It’s more popular than ever for gamers to host their gaming servers on virtual private servers, cloud servers, or even on a dedicated server. That’s because having your very own gaming server allows you to do a multitude of things, such as tweak game rules, add mods, control privacy settings, and ultimately make the game your own. While there are a ton of unmanaged hosting options – what makes a VPS a good choice for hosting games?

Although we’ll dive into all the benefits of a gaming VPS later on, the most common reason gamers host on a VPS is due to its affordability in comparison to dedicated servers. A VPS is your best bet for hosting games for your friends to play or even a larger community you game with. In this post, we’ll dive into why gaming VPS hosting is the best choice, the advantages of a gaming VPS, and everything you’ll need to set one up along with some answers to frequently asked questions.

What is VPS hosting?

VPS Hosting (Virtual Private Server Hosting), is a type of hosting that's a step up from shared hosting, though is not as expensive as dedicated hosting. Unlike shared, which is the go-to cheap option but lacks flexibility and security, a VPS acts like your own personal computer sitting remotely online. Though it's technically a portion of a larger server, you’ll see it purely as a standalone server that can be accessed anywhere in the world – so long as you have an internet connection.

With an unmanaged VPS, you’ll get full root access which gives you the freedom to customise your VPS to your heart’s content. Your hosting provider will give you a variety of options to scale components such as CPU and RAM, as well as a choice in your desired operating system. So, if you're looking for something that gives you more control and resources than shared hosting, a VPS is a nice middle-ground compared with more expensive dedicated or cloud servers.

What’s needed for a gaming VPS?

Hosting a game on your own VPS sounds pretty exciting at this point we bet! To ensure you get the right VPS for your game, here’s everything you need to get started.

1. Define your gaming VPS requirements

Setting up a Virtual Private Server (VPS) for gaming might seem intimidating, but if you've ever built a computer (or know what goes into building one), then you're already in the know. The only real difference here is you’re not putting together physical hardware for a computer – a VPS is exactly what it sounds like – virtual!

So what components will you need to think about?

  • Operating system (Windows or Linux?)
  • RAM
  • SSD
  • Your desired game’s requirements to run
  • PHP support (a great option if you want to host a website to monetise your gaming server)
  • A control panel such as Plesk
  • Bandwidth (Fasthosts bandwidth is unlimited!)

2. Install your chosen game

After setting up your VPS, it's time to install your chosen game to make it a gaming VPS. This process tends to vary depending on the game. If it’s available on Steam, you can use SteamCMD to install the game on your VPS. For games not available on Steam, you’ll need to check the documentation provided by the game developer (which typically sits on the game’s official website) or reach out to the game’s community online.

3. Port forward

Once your gaming VPS is set up and you’re connected to your VPS, you'll need to port forward your VPS so players can join your server. Our guide explains how to do this in easy-to-follow steps, but keep in mind that this process can differ depending on your chosen hosting provider. If you opt for a managed VPS however, then they'll guide you through the port forwarding process.

4. Branding

Hosting a website on your VPS is a common way to run a business or project in a secure environment. But why would you want to have a website if you’re just wanting to run a game on a private server?

The answer is simple – branding! Although this isn’t a necessary step, it’s certainly something to think about, especially if you want to grow your own gaming community. This can open up a whole host of options like monetisation further down the line.

5. Server load monitoring tool

Monitoring the server load is pretty important so that you don’t max it out and experience downtime. A VPS load measuring tool will measure how much of your allocated resources (such as CPU and RAM) are being used – the data can be used to determine whether you need to scale up to have more resources. 

Ultimately, the more players on your server, the higher the load will be, which can potentially lead to your VPS crashing or lagging. Some tools you can use include Zabbix, Checkmk and Netdata to monitor your VPS resources and see where problem areas are. It’s also a good idea to check on your VPS’s control panel to monitor usage, uptime and performance on a regular basis.

Luckily, our VPS-hosted game servers offer easy scalability. If you find that your game server is slowing down due to maxed-out resources, you can quickly scale up whatever you're short of. We have a full guide on how to optimise your VPS if you’re not in a position to scale it just yet – which may help you in the interim.

6. Security measures

If you opt for an unmanaged gaming VPS, it’s assumed you have the technical knowledge to provision the server how you want it to run. This also goes for the integrity and security of your gaming VPS, as after all, you’re ultimately responsible for the security of your VPS.

Advantages of a gaming VPS

So why should you opt for a VPS for your gaming server? Let's explore some of the best reasons to choose a VPS:

1. Reliable, dedicated resources for your game

A VPS is a splice of a wider virtual server with resources dedicated solely to you. This gives it an advantage over the likes of a shared server, but is also far cheaper than a dedicated server which is often used for larger scale projects and businesses.

