Game Server Hosting

Options For Hosting A Game Server

There are essentially three types of game server available, or two ways to host your own multiplayer game. It is possible as a gaming client to establish your own server on your own computer but this is generally an extremely limited option. The amount of people you can host is severely limited by the performance of your computer, size of your hard drive, and other factors concerning your computer and any installed software. It is also an insecure method of hosting a game. When you turn your computer off, the game server is effectively turned off as well meaning that nobody else can play while you are offline.

Using A Dedicated Server


Another alternative is to use dedicated server hosting. Because a dedicated server can be put aside for use solely as a game server it offers numerous advantages over the use of your home computer. First and foremost is the amount of diskspace and bandwidth allowed. While using your home computer is dependent on your own computer specification and also takes into account the amount of diskspace you already use and your Internet connection, a dedicated server hosted by a professional hosting company provides much more than this. You get the full resource of the server machine at your beck and call.

Game Server Software


A dedicated server also offers the benefit that you do not need to have any software installed that you will not use. Game servers generally require fairly specific software and by using either the appropriate game server provider (GSP) or a standard provider that offers cPanel it is possible to have this software installed for you when your server is first created. Dedicated servers are housed in the data center that the host uses and this, too provides, a number of advantages over any alternative methods of hosting your own game server.

Optimum Conditions For A Server

Servers are surprisingly delicate machines. While your home computer can generally put up with the rigors of regular use and being sat in conditions ranging from winter cold to summer hot the same is not necessarily true of a server. In order for it to run at its most effective it needs be given its ideal conditions. Sat in your spare room or your dining room collecting dust is not the ideal situation for any server. Data centers are equipped with HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) units that keep the atmosphere perfect for an extended server life. It also ensures that the server performs at its best throughout its life.

Always On


Another problem with a home game server is that when your PC shuts down so too does the server, when you log off the Internet so too does the server, if you experience any technical difficulties so too does the server. Because you will likely be placing an extraordinary amount of load on your home computer it is not unlikely that the increased load will cause your computer to suffer from technical difficulties and eventually crash. The resetting of your computer means that all gamers using your computer as a remote server will be suddenly and inexplicably booted from the game.

The Pitfalls Of Using Your Home Computer


While the problems associated with running your own game server from home may not surface, if you intend to run a server for any promotional or commercial reason then you are strongly advised against the do-it-yourself technique. It will invariably lead to upset because the most annoying thing from a gamerís point of view is being thrown off a game with no warning. If it happens regularly then you will quickly lose gamers from your server and to another server.

Why Serve Games?


More and more people are turning to online gaming. The massive advance of games like World of Warcraft and Second Life are testament to this very fact and are also proof that the rise is likely to continue. As this popularity increases even further and more games are taken online it is also conceivable that even more hosts and specialist providers will begin to offer game server hosting. The first step to choosing the best hosting plan from the best host is to determine the type of server you will require. This will depend on the game environment and how users connect to the game.

Centralized Game Server


Massive multiplayer games generally use a centralized server. This is because the virtual world where the game takes place needs to continue evolving and living 24 hours a day, 7 days a week regardless of whether any single player is still online. Generally gamers download and then use client software in order to access the virtual world, or server. For this type of game, usually offered by very large companies or organizations, the most important aspect is stability. Should the game server crash unexpectedly then players will lose faith and stop playing the game. Even if none of the information is lost it is still annoying to have to keep logging back into the game.

Distributed Server


Smaller organizations or games that do not demand this always-on style of existence can instead use a distributed server model. Numerous servers are offered to gamers, who choose one and play against other human opponents. Once the game is completed the server is not required until another game is to be played. In some cases all of the servers need to be connected in order that they can transmit game data between themselves. However, the single most important factor is connection speed and ping time. This ensures that all gamers connected to the server can transmit and receive data quickly and smoothly.

Cost And Availability


It is possible to lease a dedicated and specialized gaming server for as little as $30 per month, although the actual server, software, and bandwidth required will obviously play a major part in determining the server and hosting account that you require. Many hosts do not offer this option but some have recognized the very real probability that online gaming will continue to grow and grow. As a consequence there are a reasonable number of standard hosts that also offer game server hosting.

Pre-Configured Packages


A lot of game servers come pre-configured with the required software pre-installed. This makes your job incredibly simple because it means you do not need any knowledge of server administration or any other technical knowledge. All the gamers to your site or using your server require is a copy of the game, a computer with the appropriate specifications, and also an Internet connection.

Security Issues And Conclusion

Security should be an important consideration when looking for a dedicated game server. However, it is again true that the majority of dedicated game server providers are well aware of everything that is required of them. Choosing a reputable and well established one could greatly benefit your userís experience and therefore, your own experience. You should not overlook the non-specific hosts that also offer game server hosting because some offer excellent deals with exceptional features. Ask as many questions as possible to ensure that you are choosing the right host. Tell the game you wish to host, what type of game it is, how busy you intend to be and ask their opinion. If they are any good then they should be able to help you decide on the best option for your needs.