If your kid has spent some time playing Minecraft on their own — or with other family members on your home network — they will probably reach a point where they’ll want to play with others online.
Playing Minecraft on a public server can take the game to a whole new level. For one thing, there’s a new community of like-minded players to make friends with and collaborate with. This will help your kid learn social skills, such as cooperating, compromising and problem-solving.
In addition, most servers feature huge, prebuilt worlds, with amazing cities and buildings, transport networks, and mini-games for your kid to explore and enjoy.
Finally, most servers extend Minecraft using lots of server plugins, which allow for a whole range of extra gameplay features, including money systems, jobs, role-playing elements and teleports. (You don’t need to modify your Minecraft game to add these features; they’re all handled by the server.)
By now you’re probably thinking: This is all very well, but aren’t public servers a dangerous place for my kid? If they go on a server, how will I know they will be safe from bad language, bullying, or online predators?
Of course, no public server is 100 percent safe, but there are some fantastic Minecraft servers out there that cater especially to kids and families. (That said, if you’d rather set up a completely private server for your kid and their close friends, check out Minecraft Realms.)
In this guide, you’ll discover eleven of the best family-friendly Minecraft servers out there. You’ll also learn a bit more about how Minecraft servers work, and how to connect to these servers and start playing online.
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At this point, I should point out that this guide is for the PC/Mac version of Minecraft only. While there are some family-friendly servers for the Pocket Edition and Xbox versions of Minecraft, the vast majority of servers work with the PC/Mac version.
So without further ado, let’s dive into the world of online, family-friendly Minecraft! We’ll start by looking at some important concepts related to public Minecraft servers.
Key server concepts you need to know
Here are a few key concepts and terms that are worth knowing before you join a public server:
- Servers vs. worlds: Usually, a single public Minecraft server has several worlds that you can jump between. For example, there’s often a main survival world, another creative-mode world, and possibly a third world for mini-games. Usually there’s a central hub or lobby, with warp points that let you teleport between the different worlds.
- PvP and PvE: PvP stands for “player vs. player”, while PvE stands for “player vs. environment”. Most public servers — especially family-friendly ones — are PvE; that is, you battle monsters, not players. However, some servers have special PvP arenas where you can fight other players. (Typically, if you die in a PvP arena, you don’t lose all your stuff, as you would in a regular survival world. It’s just for fun.)
- Spawn: Usually your player will spawn (start) at a set point in the world, usually referred to simply as “spawn”. Typically this is in, or near, a central town or city, or in some sort of lobby area. You can usually type the command /spawn to return to your spawn point.
- Rules: Nearly all servers have rules as to what you can and cannot do, and — as you’d imagine — family-friendly servers tend to have a big list of strict rules. Make sure you read all the rules thoroughly. (When you first join some servers, they actually force you to walk past lots of signs with the rules on!) If you don’t follow the rules, you can be banned temporarily or even permanently from the server.
- Griefing and grief protection: A big potential problem on public servers is griefing; that is, demolishing other players’ buildings or stealing their stuff. Many — but not all — servers use various plugins to stop griefing. Typically these plugins let you lock your chests, doors and furnaces, and you can also claim a patch of land as your own — this means that nobody else can create or break blocks within your claim. In addition, griefing is always forbidden in the server rules; griefers are warned and then banned, and most server admins can “roll back” your building to the state it was in before it was griefed.
- Text chat: Minecraft has built-in text chat (the ‘T’ key), which is the default way that your kid will communicate with other players. Chat can be public or private (that is, one-to-one). Obviously your kid will need some reading ability to participate in chat, although you can help them if you’re playing online too. Most family-friendly servers employ automatic filtering to prevent swearing in text chat. As with all online chat, make sure you remind your kid never to give out personal details when chatting.
- Voice chat: Some servers link up with voice chat servers such asMumble, TeamSpeak or Ventrilo to enable players to speak with each other while playing. If you allow your kid to use voice chat then obviously you want to be careful about who they’re talking to, and what they’re talking about!
