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Troubleshooting Players Unable to Break Blocks

Having difficulty breaking blocks on your Minecraft server? In this guide, we’ll go over why that may be and how to fix it.

Vanilla Spawn Protection

By default, Minecraft has spawn protection. This defines the radius around the spawn point that cannot be modified by those without operator permissions. If you’re having issues breaking blocks and you are near spawn, check your settings for spawn protection in the Game settings under the World Settings tab on Nodepanel.

How to change the Spawn Protection Radius using NodepanelIf you don't have access to Nodepanel, this can also be changed in the file. This file is located in the main folder of your server. You can set this value to change how far players must go from spawn to break blocks. This option can be set to 0 to disable spawn protection entirely. Be sure to save and restart your server for this to take effect.

Adventure Mode

In vanilla adventure mode, you can only break blocks using the correct tools. (I.e. if you wanted to mine logs, you’d need an axe. Stone, you’d need a pickaxe. etc.) If you intend to play in adventure mode or have your server set up for adventure mode. Make sure there’s a way to get started on mining blocks.

Land Claim and Protection Plugins or Mods

Land claiming and protection plugins and mods can also prevent players from breaking blocks. In this case, it typically is because the portion of the map that the player is trying to break but cannot is claimed by another player or admin. Some of these mods and plugins allow the person who created the claim or protection to add other users to the claim. This allows the added player to have access to breaking blocks, opening chests, building, etc. Check the mod's or plugin's respective documentation for further details on features like the one mentioned.

Block Lag and Ghost Blocks

Sometimes you may encounter the inability to fully break blocks due to either server-side or client-side lag. This can result in it looking like you should have mined a block but it reappears (commonly referred to as "Block Lag"). Or sometimes it looks as if the block were mined but the block actually still exists (commonly referred to as "Ghost Blocks"). For this case, first, check your connectivity to the server. You could run a ping test or traceroute to do this. If you’ve ruled out your connection, try a client restart. Also, ensure you have enough resources allocated to Minecraft.

Once you’ve either ruled out that the issue is not client-side, or you know it is affecting everyone on the server, then you (or the server owner if you are not the owner) may need to do some troubleshooting on what’s causing the issue.

You can use mods and plugins to help diagnose that issue. If you’re running Spigot or Paper, you can use the built-in timings report system to break down portions of the tick and try to find what’s causing the lag. To do this use the commands /timings on to start gathering data about timings Then use /timings report to get a link to view the timings report. If you’re running Purpur or Modded software like Forge or Fabric, you can use a performance profiler mod or plugin such as spark to break down portions of the tick similarly to a timings report and find what’s causing the lag. To note, spark comes pre-installed on new versions of Purpur.

Unbreakable Blocks

Minecraft also has a few unbreakable blocks which not intended to be broken easily in survival or adventure modes. Some of these blocks include Bedrock, End Portal Frames, Command Blocks, Structure Blocks, Barriers, End Gateways, Light Blocks, etc. These blocks generally are removable in Creative mode or sometimes are destroyable by other means such as redstone contraptions.

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