Skip to main content

Forge Manual Modpack Installation

Some Mod Packs don't provide server files that are compatible with our automatic installation for a number of reasons, or you might want to upload a Custom Modpack that isn't posted on CurseForge. In either case, you can manually install the entire modpack or the parts that the installer can't handle by following the steps below.

Getting Started

If you've used the automatic installer for a modpack hosted on CurseForge and your server is not starting, please follow the troubleshooting steps below.

  1. Check for the Forge Server Jar in your File Manager.
    1. If it isn't there, follow the steps in our section about Mod Packs that don't ship with Forge.
  2. Check that the value of the Server Jar File section in your Startup Parameters page matches the name of the Forge Server Jar.
    1. If it doesn't, then update the value to match.
  3. Make sure that the Forge Jar is not the installer file.
    1. The Forge Installer is suffixed with -installer and can not be run on our servers.
    2. If the jar file is the Forge Installer, please follow the steps in our section about modpacks that don't ship with Forge.

If you're wanting to install a custom modpack that isn't posted on CurseForge then check out the section on Installing your Custom Modpack.

Installing a CurseForge Pack

If the pack you want to install is hosted on CurseForge and our modpack installer isn't working as shown on the Modpack Installation and Common Issues page, then you'll need to manually download the files and upload them to your server.

Download the Server Files

Most CurseForge packs will publish server files with each release. You'll find them in the Additional Files pane when you select the version of the pack you need in the Files tab. That'll be consistent between every pack, but there will be some releases that don't need a server pack or vice versa, so check the change logs if you don't see one.

Once you've located the server pack download, just click on the orange download icon to the right and wait for it to download. They can be a bit large as it includes the mods themselves instead of a manifest.

The server pack file on the CurseForge page for the Modpack R.A.D.Loading...

Upload Compressed File to Server

Once you've downloaded the server files for your pack, you can upload them to your server over SFTP. You can use our tutorial on Using SFTP to upload the file. After uploading use the Game Panel to decompress the files as on our control panel page.

Verify your Forge Installation

As a final step, you need to check if the pack comes with Forge installed, if it doesn't then you can use the following steps in this article to install it manually or through our panel.

If the pack does come with Forge, you'll need to update your startup parameters with the name of the Forge Server Jar using the Game Panel. You can see how to do that on our Startup Parameters page.

Modpacks that don't ship with Forge

Some Mod Packs don't ship with Forge and instead opt for some form of post-download installation. There are a nearly endless variety of installation methods that a CurseForge modpack can ship with, but most of them aren't supported by WinterNode for security reasons related to executing scripts.
If you've installed a modpack that doesn't ship with Forge, you'll need to install it yourself. We'll go over a few methods for installing Forge. Luckily they're all fairly simple.

What Version of Forge do I need?


Forge has two different important "values" for it's version. The most obvious one is the Version of Minecraft that it's made for, and the second one is the specific build number for Forge. It's important to make sure that you're downloading the exact version that the pack is built for. Some mods may have issues with updating to newer Forge versions and almost all Forge mods will not work on different Minecraft versions.


CurseForge normally does this work for you when downloading the client version of the pack, but it's left up to the pack developer to do have the correct Forge version in the Server Files.

The most universal way to locate the exact version you need is to download the Client files located on the CurseForge page. This can be done by navigating to the Files tab on the Modpacks CurseForge page, clicking on name of the file for the version of the pack you need (generally the latest one labeled Main File), then selecting the Download button on the right side of the File Details pane. The locations of these buttons are shown in the images to the right.

The CurseForge files tab for the Heavens of Sorcery ModpackLoading... The main file on the CurseForge page for the Heavens of Sorcery ModpackLoading... The download button on a CurseForge File entry for the Heavens of Sorcery ModpackLoading...

CurseForge will now download a zip file that contains the information that is needed to download the required mods and Mod Loader. You'll want to extract the zip file and open the manifest.json file with a text editor like Notepad.

The first section of the file will look like the example on the right and defines the Minecraft Version and Forge Version needed to run the pack. We specifically need the value stored in the id parameter. That's the Forge Version you need to install on your server. In my case it's forge-

"minecraft": {
"version": "1.12.2",
"modLoaders": [
"id": "forge-",
"primary": true

Custom Pack

If you've built a custom pack through the CurseForge app or on a 3rd party launcher like MultiMC, you'll need to use the applications Profile Settings to find what version of Forge you need on the server. In both cases you would have needed to define these when you first created the profile.

