When it comes to Rust, many players will decide that they would like to run their own server at some point. It’s practically a rite of passage. But stepping into the wide world of Rust server hosting can be a little daunting at first. There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes of your favorite game than many people realize.
In this post, we’re going to cover what you need to consider before setting up a Rust server, as well as what to look for in a server host. This is not a post about setting up your own server from scratch. That’s a hefty topic in its own right.
What is a Rust Server Host?
For those who are unaware, a Rust server host is a service that offers preconfigured Rust servers for a fee. Using a server host takes all of the hard work out of running a Rust server. Instead of installing server software, configuring it, messing with settings files, debugging random errors that make no sense, and a whole host of other infuriating problems, you merely register with a service, click a few buttons, and launch your server.
It’s that simple.
The exact degree of control you have over your server will differ from provider to provider. Still, you can generally expect to be able to configure Rust to your heart’s content, stop and restart the server, implement blacklists and whitelists, and much more.
Why Run my Own Rust Server?
There are several reasons you might want to run a server, not least of which because being like a god (having admin powers) is fun. But often it’s because you want to have a private server for you and your friends.
On a public server, you will always face the risk of being flattened by a passing Zerg clan or having a particularly dedicated player with a few explosive charges going deep on your base.
If you just want to have a bit of friendly competition with your friends, a public server isn’t ideal. Furthermore, you may want to mod your server. Mods in Rust are handled entirely serverside, so if you want to try out the latest zombie mod, or add in arena fighting, you’re going to have to roll your own, so to speak.
The Basic Specs
Before you start thinking about modding, you should put a little thought into how much work your server will be doing. If you intend to run a private server for you and three of your closest friends, you don’t need to go overboard on the specs. Most hosts will offer different plans separated by the number of “slots” (players allowed on at one time) which should mitigate the risk of paying under or over the odds for what you need.
Server hosting costs can quickly skyrocket as you add more capacity to your setup, so you’ll want to make sure you only pay for what you need. If you are not planning a cosy little world of death and raiding for you and your friends, and expect to need those extra slots, look at various hosts’ upgrade paths. For most new servers, it is unlikely they will be flooded with new players immediately, so it might be better to start small and upgrade your server as it grows in popularity.
Regarding hardware, most server hosting platforms will not be offering you a physical server, as such, but rather a virtual one. You can undoubtedly get a dedicated server, of course. Still, you would be looking at a far higher price, and you would have set the software up yourself, removing all that lovely convenience we mentioned above.
As a general rule, you should be looking at effective memory of around 4GB of RAM at the minimum. However, 6GB is a good average figure, and 8GB should be considered the minimum for a high-use server. Things like CPU likely won’t be mentioned, however many hosts offer the option to have your server stored on an SSD for better performance.
Check the Features
While any Rust server host should provide everything you need to get a server up and running quickly, not every host offers all the features you might want.
Be sure to carefully read what is included in the package you are considering. For example, the ability to mod is not always included by default. Some hosts do not allow any direct access to the files on your server, which may be an issue depending on how you plan to run things.
Do Your Research
Not every server host is created equally. If you check reviews on a lot of Rust server hosting services, you’ll find that what some hosts promise, and what they actually deliver, are not always the same thing. Be sure to find reviews on any particular host you might be considering to see what their real-world performance is.
Fortunately, with Rust being such a popular game, there are plenty of reviews to help you determine the best Rust server hosting for you. Not to mention a variety of top server lists for you to check out. Do your due diligence. You don’t want to pay out for a sweet new server, only to find it continually restarts on you or the connection is so bad that you lag consistently.
It’s also important to consider your potential players’ locations. If you expect to have a lot of American players, you’ll want a server that is located in America. The closer a player is, geographically speaking, to a server, the better connection they are likely to have. So, if you know your players are going to mostly be from a specific region (for example, a Russian server will mainly attract Russian players) then try and find a server located in that region.
The Fine Detail
If you’ve made it this far, you’re clearly ready to fire up your server. Submit it to a few top server lists, and get the ball rolling on your own little slice of survivalist murder and destruction.
If your server is going to be open to all, make sure to give it a transparent and honest description. And be a benevolent Rust overlord.