The best game server hosting supports Minecraft, Steam, Valve, and other third-party platforms through the installation of a control panel. Intel recommends the minimum configuration for a game server as a quad-core CPU with 8 GB of RAM and a Solid-State Drive (SSD) for storage.
The two best options for game server hosting are VPS plans and dedicated servers. This article will review the main requirements for game server hosting, including popular titles and available solutions for installing software.
Best VPS Game Server Hosting
The history of game servers dates back to the earliest days of computing. Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) and Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs) have evolved from early text-only platforms accessed through telnet to advanced 3-D animation titles with avatars.
You should build a game server on an unmanaged VPS plan where you can install the software directly and configure the runtime environment to the requirements of your games. The companies listed below have the cheapest unmanaged VPS plans for game server deployment.
- Managed or unmanaged, in Windows or Linux
- Cloud hosting with hourly or monthly billing
- Instant upgrades without downtime
- FREE around-the-clock monitoring
- Automatic nightly backups available
- Get started on Hostwinds now.
Hostwinds provides dedicated Minecraft hosting with the McMyAdmin (MCMA) control panel pre-installed on game servers.
A base configuration of 4 CPU, 8 GB RAM, 150 GB SSD storage, and 3 TB monthly bandwidth is priced at $38.99 per month at Hostwinds on elite hardware.
Best VPS Plan for Game Server Hosting at Hostwinds:
- Recommended Plan: Minecraft Server Hosting
- Features: Managed VPS plan with root access and high-performance hardware.
- Configuration: 4 vCPU cores, 8 GB RAM, 150 GB SSD storage, + 3 TB bandwidth.
- Price: $38.99 per month (Monthly billing plan)
The Minecraft Hosting plan at Hostwinds allows gamers to have complete control over the code and users when managing a game server. McMyAdmin will support unlimited unique games.
- HostingAdvice readers get 73% off the first term
- FREE site migrations and 2 hours of Launch Assist
- Handle 10x more traffic with virtually no downtime
- FREE cPanel/WHM licenses included
- Highly available servers with real-time redundancy
- Get started on InMotion now.
InMotion Hosting specializes in cloud servers for game hosting and offers high-performance VPS plans based on NVMe SSD storage hardware that is optimal for most requirements.
The inclusion of cPanel and WHM allows you to run your choice of Minecraft or Steam/Valve games.
Best VPS Plan for Game Server Hosting at InMotion Hosting:
- Recommended Plan: Managed VPS Hosting
- Features: cPanel, WHM, SSH, SSL certificates, NVMe SSD, and DDoS protection.
- Configuration: 4 CPU cores, 4 GB RAM, 75 GB SSD storage, + unlimited bandwidth.
- Price: $29.99 per month (24-Month billing plan)
- 2-4 cores and 2-8GB of RAM
- Endorsed by the WordPress team
- Optional SiteLock security & CodeGuard backups
- Seamless migration from Bluehost shared plans
- Get 37% off at sign up (was $29.99, now $18.99)
- Get started on Bluehost now.
Bluehost makes it easy to install Minecraft on its Ultimate VPS plan with Sudo Access. You need to include the Java SDK as a runtime dependency.
Steam and Valve games can be run using the SteamCMD framework on the VPS. The Bluehost platform includes cybersecurity.
Best VPS Plan for Game Server Hosting at Bluehost:
- Recommended Plan: Ultimate VPS Plan
- Features: cPanel, WHM, + Root Access for command-line Minecraft installations.
- Configuration: 4 vCPU cores, 8 GB RAM, 120 GB SSD storage, + 3 TB bandwidth.
- Price: $59.99 per month (36-Month billing plan)
All Bluehost VPS plans include a license for cPanel, WHM, and free SSL certificates for every add-on domain. You can use the same server for web publishing and game hosting at Bluehost.
- Turbo server & cache options for faster page loads
- Well-built plans starting with 4GB RAM
- FREE CDN plus auto-installs with Softaculous
- Multilingual support and up to unlimited databases
- Enhanced security with and daily kernel updates
- Get started on A2 Hosting now.
