Minecraft Realms FAQ: How to set up, price, and other questions answered

Minecraft Realm header
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

Minecraft currently has over 166 million monthly active users. With a staggering 300 million copies sold, Minecraft has sold more copies than any other game in history. Sales and users continue to grow after a decade of existence.

So, what is Minecraft? According to Mojang, the creators of Minecraft, it's a game made up of blocks, creatures, and a community. You can survive the night or build a work of art—the choice is all yours. With no set goal, the only limitation is your imagination.

Since its release in 2011, the game has received tons of new features. With the latest 1.21 update looming and add-ons coming to Bedrock, you might be wondering how you can set up your own Realm. We're here to answer that question and any others you might have!

What are Realms?

(Image credit: Future via Michael Hoglund)

Realms act as a player's own private server for you and your friends. As such, your world is always online and accessible to you and your friends. If the host is not online, players are still able to access your world. Only players you've invited can join your Realm.

Realms subscribers gain access to three world slots that can be swapped in and out with other worlds. Only one world slot can be active at a time. These are useful for switching between survival, creative, and adventure worlds.

Depending on whether players use Bedrock or Java Edition, they also have access to Marketplace or free community content. For Realm Plus subscribers on Minecraft: Bedrock Edition, players can access over 100+ Minecraft worlds and tons of texture and skin packs. 

Why are there two versions of Realm servers?

(Image credit: Xbox)

Mojang developed two separate versions of Minecraft to optimize game performance on different platforms. Minecraft: Bedrock Edition (the version you find on mobile, Chromebook, console, and Windows 10 or above) runs on one kind of code, and Minecraft: Java Edition (for PC, Mac, and Linux) runs on another. These two versions are incompatible with each other and are developed separately with different features. Players on Minecraft: Java Edition can't play on console, mobile, or Windows Realms and vice versa. 

What devices are Realms available on?

Minecraft: Bedrock Edition Realms are available on PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Android, and iOS.

Minecraft: Java Edition Realms are only available on PC.

Realms of the same edition feature cross play. There is no cross play between Bedrock and Java Edition.

How to create a Realm

First, no matter what edition you plan to play on, you need a Microsoft account. If you don't have one, you can create one here. This step is mandatory, as you can no longer play Minecraft without a Microsoft account.

Realms can be purchased in-game for Minecraft: Bedrock Edition users. (Image credit: Future via Michael Hoglund)

For Minecraft: Bedrock Edition (Any device)

  • Login to Microsoft account.
  • After loading the game and at the Minecraft menu, select Play.
  • Create New.
  • Select 'New Realm,' then configure Realm based on your desired settings.

From here, you have two options. You can sign up for a Realms or Realms Plus subscription. The differences in pricing and features are denoted in the table below.

To buy a Realms subscription for Java Edition, you'll need to use a browser. (Image credit: Future via Michael Hoglund)

For Minecraft: Java Edition

  • Load the Minecraft Launcher.
  • Select the 'Realms' tab.
  • Select 'Subscribe Now'.
  • Load Minecraft
  • Choose 'Create' and configure Realm based on your desired settings.

For Java Edition, players can only select the $7.99 price plan. Differences between Bedrock and Java Edition are listed in the table below.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
FeatureBedrock RealmsBedrock Realms PlusJava Realms
Supported Players3 players11 players11 players
Minecraft MarketplaceYesYesNo
Free monthly Marketplace contentNoYesNo
Crossplay with PC, consoles, etcYesYesNo
User-created contentYesYesSome free content

How much does a Realms subscription cost?

(Image credit: Future via Michael Hoglund)

There are two available subscriptions for Minecraft: Bedrock Edition.

  • Realms subscription: $3.99/£3.29 per month recurring.
  • Realms Plus subscription: $7.99/£6.69 per month recurring, or 37.99 for 6 months not recurring.

There is only one available subscription for Minecraft: Java Edition.

  • Realms subscription: $7.99/£6.69 per month recurring.

How long do subscriptions last?

On most devices, you can create a one-month recurring subscription. Payments can also be made as a single purchase for six months at a time. 

Some devices may not allow recurring subscriptions. In this case, players must repurchase their subscription at the end of their period. Realms are saved for up to 18 months at the end of your subscription. At any point between the end of your subscription and the end of the 18-month period, players can download their worlds.

Can you upgrade your Realms subscription?

Players looking to move from a Realms to a Realms Plus subscription must wait for their current subscription to end before re-subscribing to Realms Plus. At this time, players cannot upgrade during a payment cycle.

Do Realms support Addons or Mods?

Add-ons are easy to install (Image credit: Future via Michael Hoglund)

Minecraft: Bedrock Edition does support add-ons through the Marketplace. Any Marketplace add-ons can be added as behavior packs when modifying an existing or new Realm.

Minecraft: Java Edition Realms cannot use add-ons or mods.

Do Friends need to have a Realms subscription to play on your Realm?

It's easy to add friends. (Image credit: Future via Michael Hoglund)

No, players do not need a Realms subscription to play in your world. Any friend you invite can play your Realm at no additional cost.

What are Clubs?

So cute. (Image credit: Future via Michael Hoglund)

Clubs are built-in social areas for you and friends of your Realm. These are created automatically when creating a Realm for Minecraft: Bedrock Edition. Clubs are not available for Minecraft: Java Edition.

Players can share posts that include text and screenshots to the Realm's Club feed, and like and comment on each post. Realm Clubs can also be accessed via the Xbox App on PC, console, or mobile, as well as from your Realms menu in Minecraft.

Michael Hoglund

Michael has been gaming since he was five when his mother first bought a Super Nintendo from Blockbuster. Having written for a now-defunct website in the past, he's joined Windows Central as a contributor to spreading his 30+ years of love for gaming with everyone he can. His favorites include Red Dead Redemption, all the way to the controversial Dark Souls 2.