Game hosting, also known as Game as a Service (GaaS) has grown over the years. This has led to more demand for the development of advanced games from users. Also, with the technological advancements in cloud technology, it’s easier and more convenient to host these games on the cloud than locally on your PC.
If you’re looking to play a game with a few of your friends or family, game server hosting can be cheaper than you think. It allows you to play it on several devices with others and a player can resume the game from where they initially left it off. Starting a game server hosting company needs some tools to set up the gaming environment which needs money.
To start a game server hosting company, you need a server box, a control panel, a domain, and a billing API & a payment gateway.
What do I need to set up the company?
- Server box
You need a server box which you can rent one from a company instead. These companies that provide these services are huge with the capability to maintain these server rooms and come with excellent customer support. They take care of your server maintenance and let you focus your game. What matters the most when looking for in a server is the hardware. Besides, it depends on the type of game that you want to host with newer games in need of more RAM and a better CPU.
Type of hosting
There are two types of hosting – dedicated and shared hosting. Dedicated hosting is where one rents a portion of or an entire rack of servers. When purchasing one, you’ll be notified of the services that you’re getting. Shared hosting on the other hand runs multiple game instances on multiple server racks allowing the hosting provider to save on costs. This makes it cheaper than dedicated hosting. The downside is that it’s never that clear as to what you’re getting and your server can run into issues if there’s a lot of traffic. Some of the shared hosting providers include Gameservers and Nodecraft while Gameservers and AWS make the list of dedicated server hosting providers.
We recommend going for shared hosting to save on costs if you just want to play with a few people like your friends. If you plan on having a lot of people on your platform, you can start with shared hosting first and when necessary, upgrade to dedicated hosting. Some hosting providers may give you managed hosting that you can use to set up, configure, and automatically manage your server. With managed hosting, you can do automatic restarts and easily install mod.
- Control panel
A control panel is one of the most important aspects of game server hosting. It’s a user-friendly web-based interface that allows you to access and manage your server. Some of the features that you can find on a control panel include an automated update of modes, automated server installation, automated backup, statistics & logs, player management, and other settings. Some of the most common panels include TCAdmin, Pterodactyl, and XenoPanel.
Another important thing to have is a domain name for your game server site that you can host on your server box. This is what your users will need to type on the address bar when accessing your game server. There are several domain providers and it’s not expensive. However, don’t make your domain too long and hard to remember.
- Billing and payment gateway
Now comes the part where you want to monetize your platform. You will need a billing API and a payment gateway like PayPal. Integrating your Billing API with your website helps the billing system to bill your users and then sends the money to your say PayPal account via the payment gateway. You can register for a free PayPal account for business.
Challenges to address when setting up a server hosting company
Before jumping into buying equipment for your gaming company, it’s good to know what challenges you may encounter so that you can plan accordingly and get the right tools for the job.
Latency is the delay experienced between the time a player makes a move/action and when the second player can see the change and respond to it. It’s also called a lag and is something most gamers hate in a game. Though it’s sometimes caused by the network speeds and the type of device being played on, a server hosting company can reduce latency on its side by taking some measures. You can dedicate physical hardware or use flash drives. When it comes to the network, you can use TCP and UDP techniques to accelerate the network and make use of edge caching for static file delivery.
When starting, you might just be you and your friend. However, with time as your games become popular, you’ll end up having more people playing on your site. This number can be sudden and more than what you had initially planned for. To ensure that the servers don’t fail and the game doesn’t crash, buy enough hardware either when starting out or once you notice your numbers growing.
It costs to maintain the infrastructure. It’s good to have a budget that can guide you as you go ensuring that you keep the game servers going despite the number of players or playing time. You can also optimize the budget to ensure consistency with the game without affecting the quality.
Setting up the server
There are many and different ways to set up your game server depending on the kind of game you want to play. Some games come with their own server programs and you may need to check the official documentation before setting up the server. Once you set up the server, ensure the ports are open for people to access it.
Why are dedicated servers more costly than shared servers?
Dedicated servers are ‘dedicated’ for you while shared servers are used by more than one person. Having a dedicated server is similar to buying a house instead of renting an apartment.
What’s the difference between managed and unmanaged servers?
Managed servers are owned by a client but are managed and maintained by the server center while unmanaged servers and all their accessories are managed by you.