BisectHosting, PebbleHost, Apex Hosting
There are plenty of games that allow you to run your own server. Whether it’s juggernauts Minecraft and Rust, or newer games such as Valheim, with your own game server you can tailor your experience to your needs without worrying about the rules game developers have. So let̵
These server providers offer specialized machines that are optimized to run the games you select as best as possible. There are many providers that all support different games, offer different features such as DDoS protection and different prices. You can host these servers from your own computer, but unless your PC is quite powerful, it won’t compete with the performance offered by a server provider. That, coupled with the convenience factor, are the biggest advantages of any of these providers.
What to look for with a server provider
There are a few things to keep in mind when considering a server provider.
- Dashboard design: The dashboard is what you use to communicate and customize your server. Whether you’re changing configuration files, viewing the number of players, or backing up saved files, the dashboard is the central hub for it all. While most providers use the same basic dashboard templates, some go further with more unique designs.
- Customer service: Game servers are complicated things and problems such as damaged save files or crashes are to be expected. If you have a lot of experience with game servers, you can probably get by on your own, but if not, a great customer service team can get you through the process. Having a customer service team that is quick to respond and knowledgeable about the game you are playing is a key difference between good and bad server providers.
- Performance: This is pretty easy, but of course you don’t want the server you are paying for to malfunction. Most providers will list the specifications used for their servers on the website, including what type of processor is used, the RAM, and whether or not the server uses a solid-state drive or a hard drive for storage (hopefully the first nowadays). This can give you a general idea of how servers will perform in comparison to each other, but keep in mind that each game’s requirements will be different.
- Game selection: There are many games that server providers can support. It’s easy to find providers for popular games such as Minecraft, Ark: Survival Evolved, Terraria, and Rust, but smaller titles are sometimes difficult to track down.
- Pricing: Although the world of server providers is quite competitive, most companies charge more or less the same prices. Prices vary wildly between different games and are usually determined by the number of player slots (the number of people that can be connected to the server at the same time) the server has or its specifications. Still, there is some leeway for some providers to offer better deals than others.
Best Overall: Nitrado
When it comes to balancing price, customer service, dashboard design, and a wide selection of games, there is no better option than Nitrado. You can find servers for a load of different games from Ark: Survival Evolved to Starbound, and the active forums are a great place to find information in addition to basic customer service. Nitrado is about as secure as you can get in the server provider world, and its popularity with many gaming communities is a testament to that.
BisectHosting largely focuses on Minecraft servers and offers some nice features like mod installation and free subdomains (this is what you use to connect to a Minecraft server). However, it also supports a large number of other titles, such as Terraria, Left 4 Dead 2, and Garry’s Mod. You can expect DDoS protection to be available for most games, along with unlimited player slots or storage. The Pterodactyl panel that BisectHosting uses for all of its games has a nice clean design, and if you need help, Bisect’s customer service team should respond quickly. Throw in reasonable prices across the board and BisectHosting offers a balanced set of features with the second highest number of supported games on this list.
If you’re on a budget, PebbleHost offers some lower prices than most providers, without skimping on customer service and performance. While the selection of games is a bit limited, the value is nowhere else to be matched. And with 24/7 uptime, a sleek custom dashboard, and lots of in-depth server performance and player count stats, PebbleHost is a great option for just about anyone. If you’re new to servers (or just want a good deal) and looking for one Ark: Survival Evolved, Minecraft, Rust, Team Fortress 2, or Valheim server, then PebbleHost is a great entry point.
Best for Minecraft Players: Apex Hosting
Minecraft is one of the few games with server providers dedicated to it specifically, and out of that, Apex offers the best overall value. Apex’s servers work great, the dashboard is well designed, and the customer service is excellent – the team is knowledgeable and helps with some of the more complicated aspects of running a Minecraft server (such as installing mods). Apex is a bit more expensive than other providers, but the excellent user experience makes up for that.
The company also has plans to add Ark: Survival Evolved Servers soon, so hopefully we can expect Apex to cover more games in the future.