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Some of my most cherished memories of gaming were when I would go to a friend’s house and we would have tournaments of Super Smash Brothers or Mario Kart. Or in college, several friends and I would all bring our computers to someone’s house and have a LAN ( local area network) party where we would play hours of cooperative games like Borderlands or Left for Dead 2. Sadly in my adulthood, I have moved halfway across the country and don’t get to see my friends in person very often. But modern games have provided many solutions for this, Mario Kart 8 offers online multiplayer for up to 8 people, (no more waiting for a coveted controller) and many games offer multiplayer modes that can be played online with your friends. Many large games like World of Warcraft provide online gaming servers in multiple locations around the world as part of your gaming subscription. Many other games such as Minecraft, Palworld, Enshrouded and Satisfactory allow you to create your own online game server which can have many benefits and help provide a custom gaming experience that differs from public, first party servers. 

What is an Online Game Server?

An Online Game Server or Game server host is a physical or virtual server that is often housed within a computer that has been specifically built for server hosting. See this article about how EVLBOX builds their server machines (DIY Infrastructure).  A professional game server will often be located in a data center with stable internet connections and off-site data backups. A server can be used for many things from website hosting, virtual environments, applications, or hosting multiplayer games online.  The software for the specific game you want to play will be installed on the server and it will be allocated a specific amount of resources (RAM, CPU and disk space) to run the game for you and your friends. 

Why would I want to purchase or host an online game server?

  • Reduce Latency – By selecting a server in a data center close to you and your friends you can reduce the amount of latency you see within your game. This can greatly improve your accuracy, response times, and overall game experience. You can often check the latency ahead of time by pinging the connection to the data center. 
  • Provides a Secure way to invite your friends – Your game server will have a unique connection string or subdomain that you can share with your friends. Several games will also allow you to set a connection password to further secure who is allowed to enter the game. Instead of scrolling through long lists of public servers, you can quickly and directly connect to your server. Also many games include admin access that allows you to see who is connected to your server and control who is allowed to join your game. 
  • Remote data backups – Many server hosts guarantee that your data will be secure and available in the case that any server failures or data corruption occurs. 
  • Customization – By having access to your game server you can customize and make modifications to your game. Many mods are available to download as packages and can completely change the way you play a game. 
  • Security – Purchasing a separate game server is more secure than using your own hardware. Having a game server on your home network and opened up to the public internet has some associated risks. 
  • Availability – A professional gaming server will be available and online 24/7. No need to worry about making sure your computer is online and running and not restarting with automatic updates. 


How do I host an online game?

There are ways to host an online game from your own computer but unless you are playing with your friends over a LAN connection, it is not recommended that you host a game server yourself. This is because hosting a server can use up resources on your computer, reducing your performance for other tasks (such as playing a game), connectivity issues can arise from a residential internet plan, and there is a risk of data loss without having remote data backups.

 Once you know what game you want to play online with a dedicated server, you will want to find a game server provider. You can do this by searching for your specific game and shop by cost and by the amount of resources you will need for the number of players. The provider will have a link to purchase the server and will outline the steps to setup the online game server. This is usually an automated process and once your server has been created and is up and running, you will simply need to locate the connection string or IP address and connect to it from within your games.

EVLBox has gaming servers for many popular games such as Palworld, Minecraft, Sons of the Forest and are actively working on expanding their gaming catalog! There are instructions for how to use the Nitro Panel and additional game server hosting tutorials that walk you through setup and connecting to your game server. Game hosting wiki

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