Choosing ARK Server Hosting
Last updated: May 6, 2021
If you’re looking for a ready-to-go ARK: Survival Evolved server hosted by a game server provider then you are in luck. I have created the ultimate guide to help you out.
With over 100+ companies offering the same service across the globe, why does it matter which company you pick, are they not all the same?
It may be true you are essentially buying the same service from a provider, but you will notice a difference in the support you receive and the performance of your server.
I have combined the knowledge I have acquired over the last 4 years into one “ultimate” guide that will advise you on what to consider when renting an ARK server.
Cheapest or Best Reviewed Hosting?
Should you go for the cheapest option or choose a provider that has a credible business history?
This is a topic that comes up a lot in game-hosting forums because servers vary in price despite each company offering the same product.
The change in price usually represents the additional features, resources and customer service you can expect to receive, with many assuming the cheapest option being the worst, but in many cases, this is not the case.
Even “Great” reviewed sites can sometimes be worse than the cheaper options. The below content will explain the different areas to look at when considering both cheap and highly reviewed providers.
Hosting with great reviews
I’d always advise gamers to read reviews about the company they are going to choose. This is because you can usually get a good idea about the integrity and reputation of a company through their customers.
Try to pull information from different resources to get an overall perspective and read both positive and negatives reviews.
Apply the information from the reviews to your own specifications to see if the provider sounds right for you.
Consider the below points before choosing a company with a good review score:
How many positive reviews can you find?
Usually, I would suggest choosing a game hosting company that has a good reputation with plenty of positive reviews
Ideally, you want to use a company that is actively asking their community for reviews and that has more than 500 individual customer reviews to give you a variety of opinions.
Positive reviews should be an 85% majority to be considered a great company.
Are the reviews fake?
In the past, I have seen “suspicious” reviews that either sound too good to be true or have been written in a similar way to other reviews on a provider’s profile.
Review stuffing does happen because companies are desperate for your business and want to be represented as a trustworthy business.
Have bad reviews been removed?
Some review sites like Trustpilot allow companies to sign up for their service for a monthly fee to alter their reviews. It’s rather biased for a “review” site to do this but I suppose it’s how they make money.
If a hosting company has a premium profile they will be allowed to delete negative reviews which lower their overall score.
This in my opinion is a pretty biased way of running a “review” website and tricks the audience into thinking the company is better than it actually is.
I’d suggest reading reviews via Steam or ARK community pages, where the reviewing platform doesn’t offer incentives.
Cheapest option hosting
Is cheap ARK hosting a good option? Absolutely there are plenty of cheap hosting providers that offer much better servers than expensive well-reviewed companies. They usually have to offer cheaper servers to try and build their business up.
Typically newer server providers will have to go cheap in order to compete with the established companies that have been around for years, but that doesn’t mean their service is worse.
In fact, many cheap companies will be super attentive in order to help their business grow and keep their customers satisfied. Of course, there will be less-superior providers as well but you shouldn’t overlook the cheaper companies as an option because 70% of the “cheap ARK hosting” I have used in the past has been excellent.
Consider the below points before renting a server from a cheap provider:
What features do you get?
Most cheap servers will provide exactly the same amount of features as an expensive server.
If you’re running a casual server with only a few players a cheap option is a great way to get a great server and save money.
You won’t need a high spec server as you will never use the resources you are provided.
Is the service limited?
All shared hosting has limitations and server restrictions but sometimes cheap providers will add more to keep their costs down.
Bandwidth, CPU usage and RAM allocation may all have caps which will limit how far your server can be pushed.
Applying restrictions allows cheaper providers to fit more servers into one machine allowing them to make more money per server.
There’s nothing wrong with doing this but you will need to keep in mind that your service has restrictions that you may need to pay more for to unlock.
Do they charge for separate inquiries?
Sadly some cheap providers do try to sell you additional service on top of your basic package.
You may have to pay for support or mod installation which can be a problem for novice server users that can’t fix problems or manage a server efficiently.
I don’t often see providers using this tactic anymore but it does still happen, so check the provider’s website for additional costs if you’re unsure.
Which Features Should A Hosting Company Provide?
