Major Minecraft Setback with NetherByte

I was in the office this morning and got a note from Xyd about the Minecraft server having problems.  I was able to log into the admin console from the office and saw all sorts of errors of this sort:

[Server] WARN net.minecraft.server.v1_8_R2.ExceptionWorldConflict: Failed to check session lock for world located at ./world, aborting. Stop the server and delete the session.lock in this world to prevent further issues.

That is never a good sign.  The server had shut itself down, so I left it like that, opened a ticket for NetherByte about the problem, included a long stream of the error output, and went back to work.

NBopenticketWhen I got home from work I went in to the server admin page again to run a backup, just in case, then went in with WinSCP to copy it down to my local machine only to find the backup was just 1Kb in size.

My server directory was down to the bare minimum of files, what you get when you first start a Minecraft server.  No world to be seen, no nothing, just the logs and jars directories and the eula.txt file.  And I literally had to go set that to “true” again, one of the first steps of a server setup.

Meanwhile I had not seen a peep back in response from NetherByte, so I started looking around for server outage or other notifications from them.  My work on that front left me with the belief that NetherByte hasn’t updated anything since around March of this year.

So I am not sure if they are really a viable, ongoing concern at this point.

Needless to say, I am in the market for another hosting service unless I hear something substantial back from them, like why they wiped my directory.  Suggestions are welcome.

But things must move forward.  I happened to have copied the Monday night backup of the server to my local system.  I do that about once a week, and a good thing too as all the daily backups were missing from the server along with everything else.  So I set about restoring that.

I also went back to the default Minecraft server jar file.  We’ll stay away from mods for the time being I think, until things settle down.

So that went well enough.  Everything was set back to Monday night, but that wasn’t too far back.

And then I went to the nether and found everything gone.  All that paving of the nether I mentioned, it is no more.  A giant mass of cobblestone has gone missing.  All that was there was the original portal, right on top of that burning spot that set me on fire the first time I arrived there.

So all of that work was undone, highways of cobblestone going too and fro, all gone.  My little outpost in the desert, will I be able to find it again?  And I have no idea why the backup of the world-nether directory wasn’t in sync with the main world directory.  They both get backed up into the same .zip archive.

On the bright side, Skronk and Enaldi, who joined the server this past weekend have been away all week… and have never been to the nether… so at least this won’t impact them.

Addendum: Finally got a response from NetherByte, the sum total of which was, “Have you installed any malicious plugins recently?”

No response, on two tries, in asking why they wiped all my data.

As always, you get what you pay for.

 

10 thoughts on “Major Minecraft Setback with NetherByte

  1. Talarian

    BeastNode has been my host for 2 years now, and they’ve been super solid. The one time I had to contact them (mind you, this was a year ago) they were responsive within 4 hours and had my issue fixed (my server had basically disappeared, I couldn’t even login to the server console).

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  2. pawl

    I have had a pretty good experience with Fluctis so far (2 months). They are slightly cheaper than the big-name providers (Creeperhost etc). It seems that the going monthly rate for a Minecraft server is the same or a bit more than an MMO subscription, and if you go much cheaper, you get what you pay for.

    If you have to start a world over from scratch, make sure you use Minecraft version 1.7.10 – almost all the big and interesting mods require that version. Make a new profile in the Minecraft launcher, call it “1.7.10 modded”. Edit the profile so that it uses its own dedicated directory, and uses Minecraft v1.7.10. Launch it once then quit. Now download and install Forge. After that, go back into the profile and change the version to the one called something like “1.7.10+Forge”. After that it’s very easy, just download the JAR files for the mods you want to use and drop them in the mods/ directory.

    When you set up your server in Fluctis, you can automatically set up one of a bunch of different “modpack servers”, one of which is just “1.7.10+Forge with no mods”.

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  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    There is some price elasticity for me when it comes to hosting a server. At the NetherByte price of $22.50 for six months for a 2GB server, all things being equal, I would not (and did not) think twice about a hosted server.

    But at higher end hosting services, where a 2GB server is $20 or more a month I start thinking I could just put together an Intel NUC box with a Celeron processor and setup port forwarding on my router and call it a day, ending up with more control over what is going on.

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  4. Fenjay

    Wow, that is a serious ouch.

    I’ve been thinking of doing the same as you did (putting my home server online) but based on this I’m going to be extra careful. I guess one piece of advice you could take from this no matter what service you use is to back up to somewhere safe very regularly until you get to trust a service. And maybe, occasionally restoring the backup locally to double-check it (including the Nether) would be another good move.

    I’ve been backing up my home server every few days by copying the whole Minecraft server folder to a local drive that’s backed up in its entirety to CrashPlan.

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  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Fenjay – The biggest thing I am trying to figure out is why the world_nether directory didn’t restore correctly. That moved this from a minor to a major annoyance.

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  6. TheGreatYak

    There are a couple of advantages to hosting it yourself since you mentioned just getting a cheap NUC or such. You’d want something with a quite a bit more compute than a raspi, it’s java, and the vanilla server is single threaded for game mechanics.

    Main thing you’d want to control, how many chunks distant the server is willing to provide to clients, you can crank this way up.

    For local optimizations for the server, a 64 bit jvm, give it a bunch of stack and memory, and maybe throw some garbage collection optimization flags for the jvm (java -server -XX:+UseConcMarkSweepGC -XX:+UseParNewGC -XX:+CMSIncrementalPacing -XX:ParallelGCThreads=2 -XX:+AggressiveOpts -jar minecraft_server.1.8.x.jar nogui). Not all those flags may help, none will hurt…

    Depending on the host OS, you may need to allocate a bunch of generic tcp read and write buffers, as the jvm will block on network writes if the OS tcp transmit buffer fills (like when you are booking through new terrain, especially if the server has the view distance turned up). Linux, OSX, and *BSD expose this to administration via the sysctl interface (look for tcp wmem).

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