- Server commands: To get the most out of online playing, you’ll need to give various commands to the server as you play. You give a command by pressing the / (slash) key, followed by the command name and, sometimes, some extra text. For example, /sethome typically sets your home point to where you’re currently standing, while /home teleports you to your home point. The commands vary from server to server, but you’ll soon get the hang of them.
- Using mods: If you’ve added mods to your Minecraft client, be careful when connecting to servers, since most servers ban at least some mods — particularly those that let you cheat, of course. Usually, mods such asOptiFine — which simply makes your game run more smoothly — are OK.
How to join a server
Joining a public Minecraft server is very easy. Just open the Minecraft launcher and click Play to run the main Minecraft game. Once you reach the main title screen, you click the Multiplayer button, then click the Add Server button to add the server.
Now type a name for the server in the Server Name box, then type the server address in the Server Address box. Typically this will be a domain name, such as mc.intercraften.org, or an IP address, such as 220.127.116.11. Then click Done to add the server to your server list:
To add a server, click Add Server and enter the server details. You can then connect to the server with the Join Server button.
Then it’s simply a matter of clicking a server in the list, and clicking the Join Server button to connect to it.
Now let’s look at a couple of issues that may come up when joining a server.
You can divide public Minecraft servers into two types:
- Whitelisted servers are protected by a whitelist — that is, a list of usernames that are allowed to join the server. To join a whitelisted server, you need to apply to have your Minecraft username added to the whitelist. Typically, this involves filling out a form and waiting a few hours or days. Most servers require you to put in separate applications for yourself and for your kid. Once you’re on the whitelist, you join the server as described above.
- Non-whitelisted servers do not have a whitelist, which means anyone can join the server simply by entering the server’s address in their Minecraft client, as shown above.
Applying for a whitelisted server can be a bit of a drag — especially when you have an impatient eight-year-old tugging at your sleeve — but it does provide an extra degree of reassurance that all the players on the server are known to the server administrators.
Server and client versions
One thing to watch out for when joining a server is making sure the version number of your Minecraft client (game) matches the version number of the server. Generally speaking, the versions have to match, or you won’t be able to connect.
For example, the current version of Minecraft is 1.7.9, but many servers are still running 1.7.2, or even 1.6.4. Sometimes the server’s website tells you what version they’re running, but sometimes the only way to tell is to try it and see. If you get an error message when using the 1.7.9 client, try the 1.7.2 client instead.
Fortunately it’s easy to switch to different versions of the Minecraft client. In the Minecraft launcher, you can click New Profile to create different profiles that use any Minecraft version you like. Then, just select the profile you want to use from the drop-down list in the launcher, and click Play.
It’s easy to set up the Minecraft launcher with profiles for different versions. Here I’ve set up two profiles: one for 1.7.2 and another for 1.7.9. (OptiFine is a handy mod that makes your Minecraft run faster.) The “Use version” dropdown in the topmost window lets you choose the version.
The list of family-friendly servers
Now that you know the basics of playing online with Minecraft, here are 11 excellent Minecraft servers for you and your kid to play on.
I have personally played on all of these servers. They are listed in no particular order; I think they are all very good, and every single one comes across as being suitable and welcoming for kids, parents and grandparents alike!
You’ll find that each server has its own unique “feel”, so it’s worth exploring a few of them to find out which one feels right for you.
Cubeville is a really nice server that’s committed to being family-friendly. You don’t need to apply to join — just enter cubeville.org into your Minecraft client — but the server is well policed and has a good, clear list of rules. It also has a thorough tutorial when you first join.
The enormous Cubeville world has a big central city, as well as lots of smaller towns and settlements dotted all over the map. There’s an amazing range of fun things to explore and nice people to meet. It’s fairly crowded, so to build you’ll need to catch a ride on the transport system and head out to the edge of the map.
Cubeville also features a neat money system with quests to earn cash; clever automated shops; and a great transport network. It also has land and chest protection so you can claim your own little corner of Cubeville for yourself.