You may notice that providers will list all of the “features” that they offer on their website.
This is a tactic used by providers to try and make their service sound like the best on the market.
However, it’s very easy to write something on your website but not deliver on that statement once you have spent your money on their product
To help my readers avoid bad hosting, I have put together a list of the features that should be provided with your service, along with a description of what to expect.
What features should you expect in terms of support when you rent an ARK server?
1. 24 hours, 7 days a week
Every hosting company on the planet should offer their clients 24-hour support as server problems can arise at any moment.
As an ARK player, I know firsthand how a broken, problematic or slow server can ruin your community’s experience.
This is why I would always suggest renting a server from a company that guarantees quick support all day, every day.
If I’m paying for a service I expect to be able to play anytime I want without any problems.
2. Mod installation
ARK has loads of mods, DLC and expansion packs that can be added to your server but it will require installation.
For novice server managers it’s worth finding a company that will offer support in this area or even set mods up for you as it can be complicated.
However, many companies do offer a “one-click mod Install” option, this will allow you to choose from a list of predefined mods that can be installed without having to do anything technical.
This is fantastic for players that have limited server knowledge and will help you customize your world with little effort.
3. Dedicated ARK server guides
Every provider should have a dedicated wiki that applies to their service.
A lot of game settings and configurations will be the same across all companies but some do use custom control panels which you will need to learn.
I like using guides that are video-based as I find that it’s easier to understand, providers that offer their own video guides get extra points.
Server specific features
What features have we come to expect built into the machines when ordering ARK dedicated servers?
Losing your progress after spending your precious time building and creating a community can be extremely frustrating.
In the past, I have lost my game files due to incompetent hosting providers, which means I now always create backups.
Within the hosting control panel, you should have the option to save your game files manually and have the ability to assign a time for automated backups.
Before starting your server make sure your chosen company has a separate location that they are saving your files to, in case your server crashes.
2. Server migration
If you already have a game world set up on another server ask your new provider if they will migrate the old server to their machines.
This will allow you to continue your progress without having to start all over again.
All game hosting companies should be able to do this but only some will do it for free, some may charge you and others just can’t be bothered, so contact the support team and ask about it before you finalize your purchase.
What little extras have we come to expect now?
Does the company you’re considering offer any refunds for unhappy customers, if so what are the conditions of the refund?
As standard practice, most companies will give you a 24 hour grace period in which you can easily ask for your money back if their service isn’t what you expected.
However, I have noticed that some companies will only give your money back for specific reasons, so make sure you read the small print on their website before committing to the purchase.
If you’re unsure about the refund policy ask the sales team directly.
2. Subscription discounts
If you want to save money, you can usually pay for a year subscription which will give you a small discount.
I have seen discounts as large as 20% which essentially means you’re paying for ten months and getting two free which is worth doing if you’re planning to run a larger community for a long time.
3. Discount codes
It’s not often that I see companies offering discounts on their websites but it does happen on special occasions like a games anniversary, Christmas or a special event for the company.
Many of these codes last for long periods of time and even continue after the host has removed them from the website.
So make sure you search for provider discount codes before renting the service as there are loads of blogs and discount sites that have active codes that can be applied.
A few minutes of searching could easily save you a couple of dollars.
If your provider is not meeting the above requirements I’d suggest moving to another company.
Hosting providers are very competitive and will do anything they can to encourage you to stay with their service.
If you currently have a server that isn’t meeting this criterion you should approach other hosts directly and tell them that you are thinking about changing, but need the above features included in the package.
You can even get a discount by switching providers, but you will need to do this by contacting the provider’s sales team via email or a chat window.
To summarise this guide I would like to point out that 80% of providers will offer you the same package and service however the great companies will offer you more features to win your loyalty.
However, finding your perfect host can often take time if you do not consider the points I have raised in this article.
I have however made it easier for my readers to choose a reliable hosting company that I have first-hand experience with.
Over the last 4 years, I have been playing ARK and reviewing providers based on pricing, reviews, features and any flaws they may have in order to write my “Best ARK Server Hosting” guide.
If you’re looking for a reliable provider I have done all the work for you based on this article and put it in one place.
So make sure you check it out before making your final decision.