If you love playing video games, then youâ€™ve probably considered running your own gaming server. Thereâ€™s nothing more frustrating than slow loading games, dropped connections, or experiencing lag that makes gameplay impossible. Issues like these are one of the main reasons gamers decide to use their own dedicated servers.
Dedicated server hosting can help to provide the ultimate gaming experience. Whether youâ€™re looking to improve gaming experience across the board or want to create a server environment your friends can enjoy too, then upgrading to a dedicated server just makes sense.
Below we look at what a dedicated server actually is, how they can help to improve gaming, as well as the top considerations to take into account when choosing a dedicated server for gaming.
What is a Dedicated Server?
To start weâ€™ll break down what a dedicated server actually is. Essentially a dedicated server is a physical server thatâ€™s dedicated entirely to a single user, youâ€™re not sharing server resources with any other users. Usually, these are used by website owners who have very large websites, receive a high volume of traffic, require a customized server environment, or need enhanced levels of website security like a SSL.
However, the great thing about dedicated servers is that theyâ€™re incredibly versatile. Once you sign up for a dedicated server package, you can use this server however you desire, including running your very own gaming server.
Dedicated servers usually allow for hardware customizations, a variety of operating systems to choose from, firewalls and security monitoring, ongoing maintenance, regular backups, and a dedicated support team.
Dedicated servers tend to be towards the higher end of the price spectrum, but there are a ton of advantages that you canâ€™t get with any other style of web hosting, especially if a high level of gaming experience is what youâ€™re after.
What youâ€™ll pay for a dedicated server depends upon the length of your contact (monthly, yearly, or multiple years), the company you decide to go with, and the type of dedicated server you require.
What is a Dedicated Server for Gaming?
A dedicated server for gaming is a dedicated server that has the requisite requirements to effectively run any game while offering a very high level of performance. Whatâ€™s required from your server will depend upon the game youâ€™d like to run and how many players youâ€™ll want to have using the server at any given time.
If youâ€™re running your own gaming server, some games wonâ€™t allow you to charge people to play the game, especially if theyâ€™re free and open source. Others, however, are fine with you charging an entrance fee in order to utilize your server. Overall, monetizing your gaming server depends upon the hosting company youâ€™re renting the server from, along with the games youâ€™ll be running via your server.
Most hosting companies that offer dedicated servers for gaming will have specialized software that will speed up the game configuration process. At the very least, a company offering dedicated gaming servers will have the necessary hardware to run games at peak capacity.
How Dedicated Servers Improve Gaming
There are many dedicated IP benefits you should be aware of, especially for gaming. Sometimes the servers provided by the gaming company wonâ€™t cut it, or youâ€™re looking to create the ultimate gaming server for your own games or a place where your online team can practice.
Whatever your reason a dedicated gaming server can offer you a ton of advantages. Here are some of the most common benefits youâ€™ll realize when upgrading to a dedicated gaming server.
1. Better Gaming Performance
Probably the biggest reason youâ€™ll want to run a dedicated gaming server is to provide a better overall gaming experience. If youâ€™ve been running a game that allows for the use of a dedicated server, then you should probably make the upgrade, if you really care about gaming performance.
For example, most games will look for the best connection. But, if the game is incredibly popular, or even if itâ€™s older and there are fewer players, then it might be hard to find a stable connection. Most games will rely on peer-to-peer connection, but sometimes this can be slow of glitchy, depending on the internet connection.
Sometimes gaming companies will even provide their own dedicated servers, but due to the cost, most gaming companies will not provide them.
2. More Control and Customization
With a dedicated gaming server, youâ€™ll have a much greater level of control over the gaming experience. Some games will even allow you to modify the gameplay, so you can create certain rules, or even control how the game is played.
Youâ€™ll also be able to control who is allowed onto the gaming server. Youâ€™ll be able to add or remove users with ease. This can be valuable if you want to create a gaming server for your friends, or if you want to host a server that allows you and your team to practice, before playing online.
In some cases, you can also install software that effectively acts as an anti-cheating tool. This will help provide your server with necessary security measures, so other people canâ€™t manipulate the code to their own advantage.
3. Decreased Level of Lag
One of the biggest effects on the overall playability of a game is lag. High lag usually comes into play when a user has a slow internet connection, or theyâ€™re connecting from another far-off part of the world.
This not only provides them with a poor gaming experience, but it will also affect other users whoâ€™re playing the game as well. If you have a team member experiencing a high level of lag, then they could cost your more matches. Overall, teams who are experiencing less lag will tend to win more games and matches.
By running your own dedicated server you can help to reduce issues that surround lag for you and any other players who are using the same server.
3. Greater Reliability
With a dedicated server, youâ€™ll experience higher levels of reliability than any other type of server. With other types of server environments, like shared servers, you’re competing for server resources with potentially hundreds of other sites. This increases the chances that your server could be temporarily offline when you need it the most. As always, itâ€™s important that you fully understand both dedicated IP and shared hosting plans before choosing the right one for you and your website.
Dedicated servers have an extremely high level of uptime, sometimes reaching as high as 100%. Of course, there are minor times when server maintenance needs to be done, but beyond keeping your server up to date there shouldnâ€™t be any other reasons your server will be offline.
This means that whenever you want to play a game or host an epic multiplayer match youâ€™ll be able to count on your server.
Considerations When Choosing a Dedicated Gaming Server
If youâ€™re sold on getting a dedicated gaming server youâ€™ll want to keep some things in mind throughout your search. Not every company that offers dedicated servers will make it easy to run games on your server.
Beyond looking for a hosting provider that actually offers dedicated gaming servers here are some tangible requirements to keep in mind:
1. Know Your Gaming Resource Requirements
Every game has different hardware and software requirements. Some online games have massive resource requirements and youâ€™ll need to ensure your server environment is up to the task. If the overarching goal of running a dedicated gaming server is an improved gameplay experience, then youâ€™ll need a server with sufficient resources.
Youâ€™ll also need to consider how many people youâ€™ll have playing on average. For example, if youâ€™re maxing out server resources with solo gameplay, then youâ€™ll need to upgrade to a server that has a higher level of available resources.
2. Required Memory and Bandwidth
Sever memory and bandwidth are two of the main hardware requirements youâ€™ll need to look out for. With enough memory and bandwidth youâ€™ll be able to have a lightning fast connection. Youâ€™ll want to invest in a higher bandwidth host, so you can ensure that any games you run will run smoothly.
3. Donâ€™t Choose on Price Alone
If youâ€™re trying to save money, then a dedicated gaming server might not be for you. A dedicated server is typically the most expensive forms of hosting youâ€™ll find. You may be able to find cheap dedicated server hosting options, but this could come at a cost of negatively impacting the gameplay experience. With a cheaper provider, youâ€™ll usually have to sacrifice server performance, lack of customer service, and more.
4. Look for a Knowledgeable Support Team
Unless youâ€™re an expert in server technology youâ€™ll want to have a solid technical support team behind you. Most dedicated server environments require at least some level of technical expertise to configure and get up and running. But if youâ€™ve set everything up correctly and you still run into an error, youâ€™ll want to be able to troubleshoot the issue with a team of experts.
In some cases, you might also be able to find a managed dedicated server. Instead of having to deal with server setup, maintenance, optimization, and any other technical tasks on your own youâ€™ll have a team of experts do it for you. This option is usually more costly but can be very valuable if you donâ€™t have the necessary technical skills.
5. Bundled or Available Server Software
Most dedicated servers will offer you the choice of server software to install. Youâ€™ll need to make sure that the server software you go with will support your game of choice. If you want to run multiple games on the same dedicated server, then look at the software requirements and ensure they match up. Generally, this wonâ€™t be an issue, but some games will have very specific requirements.
Beyond the initial dedicated server software requirements, your host might also offer additional software thatâ€™ll help morph your standard server into a gaming server with little effort on your part.
Canâ€™t I Just Run a Gaming Server At Home?
When youâ€™re doing research and trying to find the perfect dedicated gaming server the question might arise: why donâ€™t I just run my own gaming server? However, if youâ€™re thinking about going this route just know that itâ€™ll require a high level of technical expertise, and you probably wonâ€™t be able to get the levels of performance youâ€™re looking for.
A dedicated server is technically just a computer thatâ€™s connected to the internet. But, a remote dedicated server provided by a hosting company will have all of the specialized server hardware thatâ€™s uniquely configured to run the required server software. Simply trying to piece together a server on your own might work, but then you have to think about ongoing maintenance, security, and a lot more.
Not only that but if your server crashes you wonâ€™t have a support team you can rely on to help you diagnose the issue.
Youâ€™ll probably spend more time trying to setup and maintain your own server than actually gaming, or hosting games for your friends.
Overall, doing your web hosting with a dedicated IP is going to be your best course of action.
Is a Dedicated Server Right for Your Game Environment?
If youâ€™re a serious gamer, you canâ€™t go wrong with a dedicated server when making a gaming website. By choosing a high-quality hosting provider you can ensure youâ€™ll get a dedicated gaming server that offers you unparalleled levels of performance, along with the resources required so you can play your favorite games.
The process of setting up your own gaming server can be a little technical. But, with the help of a dedicated support team behind you, it might be easier than you think. Plus, youâ€™ll have ultimate freedom in creating your own custom game environment, from your own gameplay options, to who you want to let play with you.
Although a dedicated server might be a little costly, for some having the ability to create your own gaming experience, and offer the highest level of gameplay possible is too much to pass up. However, keep in mind that the quality of the host you choose does matter, especially in regards to overall performance, security, and the support team youâ€™ll have behind you.
Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.