The low prices on A2 Hosting’s unmanaged VPS plans are the best in the industry. The company recommends its VPS plans for game server and Minecraft hosting requirements.
Webuzo makes it easy to install support for Java and other custom runtime extensions.
Best VPS Plan for Game Server Hosting at A2 Hosting:
- Recommended Plan: RUNWAY 4 Unmanaged VPS Plan
- Features: Webuzo admin with SSH, 10 GB/s network speeds, and DDoS protection.
- Configuration: 4 CPU cores, 4 GB RAM, 450 GB SSD storage, + 4 TB bandwidth.
- Price: $9.99 per month (36-Month billing plan)
With SSH, you can install any supported SteamPipe game with the command line. The VPS plans run on AMD EPCY processors with NVMe SSD storage for the fastest gaming speeds.
- Cloud-based SSD storage for speed and reliability
- Double your RAM with burst periods
- FREE dedicated IPv4 and IPv6 addresses
- Custom control panel for reboots and OS installs
- HostingAdvice readers enjoy more than 50% off
- Get started on Hostinger now.
Hostinger offers Minecraft servers on VPS plans with a preinstalled Game Panel for settings and administration.
The default server option is Forge for user mods and modkits, with extra Minecraft server options available. The VPS platform includes multiple versions of Java.
Best VPS Plan for Game Server Hosting at Hostinger:
- Recommended Plan: Creeper Plan
- Features: Minecraft Server Hosting with Forge for modkit support and Java SDK.
- Configuration: 4 vCPU cores, 4 GB RAM, SSD storage, and Game Panel.
- Price: $15.95 per month (48-Month billing plan)
The Hostinger Minecraft hosting platform also supports CraftBukkit, Spigot, Paper, Purpur, SpongeVanilla, Cauldron, Tekkit, Feed the Beast, Project Rainbow, and Bedrock (pocket).
Top Dedicated Game Server Packages
Dedicated servers are more expensive than VPS plans because they include a guarantee for single-tenant occupancy.
Game servers will perform at maximum capacity with dedicated hosting. In comparison, VPS plans require sharing web server resources with other users.
If you need the best performance for your game servers, consider the dedicated server options listed below for the best prices on hardware. Install and configure any game server solution.
- Plesk, InterWorx, or cPanel (Linux) or Plesk (Windows)
- 100% network and power uptime guarantees
- Custom configurations and instant provisioning
- Auto-migrations, backups, and real-time monitoring
- Block/object storage and load balancer add-ons
- Get started on Liquid Web now.
Liquid Web offers a high-performance runtime environment for dedicated servers with real-time hardware monitoring and 100% uptime guarantees.
This unmanaged platform provides a choice of three control panels with integrated DDoS, anti-virus scanning, and Server Secure protection.
Best Dedicated Server Plan for Game Hosting at Liquid Web:
- Recommended Plan: Managed Dedicated Server Plan
- Features: Intel Xeon 1230v6 quad-core CPU @ 3.9 GHz + Interworx, Plesk, or cPanel.
- Configuration: 4 CPU cores, 16 GB RAM, 2 x 240 GB SSD storage, + 5 TB bandwidth.
- Price: $169 per month(24-Month billing plan)
Game server hosting can be fully customized for Minecraft, Steam/Valve games, and other titles at Liquid Web. Its data center solutions are top-rated for security, speed, and engineering.
- 24/7 uptime monitoring and private datacenter
- Up to 24 cores and 100TB bandwidth
- 12 operating systems and 3 control panels
- Custom configs built and maintained in-house
- Price-lock guarantee without contracts
- Get started on InterServer now.
InterServer is recommended for anyone looking for the cheapest prices on dedicated server hosting.
You can run a game server on the platform at prices starting at $49 per month with no prepayment required or commitment to a long-term contract. Upgrade to 1 TB SSD for $20.
