When running a Minecraft server, having to choose between Forge or Fabric mods, or Bukkit plugin can be a difficult task. While researching this, you’ve probably found that there is server software available that claims to allow multiple, such as Bukkit plugins and Forge mods. These are known as Hybrid servers. Some popular examples are MohistMC, Magma and Arclight. These pieces of software can sound promising, but they do have some downsides that are important to be aware of.
Due to errors and bugs in plugins often happening on hybrids that wouldn’t otherwise occur on a normal PaperMC server, most plugin developers won’t provide support when a hybrid server is in use. It’s also not uncommon for mod developers to not provide support for their mods when hybrids are in use. On top of this, due to hybrids having smaller communities than PaperMC, Forge, or Fabric, it is often much harder to get support from the community.
Bukkit isn’t built that way
The reason hybrids often have the above-mentioned bugs, is that the Bukkit API, the thing that plugins are built off, is fundamentally not built to work with mods. Bukkit hard codes the list of blocks, entities, biomes, etc., meaning plugins might not even be aware that certain blocks exist. Bukkit also works by having plugins listen for events and respond accordingly. While hybrid servers can add those events into a few places within Forge or Fabric, they can’t easily add them to other mods. Some hybrids attempt to do this, but it will never be entirely reliable. Due to this, protection plugins such as WorldGuard will not be entirely reliable or logical when used with mods.
Due to the limitations of the Bukkit API when it comes to mods, there have been other attempts to create plugin APIs that behave well with mods. The Sponge project, that first showed up in 2014, is an alternative plugin API that supports Sponge plugins as well as Forge mods. As the API is built to support mods, it means plugins do a much better job of behaving alongside Forge mods. In saying this, it does not support Bukkit plugins, you must instead use plugins specifically built for Sponge. Given Sponge has a much smaller number of plugins, this could be less desirable. It’s also only compatible with Forge mods, meaning anyone wanting to use Fabric mods is out of luck.
While these pieces of software have come a long way, they still have notable downsides. If all of this sounds fine to you, such as if you’re just wanting a quick server to play on with friends, these pieces of software can be great. Otherwise, it might be best to either rethink needing to run both or running something like Sponge that has both plugins and mods on the same platform.
About the Author
Hi, I'm Maddy Miller, a Senior Software Engineer at Clipchamp at Microsoft. In my spare time I love writing articles, and I also develop the Minecraft mods WorldEdit, WorldGuard, and CraftBook. My opinions are my own and do not represent those of my employer in any capacity.