I have a private Minecraft server where we are 2 people playing.

Earlier today I logged on, observed it was night, and logged back off.

Then I logged on just now, it was day again.

In the meantime, I know the other player has not been online.

So my questions (they are related) are these:

  1. Does time pass in Minecraft if the server is running, but nobody is online?
  2. Can I use this to my advantage to:
    1. Cook or smelt things in furnaces while I'm offline?
    2. Plant trees or other things before I log off and log back on to them being grown?
    3. Get grass to spread while I'm offline?

This might be a related question, but if not, please just leave a comment and I'll take it out to avoid having a too broad question:

  1. Does time only pass in a region if players are in the region? Like, if both of us are online, then I log off, and the other player is far away, does "time pass", like trees grow, furnaces run, etc. in the region he's not in? I would imagine that would take a load on the server if there are large explored areas.

3 Answers 3


Time in the sense of day/night cycle and weather passes while no one is on, however in all other senses time doesn't pass in a given chunk unless a player is online and nearby enough (although for a small set of chunks near the default spawn, "nearby enough" is anywhere in the Overworld).

  • 1
    Ok, so there's two things in effect here. The daylight cycle and weather effects, which are server-wide, and thus runs constantly, and localized effects, like fire, growing of plants/trees, and similar things, which require not only someone to be online, but also close enough, I guess to observe? Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 8:44
  • 1
    To the best of my knowledge, yeah. However, I'm pretty sure that lightning striking and snow covering tiles are local effects despite clear/rainy/snowing being a server wide effect. If someone can confirm that I'll edit my answer.
    – Fambida
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 8:54
  • 12
    If no one is online, then no chunks are loaded. In order for time to pass in a chunk (i.e. crops and trees grow), then the chunk must be loaded.
    – MBraedley
    Commented Aug 10, 2011 at 12:32
  • 3
    I was under the impression that the "spawn" chunk is always loaded.
    – Broam
    Commented Dec 6, 2011 at 21:14
  • 8
    I can confirm that an SMP Minecraft server will not unload chunks in an 8x8 chunk grid centered on the world spawn point. That is: once loaded, those chunks will stay loaded until the server restarts. Source: server source code, ChunkProviderServer.java, method "public void dropChunk(int chunkX, int chunkZ)". Commented Nov 3, 2012 at 13:04

Chunks do not update with no one around so I created a character called "updater" to just sit inside of my server. This will allow chunks to be updated, even if no one is on the server.

  • 2
    How do I create a character? Does it work on a standard minecraft server? Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 9:05

time passes, however, if the chunk is not loaded then you will not be able to use this to your advantage.

there are mods that can load chunks whilst you are offline

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .