How to Choose the Best Game Server Hosting Provider?
There are plenty of choices out there—servers come in all shapes and sizes.
Here’s what to consider when looking for the best dedicated game server hosting.
Data Centers and Hardware
Not all providers are built the same. Some have a vast network of data centers with state-of-the-art hardware, while others run ten-year-old servers with HDD drives.
It’s a good idea first to make sure the provider has points of presence in all the right locations. The closer the players are to the server, the fewer ping issues you’ll have to deal with.
Make sure to check out the hardware. It is important to see if it has SSD storage or runs on old HDDs. The former is significantly faster, which is a big deal for game hosting. Also, check the CPU model, uplink speed, and other system specs relevant to dedicated server gaming.
You’re paying for it, after all, so you shouldn’t have to deal with prehistoric hardware.
Resources and Player Slots
This is the main thing you should look out for. The amount of resources completely determines what game and mods you can run and how many players can join in.
The exact CPU power and RAM requirements depend on the game. For instance, you can run Minecraft on as little as 1GB RAM, but Rust requires at least 4GB.
Many game server hosting services get around this by letting you access as many resources as you need but charge for open player slots. This can be an easier alternative if you know how many players you can expect.
Just get enough to support your game, and you’re good to go.
Control Panel and Features
All the shiny features you get are what separates managed game hosting from running a server. A good provider should give you everything you need to run a server effectively without even looking at a CLI.
The control panel goes a long way here. It should let you deploy various games, connect a database, manage backups, view files via FTP, access the Steam Workshop, integrate TeamSpeak, and a whole lot more.
TCAdmin is possibly the most popular gaming server hosting panel mainly because it has great features and is easy to implement. That said, there are solid modern alternatives like Pterodactyl Panel or GSP-Panel. If you do want to run Minecraft exclusively, you’ll likely be using Multicraft.
However, a lot of the features depend on the provider. The support for various games, server migration services, and instant activation vary by host.
Some providers offer extra services with your game hosting, like website hosting, IP addresses, email hosting, Mumble servers, etc. These can be handy additions if you want to build a community around your game server.
Cybersecurity is crucial in video game server hosting. After all, you don’t want your personal info or that of your players compromised.
A provider should be encrypting everything on its servers so no one can access sensitive data. A firewall and malware prevention systems are also a big step in the right direction.
DDoS protection is an essential addition to your toolkit. It’s extremely easy for disgruntled players to take revenge through DDoSing a game server, which is one of the biggest nuisances in online gaming.
Protection from such attacks is practically a must-have.
Support is there to help you out if you can’t figure out a certain feature or if there’s a problem with the gaming server rental.
No server admin knows everything, so it’s always good to have a few experts backing you up.
Look for a company with 24/7 support. Don’t be afraid to try out the live chat or ticketing system before you sign up.
If you can find a provider with an active Discord community as well, it’s a bonus.
Online gaming is all about the community, so why not use that to check what other admins say about a provider?
Review sites and community platforms like Reddit can be awesome resources.
You might find out which game hosting services work smoothly and which ones fail.
Running a game server is a ton of fun, but it can be taxing on your bank account balance. No one will blame you if you price-shop a bit.
Now, the price often corresponds with the features and resources. You can’t look for a dedicated server that can handle hundreds of players and expect to pay ten bucks.
Make sure to check out if a provider has a free dedicated game server hosting trial or a money-back policy. This lets you test out the platform without spending a dime.
The best strategy is to consider everything you need and make a list of a few potential candidates. You can then work out a compromise between getting the shiniest features and keeping down the cost of ownership.
That covers the main factors you should consider before picking a game server hosting company.
If you need a place to start, check out the reviews above for some solid options.
That concludes our reviews of the best game server hosting choices.
Now that you know the top names in the industry and what to look for in a game host, you are ready to begin your journey.
Feel free to check out any of the platforms above more closely and try hosting your favorite game.