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An auto-pause functionality is provided that monitors whether clients are connected to the server. If a client is not connected for a specified time, the Java process is put into a pause state. When a client attempts to connect while the process is paused, then process will be restored to a running state. The experience for the client does not change. This feature can be enabled by setting the environment variable ENABLE_AUTOPAUSE to "true".


You must greatly increase or disable max-tick-time watchdog functionality. From the server's point of view, the pausing causes a single tick to take as long as the process is stopped, so the server watchdog might intervene after the process is continued, possibly forcing a container restart. To prevent this, ensure that the max-tick-time in the file is set to a very large value or -1 to disable it entirely, which is highly recommended. That can be set with MAX_TICK_TIME as described in the section below.

Non-vanilla versions might have their own configuration file, you might have to disable their watchdogs separately. For PaperMC servers, you need to send the JVM flag -Ddisable.watchdog=true, this can be done with the docker env variable -e JVM_DD_OPTS=disable.watchdog:true

On startup the file is checked and, if applicable, a warning is printed to the terminal. When the server is created (no data available in the persistent directory), the properties file is created with the Watchdog disabled.

The utility used to wake the server (knock(d)) works at network interface level. So the correct interface has to be set using the AUTOPAUSE_KNOCK_INTERFACE variable when using non-default networking environments (e.g. host-networking, Portainer oder NAS solutions). See the description of the variable below.

A file called .paused is created in /data directory when the server is paused and removed when the server is resumed. Other services may check for this file's existence before waking the server.

A .skip-pause file can be created in the /data directory to make the server skip autopausing, for as long as the file is present. The autopause timer will also be reset.

A starting, example compose file has been provided in examples/docker-compose-autopause.yml.

Auto-pause is not compatible with EXEC_DIRECTLY=true and the two cannot be set together.


When configuring kubernetes readiness/liveness health checks with auto-pause enabled, be sure to reference the mc-health wrapper script rather than mc-status directly.

Additional configuration

The following environment variables define the behaviour of auto-pausing:

  • AUTOPAUSE_TIMEOUT_EST, default 3600 (seconds) describes the time between the last client disconnect and the pausing of the process (read as timeout established)
  • AUTOPAUSE_TIMEOUT_INIT, default 600 (seconds) describes the time between server start and the pausing of the process, when no client connects inbetween (read as timeout initialized)
  • AUTOPAUSE_TIMEOUT_KN, default 120 (seconds) describes the time between knocking of the port (e.g. by the main menu ping) and the pausing of the process, when no client connects inbetween (read as timeout knocked)
  • AUTOPAUSE_PERIOD, default 10 (seconds) describes period of the daemonized state machine, that handles the pausing of the process (resuming is done independently)
    Describes the interface passed to the knockd daemon. If the default interface does not work, run the ifconfig command inside the container and derive the interface receiving the incoming connection from its output. The passed interface must exist inside the container. Using the loopback interface (lo) does likely not yield the desired results.


To troubleshoot, add DEBUG_AUTOPAUSE=true to see additional output

Rootless Auto-Pause

If you're running the container as rootless, then it is necessary to add the CAP_NET_RAW capability to the container, such as using the cap_add service field in a compose file or --cap-add docker run argument. It may also be necessary to set the environment variable SKIP_SUDO to "true".

You might need to set change the default port forwarder from RootlessKit to slirp4netns.

For Docker, see the following for setup:


For Podman, see the following for setup: -

Using docker run

-e AUTOPAUSE_KNOCK_INTERFACE=tap0 --cap-add=CAP_NET_RAW --network slirp4netns:port_handler=slirp4netns