BisectHosting, PebbleHost, Apex Hosting
There are plenty of games out there that allow you to run your own server. Whether it’s juggernauts like Minecraft and Rust, or newer games such as Valheim, having your own game server allows you to tailor your experience to your liking without concern for the rules game developers have in place. So then, let’s take a look at the best websites you can rent game servers from.
These server providers offer specialized machines that are optimized to run your selected games as well as possible. There are a lot of providers out there and they all support different games, offer different features like DDoS protection, and various prices. You can host these servers off of your own computer, but unless your PC is pretty powerful it won’t compete with the performance that a server provider offers. That, combined with the convenience factor, are the biggest draws to go with one of these providers.
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What to Look for in a Server Provider
There are a few things you should look at when considering a server provider.
- Dashboard Design: The dashboard is what you use to interact and customize your server. Whether you’re altering configuration files, viewing player counts, or backing up save files, the dashboard is the central hub for all of this. While most providers use the same basic dashboard templates, some go further with more unique designs.
- Customer Service: Game servers are complicated things and issues like corrupted save files or crashes should be expected. Now, if you have a lot of experience with game servers, you can probably manage on your own, but if not, a great customer service team can help you through the process. Having a customer service team that’s quick to respond and knowledgeable on the game you’re playing is a key difference between good and bad server providers.
- Performance: This is a fairly straightforward one, but obviously, you don’t want the server you’re paying for to run poorly. Most providers will list the specs used for their servers on the website, including what type of processor is being used, the RAM, and whether or not the server is using a solid-state drive or a hard-disk drive for storage (hopefully it’s the former nowadays). This can give you a general idea of how servers will perform compared to each other, but remember each game’s requirements will be different.
- Game Selection: There are a lot of games out there server providers can support. It’s easy to find providers for popular games like Minecraft, Ark: Survival Evolved, Terraria, and Rust, but smaller titles can be difficult to track down.
- Pricing: While the world of server providers is a pretty competitive scene, most companies have more or less the same pricing. 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 once) the server has or the specs. Still, there is some room 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’s no better option than Nitrado. You’ll 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 alongside the standard customer service. Nitrado is about as safe of a bet as you can make in the world of server providers, and its popularity among many gaming communities is a testament to that.
Well Balanced: BisectHosting
BisectHosting largely focuses on Minecraft servers and offers some nice features like mod installation and free sub-domains (which is what you use to connect to a Minecraft server). However, it also supports a variety of other titles like Terraria, Left 4 Dead 2, and Garry’s Mod. You can expect DDoS protection to be available for most games, along with either unlimited player slots or storage. The Pterodactyl panel BisectHosting uses for all its games has a nice clean design, and if you need help Bisect’s customer service team should be quick to respond. Throw in reasonable pricing across the board and BisectHosting offers a well-balanced set of features with the second-highest number of supported games on this list .
If you’re on a bit of a budget, PebbleHost offers some lower prices than most providers while not cutting corners on customer service and performance. While the selection of games is a bit limited, the value is unmatched anywhere else. And with 24/7 uptime, a sleek custom dashboard, and plenty of in-depth statistics you can dive into on server performance and player count, PebbleHost is a great option for just about anyone. If you’re new to servers (or just want a good deal) and are looking for an 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 only games to have server providers specifically dedicated to it, and out of those, Apex provides the best overall value. Apex’s servers run great, the dashboard is well-designed, and the customer service is top-notch—the team is knowledgeable and will help out with some of the more complicated aspects of running a Minecraft server (like installing mods). Apex is a bit pricier 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 to see Apex cover more games in the future.