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VPS Game Servers: Counter-Strike and Beyond

by Tim Attwood on September 16, 2011

Counter-StrikeAs a gamer, you’re all about the FPS — including the lag and the latency that makes your games perfectly smooth or completely unplayable. Games have been evolving on a steep curve over the last few years with graphics becoming ultra-realistic and the difference between a win and loss for any guild, clan or team coming as a result of milliseconds of time, or a single click that’s missed. While it’s still possible to host a game server from your own rig, if you need the best performance around and would rather just enjoy playing than having to constantly update your own machine, a VPS (virtual private server) game server may be the best choice.

Setting Up Game Servers

Gone are the days where you can easily host eight, 16 or even 32 players on a single home computer and still give all of them great performance. Aside from the physical limitations of your computer, you’re also facing the fact that your Internet’s bandwidth may not be enough to support the kind of data you need to push. Your 32 clan-mates or friends may not stay friendly for too long if you’re unable to provide them with a great gaming experience.

This is where a VPS game server comes in – by purchasing a portion of a server from a dedicated hosting provider, you can start fresh and install whatever OS and applications you need on your own, private tract of virtual land, giving you a clean, blank space to run any FPS, RPG or strategy game you want. A game server VPS will allow you to easily upgrade the space you are using on the fly, meaning that you can expand as your team becomes more popular, or as you need to host more members. Add to that the fact that each user on a VPS has their section of the server act as though it is independent and secure, and you’re looking at a gaming experience that can’t be matched by a home-hosting option.

Setting Up a Counter-Strike Game Server

Still one of the most popular games to host, a Counter-Strike VPS game server comes with a number of basic requirements in order to ensure that all players have an optimized experience. First, you need to consider how much RAM you’re going to have access to – 2 GB is a good place to start, and the more the better. Too little, and your players are going to see slowdown no matter what their rigs look like. You’re also going to want to make sure the CPU you’re running on is at least dual-core – quad-core is better if you can afford it. In addition, you’re going to want to consider having at least a 7200 rpm SATA drive in order give the quickest access, but if you’re running a high-end server you may need multiple 15,000 rpm drives. You’ll also need to look at bandwidth requirements, and can expect that once you push past 20 players on your server, you’re going to need at least 1024 kbps in order to ensure a lag and latency-free service. In addition, you’ll have to install Counter-Strike: Source on your new server and configure permissions for any administrators you want to have access.

Upgrading Your Experience

Counter-Strike isn’t the only game on the market you can host – CoD, Modern Warfare, Black Ops, Battlefield 2 and Team Fortress 2 are also popular choices for gamers, and the fact is that each year brings bigger, better and more graphically intensive games to the table. Once you’ve maxed out the number of players you can support on your VPS, you may want to consider purchasing more virtual landscape to allow you better access to resources. If you find that your server requires too much in the way of “burst” resources, you may also want to consider the move to a dedicated server, in which you are the only tenant of the entire physical server. This means all resources will be dedicated to your game, all the time, but a higher price tag comes with a dedicated server as well. Before making the upgrade to a dedicated server, however, be sure to contact your VPS provider and see what they can offer you in terms of memory and bandwidth improvements.

Hosted game servers are here to stay – get the best bang for your buck with a VPS server.

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Randy5 September 16, 2011 at 1:16 PM

CounterStrike should be popular for a long time to come. It’s an exciting game with universal appeal.

Stoddard September 16, 2011 at 1:19 PM

You definitely need VPS if you want anything close to the fastest, sharpest gameplay possible.

Rusher September 16, 2011 at 1:21 PM

It’s going to be strange to play video games when the grapics are indistinguishable from videos of real people.

OhDonna September 17, 2011 at 8:41 AM

My boyfriend’s obsessed with this game. He acts like his clan-mates are his long-lost family or something.

silkysmooth September 23, 2011 at 1:20 PM

i sympathize with you, ohdonna. maybe we should start a support group for people who’ve lost loved ones to counter-strike.

PotsNPans October 3, 2011 at 4:09 AM

I’m such a non-gamer that I had to Google ‘FPS’ to see what it stood for. A good abbreviation to know, though!

Texas2Step February 3, 2012 at 10:00 AM

This article reminded me how important it is to have an “upgradable” game server. You want to be able to deliver all future versions of Counter Strike and other top games no matter how many resources they’ll take up.

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