You’re a gamer. That much is evident from the rig you’ve custom-built, the peripherals you’ve sourced, and the multitude of collector’s edition statues and maps that line your walls. Counterstrike, CoD, Half-Life 2, DoTA, LoL – you know the games, and you own the scoreboards. But now you’re considering upping your game and taking it to the next level by hosting your own server so that the characters you attack can never complain that lag was the thing that took them out. But where do you start?
Why Hosting it Yourself Won’t Work
Servers have become a requirement for multiplayer games as graphics have improved to a point of near-realism. Even the best custom-built rig won’t be able to run your own copy of the game and support 31 of your closest friends – pushing the data out to them during each match or campaign will be almost impossible. When FPS and RPGs were young, it was possible for a single computer to do it all; run your own game, run a server and client, and give everyone playing a decent response time. Now, the upstream bandwidth required to host any more than 10 players will itself be a limiting factor, even if the hardware in a computer isn’t. Pioneers in the industry started creating their own, co-located dedicated gaming servers, and private companies quickly picked up the slack, offering servers for rent to gaming clans and guilds.
Benefits of a Gaming Server
There are a number of up-front benefits to paying for a private server to run your games, starting with the fact that you won’t have to join games created by anyone else. You can set up your own parameters and have only your guild-mates, clan members, and those you choose to invite as part of your games, and with nothing else running on your server to bog it down but an OS and the game itself, you’ll be able to see far better performance and lower lag. Most gaming server companies will offer a number of plans for those looking to host, including varying amounts of hard disk space and RAM.
The VPS Option for Gaming
If you go looking for a gaming server, you’ll have a few options thrown your way. One is to buy and install your own server in your home, but this can be expensive and time-consuming. Another choice is a dedicated, non-local server, but these can have a large cost attached to them. A third option is a VPS server for game hosting, which can offer a number of benefits for your gaming experience. Gaming VPS hosting companies will offer you a portion of a server they maintain, and will in many cases allow you to choose the operating system that you use. Once rented, you can then install whatever games and clients you want, removing the need to have anything but a hard copy of the game on your computer at home.
What You’ll Need to Run a Game Server VPS
While the technical aspects of server maintenance will be handled by the hosting company, you’ll need to make sure a server you choose can handle the game you’re looking to play. To run a server for CoD4, for example, you’d want to look at having at least 2.4 GHz and at least a Gigabyte of RAM. Anything less and you’ll be looking at a performance hit for all users. In addition, you’ll want to consider installing cPanel or Plesk panel for your gaming VPS so that you can configure accounts on the VPS to your liking and give the right permissions out to your guild and clanmates.
Increasing the Load
New games that are drawing multiplayer attention like Minecraft have the potential to attract huge followings and see the development of massive guilds. Should you need to upgrade your space thanks to an influx of new members or if the game you’re playing becomes the hottest thing on the market, a game server VPS can give you the option to easily buy more space and scale up the amount of resources you need at any given time. Your gaming experience isn’t just defined by what you play and who you play with, but how your server can perform. If you’re finding your current server setup isn’t living up to your potential, it might be time to level up.