How To Start A Non-Dedicated Server In Ark: Survival Ascended

Ark: Survival Ascended can be played alone, but the game truly shines when you are playing with others. There are different server types, but if you are looking to play with a group of friends, then your best bet is to set up a non-dedicated server.

Related: Ark: Survival Ascended – Complete Taming Guide

If you’ve never set up a non-dedicated server, don’t worry! The process is fairly simple, but we are here to go over the basics, allowing you to quickly get a server up and running for you and your friends. First, let’s take a look at each type of server, so you can choose appropriately.

Server Types

ark survival ascended non-dedicated server options

There are a few different server types, which you can check out below.

Server Type



This is just you!


Player-made, hosting up to 8 people

This server is not active if the host (player) is not online


Privately owned, with the server running 24/7, allowing people to play whenever

These require you to pay for the subscription in order to keep the server active


These are managed by Studio Wildcard (the developers of Ark) and don’t have any mods

When Should You Play On A Non-Dedicated Server?

ark survival ascended players riding dinos through foliage in a group

If you just want to play with a small group of people, non-dedicated servers are the way to go. These servers have a maximum of eight people and can be password-protected. From the Join Game menu, you can join other non-dedicated servers that don’t have a password, but using a password is a great way to prevent strangers from entering.

Overall, these servers are great if you have a group of friends spread throughout different states or countries, as there are no physical constraints.

How To Start A Non-Dedicated Server

ark survival ascended server creation menu showing the island selected

To set up a non-dedicated server, head to the Create Or Resume Game menu. From here, you can immediately start a single-player or non-dedicated server, but it’s best to look at the settings. The default settings are great for single-player servers, but if you plan to set up a server with others, then it’s worth checking out.

There are a lot of settings that you can tweak, but some of the most multi-player settings are found in the ‘Rules’ and ‘World’ tabs of the Game Rules menu. These allow you to tweak notifications and PvP status. From ‘World’, turning PvE mode on will create a server that, for the most part, is friendly. When off though, you can engage in combat with others.

In the Advanced menu under PvP and PvE, you can further change the settings for these game modes. If you aren’t sure what to do, just decide if you want PvP or PvE, and you are good to go. There are a lot of things that can be changed, but you don’t have to change anything if you don’t want to.

It’s best to decide with your friends what the server rules should be!

Are Non-Dedicated Servers Free?

Yes! Non-dedicated servers are completely free and don’t require you to purchase server space anywhere. This is different from unofficial servers, which require a subscription through Nitrado.

Should You Set A Password?

ark surival ascended player setting a server password

Just to be safe, we suggest setting a password for your server. This will prevent strangers from joining; only people who know the password will be able to join. If you are interested in potential new players though, you don’t have to use a password.

Next: Ark: Survival Ascended – How To Use Console Commands

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