Skip to main content

Server Software Overview


  • Vanilla: For a pure Minecraft experience with no plugins or mods.
  • Bukkit: The original software to support plugins, but has now been replaced by Paper.
  • Spigot: The first majorly used server software with good optimizations, but it has now been replaced by Paper.
  • Paper: For servers that need plugins and better performance.
  • Purpur: For those who like Paper but want even more features and customizability, or even enable things Paper disables, like end portal duplication.
  • Fabric: For modern mods and better performance.
  • Forge: For extensive mods and modpacks.

Choose the one that best fits your needs, keeping in mind the trade-offs in terms of performance, stability, and feature set.

Overview of Different Types of Minecraft Server Software

When it comes to setting up a Minecraft server, there are a variety of server software options to choose from. These software types offer different features, optimization methods, and compatibility with plugins or mods. Below is an overview aimed at helping new Minecraft server owners understand the differences and make an informed choice.


Vanilla Minecraft is the purest form of Minecraft that you can experience. Developed and maintained directly by Mojang, it offers a no-frills, authentic gameplay experience. When you host a server using Vanilla, you are providing your players with the game as it was intended to be played — no plugins, no mods, just Minecraft.

Use Case:

  • Ideal for players who want a basic, unmodified Minecraft experience.
  • Great for private servers where you just want to play with friends and family without any plugins or mods.

Optimization Differences:

  • Least optimized, may struggle with a high number of players.
  • No support for plugins or mods.
  • Directly from Mojang, so it is always up-to-date with the latest Minecraft version.


Bukkit served as an early foundation for customizable Minecraft server software, allowing for the addition of plugins to enhance gameplay. Over time, its descendants, like Spigot and Paper, have improved upon its base, offering better optimizations and more extensive support. While Bukkit may hold historical significance, newcomers are advised to opt for Paper as a more modern and superior alternative.

Use Case:

Optimization Differences:

  • Provides some level of performance optimization over Vanilla, but falls short when compared to Paper or Purpur.
  • Allows for plugin support, but with a significantly smaller and less active community compared to Paper.
  • Updates may lag behind, causing potential compatibility issues with newer Minecraft versions.


Spigot is built upon Bukkit's foundation, providing better performance and expanded plugin support. It was a game-changer for many server owners wanting a balance of features and optimization. However, in the present context, Paper has outshined Spigot in terms of performance enhancements, support, and added features. As such, while Spigot remains a valid option, Paper is generally the recommended choice for those looking for the best of what Bukkit-based software can offer.


When you're planning to run a Minecraft server that requires both top-notch performance and the ability to use plugins, Paper is one of the best choices you can make. A high-performance fork of Spigot, Paper offers a series of performance optimizations and additional features that make it stand out among other types of server software.

Use Case:

  • Public and Private Servers: Paper's performance enhancements make it a great choice for larger public servers with many players, as well as smaller private servers looking for a smooth experience.

  • Plugin Support: If you're keen on adding special gameplay elements, mini-games, or admin tools to your server, Paper is perfect. It supports Bukkit plugins, offering you a wide range of possibilities for customization.

  • Balance of Features and Performance: It provides a good balance between additional features and performance optimization, making it an ideal choice for most server setups.

Optimization Differences:

  • Chunk Loading: One of Paper's key strengths is its improved chunk loading compared to Vanilla and even Spigot. This means less lag and a better experience for players exploring new or complex terrains.

  • Configurable Features: Paper allows for a more granular level of control over gameplay mechanics and system performance. You can tweak settings in a way that you can't with Vanilla, and even some other types of server software.

  • Updates: Paper is usually up-to-date with the latest official Minecraft releases, making it easier to keep your server current. It often includes additional fixes and optimizations that are not present in Vanilla or Spigot, enhancing both stability and performance.

If you're looking for a server software that offers an almost ideal mix of performance, stability, and compatibility with plugins, Paper is a superb option to consider. Whether you're running a large-scale public server or a smaller, private setup, Paper provides the optimizations and features to ensure your server runs smoothly.


If you have experience with Paper and feel like it makes too many management choices for you, or if you are just looking for a more customizable experience, Purpur would be a great option for you.

Use Case:

  • Similar to Paper but with a focus on additional features and customizability.
  • Best for server owners who want extra features without compromising on performance.

Optimization Differences:

  • Fork of Paper, so it includes many of Paper’s optimizations.
  • Additional features and optimizations, though, may be less stable.
  • Allows for more experimental gameplay tweaks.


Fabric is a lightweight, fast, and modern server software that's geared towards the future of Minecraft modding. It's the perfect choice for those who are interested in running a server with modern client-side and server-side mods.

Use Case:

  • Ideal for modern client-side and server-side mods
  • Good for smaller modded servers

Optimization Differences:

  • Lighter than Forge, offering better performance for minor modifications
  • More suited for standalone mods rather than large modpacks
  • Quick updates to be compatible with the latest Minecraft versions


Forge is the veteran of Minecraft server softwares for modding, and it's the go-to choice for running large, complex modpacks. It's built for those who want to drastically alter the gameplay experience, offering countless customization options for developers.

Use Case:

  • The go-to choice for large modpacks.
  • Ideal for heavily modded servers with many gameplay alterations.

Optimization Differences:

  • More resource-intensive compared to Fabric.
  • Slower updates for compatibility with the latest Minecraft versions.
  • Best suited for extensive mods and modpacks, not ideal for minor modifications.