Choosing an Implementation

Something that runs Sponge plugins is called an implementation. As long as a plugin is correctly made using the SpongeAPI, it should run correctly on any sufficiently-complete implementation.

Minecraft can’t run Sponge plugins out of the box, but you can modify it to do so.

The Sponge API itself is an open standard.

Available Implementations

There are currently two implementations:

Name Based on
SpongeForge Mojang’s “vanilla” Minecraft: Java Edition and Minecraft Forge
SpongeVanilla Mojang’s “vanilla” Minecraft: Java Edition

Which do I choose?

If you want to run MinecraftForge mods or you prefer to use Sponge in singleplayer, then choose SpongeForge.

If you only want to run a Mincraft server with plugins on it (but no mods), then you can choose SpongeForge or SpongeVanilla. SpongeForge supports vanilla clients, as long as you don’t install Forge mods which require clientside mods. If you prefer to run a server without Forge, then SpongeVanilla is your preferred option.

SpongeVanilla and SpongeForge (without mods) behave the same, so the decision between the two is a matter of preference, not a choice of functionality or features.