While Minecraft is not a particularly fast-paced game, and so doesn’t need the lightning-fast server performance expected of other online multiplayer titles, it is still an experience which can benefit from optimization.
With that in mind, here are just a few tips that should help you to improve the performance of your server if it is feeling sluggish or is otherwise not performing as anticipated.
Pinpoint the problem by assessing resource use
The first challenge to overcome is actually finding the cause of any performance problems, as this will give you a starting point for your troubleshooting and optimization attempts.
One of the quickest ways to do this is by checking up on how hardware resources are being used at any one time, as this will tell you which components are either creating a bottleneck, or which processes are perhaps hogging hardware unnecessarily.
If CPU usage is pinned at 100%, for example, this can create a suboptimal experience for players, and may only be a temporary issue, in the case that chunk generation is occurring during the initial phase of server usage, for example.
This is a similar approach to that required when troubleshooting performance problems in a database context. It is only through query optimization, execution plans, indexing and baseline performance analysis that SQL Server instances can be monitored and maintained effectively. The same attention to detail and prior planning is needed for optimal Minecraft server operation, and it is better to keep a close eye on server resource use and respond to anomalies as soon as possible, rather than allowing performance to degrade over time as flaws go unfixed.
Consider the added load of installed mods
Running a vanilla Minecraft server may not fill you with excitement when the prospect of integrating community-made mods is available, but this could be the cleanest approach from a performance optimization perspective.
This is because every mod you install will place a greater burden on the hardware, and if it becomes overburdened then the ticks per second (TPS) will drop, as the CPU tries to keep many plates spinning at the same time and falters under the load. Players will experience this as lag, and it could end up creating complexities when it comes to troubleshooting, since players might assume that their own computer hardware is to blame, when in fact it is a server-side issue caused by an excess of mods.
That is not to say that you should completely avoid all mods, but rather than your optimization efforts should focus on seeing which mods tax the hardware most. If performance dips after a particular mod is added, it may be best to remove it to avoid sluggishness persisting.
Change settings to deliver benefits to all players
Altering the way that Minecraft worlds are displayed to players who join your server can ease the strain on hardware, overcome performance bottlenecks and generally enhance the game for all involved.
For example, limiting the view distance is a good option that will help ensure performance is more consistent even for those who may be stuck with a less than ideal network connection in their particular location.
Likewise you can achieve improvements to server performance if you prevent entities from colliding with one another in such vast numbers, so that there are fewer calculations weighing down the CPU.
Most of all, being aware that server optimization is not a one-time fix, but rather a process you need to continue implementing for as long as you are responsible for the server, will stand you in good stead.