Best Game Server Hosting Providers in 2020 - Bought & Tested
When you hear the word “gamer”, the first thing that probably pops in your head is that of a socially awkward teenager surrounded by empty pizza cartons and cola cans who is completely engrossed in his favorite game. Gamers have been stereotyped now for over two decades and for good reason too; those days of Pac-Man or Tetris are long gone, and the world has moved on to more complex, resource-hungry multiplayer games.
And indeed, multiplayer gaming has become an increasingly popular social activity. You were probably been not taken in by all the excitement in 2018, but if you have been keeping abreast of the news, you would agree that games such as PUBG and Fortnite exploded on the scene, taking the gaming world by storm and giving a fresh boost to the forever-strong gaming community. And with the advances in gaming and broadband technology, massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) have gained massive popularity over the last few years.
Since these games are far more advanced and have nothing in common with Soltaire, they require a game server and a good host. If someone has told you that you only need a good dedicated or VPS server for this purpose, they are not entirely wrong, but it can be a little misleading. There are some distinguishing features that make them different and we will take a look at them in this article.
Choosing the Best Game Server
Here are a few basic guidelines on choosing the best game server for you:
How Many Players Does the Server Support?
If you are only planning to play with 2-3 close friends, it is all right to use a server that does not use many resources. But if you have dozens of players on your mind, then you may want to invest a little more and in something that is either a dedicated server or a VPS. Most games actually put out several guidelines on how what type of server would a certain number of players require and you should always check on that.
Also, nearly every game out there has their own set of requirements, and hence, it is not necessary that the same kind of server will work for all the games you are planning to host.
What Kind of Support Are They Offering?
Some websites will advertise the games they already support. Some others will be vague about it by offering you “the best resources”, but it is always better to contact them and ask them. Also, would you require a 24/7 support system? Is it ok if their response time is more than 3 hours?
If you are just starting up, you would probably want to go with 24/7 support. Also, you need to be very specific and ask them what they would and wouldn’t do, and what is their scope. Are they knowledgeable? One of the best and safest ways to find that out is to opt for a host that gives you money back guarantee.
How's Their Performance?
This is the most important thing when you are considering setting up a game server if you don’t want any lag or latency to affect the gaming experience. The server should be made of high-end specs which should include solid state drives (SSDs) and should have adequate bandwidth.
As we said before, each and every game will have an individual requirement, so you need to make sure the hardware is sufficiently powerful. Also, pay close attention to the amount of RAM allocated to a cluster of users. Also, the type of processors required for a smooth experience is also important, so make sure you are using Intel core or equivalent servers for this purpose.
Is It Easy to Manage/Automate?
Let’s face it. If you are a gamer yourself, you would rather spend time playing a game rather than managing the servers yourself. For this purpose, make sure that your gaming hosts are providing 1-click installations, control panels and KernelCare (to automate system updates).
What Is the Uptime Like?
Uptime is probably more important than performance when it comes to online gaming. If your server experiences multiple downtimes during a session, then the whole purpose is lost. Quite a few hosting services have a page dedicated for that purpose these days.
What Do the Reviews Say?
This should be the obvious choice. Before zeroing in on a provider, always, always check the reviews. But while you are doing that, you should also be mindful of the fake or sponsored reviews.
So how to do that?
- Aggregated or “user submitted” reviews on a website that has dozens of such reviews either praising or criticizing it. These reviews are likely submitted by bots and/or by users that have no identity such as a link to a website or a social profile. Beware of such reviews.
- All or most of the hosts are not owned by Endurance International. You will find these reviews biased and sponsored by the hosting providers themselves. Most of them are likely to be positive and biased.
- Neutral posts. These are not exactly helpful because they won’t tell you anything about the host. These type of reviews would likely list all the great features a particular host has but has no opinion about them. More often than not, they will have details about a feature you are never going to need.
- Is the review praising a particular host? Does it list all pros but no cons? Then be assured that this is a paid or biased review.
So does that mean it is difficult to find a genuine review? You are likely to find candid reviews on social media avenues such as Twitter or Facebook. Another great alternative could be a website such as Reddit where you can find honest opinions and unbiased reviews.
Avoid New Players
Is the host not even a year old? Don’t get lured by the cut-throat pricing, because you need a host that has some years of experience behind them and not some fly-by-night operator. You certainly don’t want to lose money in a few months after you have paid upfront for a year. Always check the background of the company before you invest in them.
Server Location Is Important
You are better off choosing a server location that is close to you and your band of players. For example, if most of your players are situated in New York, choose a location that is close by.
Avoid Free Hosting Providers
This one is the most logical things to do. As you can rightly guess, these are free. So don’t expect great uptime, speed or support.
Do They Offer DDoS Protection?
Game servers are routine victims of DDoS attacks, and therefore, you’d want to ensure that the service you sign up for offers good DDoS protection. A lot of game server hosts have understood this and offer DDoS protection. Alternatively, if your server is well protected with watertight security, you wouldn’t need any such added protection.
