CraftBukkit is Minecraft server software that first started development well over a decade ago. It was revolutionary for the Minecraft ecosystem at the time, but the project sadly ended in 2014. Since then, other groups have maintained derivatives of the CraftBukkit software, with the Spigot team still maintaining a copy of CraftBukkit to use as the base of their Spigot software. Whilst CraftBukkit died in 2014, some people are still running the version maintained by Spigot on their servers. This is bad, please stop.

What is the copy of CraftBukkit that Spigot maintain?

You might be wondering why Spigot even maintains CraftBukkit, given it shouldn’t be used and they also publish the Spigot software. A long time ago, Spigot was a competitor “fork” to the actual CraftBukkit server software. A fork in this context being software that’s based off other software with additional changes on top. Due to this, Spigot’s development flow was built around making patches to the existing CraftBukkit releases. Once CraftBukkit was no longer being published however, rather than making the Spigot software standalone, they chose to start updating the CraftBukkit software themselves. While early on they did actually release this software alongside Spigot, they soon stopped publishing it and used it purely for their internal development processes. The CraftBukkit software maintained by Spigot is at this point purely a step in the process of creating the Spigot software.

What’s wrong with using it?

The main downside to using CraftBukkit is that it’s unsupported. Spigot does not publish it for servers to use and does not support servers that use it. If you have problems with it, you’ll be on your own as the developers of the software will not help you with it. In 2019, the Spigot team even made it harder to obtain a copy of the software to dissuade use of it.

As CraftBukkit is not intended for use on servers outside of development purposes, it’s also not guaranteed to run servers in the way most server owners would expect. The CraftBukkit jar differs in many ways to the Spigot jar, and more recently these differences have gotten to the point where they’ll affect a large number of plugins. As of the Minecraft 1.20 release cycle, the published CraftBukkit jar is missing a few of the final build steps that make the Spigot jar file “production ready” and will therefore break any plugin that rely on them. This is because it’s a development server jar, not due to a problem with the plugins. Due to the unsupported nature of CraftBukkit, and the various differences and issues, most plugins will also not provide support for servers running CraftBukkit.

What should I use instead?

If you’re thinking of using CraftBukkit, you’re presumably wanting a server that can run plugins made for the Bukkit API. The two current leading software implementations of the Bukkit API are Paper and Spigot. I’ve previously written an article on how to choose between those. There are also numerous pieces of server software that are forks of Paper, which are another option you can go with if those suit your server better.

Conclusion

CraftBukkit was once the most popular Minecraft server software by a wide margin, but times have changed since the discontinuation of the original project. If you’re running a Minecraft server for non-development purposes, there is no case where you should be using the CraftBukkit software. Switching to using supported Minecraft server software will provide you better support when you have issues, lead to less issues when using plugins, and likely improve performance of your server significantly depending on the software you go with.

About the Author

Maddy Miller

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.