I like to travel, f*ck with technology, and partake in the occasional tropical drink.
I am also a co-host on The NBD Show podcast.
Follow Me

For the hard core live and die WOW fan private servers are probably not the way to go, but for the casual gamer who play a couple times a month, and doesn't play enough to really justify the subscription fees; private server fill the void nicely.

This is a quick guide on how to play World of Warcraft (WoW) for free. For those of you who are unfamiliar with WoW, it is a popular massive multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG.) For those of you who are already familiar with WoW, you probably already know that along with the initial game price, there is a $13 monthly fee to play.

One of the problems players have with the regular World of Warcraft is the monthly fee. Another problem is the amount of time it takes to reach the maximum level as well as reach high-end game content. It often takes players weeks, even months to max out there character and only a few can even dream of being the best.

The way this works is through private servers. A private server is a server separate from Blizzard and is hosted by another individual . Private servers require have no sign up fee, monthly payment, or requirements. It's free to join and play.

There are several kinds of private servers.

* Blizzlike: This type of private server offers experience and item drop rates similar to Blizzard servers. Blizzlike servers include working instances, raids, pvp, quests, tradeskills, and often battlegrounds. They also have up to date content or are only a patch behind Blizzard servers. If you enjoy Blizzard Servers, but want to play for free, this may be the server for you.

* High-Rate: This kind of private server offers increased experience and item drop rates. High-rates also include working instance, raids, pvp, quests, tradeskills, and often battlegrounds. Some High-rates also offer PvP everywhere and teleporter NPCs. If you enjoy Blizzard servers but would like to level faster and get more drops, this may be the server for you.

* Fun: Fun servers offer the most freedom to players, leveling to 70 is instant and Teleporter NPCs making traveling easy. They often contain custom content, such as items, quests, zones, and instances as well as events hosted by GMs. In addition they often have item malls with a wide variety of weapons, armor, mounts, and tradeskills items. If would like to experience everything World of Warcraft has to offer without spending months of time, this may be the server for you.

* Multiple servers: Some private servers even offer multiple types of servers all under the same provider. These can be the best because you can log onto different types of servers while still using the same user name/password.

Aside from being free, private servers can offer players experience and knowledge that can be applied in the real game.

* Private servers can allow players to experiement with gear and talents builds that can be applied on Blizzard Servers.

* Priavte servers can also be a great experience for early raiders before they get involved in a serious raiding guild on live servers.

Joining a private server is quick and easy. In the next few steps I will show you how to find and join a private server so you can get in on the fun.

Before you get started

Install World of Warcraft, Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. If you already have these installed, then you are good to go.  If you don't make sure you have both World of Warcraft,  the Burning Crusade and in most cases Wrath of the Lich King installed before patching and connecting to a private server. Note: make sure what patch level  the server is runnng before you begin the install process.  the install client linked below have the game and both expansion packs.  You wil need to install each seperatley starting with World of Warcraft, then Burnin Crusade, and lastly Wrath of the Lich King. Once finished installing allow WOW to update files, only of the server your are playing on is at the most recent patch level.

Link to install files:
WoW, TBC & WoTLK Clients (MAC)
WoW, TBC & WoTLK Clients (PC)

1st step: Finding a server

To find a server type WOW private server in google, you will find links with tons of private servers to play on as well as information on each of the private servers, such as site stats, and patch requirements.

2nd step: Patching

Make sure your Word of Warcraft is updated to the supported patch for your desired private server. Some servers are up to date with regular Blizzard servers, however most are not, so it is important to check what patch the server supports before trying to join.

To find out what patch you have, open World of Warcraft and at the login screen look to the bottom left of your screen. It will show what patch you currently have.

3rd step: Connecting

Once you've found a server you like, it's time to connect. Some servers will offer a step by step guide on how to connect on their websites, however some do not, so I will show you what you need to do.

* Sign up for an account on the private server. Account set-up requires basic information and can be done from the specific private server website. In the links below, you can register for a free account from some of the provide servers I have suggested. Make sure to write down your information so you don't forget!
* Change your realmlist. This is the only step that requires any work. Each private server has a specific address that works like a url, this is their realmlist address. To play on a specific private server, you need to change your realm list to match theirs. Realmlists are usually found on the homepage of the private server site or in a connection guide. In the links below, I will provide some realm lists for some of the better private servers.

Here is a quick step-by-step on how to change your realmlist.
  • Open up your World of Warcraft folder, locate your realmlist and Open with notepad
  • This is the original realmlist used to log on to Blizzard servers. Highlight and delete everything in the file. (Don't worry if you ever want to play on Blizzard server's again, just follow the same steps and add the Blizzard realmlist)
  • This is the original realmlist used to log on to Blizzard servers. Highlight and delete everything in the file. (Don't worry if you ever want to play on Blizzard server's again, just follow the same steps and add the Blizzard realmlist)
  • Insert your desired realmlist for the Private Server you want to play on. Dont forget to save the file!
  • Now that your realmlist is done, open World of Warcraft using the WOW.exe. Also add a shortcut to the WoW.exe to your desktop

Some Examples of free Private Servers:

Wowfusion This server has a lot of custom content as well as a Blizzlike and High-rate/funserver with item mall.


Wowfusion's realmlist: login.wowfusiononline.com

ToxicWow Offers high-rate, mid-rate, and low-rate servers along with up to date content


ToxicWow's realmlist: set realmlist logon.toxic-wow.net

WowBeez Fun server, Instant 70 server, and high-rate server. Also includes item mall, season 4 arena, custom starter gear, and taxi teleporter system.

3.2.2 (most Currrent Level)

WowBeez's realmlist: set realmlist wowbeez.no-ip.biz


The Most Common reasons for not being able to connect...

1. The patch you are currently using is outdated or not supported by the servers.
2. Your "realmlist.wtf" does not have the correct IP
3. Can't login after creating account
4. The server is down.
5. An error has occured which corrupted your game files (run the repair.exe found in the Warcraft directory).

To solve these problems...

1. Make sure your game client has the required patch for the server you want to play on. For example, WowScape -> 2.4.3. (To see your current patch, open WoW and look in the bottom left) If you have patched to far, you will have to downpatch in order to play on some of the private servers.

2. Double check your realm list and make sure it matches the required text file for the server. Also anytime you update to a new patch or repair, the realm list is reset. It is impoprtant to check after updating a patch. Also make sure to save your realmlist after you edit.
3. You need to wait for your account to be activated on the server, this can take up to 10 minutes.
4. If the server is down, there isn't much you can do. However, you can always try another server while it's down.
5. Using the repair.exe can remedy this, only use this as a last resort