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I recently purchased Minecraft for a younger cousin of mine. Her best friend and Minecraft playmate is another cousin. However, they live in two separate houses.

In the interest of setting up a server in the easiest way possible (without running the server software on any computer, ie in such a way that I could install a few programs and then leave day-to-day operation to an 11-year-old), is it possible to use a VPN to connect two computers such that they would believe that they were on the same network, allowing use of Minecraft's "Open to LAN" feature?

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Yes, if you have a bridged network VPN. OpenVPN, for example, can do this, in TAP mode.

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