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Mods vs Plugins

Last modified on Aug 5, 2022 in General

mc head By Noah

Mods v Plugins


Minecraft is arguably one of the most influential games ever made. With regular updates and an infinite procedurally generated world, the sky’s the limit for what you can do. Unfortunately, vanilla Minecraft can get a bit boring after a while. Mods and Plugins are a good way to breathe new life into your server or vanilla world, but choosing between mods and plugins can be a bit daunting. In this guide we will explain the difference between mods and plugins and how they can be used on an Apex Hosting server.


What is a Plugin?

An example of plugins in action.

Plugins are kind of like an extension for your browser. They make use of the existing features and code in the game to add new functions. Since they don’t make any changes to the base game, your players don’t need to install anything or make any changes to their game to join the server.


Effects on Server Performance

The server performance graph.

Because plugins don’t change the base game they do not use up a lot of resources. Most plugins take up very little space on the server and don’t have a big effect on performance. Plugin loaders like Paper were actually designed to drastically improve your server’s performance and prevent lag. Most plugins are, to an extent, version flexible. This means that in some cases you can continue using a plugin even if it hasn’t been updated to the latest version of the game yet.



Permission nodes in the LuckPerms editor.

Almost every plugin available will come with config files and permission nodes for you to customize them. Configuration files will allow you to enable or disable features or change how some features work to better suit your server. Permission nodes allow you to control who on your server can use certain features.



The biggest downside to plugins is the lack of variety. Because plugins only use features already in the game, they don’t add new assets like new blocks or textures. That said, the game still gives plugin creators a lot of flexibility so there is a plugin for almost everything.


What is a Mod?

A modded dungeon.

Mods, as the name suggests modify the files for the base game. This allows mods to add new assets like new blocks, mobs, and game mechanics. Mods can turn the game into something entirely new. Mods can be grouped together to create Modpacks like RLCraft or Skyfactory.


Effects on Server Performance

Unlike plugins, mods add new assets to the game and alter the base game’s code to do so. This means they eat up a lot of resources and are much more likely to cause your server to lag than plugins. This is especially true of mods that make drastic changes to the game like the Biomes O’ Plenty or Twilight Forest mods. The more mods you have, the more resources they use. Having a large number of players can make lag even worse.



A config file in the control panel.

Like plugins, almost all mods come with config files that you can change to suit your needs. However, most mods do not have any kind of permissions system. This means that in most cases every player on the server will gain access to everything a mod includes, unless you make changes to the mod’s config files to prevent it.



Mods are version specific, they will only work on the version of the game they were created for and not any others. A mod created for Minecraft 1.12.2 will only work on 1.12.2. If you try to install it on a 1.16.5 server, it either won’t load at all or the server will crash entirely.

An example ticking entity crash.

Because of the way mods work, it is much more likely they will cause your server to crash. The most common crash caused by mods is a Ticking Entity crash. This happens when a mod tries to change an entity, like a zombie or a chest, and causes it to become corrupted. When this happens, the server will not be able to load the entity and will crash any time it tries.


Comparing the Two

Both of these options have a lot of advantages and disadvantages. Here is a brief look at the different pros and cons of using mods or plugins on your server:



  • Players don’t need to install anything
  • More stable than mods
  • Less lag
  • More control over player permissions


  • Less variety
  • Can only be installed on servers


  • Can be used on both single and multiplayer
  • Adds new items and mechanics
  • Large number of popular modpacks


  • More resource hungry
  • Version specific
  • More likely to cause lag and crashes


Use Cases



The Bedwars minigame.

One of the most popular reasons to use plugins is to create minigames on your server. There are thousands of plugins available to help you run games like Murder Mystery, Skyblock, and Bedwars. Apex has a large number of pre-made minigames for you to choose from and install, but you can also make your own through the use of plugins.


The Pixelmon mod in action

Modpacks are a very popular way to enhance your Minecraft experience. There are thousands of packs available to change the game in any way you can think of. Pixelmon for instance is a popular pack that allows you to start your own Pokémon adventure. Modpacks can turn Minecraft into a completely new game without having to buy anything.

Quality of Life

Plugins and mods are great for adding new features to your game, but that doesn’t have to be the end goal. A lot of players use plugins and mods to add quality of life improvements to their server or their game. These improvements can range from simple changes like allowing players to move mob spawners, to creating minimaps and adding shaders to your game. There are thousands of these quality of life plugins and mods available to choose from to make your game a little more enjoyable.



With that you are ready to choose which option, mods or plugins, is right for you. While both have their pros and cons, they are invaluable tools for building your server.Thanks to the enormous modding community for Minecraft, there is a plugin or mod to fit almost any need. You can use plugins to create minigames and improve the overall quality of life on your server, while mods are a good choice to completely change the game into something new. Each option will enhance your experience and give you the chance to add new features for your players on your Apex Hosting server.


Helpful Links

Modpack Creation Addon
Plugin Installation Addon
Recommended Plugins
Recommended Mods

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