Over the past year, many new server software downloads calling themselves “forks of Paper” or “Paper forks” have popped up. So what is a fork? In software, a fork refers to other software that modifies or extends the original software. In this case, the original software is Paper. Forks of Paper generally add further "patches" or changes on top of ones that Paper already provides. The question, though, is should you use a fork of Paper over Paper itself?

Understanding the Forks

It's essential to understand why many of these forks exist. In 2018 a project called byof was released by one of the Paper developers, electronicboy. This project made it very easy to create forks of Paper, leading to slow growth in the number of forks and fork developers. It’s also worth noting that Paper itself can be considered a fork of Spigot, which in the past was a fork of CraftBukkit. However, CraftBukkit no longer exists so Spigot is considered the “base” software in the chain of forks.

Experimental Performance Forks

One of the most popular types of forks is experimental performance forks. Developers generally run these forks to squeeze as much performance out of the server as possible. While performance is one of the main goals of Paper itself, Paper requires that the changes are well understood and proven to be stable before they can be merged in. These forks allow developers to trial more experimental performance changes that may not be safe or might only make sense in certain situations. The developers may then potentially contribute the changes to Paper in the future. A notable performance fork that was later merged into Paper was Tuinity.

Customisation Forks

For some more complicated customization changes, using plugins can be more complex than just modifying the game code. In most cases, large servers create their own forks to more easily make invasive changes in Minecraft code to suit their server better. These forks often provide many customisation options that can fit various styles of servers. Some well-known examples of these include Empirecraft and Purpur.

There has also been a growing market of paid forks. These often boast about significant performance improvements or making various game mechanics asynchronous. These forks have historically not lived up to the performance claims, and in some cases, been extremely unstable. While growing in popularity, these should seldom be used over one of the more well-known free forks or even Paper itself.

"Everything" Forks

Due to many available forks, some developers have decided to try merging patches from many forks together. Due to some of these patches' complexity, it's often very unsafe to use forks that do this. They're known to break the Minecraft server and various plugins consistently. A typical "everything" fork is Yatopia.

The Downsides

Using these forks have several downsides. While the more well-known forks maintained by prominent community figures are generally acceptable to use in most circumstances, other forks can cause unnecessary trouble running a server, and leave you stranded if the project is abandoned when a Minecraft update is released.

Small Community

The Paper community cannot and will not support servers running forks of Paper. As these forks often have much smaller communities than Paper, it's much harder to get support for less common issues. Without support from a large community, you're usually on your own when you need any help.

Plugin Support

As these forks modify the Minecraft server in often significant ways, they can sometimes break plugins. Plugins usually won't support these forks of Paper due to their propensity for causing plugin breakages. In many cases, the plugins cannot easily fix the problems, as they exist in the fork itself.

Development Team Experience

When using Paper, you've got a highly skilled and community-focused development team. For many of these forks, the developers are just starting or are just in it to make some quick money.


Overall, using these forks is often a bad idea. If you're using these, you need to have a solid understanding of how the Minecraft server works. While some forks such as Tuinity are significantly safer than others, they're still considered experimental, so they should only be used when necessary. In most cases, using Paper is the way to go.

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.