Follow our easy step-by-step guide on how to host an Ark: Survived Evolved Dedicated Server.
There are countless superb ARK dedicated server hosts in the market today; however, you probably do not need one. If you don’t require around-the-clock uptime guarantee or pretty low ping, you should consider hosting your own server. This how-to content will guide you through the best ARK server hosting, starting with setting it up from scratch to running it.
Coming up with a dedicated ARK server set up is pretty much more difficult as opposed to buying hosting, however, it’s more affordable. In case you’re using existent hardware, you may only incur the cost of internet and electricity. On the other hand, you can consider renting Virtual Private Server (VPS) for just a small portion of renting the ARK server. Nonetheless, you should also consider the downsides before you decide to jump in. Virtually all matters involving the server will depend on you. Therefore, you’ll need to maintain the server religiously, fix it if anything fails, and do regular backups. In the case that you are hosting from your home internet connection, you will have to accept the fact that you may be unable to house 250 concurrent players, or not even 100. Basically, this solely depends on your internet connection as well as PC’s capability.
If you intend to set up an ARK server locally, you will have to consider a few things before you start. First off, ensure that your operating system (OS) is 64-bit; without which you may not be able to run your server and end up wasting a lot of time troubleshooting. Fortunately, most gamers have an inbuilt 64-bit operating system, although it’s still worthwhile to confirm this. At this point, Windows PC users can proceed to control panel system and Security > System to confirm the system type subheading. Linux users should simply type Iscpu command to get similar results: “x86_32” means 32-bit while “x86_64” refers to 64-bit OS.
The RAM feature is the next hindrance to entry. You need at least 6GB RAM to get the server started. On running, you need another 4GB memory for each batch of 100 players. Should you play using the same PC and server, you could encounter frame rate drops or even a reduced performance by your players. Whenever you rent a dedicated server or VPS, be sure to buy one that has enough RAM and one installed with a 64-bit OS.
However, hosting from home would mean that you may suffer a slow internet connection. There are no specified numbers on usage and the requirements also differ depending on the number of users that are playing and the tasks they’re performing. An upload speed of 10-20 Mbit is recommended in the event where you will have many users. Nevertheless, you can get away with less especially for a number like 10 players or a few friends. You can use Google’s speed test to check your approximate internet speed.
Your final decision before we get started is very crucial. You need to decide the operating system you want to use. Most probably, you’re conversant with Linux or Windows 10. However, there are other benefits that come if you’re ready to get out of your comfort zone. Regardless of if you’re doing your hosting locally or using VPS service providers, you should make yourself familiar with the difference between the two. Linux is a more natural choice for many users, simply because it’s a free and open source, and needs fewer system resources.
On the other hand, Linux uses more base RAM, especially when it comes to ARK servers. With reference to Gamepedia, the client ends up using 2.3GB GB on Windows PC servers 2012 R2 having zero users and 3.2 GB for Linux. This is likely to offset a few system resource advantages, but it depends on your Linux distribution choice.
If you’re a novice Linux user, it is recommended that you use Ubuntu as it has massive support and resources, remarkable stability and is relatively user-friendly. More experienced users should probably consider using SUSE, Red Hator CentOS. However, note that in this guide, we’ll be using Ubuntu.
If you are adamant on continuing to use Windows, rest assured, you’re still in safe hands. It’s basically more common to many users and installation of a regular Windows 10 is sufficient for hosting a few players at home. However, for more serious usage, you should probably consider working with Windows Server 2016. It has a huge collection of excellent features for server admins and it has a generous 180-day free trial.
If possible, it is recommended that you set up your server on a separate (different) PC for security purposes. Although unlikely, there are chances of hackers exploiting your security credentials and gaining access to your data whenever you open your PC outside the connections. If you’re using your daily PC, then all your personal files and documents are at risk of cybercrime. Whereas, using a separate PC for hosting an Ark server means you have fewer data-sensitive files ensuring better protection
Having made all the key decisions, it’s relatively easy to get started using your dedicated ARK server, most especially for local hosting on LAN. Local means the same machine you use for playing. LAN simply means that it will only be accessible from your home network. It’s excellent for when you have a few friends over, fellow gamers, or if you’re just playing alone.
Start by opening Steam and then selecting ARK: Survival Evolved and hit Properties. Next, click on Local Files > Browse Local Files.
Proceed to ShooterGame > Binaries > Win64. We’ll be focusing on the file reading ShooterGameServer.ex, however, don’t just click on it. It needs to identify the game to load and details of your preferences & server information.
