How to Install Minecraft Forge

Many of the best Minecraft mods depend on this flexible framework

Minecraft is great on its own, but installing community-built Minecraft mods opens up brand new ways to play, and some of the best ones are built on Minecraft Forge. Mods are literally user-created modifications for Minecraft that add new content, make it run better and look better, make your life easier in-game, and more. You need Forge first, so we'll show you how to install Minecraft Forge, and then provide some tips on what to do once you have it.

What is Minecraft Forge?

Minecraft Forge is a free application program interface (API) and mod loader for Minecraft: Java Edition. Mod developers within the Minecraft community use the API to simplify the creation of their mods, then players use Forge to automatically load compatible mods.

In less technical terms, Minecraft Forge is a thing you can download that makes it extremely easy to install compatible Minecraft mods. If a mod supports Forge, then you can install that mod by literally dragging and dropping the files if you have Forge installed.

Minecraft Forge installed on a laptop.
michal-rojek / iStock / Getty

When you download and install Minecraft Forge, Minecraft: Java Edition provides you with the option to play the vanilla edition or your Forge-modded edition every time you play. Choosing Forge causes Minecraft Forge to automatically load all of your mods, while choosing the vanilla version allows you to play without any mods.

Due to the way you can choose to load Forge or vanilla Minecraft, you never have to worry about Forge or an individual mod breaking your game. If something weird happens, you can always just play the vanilla version of Minecraft until a patch arrives for Forge, the offending mod, or Minecraft itself.

Major Minecraft updates often cause bugs with Forge and individual mods. When that happens, you can choose to run the vanilla version until additional patches arrive, or try removing all your mods and adding them back in one at a time to see which one is causing trouble.

How to Install Minecraft Forge

The process of downloading and installing Minecraft Forge is very straightforward. You first need to download the installer from the official Forge website, run the installer with the correct options selected, then launch Minecraft. Once you've done that, you'll be able to install and run any Forge-compatible mod you like.

To install Minecraft Forge, follow each of these steps in order:

  1. Navigate to the official Forge website.

    The Forge download site.
  2. Select Windows installer if you have Windows or click Installer if you have a Mac or Linux computer.

    Forge download options.

    If you don't have any specific mods in mind, download the recommended version. Some older mods will only work with older versions of Forge, in which case you need to select show all versions, then locate the compatible version.

  3. The next screen will show an advertisement. Wait for the ad timer to run down, then select Skip in the upper right corner. Don't click anything else on the page.

    A screenshot of the Forge download process.

    If you have an ad blocker, or your browser blocks ads natively, you will see a blank screen. Do not click anything. Just wait, and the next page will load.

  4. Wait for Forge to download, then open the file you downloaded. With the installer open, select Install Client, then select OK.

    A screenshot of the Forge installer.
  5. Launch your Minecraft client, and select the up arrow next to the Play button to open the profiles menu.

    A screenshot of the Minecraft java client.

    Forge only works with Minecraft: Java Edition. If you're using Windows 10, make sure you have Minecraft: Java Edition installed and not the version of Minecraft sold in the Microsoft Store.

  6. Select the profile called Forge, then select Play.

    A screenshot of the Minecraft: Java Edition profiles selection menu.
  7. Wait for the game to fully load, then exit Minecraft.

Loading and exiting Minecraft with the Forge profile selected completes the installation of Forge. Once you've finished this process, you're ready to start installing Forge-dependent Minecraft mods.

What Can You Do With Minecraft Forge?

As a player, Minecraft Forge is an automated mod loader. It checks for compatible mods, then loads them up each time you play, as long as you choose Forge from the Minecraft: Java Edition profile menu. You can run as many mods as you want, although running too many can cause performance issues, and some mods don't work well with others.

Mods can improve or alter the graphics of your game, introduce new game modes and mechanics, improve inventory and crafting systems, and more. There's even a mod to add the same type of virtual reality functionality to Minecraft: Java Edition that Minecraft for Windows 10 has right out of the box.

The best part is that since Forge is an automated loader, all you have to do is download the mod you want, place it into your Minecraft folder, and launch Minecraft. As long as you have the Forge profile selected, your mod will load with no additional configuration or work required on your part.