In 2022, the gaming industry was noted to be worth 347 US billion dollars – with multiplayer online games becoming increasingly popular. However, any seasoned gamer knows that lag, slow loading times, and dropped games can quickly turn an enjoyable gaming experience into a poor one. This is where a dedicated gaming server comes into play (no pun intended).

With your very own gaming server, lag and slow gaming can be a thing of the past. This article delves into the ins and outs of dedicated game server hosting and breaks down complex concepts into easily digestible information.

What is a dedicated gaming server?

A dedicated gaming server is a private, fully remote server that hosts video games for the server admin (the player who sets up the server) and all the other remote clients (players) who connect to the server. Using this type of private server, players experience online gaming at its best: a smooth experience backed by a bountiful supply of processing and storage, no matter how memory-intensive the game is.

Unlike shared servers, where resources are divided amongst multiple users, a dedicated server grants the user exclusive access to its resources. This means that the server’s memory, processing power, bandwidth, and storage capabilities are solely used to run the game, ensuring high performance and stability during gaming sessions.

If your very own gaming server seems like a tempting offer to you (and we don’t blame you), this blog post will unveil all its powerful advantages. We’ll also compare dedicated server hosting to traditional online multiplayer game hosting models: client-server hosting model and peer-to-peer (P2P) hosting model.

Looking for more background information on dedicated servers? Check out our blog ‘what is a dedicated server?’ for everything you need to know.

Online multiplayer game hosting models – how do they work?

To cut a long story short, traditional online multiplayer gaming models can be problematic, as they’re prone to lag, and only offer a non-customisable gaming experience. But, we’ll still run through the client-server hosting model as well as the peer-to-peer hosting model, so you can become familiar with both.

While both models have their advantages and disadvantages, they can cause a lag-ridden or non-customisable gaming experience.

Client-server hosting model

In the client-server hosting model, the gaming servers are run by the main host (which is often the game publisher or console manufacturer), who manages all individual player connections. There are two main disadvantages here. Firstly, the players have little control over aspects of the game configuration. Secondly, if the main host’s server experiences an issue, every player’s game will be affected.

Peer-to-peer hosting model

In the P2P model, a local client (one of the players in the online game), either the player who first joined the server, or the player with the best connection is selected to host the game for all other players. The problem with this model is that you’re relying on at least one of the players to have strong processing power, bandwidth, storage capacity, and internet connection. If that isn’t available, the game will be glitchy and potentially the whole game can be dropped.

While both these hosting models can do the job, they’re bound to run into difficulties at one point or another. So why put yourself through this when you can create a dedicated server for gaming that gives you the best performance and connection possible, as well as ultimate control over the game configuration?

But how do dedicated gaming servers work?

Now that we understand client server and P2P hosting models – you should have a general idea of how dedicated gaming servers work. If not, dedicated gaming servers work similarly to a remote computer hosting a video game, without the need for an engine or graphics card rendering. Instead, it directs client machines on rendering instructions. This setup offers enhanced processing, memory, and storage capabilities, enabling you to:

  • Tailor the server for seamless gameplay (selecting the OS, installing scripts, configuring tools, optimising game settings, etc.)
  • Regulate the number of players (preventing excessive processing or memory usage).
  • Manage user access, banning rule breakers or controlling access for private gaming events.
  • Customise and establish game rules, such as round numbers, equipment regulations, and win parameters.

Why are dedicated servers better for gaming?

While using a dedicated server for gaming, all players connect to a server, rather than an individual host player. This results in higher computing power, a stronger connection and a synchronised gaming experience. A dedicated gaming server manages each player’s interactions, activities and locations, among other things, throughout a game.

Within the dedicated gaming server, the admin is free to:

  • Configure the server in any way they like to ensure fluidity on the server, choosing the operating system, installing custom scripts, setting up tools, optimising the game for configuration, and more.
  • Control the number of players in the game to regulate processing time or memory.
  • Customise the game rules to adjust gameplay to taste, such as number of rounds, maps, win conditions, stats. You name it, it can be changed.

Since the server is hosted by an independent server and not a player, it also eliminates the low-latency advantage that the local host experiences over other players in traditional online multiplayer game hosting models. Levelling the playing field in this way makes dedicated servers more fair and thus better suited for competitive gaming.

Advantages of dedicated gaming servers

Aside from high levels of customisation, these servers come with a range of other benefits that traditional hosting options simply can’t offer.

1. High quality performance

Empowered by top-tier hardware and internet connection, lags, glitches and losing connection to the host will be things of the past. Instead, dedicated servers are able to handle the heightened traffic demands of vast amounts of players without impacting performance. Plus, as the server admin, you don’t need to worry about your server overheating due to high traffic – as our green UK data centres offer robust hosting solutions with advanced cooling systems.

2. Reliable infrastructure

Dedicated servers are a reliable option for gaming. They’re the Fort Knox of servers, with 24/7 server monitoring, cooling systems and backup generators all working to ensure the game’s availability.

