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What will this guide cover? (and what is a lazy server?)

We’re using “lazy server” here to describe a Minecraft server that’s only running when players are actively using it. This is a great way to conserve resources on a server that doesn’t have players on it 24/7. However, hosting BlueMap on these types of servers presents a problem because when the server is offline, the BlueMap integrated webserver is offline as well.

This guide will go over setting up a lazy Minecraft server with BlueMap enabled and detail a setup that allows for 24/7 viewing of the map (and map markers), even when the server is offline.

  1. Setting up a lazy server
  2. Configuring BlueMap
  3. Configuring an external webserver to serve the map
  4. Faking “live” data while server is offline
  5. Example Nginx config

Setting up a lazy server

The lazymc project can be used to set up a lazy Minecraft server. Essentially it acts just enough like a normal Minecraft server to accept an incoming connection request, start the Minecraft server (if not already running) and transparently proxy the connection through to it.

Once the server is running, it monitors the number of current players and shuts it down once it’s empty. It can also be configured to pause the Minecraft server instead of shutting it down so it can be instantly resumed when the next player connects.

Detailed instructions on how to set up and configure lazymc are available in the project’s README.

Configuring BlueMap

Install and configure BlueMap as desired (see Getting Started).

For this guide, we’re going to assume BlueMap is storing all data using the FILE-type storage with GZIP compression enabled as this is the default configuration. It’s definitely possible to make this work for SQL-type storage and uncompressed map data as well, but it will require some extra work not covered by this guide.

Since we’re going to be using an external webserver there’s no need to expose the BlueMap integrated webserver to the world. To make the server local-only, in webserver.conf, add ip: "" just above the existing port: <some port> setting. Make a note of what <some port> is in your config since you’ll need it later.

Configuring an external webserver to serve the map

Because the Minecraft server (and therefore the integrated BlueMap webserver) is not always going to be online, we need to use something else to host the BlueMap webapp and resources. This guide will provide a configuration example for Nginx, but the same general idea can be applied to any other webserver as well.

Most of this configuration is going to be the exact same as is detailed on the External Webservers (FILE-Storage) page so to understand the basics, it might be worth it to give that page a quick skim first. The difference in this case is that we’re expecting that the integrated webserver will be down when the server is offline and the proxy should therefore return some placeholder data to keep the frontend happy.

Note that if lazymc is configured to pause the server instead of shutting it down, Nginx will need to be configured with a short proxy_read_timeout to avoid hanging while waiting for a response from the integrated webserver. This is because the paused server will accept the connection but not be able to respond in any way to the request.

Faking “live” data while server is offline

The endpoints of the live resources the frontend is looking for are:

  • /maps/<world>/live/markers.json
  • /maps/<world>/live/players.json

For markers.json, BlueMap will automatically write out the current set of markers to a file on disk in <webroot>/maps/<world>/live/markers.json when it shuts down. This is conveniently exactly the same path as the request is asking for so we can just service the request normally from the webroot.

For players.json, we don’t want to send any legitimate data back because if the server is off, there can’t be any players. In this guide we opt to send back the contents of /assets/emptyTile.json ({}) since it’s convenient. It also keeps the frontend polling for players so if the server is started, it will automatically pick up the legitimate player data.

Example Nginx config

server {
  listen 80;

  # path to bluemap-webroot, BlueMap can also be used in a sub-folder .. just adapt the paths accordingly
  root /var/www;

  location ~* ^/maps/[^/]*/tiles/ {
    # High-res tiles are stored as precompressed JSON with a fallback to returning an empty tile.
    # Low-res tiles are stored as pngs with a fallback to returning 204 (No Content).
    location ~* \.json$  {
      error_page 404 =200 /assets/emptyTile.json;
      gzip_static always;
    location ~* \.png$ {
      try_files $uri =204;

  # Proxy all requests for live data to the integrated webserver.
  # Fall back to @server-offline if it can't be contacted.
  location ~* ^/maps/[^/]*/live/ {
    proxy_read_timeout 2s;  # required if lazymc pauses the server instead of shutting it down
    error_page 502 504 = @server-offline;
    proxy_pass;  # the default port for the integrated webserver, adapt to your setup

  # Handles serving "live" data when the integrated webserver can't be reached
  location @server-offline {
    # Serve markers.json from disk, fall back to sending the data for an empty tile for players.json
    try_files $uri /assets/emptyTile.json;

The above config is just an example and not a complete config you can just copy&paste. You will need to adapt it to your setup!