Hosting your own dedicated game server provides you with a customizable gaming experience unlike any other.
Along with offering you advanced stability and reliability for memory-intensive online multiplayer games, hosting your own private gaming server allows you to control every aspect of gameplay—including establishing game configurations and choosing which players can connect to your server.
No matter if you are playing Minecraft, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or Rust, running your own dedicated game server gives you access to more memory, processing power, bandwidth, and storage capabilities than any other hosting model. You’ll also experience admin-level oversight across your entire gaming platform.
Interested in learning how to make a game server for your own game or for a game you can play with your friends? This guide will break it down for you.
Below, we will walk through the following:
Why Host Your Own Dedicated Server?
Public online multiplayer games use client-server hosting or peer-to-peer (P2P) hosting. Unfortunately, both hosting models have drawbacks, including non-customizable game configurations or dealing with gameplay lag.
Here are a few server models to consider when launching your private gaming server:
However, by creating your own dedicated server for gaming, you gain access to a private server (a server that does not share the same resources with other websites or applications) that provides you ultimate control over game configuration, resulting in significant improvements in performance and connection stability.
Pros of Making Your Own Dedicated Server
Making your own dedicated gaming server comes with many benefits, including:
Cons of Making Your Own Dedicated Server
While building a server PC comes with many benefits, there are a few drawbacks to consider before creating one. These servers require the following:
What Do You Need To Make a Gaming Server?
If you want to go the DIY route rather than pay for premium dedicated server hosting, you can technically use an old PC that you already have (although you will definitely have to upgrade most components). You can also buy the components to make a gaming server from scratch. In general, spinning up a gaming server requires all the components that a gaming PC does, aside from a graphics card. These include:
For most of the latest 32-player online multiplayer games, you’ll need the following minimum specifications:
When building a gaming PC, using a separate PC for your dedicated game server will help to free up resources. This ensures more stability and reliability for your gaming experience.
Keep in mind that the more players you want on your dedicated game server, the greater the workload will be for your hardware. If you plan on having more than 32 players per game, you’ll likely need to opt for more powerful components than the ones listed above. Be sure to check with your specific game’s server requirements.
Even beyond performance, a managed dedicated server from a reputable provider takes care of ongoing maintenance and routine patching and has robust solutions to keep your server secure. But this is just one pain point you’ll encounter with managing and creating a gaming server.
How To Set Up a Game Server With Steam
Steam features a seamless and centralized process for setting up a private gaming server. Before you begin, ensure that the game you want to host is featured on Steam’s list of dedicated servers. This list will tell you whether you can obtain the required software from SteamCMD (a command-line-only version of Steam) or the Steam Client. In addition, this resource also provides information like:
SteamCMD is a command-line program that allows you to install and set up your dedicated game server without installing the Steam Client. Before using SteamCMD, you must know the Steam App ID number of the game. If a game has dedicated server software without its own app ID, be sure to review the game’s installation directory.
The simplest way to use SteamCMD for a dedicated game server setup is with the SteamCMD-GUI tool. Using this convenient program, you can establish and run servers for many Steam-ready games in just a few clicks, as well as source servers for many older titles. The SteamCMD-GUI tool is quite easy to use, but you must download the SteamCMD program separately.
Popular Steam Games for Dedicated Servers
A few of the most popular Steam games for a dedicated game server include:
How To Set Up a Game Server for Non-Steam Games
Many games don’t use Steam as the basis for a dedicated game server, which means they feature their own server software or unique server setup process. For example, Minecraft uses proprietary hosting software to create a dedicated gaming server using your own hardware.
How to Create Your Own Minecraft Server
After your server software program is downloaded and running, it will create additional files and folders in whatever location you run it from. For housekeeping purposes, create a separate Minecraft Server folder to keep the files organized.
When you first run the server, it will create the following:
From there, open eula.txt, read the file, change the last string from eula=false to eula=true in a text editor, and save it. This signifies that you have reviewed and understood the end-user license agreement. When you run the server again, the remainder of the server files will be populated. You can then configure server settings by editing server.properties in a text editor.
The general process of building a server PC for Minecraft is to install Java, run the server, accept the end-user license agreement, and rerun it. For in-depth information on setting up a Minecraft server, review the Minecraft Wiki tutorial.
Dedicated Game Server Tips
If you plan on building and managing your own private gaming server, there are a few tips you should keep in mind, including:
Remote management is a solid option when built-in game server admin tools don’t provide enough control. Virtual network computing (VNC) tools like TeamViewer or Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection can connect to your dedicated game server from your actual gaming PC’s desktop or another remote device and change configurations as if you were directly connected. This solution makes remote dedicated server management easy.
Managed Dedicated Server Hosting: An Easier Alternative
Learning how to make a game server can be an overwhelming process.
From buying and maintaining expensive equipment, hardware, and software to needing technical expertise to set up and manage your server daily, there are many things to consider before making your own dedicated game server at home.
Fortunately, there is a way to reap all the benefits of a private gaming server without the headache of running one on your own: managed dedicated server hosting.
Managed dedicated server hosting through a professional provider makes setting up your own game server easy, affordable, secure, and fast.
At Liquid Web, we provide fully customizable dedicated server hosting, so you don’t have to stress over hardware costs, the server setup process, or security risks like DDoS attacks.
Plus, you can utilize our managed dedicated servers with both Steam and non-Steam games. Provided that the server’s operating system is compatible with the specific game, the sky’s the limit with full root and admin access (something you can also expect with our dedicated servers).
Game Server FAQs
What does a game server need?
How do servers work for games?
What is the importance of a game server?
How much memory does a game server need?