Check the Renewal Price
You will see a lot of hosts advertising their monthly costs at really attractive prices, for example, sometimes as low as $1.50 a month. But always check the renewal prices before committing to a long-term plan. Sometimes, the renewal price is much higher than the monthly price, you should always check the terms and conditions to avoid any heartburn later.
Normal or Specialized Game Hosting?
This is a commonly asked question among gamers wanting to start their own hosting. And the solution to this could be as simple as knowing how experienced and comfortable you are around technology and hardware. Let us take a look at some likely situations:
You Have Absolutely No Experience
In this scenario, you should definitely go with someone who does. Which, in this case, means a game hosting provider. This will benefit you tremendously, as they will provide you with a full-fledged control panel, 1-click installations, the best server configurations and hardware and support when you need it.
You Have Experience with Software
If you have been around enough game servers to install and configure software, you are better off with a VPS server. Even though you will have to manage the game server, the hosting providers will manage the server for you. This simply means that you will have to maintain the hosted game, configure and install the necessary components yourself. In the off chance that you are unable to do this yourself, chances are, that the host will do this for you as well.
You Are Seasoned
This scenario will be the cheapest option for you, because you will be doing everything yourself. Just remember that you will have to do all the troubleshooting yourself as well.
Which Are the Best Game Servers out There?
For our criteria, we have chosen the best game servers on the basis of their pricing and features. None of these hosts are owned by Endurance International and provide excellent services and have a good mix of reviews on non-biased platforms such as Reddit. Let’s take a look:
This is a company based in Ontario, Canada that has been around since 2013 and serves over 60,000 customers. The company supports a host of popular games such as 7 Days to Die, ARK: Survival Evolved, Counter Strike: Go to name just a few. They offer great customer support and have open channels on Twitter and are usually very fast to respond to queries.
They also have a separate section for Minecraft and offers attractive prices for all types of gamers. Here is a list of features that they offer:
- Worldwide Servers: The company has many servers scattered across the globe and if you are not happy with your current location, it can always be transferred to you.
- DDoS Protection: The company claims that all their services are hosted on servers that are DDoS protected and use the best possible bandwidth. They also promise optimal performance and uptime.
- Instant Provisioning: All their servers are pre-setup and hence are ready to use immediately as you pay up.
- Multicraft Control Panel: You have full control over your services anytime, anywhere with this customized multicraft control panel.
- Customer Support: To ensure that you have all the support you need, Host Havoc provides support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Voice Server Hosting: This provides excellent voice quality at a low bandwidth usage.
The company has been around since 2007 and claims to provide enterprise-grade VPS, dedicated, game and web servers at global locations to its clients. Their servers support a number of games such as Left 4 Dead 2, Memories of Mars, Hurtworld and so on. Their MineCraft servers also offer competitive pricing.
These are the features that they offer:
- 1-Click Installs: You can use their mod manager to install many add-ons using their 1-click install system.
- Instant Installation: As soon as your payment is processed, your server is ready to be used without any wait.
- Low-Ping Servers: Enjoy lag-free gaming!
- Control Panel: This is a streamlined tool that offers great control over your server.
- Multiple Server Locations: The company has servers in North America and Canada, Europe, Oceania and Asia.
The company has been around since 2012 and says that their servers are powered by exclusive Intel Xeon processors and they use gigabit ports and SSD storage on a redundant network. The company offers very competitive Minecraft pricing.
Here are some of their features:
- DDoS Protection: The company claims that all their servers are protected against DDoS attacks.
- Dedicated RAM: The memory you purchase is all yours to use and not shared with anyone else.
- Control Panel: A full-featured control panel for complete control of your servers.
- Instant Setup: Ready-to-use servers in less than a minute.
This is a company based in Irving, California, and is considered a leader in the game hosting industry. The company claims to provide reliable hosting without a hefty price tag and the greatest possible experience.
- Premium Bandwidth: For the best response, latency and routing.
- 9% Uptime: For that uninterrupted experience.
- Datacenter-Grade SSDs: Which ensure blazing read-write speeds.
- Control Panel: To let you fully manage and control the servers.
The company was established in 2014 and hosts its services in professional datacenters manned by staff 24×7 to minimize the impact of potential hardware or network issues. They have servers in numerous locations and most of their services are self-managed (for people with experience in running servers).
These are some of their features:
- High-Performance Hardware: They say that most of their servers run on Xeon E3/E5 or i7 CPUs and SSD storage.
- Great Payment Options: They provide over 100 ways to pay.
- DDoS Protection: To guarantee that your server remains online during a malicious attack.
We do hope that this guide will help you choose the best game server for your purpose. We have tried to cover every aspect that may occur to you while making your selection, but remember that you can always write to the hosting providers for more satisfactory answers. And always, always do thorough research before committing to a hosting provider.