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The tool crafting, tree punching, world exploring game Minecraft has been a huge hit in the gaming scene since it appeared in 2010. It only took it a few years to reach a million downloads, and ports for gaming consoles and smartphones followed soon after, making it easy to play Minecraft no matter where you go. Assuming it’s not blocked, of course.
Minecraft is better with friends, and the only way to achieve that is by going online. Even single-player requires online authentication before it’ll run, which means Minecraft has to have an internet connection to work. Normally this isn’t much of a problem, but if you want to play Minecraft in a school or workplace that blocks it (no pun intended), you’ll need to find some ways to work around that limitation.
Diagnosing the Blocked Minecraft Problem
Even though Minecraft is a quick download and doesn’t require external software to connect to a server, there are still several points at which your access could be blocked. You’ll need to follow different steps depending on where you’re running into a wall. Some blocks can be circumvented with a few quick fixes, while others require preparation and a separate computer to achieve.
Below are some of the main issues Minecraft players encounter when their access is blocked. Solutions for each problem are further down the page.
- Can’t download Minecraft – Minecraft is available from a number of online marketplaces, including the Windows and Mac OS app stores. These are the most frequently blocked sources and can be easily circumvented by visiting Minecraft’s official site.
- Can’t access Minecraft.net – Having trouble getting Minecraft from the official website? Your network is most likely blocking the site. Use the tricks below to bypass it, or just use a VPN.
- Can’t connect to online servers – A firewall is preventing Minecraft from accessing the internet, or the ports are blocked on your network. Edit your firewall settings, forward the port, or use a VPN to work around the limitation.
Unblock Minecraft Everywhere — Server Access with a VPN
VPNs are extremely useful tools for gaming as well as everyday web browsing. Not only do they provide a great deal of online privacy, but they also give you the ability to change your virtual location with just a few clicks, and help prevent ISPs from collecting your data and third parties from spying on your activity. These features come in extremely handy when you’re trying to access blocked websites or servers.
A VPN is essentially your own private tunnel to the internet. All data that leaves your computer gets encrypted, scrambling the information so servers and ISPs can’t recognize its contents. Those packets travel through the VPN’s network and get assigned a non-local IP address to remove any location tags. When the request comes back to your computer it’s decrypted and displayed as normal, only instead of sending raw, open data through the internet, you sent encrypted packets that only you and the VPN know the contents of.
VPNs help unblock Minecraft by encrypting the data. Most filters look for specific patterns displayed by Minecraft’s traffic then simply deny those request access to the web. With a VPN, however, that traffic is encrypted before it’s sent out. Instead of seeing Minecraft traffic, the network sees randomized encrypted traffic. It lets the connection pass and you can play Minecraft as normal!
There is one downside to using a VPN on a work or school computer: you won’t always be able to install it. VPNs need admin rights to access local network drivers. This means you can’t add a VPN to a USB stick and run it in portable mode, you have to actually install it on the PC. If you can install programs to the computer you shouldn’t have any trouble using a VPN. If you can’t, however, it might not be possible to unblock Minecraft.
Picking the Right VPN
You can spend weeks analyzing, comparing, and mulling over which VPN is the right one for you. There’s speed considerations to take into account, encryption protocols, privacy policies, and so much more. We’ve done most of the heavy lifting for you and chose VPNs that are reliable and inexpensive without sacrifice.
Below are some of the criteria we used to evaluate our recommended VPNs.
- Speed – VPNs often come with an inevitable drop in speed. Encryption adds data to each packet, and when coupled with the extra distance those packets must travel to reach a VPN’s worldwide server network, you could get a 10-20% reduction in speed. Good VPNs work to offset this with hardware and software tweaks that deliver fast downloads and low latency connections that keep your Minecraft sessions lag free.
- Bandwidth restrictions – Some VPNs, especially no-cost providers, place a hard cap on how much data you can transfer during a specific period of time. Unless you want your Minecraft session to end abruptly, make sure your VPN offers unlimited bandwidth with no speed or data restrictions.
- File and traffic limits – Another common practice among paid and free VPNs is to block certain types of traffic, especially P2P networks, torrents, and certain ports. This frustrating restriction can keep you from connecting to a Minecraft server without warning. The best practice is to ensure your VPN doesn’t monitor traffic.
- Logging policy – The backbone of online privacy is whether or not a VPN keeps logs. Data that passes through their server can be stored just like any internet service provider. If a government agency demands access to those logs, the VPN often has to comply. Without logs, however, your data stays safe simply because there’s no record of it existing!
