Top Tips: Game server hosting

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Game server hosting

One of the main questions people tend to ask both online via the steam community or game blogs is “What server hosting company should I use?” or “Who is the best host for this game?” Chances are if you’re looking for a server for you and your friends or community you would have stumbled on one of the many posts that litter the internet. Though these post tend to point you in the direction of one or two hosts that have just spammed the forums for traffic. It’s best to really understand what you are looking for in terms of size, power and cost before committing to a monthly subscription that can cost anywhere between $5 -$40 depending on the popularity of the game.


So what are the considerations you should take into account before you purchase a server? Is there a rule of thumb to finding the best host? Or should I go with my gut feeling? These are many things that you may be questioning after reading the first paragraph of this article. However lucky for you we have compiled 6 guidelines to finding the best host for your needs, to avoid hassle and disappointment.


Follow these 6 guidelines and you will be sure to find the best host for you.


  1. Is the Cheapest Host the best?
  2. 5 Questions to ask a host before buying
  3. Should I trust the Host reviews online? (Spot the Fakes)
  4. Avoid Lag with better Pings
  5. Better support for Better Gaming
  6. Is this host safe? (Avoid the hit and run Hosts)


Cheapest Game server hosting?


As with all things in life, sadly server hosting does cost money, which is usually in the form of a monthly subscription that is either taken by paypal, stripe, credit card and other forms of payment that a host may offer on their site. If you’re unsure about being signed up for a monthly payment that will be taken from your account, then I would advise that once you have purchased the server, you login in to the account that you used i.e Paypal for example and cancel the monthly subscription. Canceling the monthly subscription will not have any effect on the month you paid for but it will stop you paying for a further month if you forget about your service. This also helps avoid complications in the future if you are trying to get your money back from a host, which in some cases can take a few weeks if they even offer a refund. (Note* check a host’s policy before buying from them – Not all Hosts offer refunds.)


Now to get down to the real question about price, “Is the cheapest the best?” In some cases – yes cheapest can be the best option but it really does depend on what type of service you want. For example if I was looking to buy a small 20 slot server, You would find that less well know or newer hosts would offer smaller packages at a good price in order to get gamers on board. This is a great option if you only have a small group of friends that want to play together as you wont be overclocking the server that you are renting meaning that in most cases you will not be affected by lag in game. Which makes renting a from cheaper host a great option for smaller groups.


However you may run in to problems with smaller hosting companies when you buy bigger packages or try to overclock your service. The main problem that we have found with a lot of smaller hosts is that they try to cram as many shared service on to one server as possible to maximize their revenue per machine they have running. Though this is a great tactic for smaller hosts to grow it will impacted on the gamer paying for their service as the server your game is on is now having to work 10 times as hard to run not only your game but loads of others at the same time.  


5 Questions to ask a host before buying


A good way to avoid paying for a bad service is to follow these easy steps. First check out a host’s website and look for a sales chat pop up or a contact email in order to question them about their services. The main things you will want to ask are:


  1. How many people use your service and do you have any reviews on the internet you can view? (See Reviews Section)
  2. Do you have a refund policy and if so where is it on the website? (Ask for links)
  3. Ask about Pings. You should ask for an IP for their servers so you can ping the IP from your computer to see what sort of ping you can expect in game. (See Ping Section)
  4. Ask the company how may members of staff they have and if they offer 24/7 support. (See Support Section)
  5. Check to see if the site is a registered company or ask them for their reg number. This will help you avoid “pop-up” or “summer hosts” (See Is this host safe Section)


A host should easily be able to offer you an answer to all of these questions without any problems. However if a host tries to avoid the question or is misleading about the information i would seriously consider looking for another host. If they can’t even give you a straightforward answer on the above questions then I dread to think what their support would be like when you’re asking about “port forwarding” or how to use “TCadmin”.


Should I trust the Host reviews online?


This is often a tricky question as how do you know if a review is really written by a user or the host? There are many blogs, steam posts and websites that will often offer reviews based on a Game server providers performance, usually offering a positive or negative opinion. You should always ask a host to provide any reviews they have online as this will give you a better idea of the company and what other people have to say about them. If you can’t find any reviews for them then you are already running into trouble.


Spotting Fake reviews


If you really want to sort the trues from the fake then we suggest that you only take on the opinions of post that have some weight or proof behind them or have been posted by a really profile. You can often spot real profiles by looking at the number of posts they have commented on or the amount of time they have been signed up on the website. If you see a comment that is very vague and the profile has no images, then this can normally be flagged up as a fake review. Also note the signup date, if they signed up yesterday and have not bothered to interact with the community the chances are this is a fake. In order to stop fake reviews on we use steam verification which means we can avoid fake emails and actually view the user leaving the review to check their profile.


Avoid Lag with better Pings


The best way to avoid lag and ping in your game is to chose a hosting company with a data center that is relatively close to you. You want to avoid paying for a server that is situated half way across the world as this will see your ping sky rocket and you will encounter problems on your server with lag. You should first contact the host before hand and ask if you can can have the IP of the closet data center to you. You will then be able to ping the server and get an idea of what kind of ping range you will receive from the host. Remember the lower the ping the better.


Better support for Better Gaming


This can often be a difficult one to spot before hand as you will only really be able to judge this for yourself once you have used a host for a couple of days. A good host will offer 24/7 support with a number of staff available to help you no matter what time of day it is. However this does not mean that they will always offer the best support, as server companies tend to hire teenagers to run support in order to pay smaller wages, so you may get someone who is lacking in skills. (Note* This does happen in many cases) Always make sure you check for host reviews as users are more than happy to give their opinions on a host in terms of support and experience.


Is this host safe? (Avoid the hit and run Hosts)


Always check if the server company is a registered! If the company is a registered business they will have the company name and registration number somewhere on the page. The registration number is usually displayed in the footer. If a host is not displaying their company name and number ask them for it, as you want to avoid hosts that are not registered for a number of reasons.

  1. Running a business without being a registered company is breaking the law in some cases, as the company wont be paying any tax.
  2. Most unregistered companies are run by teenagers (Especially in Minecraft server hosting.) These hosts are called „Summer Host” or „Pop Up hosts”. You should avoid these hosts as their is no guarantee the next time you try to login to your server that they will even be running the company anymore. This then causing problems when you are trying to get your money back.
  3. How does the website look? If your gut feeling is telling you that this site looks a bit shifty, avoid it.
  4. Internet presence. Is anyone talking about this company? Is their any information online about them? If you can’t even find any info on Google about them you are more than likely walking in to a disaster.
  5. Only use official Hosts that meet all our requirements and are up to trading standards.

If you have any opinions on this article or would like to share your hosting experience, please leave a comment below or get in contact with us.

Author: Alex Booth

Alex is responsible for overseeing the content on CompareGameHosting. With 5+ years experience in the game hosting industry he has seen the good and the bad.

Alex keeps an eye on whats going on in the game hosting world and keeps the News section of this website up to date with it. A lot of the articles in the Reviews & Guides section have been written by Alex based on his technical experience and findings.

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