How to Build a Gaming Server from Scratch

Having a private gaming server is pretty cool and comes with numerous benefits. First, you no longer have to be at the mercy of multiple servers when you want to play a game. Also, you have broader control over the game setting and network configurations with your own server. For example, you can specify how many players you’d like to have in the gameplay at once or game resources they get to have.

You might have contemplated building your game server from scratch, but wondering where to begin. You’ll need specific hardware and software requirements in place to build your own server. This article highlights these details, followed by the steps for the optimal result.

Getting Started

Multiple game servers sound technical on the surface. With user requests, pings, latency, and other technical terms, you may think that server building and management require professional hands. Thankfully, crafting your game server is not as complex as it initially seems.

You don’t need to be the best server host to get started, you just need the hardware that can be an old computer you discarded, the software and configuration to run the show from the background. It’s essential to get these components separately as you’re trying to build the game server from scratch.

A new motherboard can play a significant role as your server’s hardware, handling the core processes and gameplay. Also, Linux is popular operating system software that allows you to manage the game server settings and configurations. However, these popular games have specific software requirements, so you have to implement an OS the game natively supports.

Below are some hardware and system requirements for popular gaming titles like Minecraft, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Team Fortress 2:

Minecraft Dedicated Server

Building a Minecraft Server often begins with getting the necessary software resources. You’ll need to download the Minecraft server software from the official website. It’s the package that creates added folders and files that you might need later in the game. Therefore, it’s best to install the server software on a blank file directory that will look like “D:\Minecraft Server\”. Upon successful download, run the server files for the first time. It will create the server.properties, eula.txt and /logs/ documents. You can go through the eula.txt and modify the last string in the file from eula=false to true. Then, you save the document.

Next, you run the server a second time to prompt it to download the rest of the configuration files. Again, open the server.properties and modify them to your taste. It’s important to note the router configuration setting for the port once you’re through with the editing. Usually, it’s “server-port=25565”, and you can find it on the default line 11.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Game Server

counterstrike on game server

You’ll need the SteamCMD terminal for your CS: GO gaming server. The app ID has to be 740 with anonymous permission granted. As you go into the installation process, you might need comprehensive knowledge of srcds.exe (Source Dedicated Server Software) as it’s responsible for running all your source engine servers in the future.

Since you’ll start from scratch, we recommend that you use a server launcher for starters. It’s a batch file that cycles through the configuration and server launch automatically. A server launcher example you can try is the pyr0s-csgo-server-launcher.

Further down the line, you can use any official Valve dedicated server configurations when you wish to customize, expand or modify your game server.

SteamCMD

SteamCMD isn’t a server driver itself. Instead, it’s a command-line terminal from where you can install and launch server software. However, one of SteamCMD’s benefits is that you wouldn’t have to download any additional Steam client. Remember that you’ll have to manually retrieve app IDs of the server program you want to update or download on SteamCMD. One way to make things more convenient is using the SteamCMD-GUI. It enables you to group variable selections and execute them in one go.

If you can’t find a specific program’s app ID, checking for it in the installation directory can help. Most Steam games have theirs located in the directory: (SteamLibrary)\SteamApps\common\(GameName)\.

Initiate a Port Forwarding Action

Port forwarding allows you to make your server available to other computer users not on your computer network. It gives your own gaming server setup more versatility, becoming more accessible to other gamers. The port you forward would be “Open port”. Typically, your port should look like the following for the different gaming titles you’re hosting:

  • Teamspeak: UDP in (voice) 9987, TCP in (serverquery) 10011, TCP in (file transfer) 30033, TCP in (TSDNS) 41144.
  • Terraria: 7777
  • Source Dedicated Servers (CS: GO, TF2, etc.): 27020 (UDP), 27015 (TCP/UDP), Note: add in other ports you’d like to use for additional game servers (e.g., 27016 for TF2, 27015 for CS: GO, etc.)
  • ARK: Survival Evolved: 7777, 32330, 27015

Also, if you’ve got a dynamic DNS-enabled router, you should set it up before forwarding your port.

Use the DDNS Method

While your game server might be up and ready to go, you’ll still have to cater to your IP address sharing to people who would like to join the network. DDNS (Dynamic DNS) allows you to share an IP address by linking it with a domain name. It’s a service that works for most gaming titles, and you can configure some DDNS hosts on your router directly. Some modern DDNS services for your home server include FreeDNS, DtDNS, DuckDNS, No-IP, EntryDNS.

Wrapping Up

Having your gaming server brings a new thrill to your gaming experience. You get to enjoy more resource space on your system and bypass the game server lag entirely. Furthermore, starting from scratch isn’t as tedious as you might have imagined. You do not need to know how to code to get started. All you need is an old computer and the gaming hardware from which you upgraded.

Running the game server is critical, and you have to use the right software to handle it. That’s why we’ve highlighted some server software configurations you’ll need for the various gaming titles available today. In addition, you might need to research further on other components that could help boost your server’s scale.

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