Best VPNs to Unblock Minecraft at School, Work or Home
It’s not hard to use a VPN, but choosing one out of a crowded marketplace can be. The following VPNs are proven to work extremely well unblocking Minecraft no matter where you go:
ExpressVPN delivers incredible speed. The service is easily one of the fastest and most reliable VPNs on the market, boasting great connections to and from cities around the world. The ExpressVPN network covers 3,000 servers in 94 different countries with a reported 99.9% uptime, guaranteeing you’ll find a high speed server no matter which continent you’re on. This also gives you unlimited and unmonitored access to torrents, P2P networks, video streams from sites like Netflix, and of course, easy access to Minecraft servers.
ExpressVPN doesn’t slack when it comes to privacy. The company uses 256-bit encryption, accepts Bitcoin payments for improved anonymity, and doesn’t store traffic logs, which helps keep your data safe even if a government agency demands access.
Some other advantages of using ExpressVPN include DNS leak protection and a kill switch to ensure your IP address is never shared, built-in server speed tests for multiple versions of its software, custom apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS, and support for up to five simultaneous device connections.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
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- Super fast, reliable connection
- Secure encryption & VPN protocols
- No logging policy well enforced
- Live chat support available.
- Power-users configuration options.
You can’t look at NordVPN’s offerings without being impressed by the service’s incredible double encryption process. Important data that passes through select NordVPN servers gets wrapped in unbreakable 256-bit AES encryption, code so strong even supercomputers can’t break it. There’s also NordVPN’s no traffic, no time, and no bandwidth logs, which ensures nothing you do leaves a trace on their network.
All of the above features are paired with fast connection speeds, unlimited bandwidth, no restrictions on P2P or torrent traffic, and excellent custom software for all modern operating systems, mobile devices, and smartphones. NordVPN also runs a constantly expanding network of 5,700+ servers in 60 different countries, which is the largest of any top-tier VPN on the market.
Other advantages of using NordVPN include the ability to break through restrictive internet connections in countries like China and Turkey so you can play Minecraft anywhere. There’s also server customization options to handle torrent and game traffic, delivering extremely low latency scores. An automatic kill switch ensure your IP address is never exposed, while a single NordVPN subscription supports up to six simultaneous device connections–perfect for households that love Minecraft.
Read our full NordVPN review.
- Best Budget Choice
- Over 5,400 servers in 61 countries
- Tor over VPN, double VPN
- No logs and encrypted connections for total privacy
- Great support (24/7 chat).
- Some servers can be slow and unreliable
- Apps can sometime be slow to connect.
Unblock Minecraft at School or Work — Downloading Minecraft
There are dozens of ways to block Minecraft on a computer or network, ranging from DNS filtering to port blocking. All have their strengths and weaknesses. If an administrator wants to prevent Minecraft access on the network, one common method is to simply prevent users from downloading the game. This is the most basic type of block and is also one of the easier ones to circumvent.
Note that the methods below focus on downloading Minecraft from the official website, not the versions you get from the Windows or Mac app stores. You’ll need to own a copy of the game and have your Mojang username and password at hand.
Method 1: Try HTTPS
Some website filters are bare bones minimal. Depending on how your university or workplace handles blocks, you might be able to download Minecraft by adding a single letter to your URL. Some network administrators only block the standard HTTP version of Minecraft.net. If you use the HTTPS version, you might sneak through. (RELATED READING: What Is the Difference between HTTP and HTTPS?) Simply type https://minecraft.net into your browser’s address bar, then hope for the best.
- Download Minecraft – https://minecraft.net
Method 2: Get Minecraft Elsewhere
If the Minecraft website is blocked and you can’t get a copy from your operating system’s official app marketplace, there’s still a solution you can try. MCVersions.net collects links to all the most recent and older versions of Minecraft, letting you download them directly from Mojang, Minecraft’s developer, without having to visit their website. Network administrators often neglect to block this site, making it a quick and simple way to get Minecraft onto your computer.
- Download Minecraft – https://mcversions.net
Method 3: Bring Minecraft Yourself
If the above methods don’t work, you can always bring Minecraft yourself. If you have access to an SD card slot or USB port you can load Minecraft to your school or work computer directly from removable storage.
- Install Minecraft on your home computer. Be sure to run it once so all the files are downloaded.
- Keep a copy of the minecraft.exe file for later use.
- Access your Minecraft installation folder. Windows users can find it at this location: C:\Users\<Your-User-Name>\AppData\Roaming\.minecraft Mac users should look here: /Users/<Your-User-Name>/Library/Application Support/minecraft
- Copy the entire Minecraft folder to your USB drive or SD card.
- Copy the minecraft.exe file to removable storage as well.
- Take your USB drive or SD card to the computer you want to play Minecraft on.
- Find the same directory on this computer that Minecraft was installed to on your home device.
