Since the beginning of PC gaming, private or dedicated game servers have been one of the biggest advantages of PCs over other gaming platforms. Rather than relying on the multiplayer services of developers or publishers, who often struggle with performance issues, you can get more stability, personalization, and control with your own dedicated server for compatible games than with external servers.
Whether you want to play titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, ARK: Survival Evolved and Team Fortress 2, or more relaxed games like Minecraft, having your own game server gives you more control over how you and your friends work together can play. And you can also host your own TeamSpeak, Mumble or other VoIP services on your private server.
What advantages does its own dedicated server offer?
Public multiplayer servers use either client servers or P2P (peer-to-peer) hosting - but both have disadvantages. Client servers are operated by the primary host (usually the publisher of the game or the console manufacturer) who manages the connections of each player. This server configuration works for most games. However, there are some disadvantages such as the lack of customization options.
Even P2P hosting is a popular method for modern multiplayer gaming. P2P allows a player to dynamically host and connect with other players. However, with this method, everyone relies on the connection quality of the host: if it is too low, the gaming experience suffers for everyone involved.
Dedicated game servers for compatible multiplayer games, however, offer more power and stability. So you can experience the game the way you want it: with less delay and fewer disconnects.
But again, you should keep in mind that without a high upload and download speed of your server problems can occur with the players who connect to your server via the Internet. For a Local Area Network (LAN), this does not matter because they are all in the same local network.
Hardware for your server
A dedicated server is also a great way to reuse old PCs. With a separate PC as a game server you save the resources of your gaming system and achieve more stability both on your gaming PC and on the server.
Below we have summarized the hardware requirements for dedicated servers that can host the latest games. These specifications provide a good foundation for most 32-player titles. However, with multiplayer games for 64 or more players, you may need more power. Remember, the more players access your server, the greater the load on your hardware.
Windows * 64 bit (or Linux * for compatible games)
Solid State Drive (SSD): For a server, ideally you should not use mechanical hard drives: the constant read and write operations and lower speed can quickly cause problems here.
At least 8 GB RAM, 16 or more are optimal
Intel® Quad-Core ™ CPU with at least 2.5 GHz clock speed
Set up a dedicated server with Steam
Many of the most popular PC games use Steam * for their multiplayer architecture. And it is precisely this service that makes it easy to set up dedicated game servers. Before you begin, look in the list of dedicated servers in the Steam Developer wiki to see if the game you want to host is supported. (Do not worry: Almost all major non-Valve * games, such as Killing Floor 2 *, the Arma * series, Rust *, ARK * and DayZ * are on the list.) The above-mentioned wiki also contains useful links to step-by-step instructions for setting up some of the most popular titles.
The wiki will also tell you if you can set up a dedicated server for the game using the Steam * client or SteamCMD * - a command line version of Steam * that you can download for free.
If you want to make connections over the Internet, you'll probably need to make changes to your network and router configuration. This Steam * Help Center contains comprehensive instructions for configuring your router or home network, as well as the best settings for your individual configuration.