While the most popular online titles now rely on matchmaking systems and their own servers, dedicated servers are still a big part of the gaming experience for many PC gamers.
If you’re a fan of games like ARK: Survival Evolved or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, there are plenty of reasons to look at investing in setting up your own permanent private server from locking out griefers to installing mods that modify the core experience in a way that better suits the way you and your friends want to play.
Providers like OVH provide a means of doing this.
If you’re looking to set up an OVH private server for gaming, here’s an easy-to-read, step-by-step, how-to guide:
Step 1 - Select your Server
First things first, you have to select the specs of your dedicated server.
Opting for the more-expensive options here is usually the way to go with more intensive experiences like ARK: Survival Evolved but for more low-resolution experiences like Minecraft, the cheaper options will probably do the job just-as-well.
Currently, OVH offer four server configurations - each with their own specs and price-point.
Step 2 - Purchase It
Once you’ve decided on your server package of choice, proceed to the purchase screen and lock in your choice.
When you set up a dedicated server through a company like OVH, you’re essentially renting a PC, so the cost is monthly.
Step 3 - Choose your game
The next thing you’ll want to do is go to the Linux Game Server Manager website and find the game you want to set up a server for.
At the time of writing, Linux GSM supports the following game servers:
ARK: Survival Evolved
Black Mesa: Deathmatch
Call of Duty 2
Call of Duty 4
Call of Duty
Call of Duty: United Offensive
Call of Duty: World at War
Counter-Strike: Condition Zero
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Double Action: Boogaloo
Day of Defeat
Day of Defeat: Source
Day of Infamy
Don’t Starve Together
Fistful of Frags
Half-Life 2: Deathmatch
Half-Life: Deathmatch: Source
Just Cause 2
Just Cause 3
Killing Floor 2
Left 4 Dead 2
Left 4 Dead
Multi Theft Auto
No More Room in Hell
Natural Selection 2
Pirates, Vikings & Knights II
Quake 3 Arena
Grand Theft Auto San Andreas Multiplayer
7 Days to Die
Serious Sam 3: BFE
Team Fortress 2
Team Fortress Classic
Unreal Tournament 2004
Unreal Tournament 3
Unreal Tournament 99
Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
Zombie Panic! Source
For the purposes of this guide, we’re going to go with ARK: Survival Evolved.
Step 4 - Install the version of Linux you need
Once you’ve chosen, click on the linked image for that game and scroll down to the section marked compatibility and find the versions of Linux that’s recommended for your game.
On the LinuxGSM page for ARK: Survival Evolved, it lists Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, Debian 8, Fedora 17 and CentOS 7 as the minimum recommended Linux distributions.
After you’ve chosen which version of Linux you’re going to go with, jump over to the control panel for your OVH Server.
Click on Dedicated Servers and select your server.
Then, under ‘General Information’, you should see a subheader labelled ‘System (OS)’.
Click on it and select the version of Linux you want to install. Make sure that meets the recommended distros.
For us, this means Fedora 28.
Step 5 - Wait for everything to be set up
Installing an operating system onto your dedicated server can take some time.
Once it’s done, you’ll get an email from OVH letting you know and providing the relevant IP address and admin login details.
If you don’t get this email, be sure to check your spam filters and make sure your OVH account is correctly connected to your email in your account settings.
Step 6 - Install a SSH client (putty)
Next, you’ll need to install a SSH (secure shell) client.
In our case, we used PuTTY. However, there are more than a few other SSH alternatives out there such as:
Bitvise SSH Client
Dameware SSH client
Once you’ve chosen your SSH client, download and install it.
Step 7 - Connect via IP
Launch your SSH client and connect using the details provided in your email from OVH.
If you can’t connect, make sure to open up your OVH control panel and confirm that the status of your server is normal.
Assuming everything is working correctly, you should be able to log in using the login/password combination included in your email from OVH.
Great work, you’ve now connected to your dedicated server.
Step 8 - Install the relevant dependencies
Your next task is installing LinuxGSM.
To start with, jump back to the page for your game of choice on the LinuxGSM website.
Scroll down to the section labelled dependencies. Find the command line input you need, based on the Linux distribution you’ve installed, and then copy it into your SSH client.
If you’re typing it out by hand, make sure to check it over for typos.
Give it a minute, and your OVH server should install the relevant dependencies.
For Fedora 28 machines like ours, this means the following:
dnf install mailx postfix curl wget file bzip2 gzip unzip python binutils bc jq tmux glibc.i686 libstdc++ libstdc++.i686
Step 9 - Install the server client
Then, scroll down further to the section labelled ‘Install’.
Follow the instructions there, starting with creating a user and login.
If you’re playing along at home and have chosen Fedora 28 like us, enter the following:
su - arkserver
Next, download Linux Gameserver Manager.
wget -O linuxgsm.sh https://linuxgsm.sh && chmod +x linuxgsm.sh && bash linuxgsm.sh arkserver
Congratulations, you’ve now got a dedicated server with Linux Game Server Manager installed on it.
Now all you’ve got to do is install the ARKServer app itself.
To do so, simply run the installer for ArkServer.
If you’re using Fedora 28, enter the following into your SSH client:
Step 10 - Start server
The last thing you need to do before you can dive in is actually get the server running.
To do so, enter the following command in your SSH client:
Step 11 - Connect and get playing
Connecting to your new private ARK server is as simple as going to Steam, clicking the ‘View’ drop-down menu on the top-left part of the Steam app.
Select the options labelled Severs. Then, hit the Favorites tab and click on the button labelled ‘Add Server’.
Paste the IP address for your ARK server here.
Finally, launch ARK: Survival Evolved.
When you’ve loaded into the main menu, press the ‘Join Ark’ button. This will pull you into the game’s server browser interface.
Down the bottom-left of the interface there will be a drop-down box labelled Session Filter. Click on this and select favorites - and you should see a list with your private server on it.
Then, simply join that server as you would any other ARK server.