- Windows users can copy .minecraft to the \AppData\Roaming directory, Mac users to /Library/Application Support
- Drag minecraft.exe from your removable storage and onto the new computer.
- Open Minecraft and start playing.
Method 4: Download Minecraft with the Tor Browser
If the above methods aren’t working, there’s still another option at your disposal. The Tor Browser lets you anonymously access the web from any computer. It works like a standard web browser, only instead of sending normal traffic through the internet, the Tor Browser encrypts it and anonymized it through the Tor network. It’s the same piece of technology used to access the dark web. Your privacy is secured, and your work or school network can’t tell what you’re trying to download, which means you can grab Minecraft without any problems!
- Download the Tor Browser and install it to your PC.
- (optional) If you can’t access the Tor Browser website, download the portable version at home, put it on a USB stick, plug the USB stick into the target computer and run it from there.
- Open the Tor Browser and visit the Minecraft website.
- Download Minecraft as normal. Note that your connection may be slower than usual.
- Install Minecraft and play as normal.
READ ALSO: How to Use Tor with a VPN
Unblock Minecraft at Home
This article primarily focuses on getting past Minecraft blocks at school or work, but we haven’t forgotten about gamers who might be having trouble gaining access to their favorite game at home. Try these two methods:
Firewall Settings (Windows & Mac OS)
If you’re having issues connecting to Minecraft servers when you’re at home, there’s a chance your operating system’s firewall is blocking the program. This can happen if your security settings are set to “high”, or if you accidentally denied Minecraft access in the past. Fortunately it’s a quick fix on both Windows and Mac.
Unblock Minecraft from your Windows firewall:
- Open the Windows Control Panel.
- Click on “System and Security”
- Beneath the Windows Firewall section, click “allow an app through Windows Firewall”
- At the top right of the box, click the “Change settings” button. This will allow you to make changes to the programs list.
- Scroll until you see “Minecraft”.
- Click the check box to the left of Minecraft.
- Click both check boxes under Private and Public to the right of Minecraft.
- Click “OK” at the bottom of the window.
Unblock Minecraft from your Mac firewall:
- Open the System Preferences
- Click on “Security & Privacy”
- Click on the Firewall tab.
- If prompted, enter your username and password.
- Make sure the option marked “Automatically allow signed software to receive incoming connections” is checked.
- Scroll through the list and make sure Minecraft is allowed.
- If it’s not, click the red circle and change it to “Allow incoming connections”
- Click “OK” at the bottom of the window.
RELATED READING: What Is a NAT Firewall?
Minecraft doesn’t use a specific port to connect to online servers. Instead, each server runs on a port of its choosing, Minecraft simply needs to connect through the same port to log in. Most server admins use an array of default ports to make it easy for players to connect. If a server is running on a port that you can’t access, however, you’ll need to forward the ports yourself.
The process of forwarding ports is easier than it sounds. You’ll need physical access to your modem or router, meaning your computer has to be plugged into the back. You’ll also need to know the default IP address as well as the admin name and password for your router. Most manufacturers put a sticker on the bottom of the device with all of this information.
There’s no set method for forwarding ports. Each router brand has different firmware with options placed in different sections. You can find specific instructions by looking for your router model’s manual on the manufacturer’s website.
The following is a generic overview of how to forward a port on a router:
- Connect your computer to the router with a cable.
- Open a browser window.
- In the URL bar type in the router’s IP address. This will usually be something like 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1
- Log in using your username and password.
- Search for an Advanced Settings or similar tab.
- Find the section marked “Port Forwarding”
- Add a new rule to open the Minecraft ports.
- Most Minecraft servers use port 25565. Enter this in the port forwarding section.
- Save changes and reboot your router.
- With the port forwarded, try connecting through Minecraft to a server.
ALTERNATIVE METHOD: Install a VPN Directly onto Your Router
Alternative — Use Minecraft: Pocket Edition
Can’t access Minecraft from your work or school computer? You might not have to fuss with USB sticks or secretly installing Minecraft while no one’s looking. Minecraft: Pocket Edition is the portable version of the game that’s available for both Android and iOS devices, including smartphones and tablets. Install it on a restriction-free Wi-Fi network, fire up your VPN, then play Minecraft wherever you go.
Minecraft: Pocket Edition has surprisingly usable touch screen controls and offers nearly all of the features found in its PC and console counterpart.
If you need a VPN for a short while when traveling for example, you can get our top ranked VPN free of charge. ExpressVPN includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. You will need to pay for the subscription, that’s a fact, but it allows full access for 30 days and then you cancel for a full refund. Their no-questions-asked cancellation policy lives up to its name.