So, you’re planning on setting up a gaming server, are you? It’s a pretty sweet idea, if you think about it. You’ve a hub where all your friends can meet up and hang out in the virtual world, you can customize the game to be played the way you want to play, and, even better, if you play your cards right, you might even manage to monetize it and make a few bucks in the process.
‘Course, that’s not exactly an easy task to accomplish. You’ve quite a few things you’re going to need to consider before you even get started, and even once you’ve gotten all the ports forwarded, worked out the sticky details of your firewall and downloaded your server hosting software (I’m not even including that on the list- that’s one of the most basic elements), your job’s still not done. Here’s a few more things you’ll need if you actually want your server to gain a bit of renown:
When are you updating? What’s the deal with the latest patch? Are you installing new plugins or software? Running special events? Bringing on new staff? You need to establish some sort of online presence for your server, a place where members can go for news and information. Most of the servers I’ve seen also have a forum of some kind- Invision’s one hosting site that’s worth looking into if you’re not feeling all that savvy. Other options such as Omnis let you script your own forum, giving you far more freedom than you’d otherwise enjoy.
Of course, in order to run all that adequately, you’re also going to need…
A High-End Router:
I’ll level with you guys- I made a bad purchasing decision, and as a result, my router sucks. It works just fine when I’m theo nly one using it, but the second three or more people attempt to utilize it, it has a panic attack and begins spontaneously disconnected folks with impunity. The firmware’s not the problem- it’s the hardware itself. It’s simply not designed for that much traffic, unfortunately.
You need to get yourself a beast of a router if you’re going to be running a server over the Internet – here’s a couple you can check out to help along your purchasing decision. It’ll be a pretty hefty investment, but one you absolutely have to make. Of course, the best router in the world doesn’t matter a lick if you don’t have…
High-Speed Internet(Or a Host):
This one should really go without saying. Unfortunately…this is where you’re really going to get gouged, if you’re looking to make your server anything more than a ‘friends-only’ affair.
See, most ISPs are rather finicky about people running their own public servers through their Internet connections. They’ll throttle your speed, close the port it’s being run through, or simply cut you off. The reason? They want you to buy a commercial-grade connection. Those aren’t cheap, I’m afraid- they usually cost upwards of several hundred dollars ore more per month. If you’re careful (and depending on how many people you’ve got connected to your server at any given time), you might be able to pull it off…but it’ll be tough.
In all honesty, unless you have very, very deep pockets, you’re probably going to want to look into a third-party hosting agency to run your server for you. Otherwise….you’ll run into trouble.
A Dedicated Machine:
Some rigs can run servers while you’re doing other stuff, true. Most of the time, however, it’s better to get yourself a separate PC to run the server from, and dedicate the system completely to that server- don’t run any unrelated programs or applications, if you can help it. You don’t actually need anything terribly monstrous for this- a couple gigs of RAM and a decent processor should probably suffice. Of course, it once again depends on how many people are going to be connecting.
If you’re planning to run a server with several hundred people connected at once…you’re probably gonna need to shell out for a pretty powerful machine.
Time and Money:
You’ve probably figured this out by now, but running a server isn’t a part time job. There will be problems. People will require updates and details. You’ll need to fix issues with your connection. You’ll need to make sure people aren’t cheating. You’ll also need a lot of money, or a member base that’s willing to donate to keeping the server going.
Most server admins promote a few of their more active, trustworthy members to help them run things, to boot.
Anyway, that’s just my two cents, based on what I’ve seen. Here’s hoping it helps.
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