In this article, we’ll tackle everything you need to know about game servers, how to set them up, as well as your alternatives if you’re afraid to tweak your PC on your own.
What Is a Game Server For?
Players get on a game server whenever they want to play multiplayer games on the internet. A game server keeps track of everything that’s going on in the multiplayer game, such as every player’s location, loot, and the like. It ensures that every participant’s “copy” of the game (i.e. the things that have happened in-game) is the same as everyone else’s.
How Are Multiplayer Games Generally Hosted?
A lot of multiplayer games are run on a peer-to-peer (P2P) server. In the P2P model, one of the players is the host. Since the server is the player’s own computer, the shortcoming of the P2P model is that the host player’s server should have the proper processing power, bandwidth, and more to run the game as smoothly as possible. If not, everyone on the game server will suffer from lag, glitches, and more.
The problem with the P2P model is that the host-player’s computer isn’t designed to run the game alone. The host-player likely has other apps in the background – apps that are causing the slowdown.
What Is a Dedicated Game Server?
A dedicated game server, as the name suggests, is designed to do nothing but run the game. In contrast to “standard” servers, it isn’t used for other functions that could cause it to slow down. In other words, it won’t be able to browse the web, download images, and more. What it can do, however, is run the game that it’s designed to host. That way, players won’t have to go through low-latency issues, lag, and loading times.
In plain language, if a server was designed to perform more functions, all of the apps that it runs would have to “fight” for the connection. The server’s users would have to suffer from its slowness – and if you’ve ever played a multiplayer game, you will know all too well that this sucks.
Why Host a Dedicated Game Server?
We’ve put together the pros of dedicated game server hosting:
#1 You Have the Ability to Make Money
If you’re wondering why gamers host game servers, the answer is that it provides them with the ability to make money. By hosting a game server, you’ll be able to run a lucrative business. As long as you’re willing to invest in top-grade hardware and software (and people actually want to play your game), you can generate income through promotions, sponsorships, and more.
#2 It’s Perfect For Lag-Free Gaming
Even if you don’t want to make money from it, dedicated game server hosting also allows you to run multiplayer games without lag. If you’ve ever been frustrated by lag, it’s time to find a server with the best bandwidth, internet connectivity, and more.
#3 It Gives You Complete Control Over the Game
If you’ve ever wanted godlike control over the game, get a dedicated game server. As the host, you decide who can participate in the game – this allows you to steer clear of low-latency issues. You will also be able to boot players that break the rules. Plus, you can change the game using mods to make it truly one-of-a-kind.
#4 It Can Handle Thousands of Players at a Time
It doesn’t matter if there are ten or a thousand players at the same time. The game will continue to run without lag, glitches, etc. Plus, you’ll be able to limit the number of players that can participate in the game to prevent overcrowding.
How to Set Up a Dedicated Game Server
With a bit of tweaking and the right hardware, you’ll be able to set up a server for highly sought-after multiplayer games. Here’s how you can get started with dedicated game server hosting:
You can run a game server on your current computer, but make sure it’s capable. There’s no hard and fast rule for how powerful your PC has to be, but it should be able to run multiplayer games such as ARK: Survival Evolved and Rust. We suggest using a PC with at least 16 GB of RAM.
Let’s take a look at how you can set up a server for some of the popular multiplayer games like Minecraft, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and ARK: Survival Evolved.
How to Set Up a Server For Minecraft
To set up a server for Minecraft, all you need is your static IP address. Other players can then use your IP address to enter your server. The disadvantage is Minecraft’s server runs on a P2P model, so if your internet connection is slow, the rest of the players will suffer, as well.
How to Set Up a Server For Counterstrike: Global Offensive
All you need to create a Counterstrike: Global Offensive server is the Pyr0s CS:GO* Server Launcher. Download the .bat file from the link above, and add it to your PC’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive installation folder. Run the file and follow the steps to set up the server.
How to Set Up a Server For ARK: Survival Evolved
Download the free Ark* Server Manager to set up a server for ARK: Survival Evolved. You can also check ARK’s wiki for step-by-step instructions about setting up your own server. Do note, however, that ARK is a very intensive game, so your PC needs to be as powerful as possible.
What Games Should You Host on a Dedicated Server?
If your gaming goal is to make money from your server, opt for popular games such as the following:
- ARK: Survival Evolved
- 7 Days to Die
- Conan: Exiles
- Arma 3
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Should You Set Up Your Own Dedicated Game Server?
If you’re wondering, “Is there an easier way to set it up?” the answer is no – not unless you rent a server, that is.
If you want to run a dedicated game server on your own, do note that it’s ideal for tech-savvy individuals. Not only will you have to invest in expensive hardware, but you’ll also have to deal with the back-end tasks like security. For instance, how will you keep it safe from DDoS attacks? As the host, you will be responsible for cybersecurity, which can be a challenge if you lack the skills.
You will have to cover the costs to maintain your server if you intend to host it at home. How will you prevent your servers from overheating? What will you do in case of a blackout? Be prepared for your bills to spike, too.
As a rule of thumb, if you don’t have the technical know-how, don’t invest in an at-home server, as you likely won’t be able to keep up with its demands. That is precisely why people prefer to “rent” a server for dedicated game server hosting.
Why Partner With a Dedicated Game Server Provider?
When you partner with a provider, you can put your server on autopilot. Your players will be able to use the server, but you won’t be responsible for the back-end tasks. You also won’t have to invest in hardware and software that can cost thousands of dollars.
By setting up a game server through a provider, you get to borrow their server. You’ll still be able to tweak your server, but you won’t have to worry about maintenance. Leave it to them to do the heavy lifting.
With a dedicated game server hosting provider by your side, you’ll be able to provide your players with 24/7 availability. If the grid goes down, your provider will have a backup generator to make sure things are up and running.
Providers also have data centers that constantly cool the servers to prevent them from overheating. What’s more, they will provide top-tier security features to ensure your users’ data is safe at all times.
How to Choose a Dedicated Server Provider
If the steps to set up a game server sound too confusing for you, the good news is that you can rent a server as an alternative. Be sure to partner with the right provider to ensure their hardware, software, and more align with your game’s needs:
- Hardware. Your provider should use top-tier hardware such as solid-state drives (SSDs) and processors. That way, you can make sure that it can run games with great workloads.
- Server Uptime. Uptime is the amount of time that a server is operational. Partner with a provider with impressive uptime stats so your players can have a continuous play.
- Accessibility. You should be able to configure your server at any time. Install a control panel that allows you to tweak the server with a couple of clicks.
- Security. Staying on top of cybersecurity can be a challenge, but your server host should be able to provide DDoS protection and firewalls.
Compare Dedicated Game Server Providers With BestHosting
Dedicated game server hosting gives you more control over your game. If it sounds too complicated to set up on your own, partner with a game server provider instead. At Best Hosting Network, we’ve done the work for you – we compared the top game server providers for some of the most popular games so you don’t have to. Let bestnetwork.com help you find the perfect server hosting provider for ARK, Rust, and more.