Installing Minecraft Mods in Java Edition

12 minute read


  1. Tested in Linux Ubuntu 20.04 and 22.04 in July 2024, for my kids.
  2. Even though these instructions are tailored for Linux Ubuntu, the concepts are the same for Windows and Mac.
  3. I updated the instructions for later versions of the Dragon Survival mod and Forge, so the screenshots may no longer match the text and commands exactly.

Option 1: The manual method

Quick summary

  1. Download a mod. Ex: from:
  2. Download, install, and configure the correct version of the Forge mod loader for this mod, if you don’t already have it installed.
  3. Install the mod by copying it into the Forge mods folder at this path, for instance: ~/.minecraft/versions/1.20.1-forge-47.3.5/mods/.
  4. Launch the game using the Forge version you just installed, ensure the mod is active, and start a new game to see the mod in action.


1. Download a mod

  1. Find a mod you want, such as “Dragon Survival [Forge]” on, here:

  2. Click the “Download” button, as shown below:

  3. Click the “All Game Versions” dropdown menu and select the version of Minecraft you want to install the mod into. If not sure, just choose the latest version available, which is 1.20.1 for this mod at the time of this writing.
  4. Click the “All Mod Loaders” dropdown menu and select “Forge”. Then, click “Download File”, as shown below:

  5. Save the DragonSurvival-1.20.1-27.06.2024-all.jar Java .jar mod file into the location of your choosing. I like to save mods into a directory at this path, where ~ means your home directory:

     # (same thing)

2. Download, install, and configure the correct version of the Forge mod loader for this mod

This section shows you how to install and configure a new version of the Forge mod loader into Minecraft. If you already have the required version of Forge you need for your new mod, skip ahead to the next section: installing the Java mod file you downloaded above.

  1. Download the version of Minecraft Forge that corresponds to your mod version you downloaded above. In my case, I need Minecraft Forge 1.20.1.

    Go here: –> click 1.20.1 in the left-hand pane –> under “Download Latest”, click “Installer”, as shown below.

    Note: I generally like to use the “Download Latest” version. If I have any problems with it, however, then I will try the “Download Recommended” version instead.

    On the next page, click “SKIP” to skip the advertisement page and begin the download:

    Save the forge-1.20.1-47.3.5-installer.jar into a directory of your choosing, such as:

  2. Install the .jar Java Forge file you downloaded above.
    1. Open your file explorer. I prefer Nemo (my installation instructions are here).
    2. Right-click in some empty space in the same directory as the file, and click “Open in Terminal”:

    3. In the terminal that opens up, run the following commands:

       # Make the Java installation file executable
       chmod +x forge-1.20.1-47.3.5-installer.jar

      Now, run the file by:

      1. Option 1 [recommended/easiest]: double-clicking it in your file explorer.
      2. Option 2: running it in the terminal:
         # Run the Java installation file for the Forge mod loader
         java -jar forge-1.20.1-47.3.5-installer.jar

      Expert tips and notes:

      1. Lines that begin with # above are Bash terminal comments, and do not need to be run.
      2. Once you begin typing a command or path, you can hit Tab to auto-complete what you are typing. Example: after typing ./for you can press Tab to auto-complete ./forge-1.20.1-47.3.5-installer.jar.
      3. You can also just copy-paste the commands above.
        1. To paste in a terminal, either right-click and go to Paste, or press Ctrl + Shift + V.
      4. Instead of running the ./forge-1.20.1-47.3.5-installer.jar command to run the Java JAR file, you can also just double-click it in your file explorer once you have marked it as “exectuable” (able to be run) with chmod +x forge-1.20.1-47.3.5-installer.jar.
      5. If you get this error (which I am seeing on Ubuntu 22.04 but not on Ubuntu 20.04) when trying to run the file via ./forge-1.20.1-47.3.5-installer.jar:
         bash: ./forge-1.20.1-47.3.5-installer.jar: cannot execute binary file: Exec format error

        …then you can run it via java -jar forge-1.20.1-47.3.5-installer.jar instead. I mention this in my answer here.