At this point, you’ll need to create a new batch file. A batch file in this context means a file with a series of commands to be executed using commandline interpreter. In this case, the commands start the server using a set of options. Right-click at any place of your Windows Explorer where the ShooterGameServer.exe is, followed by clicking on New > Text Document. A new file called New Text Document.txt is displayed. Double click on the new file to open a new notepad window where you will paste the following command:
Start ShooterGameServer.exe "MapName?SessionName=MySuperAwesomeArkServer?ServerPassword=thisisoptional?ServerAdminPassword=megasecretadminpass?Port=27015?QueryPort=27016?listen" exit.
Do you see the question marks above? All else after ShooterGameServer.exe are basically parameters for the server and you may need to customize them before progressing. Let’s have a breakdown of what each parameter represents.
The tag of the ARK map you need to base your server on. For instance, “TheIsland”, “TheCenter” & “Ragnarok”.
This refers to the name of your server. This can be changed to whatever you like, however, be sure to exclude any symbols and spaces.
This is simply the credential users need to access the server. In the event where you trust everybody on the network, you may delete this part, together with the question mark preceding it.
This refers to the server admin credential. You can change this to something more secure.
Now, click File > Save As. This should lead you to Win64 directory. At this point, you can alter Save as type: to All Files. In the File name field, type startserver.bat and press Save.
Lastly, double click on New File and be patient as it opens.
If you’re using Linux, you will need to modify your syntax. We will be using shell in place of batch and that may cause a few minor changes. Open your preferred text editor, and copy and paste the following:
#! /bin/bash ./ShooterGameServerTheIsland?SessionName=MySuperAwesomeArkServer?ServerPassword=testpassword?ServerAdminPassword=megasecretadminpassPort=27015?QueryPort=27016?listen
Next, save the pasted file to the folder of Linux Server files (normally, it will be something like this /home/ark/server/ShooterGame/Binaries/Linux) followed by the name of the startserver.sh. If you’re curious as to why there are several question marks, they’re simply configuration options for the server. Briefly look at the windows section above for a breakdown of the meaning of each option. Prior to start using the server, you need to be sure that you can really run it. You can achieve this by simply opening the terminal found in the same directory of the newly created file and write:
$chmod +x startserver.sh
This command indefinitely makes the file executable since Linux is selective when it comes to files, it allows you to run for security reasons. Now, you can start your server by simply opening a terminal window from your folder and entering:
You have a variety of choices should you want to play with users directly from the internet. This is relatively simple. You will need to download files of 2 to 10GB. We will now look into the most user-friendly method that is via Steam.
For local hosting, it’s likely that you will have already installed both SteamCMD and a dedicated server ARK. However, it is good to understand that other methods allow you to have more control over a few things such as scheduled updates and restarting the machine. However, it should be more then enough if you’ll just be playing with friends.
To begin, simply open Steam and navigate to Tools which is situated under the Library drop-down menu.
Keep scrolling until you come across an entry reading: ARK: Survival Evolved Dedicated Server. Right-click and click the Install Game key.
From there, you can navigate & install in: \Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\ARK Survival Evolved Dedicated Server.
Continuing, the setup is comparable to the process of setting up a local server. Form a new text file and copy paste the following command:
start ShooterGameServer.exe "TheIsland?SessionName=ArkServer?ServerPassword=testpassword?ServerAdminPassword=adminpassword Port=27015?QueryPort=27016?listen" exit
If you are adopting Linux, you’ll have to slightly alter your Syntax. We shall be using shell in place of batch, although that comes with slight modifications:
#! /bin/bash./ShooterGameServerTheIsland?SessionName=ArkServer?ServerPassword=testpassword?ServerAdminPassword=adminpassword Port=27015?QueryPort=27016?listen
Modify the credentials, server name and finally map in accordance to your preferences. Next, press File> Save As. Then on Windows, click Save As across all files and label it as startserver.bat, followed by the Save option.
On Linux, make sure to save it as startserver.sh. Note that it’s unnecessary to alter any options. Nevertheless, you will need to ensure that it’s executable (do this by right-clicking). In the Permissions tab, check the tab to enable the file to be executed as a program.
The script can now be executed by navigating to its folder, open a terminal window, and type:
Windows PC users only need to double click on the .bat file to get their server started. However, you will still need to organize your firewall as well as the router so that it can work correctly.
As previously stated, Steam CD is mostly recommended for the power users, although it may still be useful to PC users utilizing local hosting. If you’re using a server that’s on a different PC, this would mean you don’t need to install Steam Client for it to work.
Windows users should begin by creating a new folder named SteamCMD and then install the SteamCMD.