Towncraft is not whitelisted, so anyone can join — just enter play.towncraft.us into your Minecraft client. It also has a TeamSpeak server for voice chat; you can find the IP address on the Towncraft website.
What I like about Towncraft is that, rather than just being a standard world to explore and build in, it has a bit of a narrative going on. A meteor has wiped out the world, and it’s up to you and your friends on the server to rebuild it. At the start of the game, you pick a trade, such as hunter, farmer, blacksmith or merchant, then as you improve your skills in that trade over time, you unlock new abilities.
Towncraft doesn’t tend to get too busy, making for a relaxed crafting experience. There are parents and kids playing on the server, and people are generally are friendly and helpful.
The server uses the Zombie Apocalypse plugin; this randomly makes a horde of zombies appear around the player at night, which you must defeat to receive a reward. Obviously, younger players might get a bit freaked out by this, but it’s good fun for older kids.
Intercraften is a very popular family-friendly Minecraft server. It’s well planned out, and has extremely helpful moderators that are good at sorting out problems and looking after everyone, parents and kids alike.
The server is whitelisted, so to join you first need to fill out the simpleapplication form.
Intercraften is a huge server with several worlds, including New Survival (the current main world), a CTF (Capture the Flag) world, a peaceful world, a creative world, a mining world, and lots more.
The server has a money system, along with jobs — such as fisherman, brewer and woodcutter — that you can carry out in order to earn coins. You can use the cash to buy stuff in shops, and also to claim chunks of land so that others can’t grief your builds. If you do get griefed, the moderators are very careful to set everything right again (and ban the offender from the server).
As well as doing stuff with the usual server commands, such as /spawn,/sethome and /home, you can also use the user-friendly Intercraften Menu book (given free when you join) to pick jobs, perform commands and play mini-games.
The Sandlot is a whitelisted, family-friendly Minecraft server that’s been running since December 2011. It’s operated by a former schoolteacher, and has a good set of rules and filters in place to prevent any abusive behaviour.
What I like about The Sandlot is the good balance of different worlds available. There’s Semi-Vanilla Survival, which is pretty close to a standard Minecraft world, with the sensible addition of Grief Prevention and also a virtual currency system (tied to gold ingots) so that players can set up shops.
A really great world for younger kids is Easy Survival. If Semi-Vanilla Survival is Scrabble, this is Junior Scrabble. Rather than having to spend ages digging around for resources and items, kids can choose a job (such as farming) to earn money, then spend their money to buy items in a big mall in the centre. This makes for a much easier, more relaxed gameplay style. Great idea.
Other worlds in The Sandlot include a Creative world, and lots of PvP game worlds including hunger games (based loosely on the books and movies),spleef and so on. There’s also a skyblock world (a world with floating islands and lots of challenges).
All of these worlds are accessed via The Lobby, a fantastic building based on Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series (check out the secret passages!). This, as well as many of the other Sandlot worlds, are beautifully designed, creating a fun, welcoming environment for your kid.
CrazyPig is a small family-friendly Minecraft server with a great community. It was initially set up by a UK parent for his son, but is now open to all. It is not whitelisted; to join, just add play.crazypig.net to your Minecraft client.
CrazyPig uses a “belt” system to rank players by how long they’ve played on the server. As you spend more time on the server, you’re automatically given belts of higher rank, which in turn give you access to certain worlds, as well as a greater number of “homes” that you can set and warp to.
There’s also a currency system, as well as a simple virtual marketplace where players can buy and sell items.
As with most servers, CrazyPig features several interconnected worlds. There’s a central lobby area from which you can choose a world to warp to. There’s the Main World where you’ll build your house and spend most of your time; a Creative World (you need to be Green Belt or higher to access it); a Games World with a giant chess set; and an Extra Hard world if you’re feeling brave!
Although it’s not whitelisted, CrazyPig has a friendly, helpful community of players, and employs the Grief Prevention plugin to stop players from griefing. It also has pretty good automatic language filters to eliminate swearing.
