‘drugs’ being nothing more than sugar, carrots, seeds, and mushrooms simply renamed, and the progression from street corner seller to dealer baron being the stuff of straight-to-DVD fluff rather than a Scorsese flick. But there’s also a thrill in raiding rival gangs’ hideouts and performing drive-by shootings. Not quite GTA on blocks, but close enough.
IP address: eu.mineplex.com or us.mineplex.com
Mineplex is the largest Minecraft server in existence. Containing multiple arenas and zones for a hefty amount of game types, Mineplex is populated by thousands of players at any one time.
The level of detail in its design makes Mineplex feel like a studio-built MMO. And the ever-present community of staff and players are both great sports and ensure that there are always people to play with. The variety of game options means that, realistically, you can make Mineplex your sole destination and still take part in two thirds of the experiences on this list.
Mineplex is also a great destination to play Minekart. Yep, it's a blocky recreation of Mario Kart. With recreated tracks, power-ups, and karting without actual karts, Minekart is a great change from the normal murder-prevalent game types or hitting things with pickaxes.
IP address: eu.pixelmoncraft.com or us.pixelmoncraft.com
PixemonCraft takes the popular Pokémon-themed Pixelmon mod and makes it multiplayer. Split over two servers, based on the Kanto and Johto regions from the super-popular Nintendo games, PixelmonCraft not only recreates the areas and towns of those games, but also replicates as much of the gameplay as possible. Animals in Minecraft are not only replaced with Pokémon, but they can be caught and battled with, just as you'd hope. There are gym leaders to fight, Pokémarts to shop in, and long grass to avoid.
The blocky nature of Minecraft cutely replicates the feel of the Pokémon games to make this feel like an accurate depiction of a Pokémon MMO. There’s an authentic vibe of love on the server, with a friendliness and warmth that only forcing cute animals to maul each other to near-death can provide.
IP address: zero.minr.org
Demonstrating Minecraft’s ever-versatile nature, Zero.Minr is a parkour server – yes, seriously. Filled with a great variety of challenging maps, crafting and killing is thrown aside in favour of running and climbing an ever more intricate web of towers and paths. The overly-dramatic trailer above shows off some of the more challenging routes, spiralling skyward with jumps sure to send many players flailing to their doom.
While frustrating to start with, Minecraft parkour is a skill to work on, but with a little practise can become one of the game's great pleasures. Zero.Minr is certainly one of the best servers to free-run.
IP address: mc.piratemc.com
Sail, build, and plunder in PirateCraft, a server dedicated to the golden age of scurvy and theft. PirateCraft is one of the most ambitious servers we’ve played on and even has a fully-functioning ship-to-ship combat mechanic. As with all Minecraft ideas of such magnitude, it’s a little clunky, but it works. Ships can be built and sailed across the seas, cannons can be mounted to the hull, and then used to fire at enemy vessels.
On land, a simple but functional economy replicates the trade and booty of the period, and players can build their own houses on ‘safe zones’ in order to bunk and store treasures in. Safe Zones are protected from griefers, meaning you can build as much as you like without fear of others trashing your masterpieces.
Of course, if you’re roleplaying a pirate there’s going to be some grief involved, and provided the owner is in a Safe Zone, other players can siege them. Attackers can destroy ‘soft’ blocks, and generally make a nuisance of themselves until they either walk away or the defender surrenders. Similarly, ships can be stolen, provided the owner is not onboard at the time.
IP address: mc.hypixel.net
The Hypixel Minecraft server is full to bursting with some great minigames including Cops and Crims, Paintball, and a Murder Mystery. There's a dazzling variety here, making the Hypixel Minecraft server a great place to have a laugh with your blocky pals.
Desteria Factions Network
IP address: pvp.desteria.com
There are plenty of faction-based servers out there, but Desteria has some of the most fully-formed level and class systems around. Borrowing from Runescape’s level 3-99 levelling system, there’s plenty of depth in Desteria, which makes it ideal for RPG fans. Four classes and a rich selection of factions also make for an engrossing and varied PvP game. Like any great RPG, Desteria is also home to a number of incredible environments, so load up those shaders before entering.
IP address: mcmiddleearth.com
If ever there were a classic world that would inevitably end up immortalised in textured blocks, it was Tolkien’s Middle-earth. This is a vast project still under construction that is primarily based on Peter Jackson’s cinematic vision of Middle-earth. You can help push forward with the building of the world of men, elves, and creatures of shorter stature, so long as you follow a fairly specific set of rules. Current project is Gondor capital Minas Tirith, and helping out on the construction will allow you to make your own mark with a house for yourself.
Ranch n Craft
IP address: mc.ranchncraft.com
Line dancing, horse taming, and farming. Ranch n Craft drops the shootouts and saloon brawls of other Wild West-themed servers and sticks to the simplicities of country life. With tons of equestrian-based features unique to the server, it's ideal for Minecrafters who feel most at home in the saddle.
Users can claim land and start their own ranches, breed horses, and farm crops to their heart’s content. Ranch n Craft is also known for its largely griefer-free community full of helpful moderators, making it one of the most peaceful servers out there.
IP address: mc.westeroscraft.com
If Middle-earth is our classic fantasy Minecraft server then WesterosCraft is our modern great. From the Wall right down to The Red Keep at King’s Landing, WesterosCraft is a vast server with many of Game of Thrones’ landmarks built in astonishing detail. Most areas are built from the TV show designs, making much of this server like a trip inside HBO's vision of the fantasy world. Kings Landing is especially awe-inspiring.
Like Minecraft Middle-earth, it’s still very much a project underway, with work currently being done to the Lannister bastion of Casterly Rock. Should you know your Winterfell from your Dreadfort, you can join in and help prop up the next house of death and tyranny. Just head over to the server’s website to find out what the current project is and what dates build sessions are happening on.
The Mining Dead
IP address: miningdead.com
PvP and PvE combine in this server-wide recreation of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Fight, craft, and survive in the enormous map, fighting off walkers and other players alike. Much of the action plays out like a Minecraft version of DayZ, with players doing whatever it takes to survive, hiding from the undead and avoiding other groups of survivors. The Mining Dead also features key locations from the TV series like The Prison, Woodbury, and Alexandria.
IP address: 126.96.36.199:25814
A combination of programming magic and Minecraft blocks, Crafting Azeroth is a purely explore-only server with no building or mining allowed. It’s all about exploring Azeroth – the world of Warcraft itself – recreated in blocky form. Unlike Minecraft Middle-earth and WesterosCraft, Crafting Azeroth is not a hand-built world. Instead, creator Rumsey wrote his own software that converts World of Warcraft’s maps into voxel data, which is then interpreted by Minecraft to build a world. The whole conversion is a 48-hour job, but assigning Minecraft blocks to the different colours picked up in the voxelization process was a much bigger task.
The result is a stunningly well-realised clone of MMO gaming’s most beloved world, 500 square kilometers in size and comprised of 100 billion blocks. Outland is included but off-map instanced dungeons are not.
IP address: us.oc.tc
Look no further than Overcast for a server that delivers endless old-school multiplayer action. This often overlooked server takes classic multiplayer game modes, such as king of the hill, capture the flag, and team deathmatch over to Minecraft, resulting in a weird blend of twitchy gameplay and Minecraftian creativity.
With an array of massive maps and a huge player base, Overcast is home to Minecraft PvP on a grand scale.
Want more? Here's our Minecraft review. Also, let us know about your favourite servers in the comments below.