Minecraft is a fantastic game for the modding community. It’s easy and accessible to create your own mods, AND it’s easy to install ’em! There are tons, of great mods out there. Some of these mods add dungeons and dragons, some add hundreds of new food recipes, and others add atomic reconstructors and nuclear reactors.
However, there’s a whole other world of Minecraft mods out there that are on the much more “lowkey” scale of things. Some of these mods are intended to be installed on your client to help you by providing information about the game, or making certain actions easier for you. These are what we call client-side mods.
Why Install Client-Side Mods?
So, if there are so many much cooler mods out there, why bother with stuff that only changes your client? Well, ultimately, your client is the portal through which you’re experiencing your Minecraft game! As mentioned before, they can create a tailor-made experience in Minecraft, just for you.
This means that you can have a set of mods that show your coordinates and FPS constantly in the corner of the screen (for better quality of gameplay!), or your keystrokes (in case you’re recording a video or stream!), or even shaders and visual enhancers (to take those incredible screenshots of your newest builds).. Or even all of them!
If you already know how to install Minecraft mods, feel free to skip right on ahead. However, for those who are new to mods, here’s the quick and dirty on how to get these additions into your game.
There are quite a few methods to load mods, but in the interest of this article, we’ll be talking about Forge Modloader, one of the oldest, biggest and most well-known mod loaders out there. To install Forge, you can either visit their official site, select a version you’d like to download, and follow the instructions from then on, taking care to choose to install the client and NOT the server.
However, we highly recommend using Twitch, and following the instructions on our Top 10 Minecraft Modpacks in 2020 article. This means installing the Twitch client, navigating to the Mods tab and installing the Minecraft option. This is because Twitch can automatically help you set up any Forge version you need, creating profiles and doing all the hard work for you. Plus, some of the following recommended mods, such as Xaero’s Minimap, may already be on Twitch and can be installed with one click of a button to your desired profile.
Regardless, after installing Forge via any method you prefer, all you’ll need to do in order to install any mod you want is to navigate to the folder where you’ve (or Twitch) installed your Forge Profile.
If you’re using Twitch, the folder can be found by navigating to Settings and finding the directory under the Minecraft tab.
From there, navigate to the mods folder. Then, just download any mod you want and drag the .jar file into the mods folder, and load up (or restart) Minecraft! Your mod should be loaded, assuming you’ve installed all (if any) dependencies.
Most games come with a minimap HUD in the corner of the screen that shows the miniature area around the player — it’s just so convenient to be able to see the game world, and information about it, around you in a little corner of your screen. There’s no reason why Minecraft should be any different, and it certainly isn’t, with the help of some Minecraft mods.
There are a ton of minimap mods out there, each with their own unique features and highlights. We recommend using Xaero’s Minimap, a lightweight mod available on Curseforge and Twitch. Xaero offers tons of options and features, such as a world map, infinite waypoints, chunk grids, slime chunk display, automatic death points, entities, coordinates and biome displays. That’s a ton of features in just one mod!
However, what might come as most helpful for players who are involved in multiplayer communities is a toggle between fair-play and full version for playing in communities. This means you can safely use Xaero’s on most multiplayer servers and communities, even PvP-oriented ones.
To use Xaero’s, either install it via a button press on Twitch, or drag the required files into your mods folder and restart your game. Once launched, check the controls for all the hotkeys you’ll need to use the mod to its full potential. Some buttons include ‘M’ for the fullscreen map, “J” to add waypoints and “-” or “=” to zoom out and in of the minimap respectively.
Other good minimap options include , which offers version installations on mod loaders such as Fabric, Liteloader and Rift.
Whether you’re debugging your system, trying to see how well your computer’s handling your new 100-mod modpack, or just flexing your new setup, there’s tons of times when you need to look at your FPS while you’re playing Minecraft. That’s when FPS counters come in handy.
While you can always check your FPS through the nifty F3 debug menu, that also brings up a ton of other information that takes up more than half the screen in a very intrusive manner. As such, it’s useful to have an FPS counter ticking away in the top corner of the screen permanently, so you can check in on your system whenever you want.
The 5ZIG mod adds this and more, although we’ll be going over 5ZIG in a little more detail later in the article.
Trying to get your Twitch stream off the ground? Recording a Youtube video on some nifty parkour tricks? Accused wrongly of illegal third party clients and need to prove your innocence? There are tons of situations where the Keystrokes mod comes in handy. For those who are unfamiliar, the Keystrokes mod displays which buttons you’re pressing, live on the screen. This is especially popular among Twitch streamers and Youtubers for future playback.
