What is a Game Server?

A game server is basically a world, sometimes you refer to a game server as a hosted world. It is the database of an online game server where players can play together in the same world. The game server is a sort of centralized unit that continually sends and receives information from the game clients connected to the server and through this communication makes all the players able to see and interact with what other players do in the same game world. 

In simple terms, a game server is the heart of the multiplayer world that enables you to communicate with other players’ game clients. 

What is Game Server Hosting?

Game server hosting is a service that lets you lend a safe and secure storage space for your game server, the hosting provider rents out storage in data-centers connected to the internet in different locations around the world for you to use as a central unit for your multiplayer games. 

The game server hosting service is charged by the provider on a monthly basis and can cost anywhere from £1 to over £1000 depending on if you’re renting a simple game server or a massive network of servers made for hundreds or even thousands of players. 

Should I use dedicated hosting for my game server?

Most game servers use dedicated hosting and only a handful of smaller ones use shared hosting or VPS hosting for these servers. Most of the game servers offer a package with guaranteed hardware for the hosting, such as 4GB of ram and a 3.5GHz processor for example. This means that you are entitled to this hardware and that the server is dedicated to you.

If you are not using your own server or set up a LAN server to for example; play Minecraft with friends then you should look into getting a dedicated server for your game since this is the easiest and most efficient way to play together with friends or bigger communities of players.

If you find it hard to choose you can compare game hosting here and find the best prices for your game server hosting.

The Game Server Hosting Provider Business

The provider of the game servers either owns the servers or rents them in bulk, they install their software on the servers and connect them to their system and server pool. Then they rent out parts of their servers on a smaller scale to users and make a monthly revenue based on how many servers they are able to let out to users. 

To explain how game server hosting businesses work we can look at it as being a landlord.

Imagine you own or rent an apartment complex. For this example let’s imagine you rent an apartment complex of 10 apartments for £50 000 a year, Meaning every apartment will cost you £5000 yearly. 

For you to make money you simply need to let out the apartments for £5001 per year, even if this profit margin is too low to be realistic. Especially since you also have costs for upkeep and have to factor in that you might not be able to rent out all the apartments all the time and that some of them could stand empty for a while every year. To make up for this you will need to factor these things in as well as your profit goals. 

This is the same with game server hosting providers, they pay for servers, support, and systems and also have to make up for empty servers they fail to rent out to customers. A server hosting company operates very much like a landlord, they make their profits from the servers they let out.

Can I host my own game server locally on my PC?

You can host your own server from a PC for many different games, one among the most popular is Minecraft. Many find it hard to host servers on their own PC because of the technical knowledge it can demand about port forwarding and managing server software.

To host a server for multiplayer gaming on your own PC you first need some kind of server software that is made for the specific game you are trying to host a server for. Once you have this in place you need to make it possible for people to connect to this server through port forwarding your IP address and opening it up for other people to connect to it. 

The best way to host your own server is to do it on a PC of its own or maybe if you have a server computer made for functioning as a server you can use that for it altho few people own their very own server computer and most often you see people set up servers on older laptops or leftover PC’s they have build from spare parts. The perk with this is that the computer you use to play the games on won’t be slowed down by having the server hosted in the background and also that you can keep the server PC on at all times placing it in your router room or somewhere it is not disturbing you with fan sounds or light when it is constantly being turned on.

Other Hosting Types and Ways to Host a Server

Except for game server hosting there are multiple other types of hosting that companies offer as a service for people to use for their voice servers, websites, VPS hosting, Email hosting, and more. 

Website Hosting

Website hosting or WordPress hosting is often used by people to get their own websites up and running, this very website is hosted by AWS which is a product of Amazon. There are many different Website hosting providers just as there are many different Game hosting providers. There are a few differences between web hosting and game hosting however as they fall into two different types of hosting. Web hosting is often hosted through shared hosting whilst game server hosting needs a dedicated server, websites can of course be hosted through dedicated hosting but simple WordPress hosting does often not need this. 

Voice Servers

Voice servers are similar to discord or skype where you can host a server for your party or friends to join when you play a game together. These are commonly used for groups of people to use in games, such as clan chats or for raids in World of Warcraft. 