In this same folder, form a new text file and paste the following command into it:
start "" steamcmd.exe +login USER PASS +force_install_dir "C:\YOURSTEAMCMDFOLDER" +app_update 346110 validate +quit
Press file File > Save As, replace Save As: to All Files and tag it Steam CMD.bat and then press Save. You should be able to get something like this:
Right-click on SteamCMD.bat and choose Run as the Administrator. A command window will automatically open and start to download updates.
As they’re in the process of downloading, open notepad and then paste the command below:
start ShooterGameServer.exe "MapName?SessionName=ArkServer?ServerPassword=testpassword?ServerAdminPassword=adminpassword?MultiHome=YourLocalIP?Port=27015?QueryPort=27016?listen"
Tailor the above to suit your configuration preference as it is explained LAN section. It is strongly recommended to create and use a difficult password.
Press File > Save As, replace Save As type: with All Files, tag it startserver.bat, go to SteamCMD/ShooterGame/Binaries/Win64/ then press on Save. You can now get your server started by simply double-clicking that file.
If you’re using Linux, the steps are much similar, although they will need some additional tweaks & dependencies. But before all, you will need to install lib32cc1.
This can be achieved by entering this straightforward command in the terminal:
sudo apt-get install lib32gcc1
Once the installation is complete, write:
This command automatically creates a new directory named steamcmd, followed by navigating us via the console. At this point we can download, extract files, and install SteamCMD through pasting:
tar -xvzf steamcmd_linux.tar.gz
./steamcmd.sh +login anonymous +force_install_dir /home/ubuntu/arkserver +app_update 376030 validate +quit
Now, prior to running our server, it’s important to raise the open file on Ubuntu. As soon as the server opens, it will try accessing a batch of files all in one go and the OS is not built for that just yet.
In the terminal, key in the following command:
sudo /bin/su -c “echo ‘fs.file-max=1000000’ >> /etc/sysctl.conf”
sudo /bin/su -c “echo ‘* soft nofile 1000000’ >> /etc/security/limits.conf”
sudo /bin/su -c “echo ‘* hard nofile 1000000’ >> /etc/security/limits.conf”
sudo /bin/su -c “echo ‘session required pam_limits.so’ >> /etc/pam.d/common-session”
The above command automatically adds the text in the single quotes to relevant config files, so users can do it through Files much easier. To be sure that all these changes have been implemented, we recommend that you restart your PC.
At this stage, we’re very much ready to get the server started; we only need to form a script to start it. Navigate to your server directory located in /home/ubuntu/arkserver/ShooterGame/Binaries/Linux then open the Text editor and paste the command below:
ulimit -n 100000
./ShooterGameServer TheIsland?listen -server -lo
Following that, you need to ensure that the script is executable by opening terminal followed and pasting:
cd /home/ubuntu/arkserver/ShooterGame/Binaries/Linux chmod a+x startserver.sh
Finally, start the server with:
To evade server issues, you will have to configure your firewall. Otherwise, other users will be unable to join as your PC could block the connection.
Fortunately, achieving this in Windows is super easy. On Windows, click on Start and then type Firewall. Upon opening; press the Inbound Rules, then New Rule.
Then tick Port in the Check box and press Next. Check TCP & certain ports then write 27020.
Click Next, select Allow the Connection then click Next once more. A dialog box is displayed with an option of ticking Domain, Private and Public. Tick all those that are relevant to you and Click on Next. In the field for name type “ARK Server TCP”, and hit the Finish button.
At this point, you can repeat the steps this time choosing UDP in place of TCP. Under the local ports, insert 27015, 27016 and 7777. The first two are those that were specified in server config previously, while 7777 is the game port. Maintain the same settings as last time and tag this one “ARK Server UDP”
Since your ports are now configured, you can allow access to the actual server software. Simply form a new Rule, select Program then click on Next. Choose Browse and navigate through your Window to ShooterGameServer.exe file
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\ARK\ShooterGame\Binaries\Win64
Enable the connection on both Public and Private Connections to get started. On doing this, LAN users may not have to do any additional configuration, however, you should head to Port Forwarding section in case you have other plans.
Using Ubuntu, it’s quick and easy to open your firewall ports. Just copy and paste the following command into the terminal:
Sudo ufw enable
sudo ufw allow 7777/udp
sudo ufw allow 27015/udp
sudo ufw allow 27016/udp
sudo ufw allow 27020/tcp
Next, be sure to check if it worked correctly. Enter: sudo iptables –L then check in Chain ufw-user-input for the ports.
Port Forwarding refers to where the PC user opens the inner wall of the router to allow connections from ousted your network. This is achieved by going to the router’s configuration page and giving specifications on the ports you’d like to allow through. Sadly, there’s no easy way of going through port forwarding. Some steps may slightly differ depending on the router you’re using and you will need administrator access. One way to do this is to do a quick Google search for the term: “[Router Name And Model] port forward” replacing your router type and PC model respectively.
