How To Host An ARK Dedicated Server [Windows & Linux]
Last updated: May 6, 2021
If you don’t want to pay by slot (pay per active player connected to your server) and would rather try your hand at running a dedicated server then this method may more for you.
Running a dedicated ARK: Survival Evolved server requires you to rent a VPS or dedicated server from a hosting company, install the server files, set up the firewall and then maintain it without a control panel.
This method is great if you have a large community ready to go but the large cost in money and time may make it less economical if you and a few friends want to play privately. Shared ARK hosting may be a better value for you and you can find a list of my top 10 ARK server hosting providers I have tested on the home page.
You could also install your dedicated ARK server to a spare computer you have lying around, though the performance would be pretty bad as domestic internet isn’t usually up to the job. Unless you are playing with friends on a local network, in which case it would be easy enough to do.
Before you start, be sure to read my warnings in regard to going down this route.
Risks to file systems
The first risk you need to be aware of is your file systems. You are going to be editing files and playing around with command-line interfaces.
Always double-check what you are doing before running a command or clicking a button. Changes you make can have catastrophic effects on your computer, server or even other computers on the same network as you!
Risks to the security of your network
In order to create a dedicated server that can speak to the outside world you need to open ports on your router.
These ports usually block the flow IN of traffic that could have malicious intents, they are closed for a reason.
Before We Start
Before we start to set up an ARK server of our own let’s look at the minimum specs needed for your server.
- Your server must be running a 64-bit version of Windows or Linux
- Your server must have at least 6GB of RAM
- You must own a copy of ARK: Survival Evolved
- You must be able to access your router and turn on/off ports (if you want your server to be visible to the outside world)
- If you are running a Windows server, make sure that DirectX and the C++ redistributable is updated
Ports That Need To Be Open
For your ARK: Survival Evolved server to be able to speak to the outside world you need to open certain ports on your router.
The following list of ports show you what is needed for your server to operate properly:
- UDP 27015 – This is the Query port for the Steam server browser
- UDP 7777 – The ARK game client port
- UDP 7778 – The raw UDP socket port, always +1 of the game client
- TCP 27020 – The RCON for remote console server access, this is optional if you don’t need it
Setting Up An ARK Server [Windows]
First off, create a folder for your ARK server to live in. I usually create a folder on my desktop but you could put it anywhere you like.
Expect the server to be bigger than 10GB in files during installation and then to grow as your server saves information and receives updates.
The recommended minimum available space for a server is 15GB.
2. Run the SteamCDM executable
Download and unzip the SteamCMD executable from here and then copy it into your new ARK server folder you created in step 1.
Run the file SteamCMD.exe and wait for the new window to ask for your input, enter the following to download the latest ARK server files from Steam.
login SteamUsername SteamPassword
force_install_dir C:\MyARKServer\ (folder from step 1 above)
app_update 346110 validate
Once the SteamCMD has completed the command above you can close the window.
3. Create a script to auto-run the server
Now that you have the needed files downloaded and ready to use we need a script to launch it correctly.
Within your set-aside ARK server folder browse through the new child folders created to find:
In this folder, you need to create a batch script (just create a basic text file in Notepad and save it as Serverstart.bat)
start ShooterGameServer "TheIsland?SessionName=MyARKServer?QueryPort=27015?ServerPassword=MyPassword?ServerAdminPassword=MYPassword?listen" exit
Double-clicking this file will launch your server. You could even add it to your list of startup programs that run when you launch Windows!
Setting Up An ARK Server [Linux]
For Linux, it’s the same principles as for Windows but you need to do step 3 a little differently.
Instead of creating a “batch” file you need to create a shell script called server_start.sh. Enter the following code into that shell script:
#! /bin/bash ./ShooterGameServer TheIsland?listen?SessionName=<server_name>?ServerPassword=<join_password>?ServerAdminPassword=<admin_password> -server -log<c/ode>
The to make it executable you need to run the following command line operation:
$ chmod +x server_start.sh
Of course, remember to change the <server_name> tag and replace it with your choice of name for the server (the name that people see in the server list in the ARK game).
Videos of Setup
- ARK: SE Dedicated Server Setup – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kvyu-H8i0M&feature=emb_title
- ARK: Survival Evolved – Server Setup (Easy) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l041YS888Hs
- Ark Survival Evolved Dedicated Server Setup for Windows using SteamCMD – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPKu8E78Yps
- ARK. Survival Evolved Dedicated Server Setup on Steam Community: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=454319195
- Fandom ARK Dedicated Server Setup: https://ark-survival-evolved.fandom.com/wiki/Dedicated_Server_Setup
- ARK Gamepedia Server Setup: https://ark.gamepedia.com/Dedicated_Server_Setup