One of the reasons that Minecraft is so popular over 10 years later is due to its modding support. Players haven’t been playing the Vanilla game repeatedly for the past decade. Instead, we’ve been using mods which allow you to experience something new, every time you play.
The idea of installing mods can sound a little intimidating, but don’t worry, it’s actually an easy process. We’re going to try and keep this guide as simple as possible, and cover both servers and single-player.
We’re going to use Minecraft 1.12.2, as it’s the most up-to date Minecraft version that has the most modding support. This guide will work for other versions of Minecraft too though, but I’d always recommend using either 1.7.10 (older), or 1.12.2 (newer). Even though this guide seems a little long, the entire process should take ten minutes or so.
To install any mods in Minecraft, we’ll need to use the Forge mod loader. I’m aware that other mod loads exist such as Fabric, but this guide is purely for Forge. Forge is free, and offers support for both Clients (single player) and Servers (multi-player).
Head to the Official Forge Website. On the left hand side, you will see a list of Minecraft Versions, expand on the 1.12 section, then choose 1.12.2. A new page will load, hit the Installer button, found under the ‘Download Recommended’ section.
You’ll be taken to the download page, after 5 seconds, you can press the ‘Skip’ button located in the top right corner. Afterwards, a .JAR file will begin to download, which is the Forge installer. Once it’s downloaded, open the file and proceed to the next step.
When you open the Forge .JAR file, an application will open called the ‘Mod System Installer’. If the Forge JAR doesn’t open, ensure you have the latest version of Java installed on your system. Alternatively, make sure you have actually downloaded the Installer file shown in the previous step, and not any other files such as Sources of Universal.
First, we need to install Forge to your system. All you have to do is press the OK button with the ‘Install client’ option checked. This will install a Forge profile into your Minecraft directory. In the unlikely event that you don’t have Minecraft installed into the default AppData folder, you will need to change the installation location in the installer by pressing the ‘…’ button.
Installing Forge for Servers
If you want to play a modded server with friends, you’ll need the Server option as well. Installing the server is relatively simple. Check the ‘Install server’ option, then press the ‘…’ button to choose a new directory. Select a location such as your Desktop, and create a new empty folder and select that as the location to install the Forge server too.
Note that if you install a Forge server, you still have to install the Client option as well. Any players who want to connect to your modded Forge server will need to be using the same Forge and Minecraft version.
Once Forge is installed, open the Minecraft Launcher. In the bottom left corner of the screen, you can choose between different Minecraft profiles and versions. If it isn’t already selected, open the drop-down and select the ‘Forge’ profile. The image below says 1.14.4 because that’s the version I’m currently using, but yours will say 1.12.2.
With the Forge version selected, hit the PLAY button. Now, Forge will run a quick first time install and add any necessary files and folders into your Minecraft directory. This includes the very important mod files, where we can later drop files into. Once you’re at the loading screen, we’re ready to install some mods!
To get your server running, head to the directory where you installed the Server files to in the previous step. Run the minecraft_server.jar file once, you’ll notice nothing will actually happen. Instead, some files will be generated. This includes the EULA.txt file, which you will need to open. Edit the line so that it says ‘eula=true’, save and exit. Run the same file again, and the server will start to run.
Installing Minecraft Mods
Now this is the exciting part, creating your own Minecraft setup and installing practically any mod you want!
Find the Forge Mods Folder
Firstly, we need to navigate to your ‘mods’ folder, which is where we will drop any files. This folder can be located in your default Minecraft directory, and there’s two ways to get there.
- Open up Minecraft with the Forge version loaded. On the home screen, you should see a ‘Mods’ button, located just under the Multiplayer button. Choose this, then press the ‘Open Mods Folder’ button located in the lower left hand corner.
- Alternatively, you can head to the folder manually. Open up your Start Menu and type %AppData% and hit ENTER. This should bring you to the Roaming folder, inside of AppData. Open the .minecraft folder, then the mods folder. The overall directory is: C:\Users\YOU\AppData\Roaming.
Installing Your First Mod
So now we are in the mods folder, we can start downloading mods. One of the best places to obtain mods would be CurseForge, where there are tens of thousands available. There are other sites too, but CurseForge tends to be the most reliable. Find your own mods, or keep following along if you’re a beginner.
Let’s install the Iron Chests mod, it’s one of my favorites and is incredibly useful in any playthrough. It allows you to create chests from Minecrafts base metals such as Iron, Gold and Diamond which offer more storage space. Open the Iron Chests mod page, some mods will typically have a 1.12.2 download link on the right hand side under ‘Recent Files’, but Iron Chests doesn’t.
Therefor, press the ‘Files’ button located near the top of the mod information. Scroll down a little until you start to see a load of different versions, look for the first option which is compatible with Minecraft 1.12.2, found in the Game Version column. Press the Download button on the right, indicated by a down pointing arrow. Struggling a little? Take this direct download for Iron Chests 1.12.2.
After a few seconds, the Iron Chests .JAR file will begin to download. Unlike previously, we don’t want to open it. Instead, move the JAR file into the mods folder that we opened in the previous step. If you are running a modded server, it also needs to be placed inside the mods folder in the server files. With the mod placed, restart Minecraft and/or your Minecraft server. Open the mods menu again on the home screen, and you should see it in the installed mods list.
Testing Iron Chests
That’s it, Forge and mods are installed! You can go ahead and test the mod. Simply start up a new game in Creative mode so we can see if any new blocks have been added.
You might notice a difference straight away. Due to there not being enough tabs in the creative screen, some arrows have been added above the interface where you switch through different screens. You might have to do this to have access to the Iron Chests, as shown on the screenshot above. You can go ahead and place these new items, interact with them or head into a survival mode and craft them normally!
All you have to do from now is install more mods from CurseForge, and drag them into the mods folder. Each mod will usually have a detailed description showing recipes and instructions on how to use it.
Here are a few things you should note about playing modded Minecraft, whether it be single player or multiplayer.
- To play mods, you need to have the correct mod version that matches your Minecraft version. Installing 1.14.4 mods won’t work with Minecraft 1.12.2, and can cause crashes.
- When running a modded server, mod files need to be installed into both the servers mods folder, as well as Minecraft’s mod folder. If a player doesn’t have the same files in their clients mod folder as the servers mods folder, they won’t be able to connect. If you connect to a server with mods installed that the server doesn’t have, then those mods won’t work. Likewise, heading into major multiplayer servers with Forge mods won’t work, and can result in bans.
- You should install mods when the server/Minecraft isn’t running. Any mods that are installed won’t work until either Minecraft or the server have been restarted.
- Some mods won’t work without ‘core’ files. It’s often indicated in the mods description whether these are necessary, and Minecraft will alert you to any missing dependencies.