With dedicated resources for your very own gaming VPS, you won’t have to deal with the noisy neighbour effect and worry about resources being spread too thin due to the demands of other users.

2. Customise your gaming VPS to do anything and everything

You don’t just have to use your VPS for gaming. You can install a multitude of apps, run websites, development environments, and so much more. Plus, you can host a Discord bot to run IFTT sequences and other automated tools for a smooth gaming experience. Just ensure you don’t overload your server, as it’ll affect your and other player’s gaming experience if you reach capacity! If this does happen…

3. You can scale a gaming VPS with ease

Scaling a VPS with Fasthosts is easy – just contact us and ask us where you’d like more resources allocated. On the flip side, if you find you’re barely using the resource you’ve paid for, you can scale your VPS down to make your monthly payments cheaper.

4. VPS game hosting is affordable

A VPS in general is an affordable private hosting solution, starting from just £1 in some cases, depending on the resources you need. They’re far cheaper than the likes of dedicated hosting too, and although the latter has many advantages, it’s not entirely necessary if you’re just starting out.

5. Gaming VPS hosting is secure

We previously touched upon how you can secure your gaming VPS further, but it’s worth noting that a VPS in its very nature is secure – the clue’s in the name! With a gaming VPS, you have the freedom to implement your own security measures, and some providers even offer additional protections like DDoS protection, intrusion detection, other prevention systems, and firewall management. These features collectively strengthen your VPS gaming server against malicious activities like server overloads, and malware attacks.

Disadvantages of running a gaming VPS

While we believe the pros more than outweigh the cons, there aren’t too many to note. One of the main disadvantages of a gaming VPS is that setting one up does require a fair bit of work, particularly in the initial stages.  We believe the results are worth it, particularly if you want to run your own server and brand for a gaming community.

Resource distribution can be seen as another issue when configuring a VPS for gaming. While we explained previously that a VPS works in its own environment segmented away from others, you’re still using this segment in a larger pool of resources. So if another user on the same hardware uses more resources than anticipated, this could impact your gaming VPS and overall experience. Finally, unexpected surges in traffic (or players in this case) could slow down your VPS and game instance, which can potentially annoy players and harm your reputation.

Frequently asked questions about gaming VPS

How much does it cost to run a gaming VPS?

This entirely depends on the provider you host your games with. Our Gaming VPS start from as little as £5 and hardware can be scaled up if you require additional resources. It’s also possible to get add-ons such as Plesk if required

What games are commonly run on a gaming VPS?

Gaming VPS hosting is suitable for a wide range of games, from small indie titles to massive multiplayer online games (MMOs). Here are some commonly hosted games on a gaming VPS:

  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: AKA a CS:GO gaming server,  this first-person shooter game is very competitive and requires low latency for optimal gameplay – making it highly suitable for hosting on a VPS.
  • Minecraft: Minecraft is a popular sandbox game that allows players to create and explore virtual worlds. Minecraft VPS have boomed in popularity due to its flexibility and modifiability – making it a perfect fit for gaming VPS hosting.
  • ARK: Survival Evolved: Simply known as ARK by the community, it’s a survival game set in a prehistoric world filled with dinosaurs and other challenges. By hosting an ARK gaming VPS, you can let chosen players explore and build their own virtual worlds in a secure environment.
  • Valheim: Valheim is another incredibly popular survival sandbox game that can be hosted on a VPS. With its 7th biome in the pipeline, we expect to see popularity increase closer to its release date in a couple of years.
  • Rust: A multiplayer survival game where players must gather resources, build bases, and defend themselves against other players – a Rust server is perfect for gaining that competitive advantage against enemies and the elements.

Is a VPS good for Minecraft?

Absolutely. Minecraft is huge – with endless possibilities, resources and a huge community. This naturally lent itself to becoming a popular game to host on a VPS. If you want to build your very own Minecraft community, then a Minecraft VPS is definitely the way to go. You can manage which players can access your server once you’ve configured what resources you require, and scale them up as your community grows.

What else can I do with a VPS?

There are many uses for a VPS which we cover in our previous guide. In a nutshell, you can use a VPS for a variety of things:

Can you really use a VPS for gaming?

Yes – a VPS can really be used to host games of your choice. With a gaming VPS, you can allow specific players to join and play with. It also allows you to install mods and other customisations for a unique gaming experience with your community. This, along with its cost-effectiveness and security, is one of the main reasons avid gamers opt to host their games on a VPS.

Ready to start playing on your very own VPS? If you want a seamless experience safe from hackers or griefers, choose a reputable hosting provider like us. Chat to our sales team or get in touch via live chat if you want to find out more.