How to Set up a Gaming Server at Home

Did you know that 43% of Americans say they play video games often? For many people, video games are more than just a fun distraction. They’re a way to hang out with friends and compete in a global community.

Sadly, any online gamer is likely familiar with the connection problems that come with public multiplayer games. The solution? Knowing how to set up a game server right at home.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through your options in terms of the different gaming servers and how to get started. That way, you can start having the best online gaming experience possible.

Why Invest in a Dedicated Gaming Server?

When you hop on your favorite multiplayer game, you’re likely to encounter two server models: client-server hosting and P2P hosting. It’s common to see client-server hosting with huge game developers.

With this option, the main host (or publisher) is in charge of all the individual connections. While client-server hosting is a good option for many casual gamers, it doesn’t provide advanced gamers with the customization that they want.

You’re also at the mercy of the publishers if anything goes wrong with their servers.

With the P2P hosting model, the server host goes to whoever started the game or has the lowest latency on their network. Ideally, the host’s computer will be strong in all the following areas:

  • Bandwidth
  • Internet connection
  • Processing power
  • Storage

But that isn’t always the case. A bad internet connection or a subpar computer can lag and crashes. That’s why it’s worth it for some people to invest in their very own home gaming server.

There’s no resource sharing, so you have the final word in terms of the game configuration. And as long as you have a good performance computer and a stable network, then things can run a lot more smoothly.

Let’s take a closer look at some benefits and drawbacks that come with getting your dedicated gaming server.


The main reason why gamers invest in their private server is, so they can have complete control over their gaming experience. That includes things like the mods installed and who is allowed to access the server itself.

A private server allows you to set up your unique security protocols. So, there’s no threat of having your data stolen or anyone getting in that wasn’t specifically invited.

With a dedicated gaming server, you get to rely on your equipment, hardware, and internet.

And, as long as you invest in all of these areas, it means your gameplay will be optimized. Some of the most reliable and stable servers out there are private servers.


It’s important to remember that an at home game server isn’t for everyone. As we mentioned, the performance of your server depends on the hardware, equipment, and internet connection you have.

Unfortunately, buying all these things can be expensive. And, in the case of the internet, it represents an ongoing cost.

Next, setting up and maintaining a server will require a lot of technical skills on your part. This isn’t always the case with some games, but many do come with a highly hands-on management process.

You will be in charge of your cybersecurity protection. If you don’t invest in things like Distributed Denial of Service (or DDoS), then your server might be at risk.

Finally, private servers use up a lot of energy. So, you can expect your energy bills to be higher.

Setting Up a Gaming Server for Steam Games

Ultimately, the type of gaming server you will need depends on the specific game you want to play.

For example, to centralize the process, some games will only allow you to set up a dedicated server through Steam. Some popular games that do this include:

  • Team Fortress 2
  • Rust
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  • Terraria
  • Ark: Survival Evolved

The easiest way to set up a server on Steam is through the SteamCMD, a command-line program that the service offers.

Usually, you would need to install Steam Client to set up your server. But, SteamCMD gives you the ability to set up a server using just a few clicks of your mouse.

So, how do you know whether your games use SteamCMD or Steam Client? The easiest way is to click on the game itself and see what type of software it uses.

If it uses SteamCMD, then you will need to locate the Steam App ID number and plug it in.

Otherwise, you will need to research how to set up a server for the specific game. Most developers will provide you with step-by-step instructions for completing this.

Setting Up a Gaming Server for Non-Steam Games

It’s common for many games to offer a dedicated server option, but not through Steam.

These games will typically either offer their server set-up, or a unique option that offers third-party software. Some popular games that do this include:

  • Minecraft
  • Factorio
  • Valheim
  • Holdfast: Nations of War
  • V Rising

With these types of games, you typically have multiple options. For example, if you want a server on Minecraft, then you can set one up through the developer’s site.

Or, you can also purchase one through a third party. Other games, like Valheim server hosting, run solely on third-party server options.

The good news is that renting them is typically quite affordable if you go through the right provider.

Appreciated Learning About Gaming Servers? Keep Reading

We hope this article helped you learn more about setting up a gaming server at home. As you can see, gaming servers aren’t for everyone.

But, for those wanting a more hands-on and customizable online experience, it’s the perfect solution.

Just follow all the advice in this article, and you’ll be off to a good start. Enjoyed reading about this gaming topic? We have dozens of articles just like it, so keep scrolling to find them.