Best Dedicated Server Plan for Game Hosting at InterServer:
- Recommended Plan: Dedicated Server Plan
- Features: Intel Xeon E3-1230 @ 3.2 GHz + choice of Windows or Linux OS.
- Configuration: 4 CPU cores, 32 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD storage, + 150 TB bandwidth.
- Price: $69 per month (Monthly billing plan)
At InterServer, you have the flexibility to configure a game server to support any level of web traffic in support of simultaneous users with a huge 150 TB per month bandwidth allocation.
- Root access and 3 levels of server management
- Expertly managed servers deployed instantly
- Choose from 4 datacenters across 3 continents
- FREE redundant SSD storage in RAID-1 arrays
- Choice of 13 Linux operating systems
- Get started on A2 Hosting now.
A2 Hosting provides unmanaged dedicated server options that start with the Hyper 1 plan.
The service package includes free Webuzo admin panel support that will allow Java and a choice of operating systems to be installed. Run Minecraft or Steam/Valve games with elite hardware.
Best Dedicated Server Plan for Game Hosting at A2 Hosting:
- Recommended Plan: HYPER 1 Plan
- Features: Unmanaged dedicated server with Intel Xeon E-224 4.6 GHz CPU.
- Configuration: 4 CPU cores, 16 GB RAM, 2 x 1 TB SSD storage, + 6 TB bandwidth.
- Price: $129.99 per month (24-Month billing plan)
Game masters will need to be fluent in using the command line with SSH access to install Minecraft and SteamCMD. A2 Hosting gives a choice of data center locations for the server.
- RAID 1 mirrored storage
- Minimum 3 IP addresses per plan
- Modern hardware, built and maintained in house
- 24/7 expedited support from a dedicated team
- Sign up to save at least 27% on your first term
- Get started on Bluehost now.
Bluehost has the lowest prices for elite hardware configurations on game server hosting plans.
You can run games with any type of mods permitted by the platform on high-performance hardware solutions like the Enhanced plan, which meets all the guidelines for a game server.
Best Dedicated Server Plan for Game Hosting at Bluehost:
- Recommended Plan: Enhanced Plan
- Features: Unmanaged dedicated server with cPanel, WHM, and a free domain name.
- Configuration: 4 CPU cores, 8 GB RAM, 2 x 1 TB SSD storage, + 10 TB bandwidth.
- Price: $99.99 per month (36-Month billing plan)
Bluehost’s dedicated server plans are built for speed with SSD storage drives and fast CPUs. The unmanaged platform allows game servers to be hosted at the lowest cost-to-performance.
What is a Game Server?
Game server hosting is designed for the support of independent gaming titles rather than AAA games with proprietary servers that are managed by a development studio.
Most of the games run on a game server are available on the Steam platform which is owned by the company Valve. The Steam platform launched in 2002 and is a download service for PC games.
Minecraft (developed originally by Mojang) is the most popular game hosted by independent players on a game server. Microsoft purchased Minecraft for $2.5 billion in 2014.
Previous generations of Minecraft required Java to be installed on the game server, but the platform now includes cross-platform runtime capacity. Many web hosts specialize in Minecraft server hosting.
Game servers do not require a GPU card to render 3-D graphics, instead offering synchronized play for multi-user environments. The admin can install mods for some titles on the game server.
Popular Games Played with Game Server Hosting:
- Minecraft: Build virtual worlds and explore a multi-user environment (2011).
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment (2012).
- Team Fortress 2: First-person shooter by Valve, first released in 2007.
- ARK: Survival Evolved: Independent game by Studio Wildcard (2017).
- Rust: Popular title released on Steam by Facepunch Studios in 2018.
- 7 Days to Die: A horror title from The Fun Pimps launched in 2013.
There are multiple ways to run a game server, depending on the title to be supported. Minecraft has its own framework that is installed with Java that costs $26.95 to buy.
The Steam Console Client or SteamCMD can be used on a dedicated server or VPS plan for support of any game released on the SteamPipe platform. SteamPipe includes dynamic LAN caching for NGINX.