Email Hosting

Email hosting is something often used for business emails where you do not want one of the general email endings like @Gmail.com or @outlook.com etc. Instead, you can choose your very own business Email, for example, @manchesterbarbers.co.uk. This often costs between £8-15 per month and can be quite expensive for the private person but very important for most businesses. Email hosting works similarly to web hosting and is hosted on a shared server.

Different types of hosting explained

VPS Hosting

VPS hosting is usually used for websites that need more control but those that don’t need a full dedicated server for their website. VPS hosting is in its most basic form a shared server but closed off by invisible walls making your server feel like a dedicated server even though the space is shared. This means that the VPS hosting is still subjected to slowing down or crashing to high traffic spikes if it was to happen to multiple websites within the VPS server at once making the capacity limited. VPS stands for Virtual private server and that means that even though you have a private space within the server it is not a completely private server. 

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the most used type of hosting and is mostly used as website hosting, the shared hosting plans imply that your website share hardware such as CPU and RAM memory. These servers work great for smaller websites such as WordPress hosting and other website builders along with Email Hosting.

The problem with shared hosting is that if one or several of the hosted properties needs to use a bigger load it will compromise your property too. For example; if you host a website on a shared hosting server your website might get slow if one of the other websites or Emails on the shared hosting space is overloaded by traffic or Emails.

Dedicated Server Hosting

Dedicated server hosting is where the server is dedicated to your property and you are exclusively renting the server, this is not a server with shared space like the two server types described above. This type of server is a bit more expensive and is often the reason game server hosting can be a bit more pricey than the web hosting and email hosting offered with shared hosting. Game servers can of course be hosted in shared hosting servers but these are often for smaller hosting packages for games that don’t demand a lot, examples of this are Minecraft and Valheim.

Dedicated servers offer more control to the user, they grant you full root access and admin access for you as a user. You can change operating systems and choose what type of security to run amongst other things that control the way your server is set up from the very foundational level. 

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is in the most basic form a network of servers working together to host your Website or Game. The servers or computers work together to host parts of the Website or game server to make it run smoothly. The perks of having cloud hosting are that you can scale it to the needs you have and don’t have to move the server completely once your business or game server has grown out of size for the smaller shared server packages and therefore have to completely re-install the property into a bigger hosting package, resulting in downtime or a period of instability for your users. 

Cloud hosting also increases the stability of your server since the split-out load makes all parts of your property independent and won’t be subject to slowing down just because one part of it has been overloaded.

Managed hosting

Managed hosting can be any of the aforementioned server packages but is an addition to the hosting package that also helps with management, this is especially useful for bigger company websites or game servers that need to function all around the clock because of users needing to access is from all over the world. 

Managed hosting is just like it sounds; hosting that is managed by a third party (most often the server provider) so that your server can remain stable and is monitored and serviced with the day-to-day management without you needing to watch the server status.

Co-location of servers – Renting a physical server

Co-location of servers is like the hosting version of renting an apartment in the apartment complex or a dorm room in the student accommodations. With this, you get to rent your very own server equipment and install whatever software or hosting operating system on it you would like. This is often used by the game server hosting providers to offer servers all across the world. They simply rent a part in a bigger server room and install their software on the servers so that they can work within their network of servers.

Co-Location or just renting server hardware comes in many different forms, some just rent out the space and you have to tend to the server’s hardware, software, and management. While others take care of it for you and all you got to do is to run the server in the way you like. You probably shouldn’t consider this as an option unless you run a large-scale online business or multiple game servers integrated into a system of your own. 

What hosting is best for you?

Knowing what kind of hosting you should use is hard, but you should first and foremost look into what needs you have and why you’re looking for servers.

I would recommend anyone starting out to start with a shared server by just getting a small hosting package for their website or a dedicated server if they are looking for a server for their game. I would not recommend getting cloud hosting or Co-location hosting unless you are a larger enterprise or online business. 

A good tip is to compare game server hosting or to compare web hosting if you are just starting out with your online gaming or business ventures. 

Thank you for reading this post!

Good luck, and feel free to contact us if you have any questions about game server hosting or other types of hosting!

Last Updated on March 1, 2023 by Linus – GSH

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