How To Setup An ARK Dedicated Server


Instead of renting from one of the cheapest ARK server hosting providers on the home page you could rent a whole dedicated server for yourself.

This way you have total control over the machine that you occupy and dedicated resources.

The downside of course is the large cost and the time to setup and maintain that server.

If that doesn’t put you off then check out my guide below on setting up your own ARK: Survival Evolved dedicated server for a step by step guide.

What You Need

Before you start make sure that the target machine you will be using as a dedicated ARK server has the following:

6GB RAM

It is advised that your server has at least 6GB of RAM but ideally you want at least 8GB to be comfortable with a little wiggle room.

64 Bit operating system

The operating system that the server is running must be 64 bit. It can be either Windows or Linux.

Own a copy of ARK: Survival Evolved

You must own a copy of ARK: Survival Evolved in your Steam library that you have connected to SteamCMD.

ARK Server Creation Screen

Can open ports

You need to have access to your routers ports and be able to switch them on/off for your server to communicate with players around the world.

Your Windows server must be running the latest DirectX & C++ Runtime

Ensure you have updated your Windows machine to be running the latest DirectX version and the C++ Runtime.

C++ Runtime Download

Make Sure These Ports Are Open

For your server to be able to communicate with other players you need to open a few ports on your router.

These are the ports you need to open:

UDP 27015

For the query port to access the Steam browser

UDP 7777

For the ARK game client

UDP 7778

For the raw UDP socket, this is always 1 above the game client port

TCP 27020

For the RCON to access the remote console for the server, it is also optional

Be Careful

Be warned before we start, these changes you make to your computer can have catastrophic effects. You could overwrite a file that could be important or cause an issue that you cannot sign in and fix. Double check everything!

Opening ports to the outside world reduces your defence against possible bad people targeting your PC.

Set Up An ARK Server On Windows

If you have a Windows based computer kicking around that you could use for a home server or you have rented a Windows dedicated server or VPS then this is the guide for you. If you only have access to a Linux machine then read this section of the guide but translate the actions to SSH commands (with a little extra tasks listed below this section).

1. Start with a folder

Your ARK server needs a folder of its own to live, somewhere that you can remember and easily access to change settings and add mods. Usually I stick my dedicated server folders on my desktop with a descriptive folder name like “ARK Server 1”.

New folder option

Don’t forget that your server can grow from 10GB in size to upwards of 15GB so ensure that the hard drive it is located on has ample room for it to grow.

2. Now onto SteamCMD

You now need to download the SteamCMD ZIP file from here and place it into the folder you created in step 1.

Unzip the download and run the SteamCMD.exe file to launch a window where you need to enter the following command:

login SteamUsername SteamPassword
force_install_dir C:\ARKServer1\ (folder from step 1 above)
app_update 346110 validate

Then once that process has finished downloading the file you can exit the window.

3. Create the launch script

To launch your new ARK server you need to run a batch script, a small text file containing the start up information. This can also be tied to the Windows startup system so you can launch the server directly after a power cut for example.

Browse through your new folders in the ARK folder you created in step 1 to find:

/shootergame/binaries/win64/

Now to create the batch script itself open up Notepad and save the following command and save it as Serverstart.bat:

start ShooterGameServer "TheIsland?SessionName=ARKServer1Name?QueryPort=27015?ServerPassword=MyPassword?ServerAdminPassword=MYPassword?listen" exit

Now that the file is created all you have to do is double click it to launch, the ARK server will use the settings you described in that batch file to configure the rules.

ARK Survivor Creator Screen

How To Set Up An ARK Server In Linux

For Linux you will need to follow the same procedure as above but using SSH, which is too heavy to go into detail here.

The main difference is that you will need to create a shell script rather than a batch script, using the following code saved into a file called server_start.sh.

#! /bin/bash ./ShooterGameServer TheIsland?listen?SessionName=<server_name>?ServerPassword=<join_password>?ServerAdminPassword=<admin_password> -server -log<c/ode>

Then once that shell script is created you need to run the following command to launch it:

$ chmod +x server_start.sh

Be sure to change the variables in the commands (I have surrounded them with <> to make them stick out) with the names you want to use to make it easier for future reference.