The other option for running your own game server is to install a dedicated gaming control panel.
Multicraft and McMyAdmin (MCMA) are recommended for Minecraft. GSP-Panel, Pterodactyl, or TCAdmin can be used to support Valve, Steam, or third-party developer titles.
How Much Does Game Server Hosting Cost?
The cost of a gaming server depends on the hosting provider and platform. VPS plans with 4 vCPU and 8 GB RAM cost between $15 and $60 per month.
Dedicated servers with a similar capacity are priced at $70 to $170 per month. Cheap game hosting provider companies like Apex Hosting, Host Havoc, Streamline Servers, and Survival Servers preinstall game panels.
Best VPS Plans for Use in Game Server Hosting:
- HostWinds: Minecraft Server Hosting at $38.99 per month.
- InMotion Hosting: Managed VPS Hosting at $29.99 per month.
- Bluehost: Ultimate VPS Plan at $59.99 per month.
- Hostinger: Minecraft Server Hosting at $15.95 per month.
A dedicated gaming server that runs on Windows or Linux dedicated server hardware is the best for high performance.
Citadel Servers is an online gaming specialist that offers Steam client and Minecraft solutions for gamer communities.
A shared hosting plan cannot be used as a game developer channel due to service limitations. Hosting game servers requires bandwidth, processing, and dedicated gaming server resources for multiplayer game apps.
How Do I Choose the Best Game Server Hosting Company?
The best game server host will offer bare metal servers on a dedicated hosting plan.
Dedicated server hosting will support multiplayer game requirements with high performance hardware from a hosting company.
Google Cloud provides Kubernetes options for hosting game servers with Agones for game server fleet orchestration and lifecycle management.
The best game server hosting plans allow you to choose your server location across multiple data centers.
Best Dedicated Server Plans for Use in Game Server Hosting:
- InterServer: Intel Xeon E3-1230 @ 3.2 GHz – $69 per month.
- A2 Hosting: Intel Xeon E-224 @ 4.6 GHz – $129.99 per month.
- Hostwinds: Intel Xeon E3-1270v3 @ 3.5 GHz – $144 per month.
- Liquid Web: Intel Xeon 1230v6 @ 3.9 GHz – $169 per month.
In addition to high performance standards, bare metal servers provide options for dedicated hosting that is best for game server host requirements.
Bare metal servers are best for online gaming with better uptime and the ability to install live chat with VoIP on hosting game servers.
Online gaming communities that value uptime will choose a managed dedicated server for web hosting. The hosting provider needs to offer DDoS attack protection and anti-virus scans.
How Does a Game Server Work?
The Steam Console Client (SteamCMD) installs on Linux or Windows servers to provide support for SteamPipe games from Valve and independent third-party game developers.
Games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive can be installed on dedicated servers or VPS plans via the command line. Some Steam games allow game servers to implement mods or change rulesets.
Running a game server will give you the ability to make the environment public or private. Your game server will synchronize with the main platform to allow gameplay that is independent.
A game server will manage player locations, activity, scores, physics, inventory, rules, and any installed modifications. Installing a game control panel gives admins a suite of free options.
Popular Control Panel Solutions for Game Server Hosting:
- Multicraft: Control thousands of servers with one administration panel.
- GSP-Panel: Plugs into cPanel and includes support for most games.
- Pterodactyl: Free Docker solution built with PHP, React, and Go.
- TCAdmin: 75+ games with built-in Steam update support for titles.
- McMyAdmin (MCMA): Used by over 35 different service providers.
You can customize the source code for the script, manage multiple servers, and ban or kick users from the platform. There is also a broadcast feature for chat.
Many game server admins install chat or VoIP services for players to communicate together online.
Popular solutions for gaming chat are TeamSpeak and Mumble. GSP-Panel provides universal game support for Minecraft, Rust, CSGO, ARMA 3, etc., that costs $12.50 per month to use.
