Choosing a Minecraft server can be quite tricky due to the many types. Next, we will look at the main popular types of Minecraft servers and their features.
A Minecraft base server that is suitable for those who want to play the original Minecraft. Vanilla Minecraft is well suited for servers with a small number of players who are just getting to know the game universe. If you plan to play on a server with more than 10 people, then it’s better to create a Paper server (described below).
This is the server with the fastest and easiest launch of Minecraft. There is no need to set any settings for the standard game.
Limited in scope, cannot install plugins/mods, and does not allow any settings (except for basic ones).
Weakly optimized for a long game on the server, as it is built for a single-player game. Servers with 10 or more players will have trouble with lag, especially as players move away from each other.
Perfect for newbies to Minecraft servers.
Minecraft with plugins (Bukkit/Spigot/Paper)
The original modified Minecraft server. It can run plugins and is a modification of the Minecraft code. CraftBukkit has been partially shut down due to copyright issues with Mojang. Now it is quite outdated and rarely used. Use this version if you want to install plugins made only for CraftBukkit.
Spigot is a fork of Bukkit designed to fix what CraftBukkit did wrong. Spigot is one of the most popular servers to run right now. It has optimizations, more tweaks, and fixes the legal issue that CraftBukkit had. This was done through BuildTools.
Has the same features as Bukkit and Spigot but is better optimized for servers. Paper’s code lacks the unpatched exploits and bugs that Spigot had. Many consider Paper to be the best Minecraft server as it is faster, more functional, and more reliable. We recommend installing this version of the game as the most popular and reliable in terms of installing plugins.
Modified Minecraft (Forge/Sponge/Fabric)
Mostly used for big and game-changing mods. It also uses its own launcher, as Vanilla Minecraft cannot be played with Forge mods. Mods are different from plugins because mods require changes on the client side. So you can join a plugin server from any Minecraft client, but you won’t be able to join a Forge server without a modified client. The advantage of mods is that they can significantly change the game world.
Was created as an optimized server for Forge. Sponge uses Forge on the server but has many optimizations and bug fixes. Unfortunately, it lost support after version 1.12.
Lightweight mod and plugin loader that allows players to still run both Bedrock and Java versions of Minecraft. It was created with the intention of replacing Forge, as well as making it easier to create mods. The main differences between Fabric and Forge are stability, good optimization, and no lags. Although there are more modifications on Forge, they often conflict with each other, there is no such thing in Fabric.