Put simply: it’s your computer, internet connection, or your server. Unfortunately, figuring out which, exactly, is the problem is a lot more difficult.
I’m Aaron, a hobbyist and professional technologist who enjoys playing the occasional game. I bought Minecraft when Mojang was a plucky small development shop and Minecraft was still in Alpha. I’m thrilled to be able to share it with my friends and kids.
Let’s dive into what your Minecraft lagging issues might be and how you can fix them. Unfortunately, there are some you just can’t fix, but at least you’ll understand what the problem is.
Table of Contents
- Mods, single-player, or multiplayer performance are likely the source of your problems.
- By creating a new singleplayer world and disabling mods, you can identify most of your issues.
- If that doesn’t work, turn down your graphical and performance settings.
- It may also be a network or server issue, which is more difficult for you to address.
- These same problems apply to the PS4, PS5, or Xbox.
Where is My Problem
The great thing about games is that they’re relatively easy to diagnose. They have single-player and multiplayer modes. They allow for the incorporation of modification files, or mods, to enhance and change the game from the default gaming experience.
Those three elements will help you diagnose your problem:
- Single-player: is played entirely on your computer without a server or internet connection.
- Multiplayer: is played on your computer locally as a client with the world files stored on a remote computer and transmitted to your client over the internet.
- Mods: add content to single or multiplayer and can be enabled or disabled.
Fundamentally, those three elements tax different parts of your computer and network. If you run through them, you’ll be able to identify–and hopefully fix–your problems.
If Minecraft has performance issues, you’ll want to create a single-player world to test performance issues. You’ll be able to test a couple of things, including…
If you can, disable any mods you have–whether those be content or visual mods. Modifications that add content or change the game’s appearance may tax your CPU (processor) or GPU (video card) by requiring both to process more information.
By creating a new single-player world, you can disable mods without impacting or breaking other saved worlds you have. If Minecraft performs well in your new world, then your mods might have something to do with that.
Reenable your favorite mods until you notice performance degrading again. At that point, you’ll generally know how many mods you can run and how demanding they are. Prioritize the ones you like.
You’ll also be testing something else, so you’ll want to build for a while…
There are many graphics options that can impact both your CPU and GPU, all of which may tax your system. If you’re in a single-player game in Minecraft Java and have issues you should modify:
- Fullscreen Resolution: the higher this is, the more work your GPU has to do in order to render the image on screen. Think about dropping resolution. Also, make sure you have this set to the FPS you want to drive. If you’re expecting 60 FPS and it’s set to 30 FPS, then you’re automatically going to have unexpected performance.
- Graphics: the higher this is set, the better the visual fidelity. Also the more work your CPU and GPU must do. Lower your graphics setting and your performance will improve.
- Render Distance: Minecraft pre-renders blocks in a defined area around you. The lower the number of chunks, the fewer blocks rendered at any given time. This will ease the load on your CPU.
- Simulation Distance: Minecraft also simulates enemy and animal behavior within a defined area. As with render distance, the lower the number of chunks, the fewer enemies and animals being simulated at any given time. This will also ease the load on your CPU.
- Clouds: there are many ways Minecraft renders clouds. The less fancy, the less taxing on your GPU and CPU. Think about lowering this to improve performance.
- Particles: the more particles rendered, the better Minecraft looks. As with many other settings discussed here, that will tax your GPU and CPU. Turn this down to improve performance.
- Entity Shadows: this renders shadows around different objects and creatures in the game. That increases the load on both the CPU and GPU. By turning down this setting, you may be able to improve performance substantially.
- Entity Distance: this setting smooths objects at a certain distance from the player view. Increasing this amount may increase the workload on your CPU and GPU. It may also automatically increase the render distance commensurate with increases in entity distance. So this may have compounding impacts on performance–both in degrading and improving performance.
If you’re playing Minecraft Bedrock, some of these options may not exist. Instead, you’ll have the following options to toggle on or off:
- Fancy Leaves: this changes how leaves are displayed and therefore rendered. Since there are many of them in tree-filled biomes, you’ll want to turn this off to increase performance.
- Fancy Bubbles: similar to fancy leaves, this changes how bubbles are rendered in water biomes. You’ll also want to disable this to increase performance.
- Render Clouds: Clouds can be static or dynamic. Rendering clouds makes them dynamic (to a degree) which increases workload on the CPU and GPU. Not rendering clouds can improve performance, but not to a substantial degree.
