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I've got a Minecraft server running, with a mob farm in my world. I think it's in the spawn chunk.

Do I need to remain connected (but "afk", e.g.) for mobs to continue spawning, or will they continue to spawn (and die) if I disconnect and leave the server running?

  • I don't think mobs will actually spawn in the spawn chunk, but I could be wrong... – SaintWacko Aug 30 '17 at 22:22
  • ...then my mob farm probably isn't in the spawn chunk :) – Roger Lipscombe Aug 31 '17 at 7:28
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As long as the world is open (i.e. running on a server), the spawn chunks will remain loaded, whether or not anybody is actually in them.

As for mob spawning, I am yet to find any hard evidence as to whether or not any mobs naturally spawn in the spawn chunks, but normal events involving mobs can still happen:

  • Passive mobs, such as baby animals and villagers, can grow into adults.
  • Sheep can eat grass and grow wool.

However, due to the spawn chunks never unloading, any mobs in the spawn chunks will not de-spawn. This could possibly mean that mobs will not spawn naturally in the spawn chunks:

The passive mob spawn cap is limited by the number of friendly mobs loaded into memory, which means that any passive mobs present in the spawn chunks count towards the mob cap and will usually prevent friendly mobs from naturally spawning anywhere else in the world.

Source

  • This is correct. Only loaded chunks, like the 8 chunk radius of players and the spawn chunks will have activity – ramidzkh Sep 2 '17 at 6:31
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Mob spawning is complicated, but in general it's safe to say that they spawn in a 128 block radius around players.
So no, hostile mobs will not spawn when you're not on the server. That's why most "professional" mob farms have a special AFK spot. Btw, hostile mob spawning also includes bats and wolves.

Passive mob spawning is different: Passive animals can spawn far away from the player and in the spawn chunks and I think they also do so when noone is on the server.

And then there's also "ambient mob spawning", which are only squid. I think they also spawn when noone is around, but I don't know enough squid science.

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