TC-Admin offers community, professional, and enterprise licensing for its gaming panel that is priced at $7.50 to $5,000 per month.
The Pterodactyl control panel is free. Game server admins are recommended to install one of these control panel solutions on a dedicated server or VPS.
Should I Choose VPS or Dedicated Game Server Hosting?
Most gamers will be happier with the higher performance speeds available on a dedicated web server, although only large gaming communities with high bandwidth and processing requirements will notice the difference.
The main issue is a single-tenant environment on dedicated web servers vs. a multitenant environment on VPS plans with peak use levels.
Web server performance gradually degrades over 65% capacity and is at a high risk of failure at 95% capacity.
Hosting on VPS plans may include higher-capacity hardware than dedicated server plans, but the web traffic will always be shared with other users. For this reason, a dedicated server is best for game hosting, although VPS plans have a cheaper price.
Popular Game Titles Played on Game Server Hosting:
- Contagion: First-person shooter released by Monochrome in 2014.
- Dead Matter: Unreal Engine 4 game by Quantum Integrity Software (2022).
- Factorio: Produce items in an infinite 2-D world (Wube Software, 2020).
- GMOD (Garry’s Mod): Physics sandbox game from Facepunch Studios (2006).
- Squad: Steam game from Offworld Industries released in 2015.
- Tekkit: Mod pack for Minecraft with dimensions and planets (2013).
Both VPS and dedicated server plans include tools for real-time monitoring of user traffic and hardware resource consumption. It is easier to add extra hardware resources on VPS plans without reinstalling code.
The addition of extra hardware resources on a dedicated server plan involves physically installing new drives or memory on a server and is not possible with CPUs.
VPS and dedicated server plans with long-term contracts are the best way to get the lowest prices but will lock you into configurations that can become outdated or expensive to upgrade.
Make sure you know the upgrade options before sign-up or use a month-to-month billing plan for lower upfront costs on a game server. Elastic cloud plans are more expensive overall.
What’s the Difference Between Web Hosting and Game Server Hosting?
Game server hosting has higher bandwidth and processing requirements than most web scripts used in domain publishing.
Minecraft has a major requirement for Java that is not met on most shared hosting plans due to higher CPU resource consumption. Most gamers will use a VPS or dedicated server for game hosting to implement public or private gaming environments.
Game servers install a framework for Minecraft, Steam/Valve games, or other titles somultiplayer competition can take place with communication.
Most Popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs):
- World of Warcraft (WoW): Blizzard Entertainment (2004).
- Final Fantasy XIV (FF14): Published by Square Enix (2014).
- The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO): ZeniMax and Bethesda Softworks (2014).
- Guild Wars 2 (GW2): NCSoft and ArenaNet (2012).
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR): BioWare and LucasArts (2008).
- Black Desert Online (BDO): Pearl Abyss (2015)
You can support web hosting and game servers on the same hardware by using VPS and dedicated server plans.
Shared hosting platforms will not include support for game servers. Web hosting companies that install a game panel for Minecraft or Steam games are best. Otherwise, use the command line to install titles or purchase a gaming control panel option for your server.
Power Your Games With These Top Servers
VPS plans are popular for game hosting because they are cheaper than dedicated servers for the same resources.
Gamers who require the best performance speeds for their communities will choose dedicated server plans because they do not require sharing resources with other domains.
Maintaining activity on a VPS or dedicated server plan over 65% capacity will lead to slower capacity with a high risk of crashing over 95% capacity. That’s why gaming servers can put shared hosting environments at risk and are not supported on these platforms.
Game servers with pre-installed Minecraft tools or a control panel with Steam and Valve game integration are the top-of-the-line features in this niche hosting category.
The advantage of VPS and dedicated servers is that gamers can use SSH connections with command-line tools to install game titles or dependencies in minutes.
Webuzo is a great free option on VPS and dedicated server plans that will enable you to manage the web server environment over time. Install Multicraft, GSP-Panel, or TCAdmin for the most game server deployment options.