Hardcore gamers understand the hype and anticipation that comes with the release of a new game on PC. While we love our consoles, they fall short on portability. As more people gain access to internet-enabled devices across the world, the demand for flexible gaming is set to grow further.
Whether you miss the good old days of hosting your very own Counter-Strike 1.6 dedicated server or fondly reminisce about hosting your very own Minecraft playground where you and your friends can unleash creativity, one thing stands – having your own one can greatly improve your play experience.
In this article, we will discuss the basics of gaming servers, what you need to consider when choosing a service to host one, the cost of available options and a few tips on how to make money after your set up is complete.
Gaming server basics
A gaming server is a local or remote computer used to host a game. It stores and transmits gaming events in real-time to allow for accurate accounts on the player’s side. They can host complete games or supplement a function. For instance, older games would require a server connection to run in multiplayer mode. Fortunately, internet speeds match up to deliver smooth game flow from a server.
Consider the following factors when deciding on the kind of server to use:
- Purpose – gaming has many fronts aside from the actual playing. Auxiliaries such as forums, gaming blogs, and gaming video platforms, form part of a gaming website. Although there are sites that try to build in as many features as specializing in one service increases your odds of finding a niche market or following. A rule of thumb is the more graphical processing demand, the higher processing power, bandwidth, and cost.
- Anticipated traffic – to maintain smooth operation, servers must only have the ideal number of users running supported games for its specs, and no more. A quick estimate of the data consumed per hour should give you a rough idea of the bandwidth requirement.
Once you know what you want, there are two ways to go. You can both build and maintain your own hardware or use third-party hosting. However, that would be the final step in this undertaking.
To begin with, you need to set up an interface through which users can access your gaming server.
Fortunately, there are companies like Hostinger that provide such solutions at an affordable cost. The process is fairly straightforward. They will help you set up your domain, if you need one, starting with a free domain name availability check.
Once your creative name is validated and registered, they will offer a variety of web hosting plans starting at $2.15/month. Feel free to take a look at the Hostinger packages. All you’ll need to do is customize and routinely update the site as you pay for your monthly/annual hosting fees. Configuring your gaming server to be accessed is the final and crucial task in the process. Which we’ll cover later in this tutorial.
Building your own one at home is costly and mostly inefficient. This is attributed to the high cost of purchasing parts, large internet bandwidth subscriptions and monthly running power costs. The average set up will set you back at least $2,000 excluding maintenance bills. In contrast, “rented” options are available at affordable hosting fees for both the website and client software, making the self-built option economically unnecessary.
To land the right game hosting, it’s important to understand your options. So how do you choose the right hosting server? In the subsequent section, we will discuss the types of available ones and their cost implications.
Types of gaming servers
Let’s cover some options available:
These are servers that run multiple systems on the same hardware. This will impact speed whenever traffic is too high. The majority of them have a limited number of live users. They are ideal for non-commercial/social gamers. They are greatly affected by a drop in internet speed. A listen server is a type of shared server where the hosting server communicates to remote players through the hosting game player’s internet connection. The monthly hosting fees start from $29/month.
Dedicated hosting and VPS hosting
These two are suitable for high traffic sites. With these two types, you have a dedicated amount of resources you’ll use alone, which allows for greater control of connection quality. The main difference lies in how much resources you get. A dedicated hosting service gives you an entire server (which will cost quite a bit more, accordingly), while a VPS rents a part of it.
This design is meant to solve problems encountered with home servers: power outages, traffic surges, and crashes. These facilities have dedicated teams, constant power supply, and air conditioning infrastructure to maintain optimal computer efficiency.
When it comes to dedicated server hosting, as intimidating as the name may sound, it’s actually quite easy to operate these machines with a little help from online tutorials. Optimization software allows the system to let in a specific number of users while maintaining uninterrupted performance. While technical expertise is required for installation and configuration of the software you will use to access the servers, the capabilities far outweigh the process.
On top of offering all the flexibility to install whatever you want in there, they also deliver incomparable performance. Hosting a server with a professional provider also provides a much safer firewall for your data ensuring your system is reliable. Dedicated hosting starts from $119/month and can go much higher than that depending on your site’s traffic.
A VPS, on the other hand, uses a software suite to create multiple servers on a single one, along with an operating system. So if you opt for a VPS, all you have to do is find a piece of software that allows running a server of your preferred game while using the Linux platform (as it is the most common OS for VPS). There are plenty of tutorials out there that can help you complete the setup for your chosen game.
Better yet, you’ll be saving much more money compared to running a dedicated one. As it’s not quite as powerful as the alternative, it’s suitable for people with medium traffic. Monthly VPS hosting costs start from $4.99.
Additionally, depending on the provider you choose, you may even have an auto-installer feature that allows you to preload all server software for some of the most popular games with one click!
How to make money hosting games
While there is no to-the-dollar formula, here are few tips on how to earn revenue from game hosting:
Consider asking for donations from your players.
Charge a small monthly fee for subscribers to log in and play.
Invest in advertising – add ads to loading screens and other spaces.
There you have it. While there is still work to be done, now you know where to start when hosting your very own gaming server. Good luck and have fun!