A fairly novel aspect of CrazyPig is the concept of regions. The main world is automatically divided up into regions; when you join you’re automatically added to the newest region, but you can warp between regions. This ensures that each area of the world doesn’t get overcrowded. It’s a bit confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a pretty good system!
CrazyPig is a great server if you’re looking for a good community, not too many rules, and freedom to build and have fun.
Addstar is a busy Australian server that is kid-friendly. It’s not whitelisted so anyone can join, but it is heavily moderated and comes with LWCprotection (for locking things) and Grief Prevention (for claiming land so it can’t be griefed).
Addstar follows the familiar format of a central spawn town, with warps that take you off to other worlds. There are several portals into a fairly standard survival world, as well as a portal to a creative world with tons of amazing creations (only donators to the server can build here).
In the spawn town you’ll also find warps to tons of mini-games, including BlockHunt, a maze, parkour, spleef, CTF (capture the flag), survival games, and even Connect 4, checkers and chess!
There’s always a lot happening on the Addstar server, and — apart from a brief intro — you’re pretty much thrown in at the deep end, so this server is probably better for older kids, or those who already know Minecraft and Minecraft servers well. That said, the staff are always helpful and friendly.
MineSquish is a whitelisted server with a fairly strict application process. To apply, you need to register on the forums, introduce yourself, and actively participate in the forums for a while. Only then can you apply to be whitelisted. An exception is made if you’re applying on behalf of your kid and they’re too young to post on the forums. In this case, you only need to make an introduction post, and show that you have read through the server rules and explained them to your chid.
This relatively lengthy whitelisting process, combined with strict server rules, ensures that players are fairly well vetted before they play, and helps to foster a good community spirit.
The MineSquish server is very family-friendly and has all sorts of features to make the game safe to play for youngsters, including a monster-free spawn (starting) town, a rail and road system to make it easy to get around and avoid getting lost, carefully managed towns, and lockable chests, doors and furnaces.
The server doesn’t have anti-griefing block protection, so there is no way to protect your build from being demolished by others. However, players are generally well-behaved in the MineSquish community and the server admins are good at catching griefers, so griefing doesn’t tend to be a big problem.
There are several worlds to explore, including Persephone (the main survival world, where you build your home), a creative freebuild world, a hard-mode Exploration world for resource gathering that’s wiped every 2 months, a Skylands (floating islands) world, a Big Build world for building impressive big structures, and more.
Here is a good MineSquish starter guide for parents and young kids.
SafeCraft — formerly Win Family Survival — is a small but growing family-friendly server built by a dedicated team of parents and kids in the UK. It uses whitelisting and strict filtering to make a kid-friendly server where people help out players of all abilities. The moderators are particularly open to helping out kids on the autistic spectrum and kids with ADHD.
The server has a fun, lively feel to it with a fantastically colourful main lobby (see screenshot above). The safe, welcoming environment means this server will appeal to kids both young and old. The server includes some other nice touches such as “Server Champion” awards and recognising birthdays, which add to the sense of community.
From the lobby you can reach a standard survival world (grief protection is included); the SafeCraft world (no hostile mobs — great for littler kids); a world for resource gathering, and heaps of great mini-games including Paintball, Block Hunt, hunger/survival games, TNT Run and Skyblock. There are also a couple of spleef arenas in the lobby.
Overall, this is a good server for kids who prefer to play in a safe, welcoming environment with a close-knit community.
Blocklandia is a fun, family-friendly whitelisted server that is suitable for kids of all ages (some players are as young as 4!). The moderators are very helpful, and usually give you a guided tour when you first join. They may even offer to help you build your first house!
The spawn (starting area) is themed as a large shipyard. Each ship takes you to a different land. Mainland is the main survival world, while Peaceful is a safer mode with no hostile mobs or fall damage. There’s also a Creative world, reached via a pretty hot air balloon.
Blocklandia has a money system based on “shillings”. There are plenty of jobs that will earn you shillings, including weaponsmith, digger, builder, sorcerer, alchemist, and even pirate!
