This is how your most bare-bones startup script looks like.
java -Xmx<change-me>G -Xms<match-me-to-Xmx-value>G -jar <server-jar-name>.jar nogui
-Xmx sets the maximum amount of memory the Java Virtual Machine is allowed to reserve. Don't set this over the amount of memory you have on your machine/given to you by the hosting provider.
-Xms sets the minimum amount of memory the JVM is allowed to reserve. It should always be below or equal to the
The JVM only uses memory in its heap space - an area of memory that is reserved for the Java application (in our case, the server) - and the flags
-Xmx determine the possible bounds of this area. The heap size may be dynamically changed depending on how much memory the application actually needs, but it will always stay within those bounds.
-Xmx3G -Xms1G would set the maximum heap size to 3 gigabytes and the minimum to 1 gigabyte. You can also use the letters M and K - megabytes and kilobyes (though the latter is not usually used) to set the value more precisely, e.t
Setting them both to be the same usually improves perfomance as no calculations need to be done regarding the heap size, but this may take away memory from other programs on your host machine (if any) in case the server does not always need to allocate the full
You should set your RAM allocation according to your average server load - allocating more memory than your server needs is likely to cause GC lag spikes. For example, if you are a starting out server with 0-2 players most of the time, you'll be fine with 2 GB, but if you have 5-10 players online at once, you'll need 4-5 GB.
nogui hides the Minecraft server GUI panel, only leaving the console visible. Remove the flag if you choose to use the panel. It has basic features like a player list, perfomance metrics and console output.
-jar <server-jar-name>.jar points to the server .jar - it's what you download from Paper/Purpur or other server software websites to run the server.
Advanced JVM options
The JVM also offers a lot of additional options for startup - those are the JVM "flags" or "arguments". You might want to set those up for the best perfomance. For this, see the guide Java Minecraft Flags - it's a constantly updated collection of up-to-date flags for both Minecraft servers and clients. It also contains a small guide on GraalVM (an optimized JVM distribution).
JVM flags go before the
You may have seen advice to use Aikar's flags - while those may have been the best a while ago, they have not been updated since the creation and therefore are massively out of date for modern Java versions. If you are running a 1.17+ Minecraft Java server (and use java 16+), don't use Aikar's flags.
All JVM flags (with an option to sort for each distribution) can be found here.
Advanced Minecraft server options
Minecraft also has quite a few startup options that affect the server in some way. Those go after
-jar in the startup script.
The following infomation is from the wiki
If a bonus chest should be generated, when the world is first generated.
If the server is in demo mode. (Shows the players a demo pop-up, and players cannot break or place blocks or eat if the demo time has expired) Equivalent to playing minecraft without a account, you have about 5 in-game days before your trial ends.
Erases the lighting caches, etc. Same option as when optimizing single player worlds.
Forces upgrade on all the chunks, such that the data version of all chunks matches the current server version (same as with sp worlds). This option significantly increases the time needed to start the server.
Loads the settings from 'server.properties' and 'eula.txt', then quits.
Initializes the Java Flight Recorder on the server. Only available on 1.18+.
Which port to listen on, overrides the server.properties value. (default: -1, read from server.properties)
See Server.properties for restrictions on this value.
Loads level with vanilla datapack only.
Gives an ID to the server. (??) Seemingly no effect ??
Runs the server in offline mode.
The folder in which to look for world folders. (default: .)
The name of the world folder in which the level.dat resides.