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Possible Duplicate:
Does time pass on a Minecraft SMP server if nobody is logged on?

What happens in the minecraft server when there are no players? Will my wheat still grow? Will animals continues to spawn?

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In general, chunks only 'update' when they are loaded, and they are only loaded when a player is in that chunk.

However, there is a bukkit plugin called 'Forever A-load' you can get for a bukkit enabled server that can enable certain chunks to always be active so things like wheat will grow, redstone will always be active and the like.

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