  • If you created the pack with the CurseForge app, then you can use the method for CurseForge after exporting the pack as you normally would to share it with other players.
  • If you used MultiMC to create your pack, you'll want to look in the Version section of the instance settings.

Using "Install Different Edition"

You can use the Install Different Edition section on the Game Panel to install the version of Forge that you need for your modpack.

Once you have the version of Forge you need to install, you need to navigate to the Configuration > Advanced section of your server on the Game Panel. Once there, you'll see a panel named Install a Different Edition that looks similar to the image on the right.

The install different edition modal under the Configuration, Advanced tabLoading...

After using the Edition dropdown to select Forge you'll see the versions of Forge currently available for download. You'll want to navigate to the Game Version that you need and select it.


The Edition Installer only supports the latest Forge Version for specific Minecraft Versions. You need to check if your pack is using the latest Version of Forge that's listed on their website for that Minecraft Version. Just compare the version that you're looking for to the Version listed in the Download Latest pane after selecting the Minecraft Version you need on the left side of the page.
The version number of the latest 1.12.2 Forge releaseLoading...

Manual Upload

In the case that you need a version of Forge that is not the latest for that Minecraft Version or if the Install a Different edition option isn't working for some other reason, you can manually download, install, and upload the required files for Forge.

Download the Installer

To start you need to download the version of Forge you need from their website. Use the Minecraft Version panel on the left side of the website to select the Minecraft Version you need. Once you've navigated to that page you'll see two panes listing the Recommended and Latest Forge versions for your selected Minecraft Version.

The version list on the Forge WebsiteLoading...

Compare the version number you got from the What Version of Forge do I need? section to the numbers shown below the two release panes. If neither of them match, you'll want to click on the Show all Versions button below the All Versions header.

The version numbers for the recommended and latest releases on the Forge WebsiteLoading...

The available Versions are sorted by release date and are named in sequential order. So to find the version you need look at the last 4 digits and travel down the list until you find the ones that match.
Using the Version Number as an example, the last 4 digits are 2839 so I'll travel down the list while making sure that I don't pass the version I need by watching for numbers less than 2839.

The version number for a specific Forge releaseLoading...

Once you've located the version you need, click on the Installer section of the Downloads column. This will open an link that will display an advertisement to support the Forge Developers.

The download options for a specific Forge releaseLoading...


Do not click on any download buttons contained within the bottom half of the page.

After 6 seconds a Skip button will appear in the top right side of the page. After clicking Skip a file will start downloading with the following naming convention

forge-<Minecraft-Version>-<Forge-Version>-installer.jar So using the Forge Version I selected for download as an example, my Installer File hve this name forge-1.12.2-


Make sure that the last part of your file name is Installer. The other download types either serve different purposes or have a different installation process.

Run the Installer

Once you have the Installer downloaded you'll need to run it on a PC that's connected to the internet.
Open the installer with Java and select the Install Server option then change the target directory using the highlighted box.
The installer can safely run in any directory, but it's a good idea to install it to an empty directory. Just make sure that you know where the directory is so that we can access it later.

The Forge Installer popup with the Install Server option selectedLoading...

After selecting the directory, click ok to start the installation. You should see a new window open that looks similar to the one depicted on the right.
If the installation worked then you'll see the message below. The Forge Installer notifying you that the Server files were successfully installedLoading...

The Forge Installer in the process of installing the Forge ServerLoading...


If you don't see this window then something has gone wrong. You can ask a WinterNode staff for support through our Discord or head over to the Forge Discord.

Upload Forge to your Server

After running the installer you should have the files shown on the right. In order to upload them to your server you'll need to compress all 3 files libraries, forge-<GameVersion>-<ForgeVersion>.jar, and minecraft_server.<GameVersion>.jar. All 3 of them are essential to Forge functioning, so be sure to include all of them.

The files needed to run a Forge serverLoading...

Change the Startup Jar

The panel needs to know the name of your server jar in order to start, so after uploading the Forge Server Files you'll need to update the name of the jar in the Startup Parameters tab.


If you don't know where to locate your startup parameters tab, check out our page on Startup Parameters!