        Or, even easier: just run it by double-clicking it in your file explorer!

    4. Once you run the forge-1.20.1-47.3.5-installer.jar file you will see a GUI installer as shown below.

      Click “Install client” –> “OK”, and let it install this version of Forge:

      When complete, you’ll see something like this. Click “OK”:

      This adds the following Forge folder to your computer:


      We will need this folder in a future step.

  3. Open the Minecraft Launcher and configure it to use the Forge version you just installed:
    1. Open the Minecraft Launcher –> click “Installations” in the top menu –> hover over the new “forge” “1.20.1-forge-47.3.5” entry –> click the 3 dots at the right –> “Edit”, as shown below:

    2. (Optional, but recommended) Change the “Name” from “forge” to “forge 1.20.1”.
    3. In the “Game Directory” path, add this path by either manually typing it or by clicking the “Browse” button and browsing to it:

      If you just upgraded your Forge subversion, ex: from 1.20.1-forge-47.2.30 to 1.20.1-forge-47.3.5, then be sure to update this path to the new version number.

    4. You’ll now see this:

    5. Click “Save” when done.

3. Install the mod

  1. “Install” the Java mod file you downloaded above by copying it into the Forge mods folder (at ~/.minecraft/versions/1.20.1-forge-47.3.5/mods/ in my case).
    1. In my case, the Java .jar mod file is called DragonSurvival-1.20.1-27.06.2024-all.jar, and I previously saved it into directory ~/Downloads/Install_Files/Minecraft/mods.

    2. “Install this mod” now by copying it into the Forge mods folder you just created in the previous step by installing that version of Forge.

    3. Technique 1: using the command-line:

      In a terminal, run the following commands:

       # Make the mods directory if it doesn't already exist
       mkdir -p ~/.minecraft/versions/1.20.1-forge-47.3.5/mods/
       # Copy the mod file into that mods directory
       cp ~/Downloads/Install_Files/Minecraft/mods/DragonSurvival-1.20.1-27.06.2024-all.jar ~/.minecraft/versions/1.20.1-forge-47.3.5/mods/
    4. Or Technique 2: using your GUI file manager:

      1. In your file manager, ensure that you have hidden files turned on:

        In Nautilus, the default file manager with Ubuntu, click the 3-horizontal-bar icon in the top-right –> check the box for “Show Hidden Files”.

        In Nemo, my preferred file manager, click View –> Show Hidden Files.

      2. Manually create this new folder if it doesn’t already exist: ~/.minecraft/versions/1.20.1-forge-47.3.5/mods/.
      3. Now copy the ~/Downloads/Install_Files/Minecraft/mods/DragonSurvival-1.20.1-27.06.2024-all.jar file into that directory.
  2. If following these instructions for the Dragon Survival mod, then you must also install the Gecko library mod. Get it here: Install it the same as you just installed the other mod above by saving or copying the geckolib-forge-1.20.1-4.4.7.jar mod file (or similar version number) into your ~/.minecraft/versions/1.20.1-forge-47.3.5/mods/ (or similar) directory.

4. Launch the game using the correct version of Forge you just manually installed, and ensure the mod is active

  1. Back at the main Minecraft Launcher, click “Play” at the top –> select the “forge 1.20.1” version via the selection menu at the bottom left –> click “Play” at the bottom, as shown here:

  2. You’ll now see a warning pop up. Check the “I understand the risks” box and click “Play”:

    As the game loads, you’ll see this:

5. Possible launch failures or errors you may encounter

If Minecraft successfully loads, skip this section and go to the next section.

  1. If it fails to load, and you get this error (as I got with Forge 1.20.1-forge-47.2.30 and mod DragonSurvival-1.20.1-09.01.2024.jar):


    Game Crashed

    The game crashed whilst initializing game
    Error: org.spongepowered.asm.mixin.transformer.throwables.MixinTransformerError: An unexpected critical error was encountered

    Exit Code: 255

    …then the problem is a bad mod and/or an outdated version of Forge.


