How to troubleshoot lag on your Minecraft server

 General, Game Hosting

In this article, we’re going to go through ways you can troubleshoot lag on your Minecraft server host yourself before going through our support team. This article is the golden standard of battling lag and we will try have you go through this before we step in to investigate!

Lag can be split up into the following categories which we will go over one by one:
– Ping (network) lag [caused by server/client]
– TPS (ticks per second) or server lag [caused by server]
– FPS (frames per second) lag [caused by client]

Here’s a simple way to distinguish the difference so you can scroll down to the appropriate section title.
You have Ping lag, if your bars in TAB inside the game is less than 4-5 bars.
You have TPS lag, if your TPS in-game is below 18-20 (/tps).
You have “or server lag”, if your server is lagging outside of these categories but similar to TPS/server lag.
You have FPS lag, if your FPS is below 40-60 and your screen is continuously freezing or crashing as a result.

Ping Lag


Ping is usually calculated in ms (millisecond) and this is basically your network connection which is between your router and the server. Your location is by far the most impacting factor when it comes to ping, but your internet router and provider are also very important. Usually, if your location from the server is close and you usually did not have ping lag on the server as a result and then ping lag occurs, it is most likely your internet provider/router.

Before contacting us, ensure that everyone that joins your server has ping lag (usually within 500+ ms) which would indicate that a host network is at fault. If everyone is having ping lag, then you need to contact us to investigate. If not, and only you are having ping lag or a small handful of people then it is most likely a client-sided issue. You will notice that ping lag is the only one that can be caused by either the server or the client, or both. Most of the times, we can be confident and say at ElixirNode, we usually do not have any network issues at all.

Continuing further, if you are the only one / only handful are having ping lag, and you are close to the server in location, then the internet router/provider at fault. Usually in this case, by restarting your router or stopping your router then waiting a few mins then starting it again, will fix the issue. If not, you may have to take the extra step to contact your internet provider. Before doing so though, connect to other Minecraft server and check how your ping is and try some other programs and do some testing with your internet. If all is lost, you can always contact us regardless at any time for help!

You can check your ping to a server without actually joining the server in Minecraft by simply pinging it in your command prompt or the equivalent depending on your operating system. Simply use the command “ping <server IP>” and it will return with an ms value. By default, Minecraft only shows bars in-game and on the server list, though on the server list you can hover over the bars to see the exact ms. Keep in mind the following range of values:

Ping Range (MS)Level of Latency
0 – 50 msFAST Latency
60 – 110 msMEDIUM Latency
130 – 225 msSLOW Latency
250+ msLAGGY


TPS or Server Lag


TPS stands for tickets per second and is calculated in a range of 1-20, you can see your server’s TPS using the /tps command in-game or “tps” on console. If this doesn’t work for you, you’ll need to install spigot/paper which is one of our below recommendations by the way! Now, you will notice from the title it also says “or server lag” because sometimes your TPS may be at 20 but you’ll still experience some laggy stuff, which we will explain below.

First, a very good way of improving TPS is using the recommendations we provide when you paste your timings report in the ElixirNode discord server in the #bot-cmds channel or in your ticket, this should be your first step. Ensure you are using PaperMC as your server version in order to do this, but this is what the recommendations will look like:

Server lag can be caused by so many things, too many to list. However, we have listed below the most common reasons for your server lagging and ways to fix them and ensure your TPS returns back to normal.

– Out of Resources (ram/storage)
One of the most common sources of lag, especially for later versions of Minecraft, is ram. Ram is single-handedly the most important factor when it comes to resources for your server, though this does not mean that CPU/Storage are not important as they can be equally important sometimes. On ElixirNode’s game panel you can view your resource usage on the tab next to your console, or before heading to your server, in the server list on the game panel. Below is a screenshot of how to view resource usage next to console:

Don’t worry about CPU usage as much, generally with the way Minecraft servers work, with its single-thread requirement, CPU usage is not much to be worried about even as it normally peaks here and there. But for ram, if you are running out of ram or storage your server will have lots of issues, including server lag outside of these categories and crashes. If you’re running out of ram ensure to upgrade your server and meet our general ram recommendations for Minecraft servers. If you’re running out of storage, make sure to open a ticket as all of our Minecraft server hosting plans come with free unlimited storage, so with a ticket we’ll increase your soft limit!

– Can’t keep up! Is the server overloaded?
This is very common for Minecraft versions 1.13+, and as a general rule, if your TPS is running 18-20 and you are not experiencing server lag as a result, then you do NOT have to worry about this at all. This message comes from the console and looks like this most of the time:

We will talk very broadly about the potential causes and fixes of this message for the sole purpose of understanding and if it could potentially increase your low TPS. But we emphasize again, if your TPS is fine then just ignore this issue, especially if you’re running 1.13+. With that out of the way, some of the causes of the message is mainly a high CPU usage, an issue with plugins and plugins using up lots of server resources as well as plugins having code for older versions of Minecraft. Make sure to use recommended Minecraft server plugins and to check out some of the popular paid Minecraft server plugins and popular free Minecraft server plugins.

FPS Lag


FPS stands for Frames Per Second and whilst it may sometimes be caused by the server, is generally classified as client-side lag and is mostly client-sided. So therefore, you can bet that most of the time you suffer from FPS lag it is due to your own device! In the rare chance it is due to the server, there is never classified as a host issue but rather from activities within the server itself usually caused by players or yourself. This can include things from blowing lots of tnt or players creating lag machines that target not only TPS degradation but also FPS decreases. FPS lag comes in the form of your Minecraft server/session freezing up or freezing all around. You can keep track of your FPS by clicking “F1” in-game or by using an addon such as 5zig or similar to enhance your game experience.

If you’re confident that there is no lag machines or large tnt bombings, etc on your server, especially if it is a whitelisted server for example, then it’s safe to get on to start optimizing your client-side. First, make sure you have optifine installed as it will make your game run much more smoothly. Secondly, if you have the money, start upgrading your device or PC or purchasing a better one, focusing mainly on CPU to increase FPS. Thirdly, sometimes you just need to restart your game/device. Lastly, close down any other processes whilst you play the game, even having a browser open can slow down your PC/device. There is are also many other general tips in this regard that can optimize your device in general and so that optimization will tap into the increase of your FPS whilst you’re on your Minecraft server!

Conclusion


Any combination of these 3 types of lag (Ping, TPS, FPS) will be the cause of lag on your Minecraft server, for you and your players. Below are a bunch of resources that we thought can be useful in your venture of combatting lag:
Reducing Server Lag Wiki (spigot)
Guide Server Optimization (spigot)
Minecraft Server Optimization (github)
Types of Lag (spigot)

Make sure to go through this thread before reaching out to us, then if you are still experiencing lag or have any questions/concerns, please contact us!

Was this article helpful?
YesNo

Sign up to be alerted of new articles!

We will let you know of any new articles that we publish so that you may benefit from the many upcoming tutorials we have planned for you.