- Fancy Graphics: this is similar to the graphics option in Minecraft Java, except this is a binary selection. Disabling it will improve performance.
- Ray Tracing: if you have an Nvidia GPU capable of Ray Tracing and are in a Ray Tracing map, this can substantially diminish performance in favor of supreme visual fidelity, depending on what GPU you have. Disable this to very substantially increase performance.
- Render Distance: this operates similarly to both render distance and simulation distance in Minecraft Java. Raising this improves visual fidelity in favor of diminished GPU and CPU performance. Lowering this will improve performance and sacrifice visual fidelity.
- Anti-Aliasing: This makes edges less jagged, or aliased. Lowering this can improve performance, but is unlikely to substantially improve performance, unless your GPU is over a decade old.
In addition to mods and visual fidelity changes, you’ll want to build to test whether your performance was impacted by…
Too Much Construction
Minecraft lets you build whatever you want. It also includes redstone, which permits the construction of complex logic made tangible through the interaction with blocks in the world.
All of that requires CPU and GPU processing to appear and work. The more there is for the CPU and GPU to calculate and render, the worse your game will perform. By creating a new single-player world, you’ll be able to isolate whether that is a cause or not, depending on enabled mods and visual fidelity settings.
If you find that you need to substantially change single-player settings, then you may want to upgrade your computer so that your gameplay meets your expectations. If you find your CPU or GPU lacking (or both) then an upgrade can go a long way to improving your Minecraft experience.
Note that this can be an expensive proposition. You should do your research before proceeding.
If you find that you don’t need to substantially change single-player settings–and you typically play on multiplayer servers–then it might be a network or server issue.
Multiplayer can have the same performance issues as single-player with respect to mods, visual fidelity, and building content. It also adds a network connection and external world server. If you’ve ruled out the things that can also impact your single-player experience, then you’ll want to start diagnosing…
The network speed you buy from your Internet Service Provider (or ISP) is a maximum speed under ideal performance conditions. So if you have a gigabit connection, which is 1000 megabits per second (or Mbps), it’s unlikely you’ll consistently reach that speed.
Additionally, other factors can impact your perceived network speed like distance from your ISP servers (increasing latency) or throttling as a result of data caps (which will actually drop your speed).
This matters for multiplayer games because the world is generated remotely and transmitted to your (and others’) computer. That way, everyone can experience the same world and interact with it.
Run a network speed test if Minecraft is running slowly. Fast.com and speedtest.net are two great options for this. If your speed comes in significantly below what your network speed should be, then you have a network speed issue.
Otherwise, it might be a problem with…
Too Many Devices on Your Network
If you have a gigabit connection, chances are you won’t find this to be an issue. If you have a 50 mbps connection, then it could be an issue. If numerous devices are being used to stream video and gaming content, then your network connection may be saturated.
Talk to your housemates and ask them if you can come up with a usage schedule. Or try to play Minecraft when they’re not streaming content. You could also try to work on upgrading your overall network speed to reduce congestion.
If device volume isn’t the issue, then it could be…
All the problems you can face at home can also happen to a server. It can be underpowered for the work it’s doing, its network can be running slowly, or there may be too many connections into the server.
Test other public servers. If those work well, then the server you typically play on may be running slowly. Talk to the Server Ops and politely let them know about the issues. They are likely aware and working on the issues, but may be unaware.
If they don’t address the issues, then you need to decide whether or not to switch servers.
Why Is Minecraft So Laggy on PS4, PS5 or Xbox
Similar to your Minecraft PC experience, lag on a PS4, PS5 or Xbox can succumb to some of the same single-player or multiplayer issues.
Visual fidelity and mods tend not to be issues, while substantial construction projects are. That’s mainly due to the fact that games for consoles tend to be optimized for those consoles (for a certain definition of optimized), but don’t limit what you can do with those games if they’re open world like Minecraft.
Network and server issues are largely identical to the PC versions of Minecraft. Those tend to be device independent and rely largely on your network connection or the server.
There are many reasons Minecraft can be laggy. Your game settings can be mismatched to the performance your computer can deliver. Alternatively, you may have network issues. Evaluate and rule out what you can change and control first. Then worry about network issues you can’t control. Chances are that changing your Minecraft settings, upgrading your computer, or upgrading your network speed can help your Minecraft performance.
What other suggestions do you have to improve Minecraft performance? Let me know in the comments below!