Most Minecraft servers don't really let you play Minecraft. Minigames, Factions, kit PvP, and economy servers all advertise exciting gameplay. These servers can be fun, but by piling on new features and changing how the game works, they take some of the magic out of Minecraft and end up providing an experience that in many cases has already been done better by other popular games. It can be hard to find a server that doesn't suffer from this in some way; even servers that promise vanilla gameplay are often plagued by cheaters, unresponsive/abusive staff, lag, or crashing, and often have gameplay-changing plugins, restrictive rules, or unnecessary features that don't improve the experience. VanillaEvolved does things differently.
Minimal number of added commands, just the vanilla SMP experience you've been looking for
No spawn protection, you can immediately break and place blocks (lava cannot be placed in the spawn area)
Only 50% of players need to sleep to make it daytime
Complete all advancements to earn an exclusive in-game prefix and Discord role and your name on this page
Advancement hunting? See which advancements/biomes/mobs you're missing with /checkadv, /checkbiomes, and /checkmobs
Craftable invisible item frames (lingering invis potion surrounded by 8 item frames)
Lava around a bed is automatically removed when a player respawns at it
Auto fishing is limited
Punch another player with the dragon egg to give them the "The Next Generation" advancement
Private messaging system with replying and group message capabilities
Type /ignore to hide chat from a specific player
Type /refer to offer a new player a one-time teleport to your location.
Anti PvP logging kills players who log out during PvP
See a list of the deadliest players with /pvptop
Runs on PaperMC software for improved performance without changing most vanilla game mechanics
Anti X-ray hides ores from cheaters
Anti-cheat prevents nearly all hacks
Treat others with respect: griefing and PvP are allowed, but remember it's a game and everyone wants to enjoy themselves without being harassed. Don't act in a way that will ruin someone else's experience on the server. This includes but is not limited to repeatedly and frequently griefing the same player(s), or targeting derogatory language at other players.
Don't cheat. If you're not sure if something is allowed, send Wireproof a message.
Don't deliberately cause lag or crashing for the server or players.
Don't advertise other Minecraft servers, in public chat or through private message.