If you play a lot of online games, deciding to host your own server may be a natural progression. You can set the games, rules and mods that you want to play, and the people you want to play with, but there are things that you need to consider before you start.
If you’re looking to host your own game server, here are five things you need to know.
Check your connection
Obviously, you’ll need a decent internet connection for any type of server hosting, but different games have different requirements. MineCraft isn’t very straining on your connection, but other games may completely crash the system if it isn’t fast enough. The more players in a server, and the more graphically advanced a game is, the more pressure it puts on your connection. Ensure your upload speed meets the requirements.
Do your research
Making sure your connection is fast enough for what you need is crucial, but research can help you streamline other aspects. Find out how the game interacts with the host computer – you may need to upgrade the RAM or operating system. Check which server software works best with the game you are running. How many players typically join a session of the game you’re playing? Is your connection and computer set up to handle that many? Do you need to leave the server running overnight?
There are a lot of things that need to be considered to make a server successful, so take your time beforehand to research the specific hardware and software requirements of your server.
Can you do it by yourself?
One of the questions you need to ask yourself is “do I need other people to help me?” Whether or not you will need help depends on the purpose of your server. If you’re just hosting one for yourself and your clan, or some friends, you might just allow others in the group to help out when needed. However, if you’re running a public server, it will require more structured administration, particularly if your server is designed to be a business. The server may need to be active 24/7, and you personally can’t moderate the users at all times. Again, it depends on the game and the community around it. Some games could be left unattended for hours, and you can be confident that the server and the game world will be fine without supervision. Other times, users may be able to render the game unplayable, in which case an admin will need to be present to reset the game.
Be involved as an admin
The servers that players love most are usually those with a great community, fostered by the admins. If you ban anyone who disagrees with you, even trivially, you may develop a reputation and find yourself with a constantly empty server. But if you play nice, keep an eye on the server, get active with the players you’re hosting and create a good atmosphere, you’ll likely find yourself with a lot of happy, returning players.
Don’t expect to make a fortune
Providing a good service is an important part of business, and some hosts can turn a profit from their servers. Don’t, however, assume that you can immediately quit your day job. It may require a lot of work, maintenance, and hassle for very little income.
Remember that you’re not one of those huge corporate data centres – your role is more personal than professional. That said, if you know what you’re doing, earning some extra income through hosting game servers is not out of the question.
Michael Irvingis a freelance writer and blogger who’s researching the infrastructure of commercial data centres such as Macquarie Telecom to see what can be applied to smaller-scale online game hosting services.