When installing this mod, all you have to do is drag the required files into your mods folder and restart your game. After this, the HUD for all your keystrokes should appear on the screen.
While the brightness (or gamma) of the game is an option you can change in the game’s settings and configuration .ini files, it’s always nice to be able to toggle the blinding brightness for when you want to switch between atmospheric gameplay and being able to see clearly. Installing a mod that adds a toggle to your brightness, so you can switch easily between the two options, is then vital. Tons of mods do that, but perhaps the most lightweight and straightforward one is the Fullbright mod.
Installing and using this mod is simple; just drag the required files into your mods folder and restart the game. Then, use the designated hotkey (G by default) to toggle your brightness on and off.
We’d certainly be remiss if we didn’t mention Optifine in an article about the best client side mods. Perhaps one of the most-used mods in the history of Minecraft.
Optifine is a fantastic little mod that’s not only lightweight on your system, but actually lightens the load that Minecraft puts on your device and does wonders for the optimization of Minecraft. For those that are less tech-savvy, this means that Optifine makes your Minecraft load and run tons faster, and gives your FPS a big boost. On their homepage, they claim that it can even often double your FPS.
It also adds tons of graphic and performance options, such as configurable smooth lighting, variable render distance, mip maps, fog control, antialiasing, connected / natural textures, better grass, better snow, clear water, randomized mob skins, and options for just about every asset in the game, from the sky and stars to swamp water. If all that wasn’t enough, it also adds the possibility for Dynamic Lights (dropped and held items emit light), HD textures (for when you really want to treat yourself and/or start a campfire with your PC) and Shaders!
Do note, however, that the latter two features need to be installed separately — Optifine only adds support for them. Check out one of our Best Texture Packs articles, or our Best Shaders articles (coming soon!) for more information on how to get them installed.
Overall, we really recommend using Optifine no matter what kind of gameplay you enjoy, whether you’re a hardcore warrior who could benefit from the FPS boost to get more clicks in, or a builder who’d love to paint their creations in a new light. You can download Optifine from their official website. To install it, just download your desired version and double-click the installer to install it automatically to any existing, or a new, profile.
Lots of other games have display HUDs for when the player’s armor gets damaged or is broken. And again, with some mod installations, there’s no reason Minecraft needs to be any different. For seasoned warriors, the time it takes to check whether your armor is broken can be the matter of life and death in the heat of battle. And for the casual player, noticing your armor is about to break could prove costly in the form of the extra diamonds it’ll cost to make a whole new set, rather than fix them in an anvil.
So, it’s fair to say that almost all kinds of players would benefit from a floating little set of armor durability and type icons in the corner of the screen, which is exactly what the ArmorHUD mod does. As always, installation is a simple drag and drop into the mods folder.
Status Effect HUD
Similarly to the above ArmorHUD mod, the Status Effect HUD does just about what it says on the label: it displays similar potion / effect icons in the corner of your screen, alongside with their names, effects, and remaining duration.
It’s easy to see how this one might be useful to all sorts of players out there, from regeneration pots for the fighters and night vision pots for the explorers, to water breathing pots for the builders building their creations underwater and fire resistance for miners reaching for that diamond precariously over lava… it’s vital to know exactly when that last potion tick goes off so that you’re prepared with another one (hopefully)!
Status Effect HUD doesn’t just do potions, though! Need to know how long that witch encounter or scuffle with a wither skeleton will keep your health bar ticking down? The HUD will have you covered without you ever having to open your inventory to check.
Status Effect HUD can be downloaded on CurseForge as well, and is another simple drag and drop installation into the mods folder.
Last but certainly not least, another addition that fulfills what tons of video games already provide the players! Anyone familiar with video gaming at all will know what health bars are — it’s what you want to keep full when it’s yours, or hack and slash to zero when it’s not. It’s easy to keep track of your own health in Minecraft, but a little harder to see other players’, or monsters’ healths, unless they’re the Ender Dragon or the Wither.
Thankfully, ToroHealth Damage Indicators are just the thing to fix that. Not only do they come with health bars in the top corner of the screen when you hover on an entity, they also come with in-world health bars that display the healths of entities all around you, as well as indicators for, well, damage being dealt!
Thanks for the read! We hope that the suggestions here have given you the tools to personalize your Minecraft experience and maximize your quality of life when playing this wonderful game.
Disclaimer! Please note that sometimes, these mods can be frowned upon in multiplayer Minecraft servers, networks and communities. While we’ve tried to recommend mods that are generally accepted and don’t provide a large unfair advantage, we highly recommend double-checking with your multiplayer communities before using these mods on them.