    1. Install a different version of Forge: ex: the “Recommended” version instead of the “Latest” version, or vice versa, or the absolute latest version now if a newer version has been released since you last tried. Ex: I upgraded from the “latest” version of 1.20.1-forge-47.2.30 to the “latest” version of 1.20.1-forge-47.3.5 at a later date.
    2. Install a different version of the mod. Ex: I upgraded from DragonSurvival-1.20.1-09.01.2024.jar to DragonSurvival-1.20.1-27.06.2024-all.jar, which became available at a later date when I tried again.

    How do just “uninstall” the failing mod, instead:

    If you remove the mod you just added and try again then Forge will at least launch.

    To remove the mod, do one of these three options:

    1. Option 1 [my preference]: run this command in your terminal to move the bad mod file from the mods directory to a mods/disabled directory:
       cd ~/.minecraft/versions/1.20.1-forge-47.2.30/mods
       mkdir -p disabled
       mv DragonSurvival-1.20.1-09.01.2024.jar disabled/ 
    2. Option 2: simply delete the mod file from the mods directory you copied it into earlier. Manually use your file manager to delete the file at ~/.minecraft/versions/1.20.1-forge-47.2.30/mods/DragonSurvival-1.20.1-09.01.2024.jar.
    3. Option 3: delete the mod file by running this command in your terminal:
       rm ~/.minecraft/versions/1.20.1-forge-47.2.30/mods/DragonSurvival-1.20.1-09.01.2024.jar

    Then, try launching the game again. It will load just fine now. But, the mod we wanted will be missing, which defeats the whole purpose of this exercise, so see the “Solution” steps just above to try again with a different version of the mod and/or Forge, instead.

  2. With Forge 1.20.1-forge-47.3.5 and mod DragonSurvival-1.20.1-27.06.2024-all.jar, I got this error:

    Error loading mods
    1 error has occurred during loading

    Mod dragonsurvival requires geckolib 4.2 or above
    Currently, geckolib is not installed


    I did a Google search for “install geckolib” and found it here: It turns out it’s just another Minecraft mod that needs to be installed! So, download it for “game version” 1.20.1, and “mod loader” “Forge”, and install it just like you did the other mod, simply copy-pasting it into the mods directory for the Forge version you are using. For me, I copied the file into here: ~/.minecraft/versions/1.20.1-forge-47.3.5/mods/geckolib-forge-1.20.1-4.4.7.jar. Now the DragonSurvival mod works and the game loads!

6. Verify that the mod is loaded, and start a new game to see the mod in action

  1. Once Forge loads, you’ll see this:

  2. Click “Continue”. You’ll now see this. Notice that it says “5 mods loaded” in the bottom-left:

  3. Click the “Mods” button. You’ll see a page with all of the installed mods listed in the left-hand column, and a description of any mod you click on in the center window. Here, you can see that the “mods” we have installed are:

     Minecraft 1.20.1
     MixinExtras 0.3.6
     Forge 47.3.5
     Dragon Survival 1.5.57
     GeckoLib 4 4.4.7

    The first 3 are brought in by Forge, and the last 2 are the mods we installed manually:

    Click “Done”.

  4. Back at the main window, click “Singleplayer” or “Multiplayer” to begin your game with those mods loaded.

7. Done!

Enjoy your mods!

8. For the Dragon Survival mod specifically

  1. In my case, for the Dragon Survival mod, I clicked “Singleplayer” –> “Create New World” –> choose your desired settings, then “Create New World”.

    Right after the world loads, you’ll see the default human view in Minecraft. About 5 seconds later, this view to “Choose a Dragon Species” automatically opens up:

    Click to choose your dragon, then this screen opens up to customize your dragon:

    Once you save your settings, you’ll be back at the main play screen. Press F5 to change your view. Here is my dragon!:

    To fly, press Space to jump, and then press G to activate flight mode. Hold Space to go up, and Shift to go down. Press W to go forward, A to go left, S to go back, and D to go right.

    For more info. on this particular mod, see the wiki for it on GitHub:


Option 2 (recommended, and much easier): using the CurseForce app


See CurseForge app:

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