A nice touch is the enormous library, just off the shipyard. You can write a book and add it to the library, as well as read other people’s books.
Although the server doesn’t let you claim land in the survival worlds, it does use the LWC plugin which lets you lock chests, doors, furnaces and so on. In addition, there’s a very clear, detailed set of rules (that you have to read when you first connect), things like TNT and fire are generally banned, and the moderators are very good at sorting out any griefing issues.
If your kid is fairly new to Minecraft and wants to join a helpful, welcoming community then Blocklandia is a good bet.
Famcraft was set up by parents who wanted to make sure that kids had a safe place to play Minecraft online. It’s been running for a couple of years and had developed a really good community of players, ranging in age from 5 to 77!
Famcraft is not whitelisted — just add survival.famcraft.com to your Minecraft client, and away you go. When you first join, you’ll probably be offered a tour by one of the friendly staff members. There are usually at least a couple of staff online at any given moment.
The main survival server is huge, with lots of great features. The main spawn area is a beautiful wooden seaside village, with stargates (warps) that link off to various locations on the map. There are six frequently-changing random warps into wilderness where you can mine and build; free farms if you need resources; cities to explore; a carnival; a sports stadium (with optional PvP); mazes; and tons of other attractions. There are also many plugins that let you make cool stuff with signs and redstone, such as lifts, drawbridges, iron gates and hidden areas.
As well as fairly standard server elements, such as a currency system, a jobs system, and grief prevention with LWC and PreciousStones, Famcraft has some extra touches that give the server its own unique, community feel.
For example, there are a large number of clans that you can join to work on projects together, and there are also lots of giant player statues to show appreciation for helpful players on the server.
The server staff also regularly stream family friendly music withMixlr, which really adds an element of fun to the gameplay. They even host dance parties in a fantastic dance area within the world!
Famcraft has a Mumble server, which many players use for voice chat while playing. There’s also a #famcraft IRC channel, which lets players chat with each other even when they’re not playing the game. All IRC chat also appears in the regular Minecraft in-game chat window.
As well as the main survival world, there’s also a world that uses the FTB(FeedTheBeast) modpack for extra fun and games.
The Famcraft staff are attentive, helpful and chatty, and make a great effort to make sure everyone is playing safely and having fun.
YAMS — Yet Another Minecraft Server — is a small family-friendly server run by a dedicated team in the UK. It uses whitelisting; to apply for the whitelist, first register for the forums, then post a whitelist request in the “Introduce and Whitelist Yourself” forum.
What I really like about YAMS is the thought that’s gone into setting up a realistic world. There’s a central spawn town with a large shopping mall, and four satellite towns, reached via a comprehensive transport network. Each satellite town has its own unique feel and building code: for example, the buildings in one town are built from cobblestone; another town features wooden buildings, and so on. (To build in a town, you first need to show you can build a nice building in the sandbox within the spawn town.)
As well as the towns, there are tons of sightseeing opportunities dotted around the land, including an impressive coliseum (complete with PvP games), a university (in development), a theatre, a windmill, a maze, an observation tower and lots more. There are also lots of hidden things to find throughout the map.
YAMS does not have chest locking or grief protection; however the server has a close-knit community and a strict set of rules that help to keep things running along nicely. The server admin can also restore any stolen or griefed items.
If your kid likes playing closely with a team inside a structured environment then they will likely enjoy this server.
I hope you’ve found this guide to family-friendly Minecraft servers useful, and that you find a great server that you and your kid can enjoy. Maybe I’ll meet you on one of them! (My Minecraft username is FigNoodle.)
I’d also like to say a big Thank You! to all the helpful staff and players on these servers who answered all my questions while I was writing this guide.
If you have a favourite family-safe Minecraft server that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
Finally, if you liked reading this article, you might also enjoy my list of kid-friendly Minecraft YouTubers, which helps your kid watch Minecraft videos on YouTube while staying safe!
Thanks for reading.