Java Version

The version of Java that you're using to start the server can cause either Minecraft, Forge, or one of your mods to refuse to start. This can present itself in a number of ways, but if you're having issues getting your Forge server to start, make sure that you're running the recommended Java version for your installation by checking out our page about Java Version Selection.


If you're running Minecraft 1.12-1.16 and your mods are throwing weirdly obscure errors, try changing your Java version to 1.8. A lot of mods were designed to run on that version prior to Mojang making the move to newer versions in 1.15, and if they used methods that were deprecated in newer versions of Java then they can run into problems.

Installing your Custom Modpack

If you've created your own Modpack with Forge you'll need to install Forge using one of the methods already mentioned. However, there are a few notable errors that can happen when creating the server files for a custom pack. You'll find a list of some of them and possible solutions to each of them below.


If you're having an issue that isn't covered here, don't be afraid to ask for help in our Community Support channel in our Discord!

Non-Mod Files

As a general rule, you should only have mods in your mod folder. Even if a file isn't properly declared as a mod, Forge will still add it to the game on startup. This is rarely necessary and depending on what the file is, may cause issues that crop up later for no discernible reason.

While the server won't necessarily crash at any point, you'll still want to remove the extra files from the mods folder and looking for any should be somewhere in your troubleshooting process. Luckily, Forge notifies you during startup when it locates a non-mod file and even names it for you! So if you're having weird issues with your pack, or you're starting to build your server files, look through your startup logs for the error shown below and remove any files that are mentioned.

[Server thread/INFO] [FML]: FML has found a non-mod file <MODFILE> in your mods directory. It will now be injected into your classpath. This could severe stability issues, it should be removed if possible.

Client Side Only Mods

Some mods are only needed on the client, and within that group of mods, some of them will crash the server when it's installed. It's 100% ok to use these mods, and you can definitely still have them in your pack, but you need to remove the mod on the server for things to work correctly.
Having a Client Side Only Mod on your server can present itself in a few ways, but most commonly it'll crash the server when it tries to access some code that only exists on the Client. This is the first step option you should check for when you server isn't launching after adding new mods or when doing your first launch of a custom pack.
When the server crashes because of a Client Side Only Mod you'll get a message stating what code it tried to load and which vaguely mod it was. For example, the error below was generated by including the Falling Leaves mod in the server's mod folder.

[main/FATAL] []: Attempted to load class de/cheaterpaul/fallingleaves/mixin/ParticleManagerMixin for invalid dist DEDICATED_SERVER

The important part of that error is for invalid dist DEDICATED_SERVER which shows that the requested class doesn't exist in the server environment.
Figuring out which mod is causing the error is a bit harder. The first half of the error will contain the Class Path, and by the standard mod developers use to format their code, that Class Path is unique to each mod. Most of the time Mod Developers will include the name of the mod within the Class Path, in this case the path is de/cheaterpaul/fallingleaves/mixin/ParticleManagerMixin which tells us that the creator of the mod owns the domain and that the likely name of the mod is fallingleaves.
There are cases in which that name won't be related to the mod, or at least not obvious as to what the mod is. In that case you'll need to go through your mods and check which mod is only needed on the client. It's a good idea to remove any mod that isn't needed on the server, so don't worry if you find multiple Client Side Only mods, just remove them all.

Missing Dependencies

A lot of Forge mods require other mods to be installed known as dependencies. These can be Libraries, or Libs, that help the developer use a unified code set, or other mods that the mod wants to interact with such as a mod adding new features to Biomes O' Plenty. Forge will crash when you forget to add a dependency and notify you of the mod requesting it with the name and version of the dependency tat is missing.
For example, I have Tinkers Construct version on a 1.12.2 server wich requires the mod Mantle version

[Server thread/FATAL] [FML]: net.minecraftforge.fml.common.MissingModsException: Mod tconstruct (Tinkers' Construct) requires [mantle@[1.12-,)]

The specific version of the dependency mod is just as important as the Version of Forge you're running and you should download the version requested. If you already have the dependency mod installed, double check the version number and download the correct one if they don't match.


If it looks like the version does match and you're still getting this error, check out our Community Support channel in our Discord and send the startup logs!

Reach Out!

Have Questions? Need Help? Feel free to reach out!

Join our Discord