Paper vs Spigot: Which software is better for your Minecraft server?

Although Paper and Spigot share many functional similarities, they perform slightly differently (Image via Xemor, YouTube)
Although Paper and Spigot share many functional similarities, they perform slightly differently (Image via Xemor, YouTube)
Edward Hays

Minecraft servers have for long been one of the game's most popular features, making their first debut over ten years ago.

One of the biggest drawbacks to operating a Minecraft server is dealing with large amounts of lag, especially when it comes to high player counts. This is mainly attributed to poorly optimized server code within the vanilla server software.

Both Paper and Spigot are highly optimized versions of the default Minecraft server software and set out to combat server lag. This article takes a deep look at both projects and where they individually shine.

Paper vs Spigot: Which Minecraft server software is best?

Firstly, the most important thing is to establish that Paper (formally PaperMC) is a fork of Spigot, meaning that PaperMC incorporates code used by Spigot and would not exist if it wasn't for the Spigot project.

This is also why all plugins made for Spigot servers will also work on a server running PaperMC (provided the version of Minecraft is the same). Therefore, switching from Spigot to Paper is extremely easy for server owners, requiring only a simple jar file change.

PaperMC is a fork of Spigot
PaperMC is a fork of Spigot

What one should I use on my server?

Paper is generally considered to be more performant in direct comparison to Spigot due to further optimizations found in the server code. It also gives users control over technical parts of their Minecraft server, such as specific redstone features to disable, TNT mechanics, and much more.

Paper also comes with its own much improved "v2" timings system. This allows users to take a deep dive into exactly what's going on under the hood of their server and is highly useful in identifying areas of lag and poor performance.

Paper also seeks to patch bugs left inside Spigot, meaning it can perhaps be more stable than regular Spigot. However, both have a massive base of users and can therefore be considered adequately stable for almost all use cases.

All in all, any server that expects to see an even somewhat modest playerbase should aim to be as performant as possible. Using Paper is an easy-to-perform upgrade from Spigot in many cases and can massively boost performance with no noticeable cost.


My server is still lagging after using PaperMC?

There are a lot of unique reasons a Minecraft server can lag. It can be caused by a specific issue, which users can easily diagnose via a timings report.

Players can also read this helpful guide on how to fix lag on their Minecraft server.

Those looking for something even faster than PaperMC might be interested in checking out Tuinity and Airplane, two highly optimized custom forks of PaperMC that include several further enhancements.

However, this boost in performance comes with risk, and these builds are considered less stable than regular Spigot or Paper software.

Also read: 5 best Minecraft servers for KitPvP in 2021

Edited by Ravi Iyer
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