But first of all, note that this step is only necessary if you’re intending to host players that are outside your local network. The opening step is a small security risk and may not be worth doing unless it is absolutely necessary. If you want to proceed with port forwarding, you will need to open the ports 27015, 27016, &7777 respectively for both UDP &TCP.
This section will discuss the ways for how to make your life as a server host. You probably want to keep your server online as much as you can, therefore, it is good to have it when your computer starts.
For Windows PC, this is super easy. Simply click on Start and write Task Scheduler. On the menu (right- hand side), choose Create Basic Task.
Name your task ARK server, you will also have the option to include a brief description for reference in case you’re forgetful. Press Next and tick as soon as the PC starts.
Below Action, start the selected program and navigate through the file to startserver.bat which we created previously. You can locate it in:
Press Next and tick the Open Properties dialogue and click the Finish button. Pressing Finish will direct you to the General tab. Under the available options of Security, you’ll come across a checkbox for Run regardless if you are logged in or not. While you’re also there, check Run with the Highest Privileges.
Below the configure for “drop down”, select your Operating System and click “OK”.
Using Ubuntu, allowing automatic setup is pretty much similar and slightly faster. Open Startup Applications and on the right-hand side, press Add.
In the new Window, write the name as ARK Server to navigate to where we had previously made the .sh file. If you’re a Steam CMD user, it can be found in: /home/ubuntu/arkserver/ShooterGame/Binaries/Linux.
Press Add and there you go. Your server will be ready for you to log in.
Updates are amazingly easy in spite of your installation method. If you followed our Windows SteamCMD step-by-step guide, you only need to run the file made previously named SteamCMD.bat. The process can be automated via scripts available on ark-survival.net. However, make sure that you modify them to suit your location of installation.
Whereas for Ubuntu users, they just need to go to their steamcmd folder and paste the following command in the terminal:
./steamcmd.sh +login anonymous +force_install_dir /home/ubuntu/arkserver +app_update 376030 validate +quit
If you have installed server through Steam, you can update the same way as you’d for any tool. When there’s a new modification available, you will be notified automatically, and then you can just click Update. LAN users are likely to enjoy the most up-to-date version alongside their game update.
Note that it’s important to learn how to do everything manually on your server to avoid over-depending on third-party updates when troubleshooting. Meanwhile, there are several tools to assist the user in the installation and maintenance of the server.
Ark Server Manager is a great resource for Windows PC users. Using this, you can make your SteamCMD installation automatic, monitor your server state, as well as execute scheduled backups, PC restarts, and server updates. There are plenty of resources from the official forum to get you started.
Unluckily for Linux users, this feature is unavailable. However, ARK Server Tools is a perfect alternative. Although it’s a little more sophisticated to use and install, it possesses the same features and it’s pretty much easier to use as opposed to doing things manually.
Windows PC users should also consider looking at Ark Commander, which allows admins to spawn effortlessly in items, execute god mode commands, and much more.
BattleMetrics RCON is another paid game server management plug-in that supports ARK and focuses on more serious server hosts.
If you settled on renting a VPS or a dedicated server and you’re intending to set up an ARK dedicated server on it, there are some features to take into account. It all depends on your host computer’s physical location, although there could be hitches if you’re working using a PC that’s not under your control, such as hardware limitations, security requirements as well as bandwidth limits.
Coming to the end of our guide, you can now make a well-informed decision when choosing an Ark hosting dedicated server, Windows vs Linux. But, it’s important to note that your work shouldn’t stop there. Many users ignore PC backups and maintenance, only to regret losing everything later on.
You can back up your server either by using any of the above tools mentioned or typing the command:
'/ShooterGame/Saved/SavedArks' directory when it’s shut down.
Whatever you choose, we advise you to regularly check that your backups are functioning. This includes checking folders, backing up your PC, and immediately restoring files to ensure the whole system is working. To further ensure that your server is safe, update your OS every other time. Use all the security patches and updates offered on Linux and Windows.
Apply the same principle when it comes to changing your password. Always edit your file settings after every few months to hinder any unauthorized access to your server.
Lastly, hardware may fail just as easily as programs. Ensure you get your hard disk checked and that your server remains cool, and also keep track of all the resources it uses. These tips will collectively help you in hosting a stable ARK server that’s lag-free, which maximizes convenience and fun for both you and your users.
The objective of this guide was to help you get going and educate you on how to host a dedicated Ark server. However, during or after installation, if you require any further assistance, here are several extra recommended sources to help you:
Do you have any suggestions or comments? What about an issue? Get a great resource on hosting? Please comment below.