Minecraft is a game that’s much better with friends, and that’s how most of the users play it, either on a LAN server or by joining an online community.
However, when you host your own private server and your friends are unable to connect to it, it can indeed be a frustrating experience and leave you with many unanswered questions.
Luckily, we’re aware of this problem, so we decided to dedicate the guide below to addressing all possible causes and providing solutions for the issue.
Without further ado, here’s what you need to know.
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The Problem Explained
When users are unable to join a Minecraft world, they either see the “unable to connect to world” or “connection timed out” message, as shown in the image below.
There can be several reasons for this problem, most of which can be on the host’s end but are also relatively easy to fix.
Possible causes for this Minecraft error are the following:
- Either the host or the user(s) are playing on a different game version
- Incorrect port forwarding settings
- Unstable internet connection
- The connection keeps getting blocked due to a lack of firewall permissions
If you’re currently in a situation where you can’t play Minecraft with your friends due to this error, read on to learn how to easily fix the problem using simple yet effective methods.
Fix 1: Ensure Everyone Is On The Same Game Version
One of the main reasons users are often unable to connect to a specific world is because their game files and the ones the host has do not match.
Fortunately, if this is the case, the problem is quite easy to solve.
All you need to do is ensure that everyone is on the same game version, and you’ll be able to play without further issues.
The best way to check this is by launching the game, then in the main menu, reading the number at either the bottom left or bottom right corner, as the image below suggests.
Once everyone is on the same version (some users will probably have to update, downgrade or completely reinstall the game if they’re running a different edition of it) you will be able to all join the same world and play together.
If it turns out everyone is one the same game version yet you still cannot join the world together, the issue might be something else.
Take a look at the following sections for more information on that.
Fix 2: Use The Correct Ports On Your Router
Using incorrect port settings is almost always the culprit for many scenarios where friends are unable to play together in co-op or multiplayer titles that allow hosting a private server.
If you are a bit unsure what port forwarding is or how to do it, here’s a complete, detailed guide that covers everything you need to know about the process.
We’ve also prepared a video tutorial that makes things even easier and focuses specifically on Minecraft, so make sure to check it out as it can help you fix your problem immediately.
After port-forwarding, other users’ computers connected to the internet will be able to access the server you’re hosting, and the problem should no longer prevent you from playing.
This is another useful guide that covers port-forwarding and hosting a Minecraft server, so if it is your first time doing it, it can be of great help and ensure you and your friends can get to playing as soon as possible.
Fix 3: Ensure Minecraft Is Not Blocked By Your Firewall
The firewall built into the operating system you’re using plays a very important role in your overall internet security.
However, sometimes it can “overact” and block apps and connections that aren’t harmful in any way, one of which can often be Minecraft.
If you are trying to connect to a Minecraft server that one of your friends is hosting, yet you keep getting the same error, the problem might be in your firewall’s settings.
To solve this, you can add Minecraft and all connections that go through it as an exception in your firewall’s settings.
Here’s how to do that:
- Open the Windows Search panel by clicking Windows + S on your keyboard at the same time, then type in “Firewall & Network Protection” and press Enter on your keyboard.
- Within the panel, scroll down until you see the “Allow an app through the firewall” option, and then click on it.
- Add the Minecraft executable file as an exception and then confirm the changes.
Your firewall will now ignore this app and it won’t block any connections that go through it. This means that if you are not facing any other possible causes for the problem, you will now be able to join your friends’ servers without further issues.
Hopefully, the solutions listed in the guide above helped you overcome the “cannot connect to Minecraft server” problem, as they did to many other users.
If you are still experiencing issues, even after applying all of the fixes, it’s best to contact the official Minecraft support team and further explain your issue to them.