If you've wanted to run your own Minecraft server, but don't want to get bogged down in the minutiae of the process, Mojang has an option for you. Minecraft Realms, the company's private server subscription program, is now available in North America. This means that US players can hop onto the Minecraft Realms website and sign up for their own private servers. Realms servers start at $13 per month, with discounts for pre-paying on subscription terms longer than one month.
"Realms is the easiest way for you to host a Minecraft world online. You and your friends can work on an awesome creation, adventure into the depths, or play one of our featured mini-games with just a few clicks," wrote Mojang's Owen Hill in the announcement post. "The servers are always available, and can be restored to an earlier point if something goes wrong. Realms is run by Mojang and simple to set up."
Minecraft Realms, while simple to set up, does have a few issues. A maximum of 20 players can be invited to a Realms server and only 10 of them can play at one time. Realm requires the newest version of Minecraft and does not support Snapshot builds. Finally, Realms servers do not support modding or texture packs, so if you wish to really customize your server, you need to run it the old-fashioned way.
"Holy smokes, Realms are going like hot butter in the US. I should prepare that "sold out"-sign, just in case," tweeted Mojang chief architect Daniel Frisk.
Minecraft Realms is currently available in Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Great Britain, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, North America, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, The Åland Islands, The Cayman Islands, The Faroe Islands, The Isle of Man, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, and The United Arab Emirates. According to Frisk, the rest of Europe, Australia, and Asia are next for Realms roll-outs.