3. Forget corrupted save files

Dedicated servers save your game progress reliably and frequently, so you never lose any gains, and they’re far less likely to corrupt saved files than traditional gaming servers. This comes in particularly handy when playing prolonged multiplayer matches.

4. High levels of security

Dedicated servers benefit from higher levels of security because:

  • The server admin controls who can and cannot enter the server, making it easy to identify unknown remote clients trying to gain access.
  • Hosting providers invest a great deal of resources into cybersecurity measures such as firewalls, DDoS protection, and scheduled backups.
  • Gaming servers only host games and nothing else, meaning that the entries for attack can only be through the game and no other vehicle.
  • The advantages that dedicated servers have over traditional online multiplayer gaming models are clear to be seen, and if you choose to use one, you’ll experience gaming like you’ve never done before. Smooth, highly customisable, and 100% enjoyment.

Disadvantages of dedicated gaming servers

In order for you to properly weigh up the pros and cons of a dedicated gaming server, there are a few disadvantages to consider, and first up is cost.

To run a dedicated server through a hosting provider can rack up high costs. In comparison to other types of servers, a dedicated gaming server is slightly more expensive. With monthly fees, as well as any extras you may want to add on, this server might not fit your budget. On the flip side, if you’re hoping to run your dedicated server at home, then that means forking out for pricey hardware equipment to set it up yourself. Either way, a dedicated gaming server is not the cheapest option.

As with most servers, there comes a level of responsibility, and dedicated servers are no different. With a dedicated gaming server you’re responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the server, as well as installing any security software needed to prevent attacks. So, if constant management isn’t your cup of tea, then there are plenty of other low-management servers you could try instead.

However, the costs of a dedicated gaming server are surely justifiable if performance expectations of avid gamers are to be met. And the tech-savvy upkeep of these servers should be no problem for those who frequent their PCs.

Which games benefit from a dedicated gaming server?

Dedicated gaming servers are ideal for high workload games such as Minecraft, Fortnite, CS:GO, Rust, and many more. A dedicated server improves gaming performance and ensures that there is no lag – which is key for smooth gameplay. A dedicated gaming server is the perfect server base for any game lover.

Dedicated gaming servers are ideal for high-workload games such as:

A dedicated server improves gaming performance and ensures that there is no lag – which is key for smooth gameplay with these popular online games. A dedicated gaming server is the perfect server base for any game lover.

What should I look for in a dedicated gaming server?

It’s not uncommon for online gamers to get mad at patch updates or blame poor dev work for slow gameplay. While this can sometimes be the case, you may need to look a little closer to home – as your server could be to blame!

Whether you’re new to dedicated game servers or you’re looking to switch, here’s what to look out for:

1. Decent hardware

RAM, CPU and storage are going to be your best friends. While it’s important to meet the requirements needed to run your chosen game, having a bit more to handle traffic can’t hurt – particularly if you’re building a community.

CPU will help you manage multiple player interactions and inputs simultaneously. That’s why our dedicated servers come with multicore processors - as they’re essential in this day and age for handling the complex computational requirements of gaming environments. Afterall, a high-powered CPU in dedicated servers can reduce server lag, enhance smoothness, and elevate gaming accuracy – leading to a more immersive and seamless gameplay experience for all players.

2. Good security features

A server provider that has decent firewall and DDoS protection is going to work wonders protecting against data loss or potential security breaches. They should also have good backup capabilities in case the worst happens.

3. Uptime

The last thing you want to worry about is your server going down. At Fasthosts, we have a 99.99% uptime guarantee that’ll ease your worries.

Network Quality: Prioritise servers with high-speed internet connections and low latency to reduce lag and ensure smooth gameplay.

4. Costs

It goes without saying that you need to be within budget. Weigh up the pricing plans and compare them against the offered features to find a balance between performance and affordability.

Frequently asked questions

How much RAM should a dedicated server have?

We recommend an absolute minimum of 16GB. Our gaming dedicated servers start from 32Gb and go all the way up to 256GB for the hardcore gamers out there.

What is the best server type for gaming?

With its high-performance capabilities, performance, and dedicated resources such as CPU, storage and RAM, a a gaming dedicated server is the ideal choice for hosting your online game. However, it is possible to host a gaming VPS if you require a server with a lower budget.

How much do dedicated servers cost for a game?

For most people who want to host games with friends, a gaming VPS will cost just a few pounds a month and will generally suffice. For larger communities, a dedicated server starts from around £25 per month.

Peer-to-peer vs. dedicated gaming servers – which is better?

For cost-effectiveness or local gameplay, peer-to-peer gaming servers will generally do the job. However, you have to rely on a single host – and if their internet speed is unstable, this can negatively affect your gaming experience. However, dedicated gaming servers alleviate the complexities of game launches by providing a robust, scalable platform for high-performance game hosting, ensuring a seamless gaming experience.

Our Game Server Hosting packages offer a wide range of options to tailor your perfect gaming experience, including on-demand expansion for more players and the ability to add resources and slots at any time. All this at the incredible price of just £5 for up to 720 hours of gaming per month.

If you've still got questions about our dedicated gaming servers, get in touch with our sales team.