What Is Open to LAN in "Minecraft"?

by Laurel Storm

When pausing the "Minecraft" game in single player by pressing "Esc," you may notice a button that reads "Open to LAN." This button, added in version 1.3 of the game, gives you a way to set up your single-player world as a server on your local network without needing to obtain additional software.

Setup Process

After clicking "Open to LAN" you are prompted to select a game mode -- either "Survival," "Creative" or "Adventure" -- and decide whether cheats should be enabled or not. Note that the game mode you select will only affect other players, not you. For you, the game will remain in the same mode you selected when you first created the world. Once you have made your selection, click "Start LAN World." Minecraft will automatically advertise the game on the local network. To shut the game down, simply press "Esc" and click "Save and Quit to Title" like you would to shut down a single-player game.

Joining a LAN Game

To join a local network game, click "Multiplayer" rather than "Singleplayer" on the main game screen. "Minecraft" will automatically scan the local network for available games; once a game has been found, it is displayed in the list labeled with the account name of the creator and the name the world was given when it was created. To join a game, select it from the list and click "Join Server" or simply double-click it.


Before LAN mode was added to "Minecraft," hosting a multi-player game required downloading and configuring specific server software, even if all you wanted to do was to set up a local, private server. Through this feature, starting a local "Minecraft" game is a matter of a few clicks, giving you a simple way to turn what is normally a solitary activity, gaming, into a family one. If you have children, you can build tailor-made worlds using either a separate world-editing program such as MCEdit or manually in Creative mode, and use them to stimulate their creativity or help them learn a specific subject.


Although multiple people can play "Minecraft" in single-player mode using the same game account, for multi-player mode to work each person will need a personal account. If you create a local world and try to join it from a second computer using the same account, you will receive an error informing you that a player with that name already exists on the server. Other than that, local LAN games function identically to games created using the server software, although they can't be joined from outside the local network.

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