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How to unblock Minecraft and play it anywhere

Minecraft screenshot with avatar looking out across a lush landscape
(Image credit: Microsoft/Mojang)

Minecraft is one of the most popular PC games ever and is played by millions of dedicated fans around the world. There’s no shortage of players and, indeed, long-time devotees who have loved the game since it launched a decade ago.

Not everyone is enamored with Minecraft, though, and there are certain circumstances where it’s banned.

In these cases, there are ways and means to unblock Minecraft servers. And they're really easy, especially if you enlist the help of one of the best VPNs, as we’ll show you in this article. Read on to discover how to unblock Minecraft, but also which VPN providers are your best bet for a great gaming experience while doing so.

Why would I want to unblock Minecraft?

Minecraft can be enjoyed in most cases wherever you are, and throughout the world – although Turkey did once talk about banning the game due to its ‘violent’ nature apparently! So generally speaking you shouldn’t have any hitches when trying to play.

However, the obvious cases where the game could be blocked are at school and other places of education or at work.

Schools or colleges

Despite the fact that some schools may use Minecraft as part of the curriculum, other institutions may look more dimly on its educational credentials and ban the game fearing it’s an unwanted distraction for pupils. Or perhaps they might worry that it’s a security risk, even, given that Minecraft is the biggest target by far for malware peddlers trying to 'phish' gaming victims (sadly).

Offices or workplaces

Clearly, no employer is going to want you playing games at work, whether it’s Minecraft or anything else for that matter. But if you’re determined to sneak in a Minecraft session, perhaps perfectly legitimately in your lunchbreak, on your own time, then that’s when you can call on the services of a VPN to come to your rescue and evade any block.

Scene from Minecraft featuring a watermill and farm animals

(Image credit: Mojang)

How to unblock Minecraft - step-by-step guide

  1. Select a VPN - It may be the case that you already subscribe to a VPN, and if so, then you’ll be able to use that provider for unblocking purposes – at least if the provider is a decent one. Otherwise, check out our list of top VPNs and pick one.
  2. Setup the VPN app - With your VPN provider chosen, find and install the relevant app on your PC or smartphone, depending on which version of Minecraft you’re playing, naturally (desktop or mobile). 
  3. Open the VPN app - On first run, follow the setup instructions and if terms or permissions are requested, you’ll need to agree to these (and on mobiles, that means allowing access to certain parts of your device). 
  4. Hit ‘connect’ - The VPN app’s main menu will have an obvious ‘connect’ button that’ll instantly hook you up with the nearest server. That’s all you need do to circumvent a local block on Minecraft, as you’ll then appear to be outside the building (that nearest server should also offer the best performance, too, most likely).
  5. Start playing Minecraft! - That’s it, you’re now free to enjoy the game to your blocky heart’s content. In the event that it seems to be running a little laggy, you could always try switching VPN server, via the VPN software’s map or server list – pick a server in a nearby city ideally or try a few different servers until you find one that works best.

Unblock Minecraft: what VPN should I use?

The most compelling VPN provider for Minecraft fans is ExpressVPN. This is the service which takes the crown not only in our top gaming VPN roundup, but also in our list of the best VPN providers full-stop. That kind of double recommendation is hard to ignore.

The reasons why it’s so good for gamers include the firm’s huge array of VPN servers (some 3,000+), and excellent performance levels across the board in our speed testing, with ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol offering some superbly nippy results. That’s obviously a key consideration for gamers, whatever they might be playing.

A further benefit is that for those playing Minecraft on their mobile device, ExpressVPN has some great VPN apps for Android and iOS, which are nice and user-friendly to boot. Remember that the mobile apps of some VPN providers are often neglected and shaky at best.

A good alternative as a second pick is NordVPN, which again proved itself to be seriously fast in our testing, and also offers DDoS protection, shielding you from this potential method of griefing which bogs down your connection in Minecraft (or any online game for that matter).

We’d also give a third-place shout out to Hotspot Shield which is a great value proposition of a VPN, and it’s a consistently fast service to boot. It’s also another provider to offer DDoS mitigation countermeasures.

Is it illegal to unblock Minecraft with a VPN?

Developer Mojang has said in the past that it doesn’t support the use of VPNs with its game, meaning that if you run into hitches, you won’t get any help. But there’s nothing illegal about using a VPN service to play Minecraft.

Remember that using a good VPN like one of our recommended providers above means you really shouldn’t encounter any problems playing Minecraft with it.

Read more:

  • So...what is a VPN anyway? Understand what the software is
  • VPN uses: discover 10 brilliant ways to get the most from your software
  • Unblock Netflix, iPlayer, Peacock and more with a streaming VPN

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).