How to make your Maven build fast again

When the project starts we do not think about the certain things like dependency hell, modularisation or time needed to build the project. It is quite normal, the codebase is pretty small, there are not that many dependencies, etc.
However when the time is passing, the time spend on building the application starts to be noticeable.
It is high time to think how to cut down on the build time.
Here you can find a few tips which could help you in this field.

Build in parallel

By default Maven builds the project sequentially. Modern computers have at least a few logical cores which are not fully utilised during Maven build. The Maven is able to analyze the dependency graph and build the project in parallel if possible.

It is telling the Maven to use 4 threads when building the project.

The time that can be saved depends on the project but on every advice you have an example times (MacBook Pro 2,3 GHz Intel Core i5).

one module project:

Total time: 01:16 min

Total time: 01:04 min

multi module project:

Total time: 02:44 min

Total time: 01:44 min

Build incrementally

The way we usually build projects is:

But do we really need to clean the project every time? Obviously cleaning is one of the first things to try when we face weird caching problems or some strange bugs. However, generally we do not need to clean the project. From the performance point of view it is better to build it incrementally:


which builds only module_name and dependent modules.

multi module project:

Total time: 02:32 min

Total time: 51.396 s

Build offline

This is not only Maven problem that it seems to try to download the whole Internet every time you build the application. Other build tools like sbt, gradle or npm do the same.
We can prevent Maven from trying to download dependencies from the Internet using offline option;

multi module project:

Total time: 02:28 min

Total time: 02:21 min

JVM tuning

Since Maven is normal Java program we can try to do some Java tuning in order to speed up the build.
One possible optimization would be to reduce JIT (Just In Time) compilation. Basically, JIT compiler runs after the Java program started and compiles the code on the fly into a form that is usually faster to run on the particular CPU. While it is good for a long running programs, it is not necessarily helpful for a short running programs like Maven build.
We can try to force the JVM to make only basic JIT compilation:

multi module project:

Total time: 02:28 min

Total time: 01:44 min

Run tests in parallel

We know how much time it takes to execute all those unit and integration tests during the build. These days tests execution time takes most of the time spend in Maven build.
To reduce that time one possible option is to use that infamous skipTests=true option. I do not advise this practise. However there is another way to speed up the tests: run them in parallel.
The maven-surefire-plugin has an configuration option to run the tests in parallel:

multi module project:

Total time: 02:40 min

Total time: 02:25 min


In this post we looked at a few basic ways to speed up a Maven build. Not all of them can be used in every project but you can pick those which fit into your model and save a few seconds on the Maven build.

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