How To Find The Perfect VPS Hosting For Game Servers?
Game servers are far more resource consuming in nature compared to traditional website hosting. The plight of resource crunch becomes even more critical when you are planning to host a multi-player game (single game played by different players at the same time) or multiple games on a single virtual server. As the owner of a gaming console, you would never want another website hosted on the same physical server to create a resource spike affecting the performance of your game server.
This write-up is intended to shred lights upon all key parameters of game server hosting that you need to know. We will also share few expert advises to help you choose the best VPS hosting partner for deploying your virtual game server. Last but not the least, we will bring you the top three hosting service providers which have built a positive reputation for hosting game servers seamlessly.
1. Do Your Basic Research Right
The first and foremost thing that you should concentrate on is doing the basic research in the right manner. Google can be of great help if you choose your search string wisely. Also there are a few reputed webmasters’ forum (like WebHostingTalk or DigitalPoint) where you can get a taste of first hand experiences from genuine users. You can also consult within your trusted friends’ circle and finally come up with a shortlist of 5-6 suitable hosting service providers.
One thing you must learn is to distinguish between genuine user reviews and sponsored reviews. The internet is full of sponsored reviews written exclusively with the intention of earning few dollars as referral/affiliate commission. So take those reviews on blogs/review sites with a pinch of salt.
2. Go For Xen or KVM Virtualization For Complete Isolation
For a virtual game server to run smoothly, you need complete isolation from other virtual machines that reside on the same physical server. You would not like another resource consuming virtual machine to impact the performance of your game server. This rules out OpenVZ or Virtoozo servers as they only offer para-isolation where the resources are pooled and shared among all the client systems.
The experts suggest to go for Xen or KVM virtualization for hosting a game server. A Xen or KVM virtual machine comes with guaranteed resource allocation; hence other VMs can’t eat-up your share of dedicated resources.
3. Processing Power & Primary Memory Matter The Most
You need the power of at-least 1 complete CPU core to get the best out of your game server. If you are hosting multiple multi-player games, then go for higher number of vCPUs. We would suggest you to start with 1 CPU core and gradually increase the vCPU count until you are satisfied with the processing power at your disposal.
Same is the case with RAM. Performance of your server would be heavily compromised unless you allocate the amount of RAM it actually requires. As your concurrent user base increases, you would need to add proportional amount of RAM to maintain high performance.
4. Availability (Uptime) is a Crucial Aspect:
As the owner of game server that runs 24×7, you would need the highest amount of availability (uptime). Hence your hosting provider must ensure auto redundancy (automatic replication of your virtual server on another server located at another data center or disaster recovery site) to counter any unplanned outages. Dual SAS RAID-10 SAN storage, use of load-balancers and redundant network equipment can help you in getting complete peace of mind from latency issues, load balancing and redundancy perspective. Having more than one network career ensures that the data communication is not impacted even if one career goes down or responds slowly.
Do not get fooled by the promise of 99.9% or more uptime guarantee as those claims are usually conditional and may not refer to the actual availability of your virtual server. It’s always better to check with your hosting service provider before making the final decision.
Best VPS Hosting For Game Servers
While we always recommend our readers to check on the points we discussed above, we do understand that it requires a lot of time and patience. Sometimes it can get rather impossible to acquire all these information due to the lack of enough bandwidth on your end.
Hence, the second part of this article will bring you our experts’ choice of two VPS providers for hosting a game server which meet all the four parameters discussed above. So here goes our experts’ pick of top VPS hosting for game servers. Kindly note that the first one uses Xen virtualization, while the second one is powered by KVM virtualization.
1. HostingSource Xen VPS:
HostingSource Xen VPS hosting packages with dedicated resources are the perfect match for hosting a game server. Each package under Xen VPS category has predefined amount of processing power, primary memory and disk space allocated to your virtual server alone, hence no neighboring virtual machine can disrupt the performance of game server. With the help of RAID-10 hard disk drives, multiple network transit providers, 24×7 power back-up, load balancers and redundant network equipment/architecture, they are able to offer full redundancy and hence a guaranteed uptime of 99.9% does translate to reality.
The best part, however, is that these high performing Xen virtual servers are surprisingly affordable. At a starting price of just $10 a month, you can’t get a cheaper option which can offer the reliability and stability that HostingSource VPS packages offer. Ideally suited for hosting small to medium size game servers, the $10 standard VPS package (VPS I) brings you the power of 1 vCPU Core, 1 GB RAM, 20 GB RAID-10 hard disk space and 3 TB monthly bandwidth. You can opt for higher packages (VPS II – VPS IV) priced in-between $20 to $40 as your active user base gradually increases.
If you are planning to host multiple games, multi-player games or any other high-end gaming console, then your best bet is HostingSource’s premium VPS packages which can cost you $50 to $80 per month. The server specification for the lowest priced premium VPS plan (VPS V – $50/month) is 3 vCPU Core, 5 GB RAM, 60 GB RAID-10 storage and 7 TB monthly data transfer limit – which is pretty impressive for deploying any game server. Nevertheless, you can still go for more resources if the need be and deploy a virtual server with 4 vCPU core, 8 GB RAM, 90 GB Storage and 10 TB bandwidth for a paltry sum of $80 per month.
2. InterServer KVM VPS:
InterServer uses KVM virtualization, which gives you the choice of going for either Linux or Windows based virtual machines to host your gaming website. Just like Xen, KVM virtualization too offers complete isolation and dedicated resource allocation – so you are in no way impacted by the amount of resources other virtual machines might consume.
Besides ensuring a guaranteed uptime of 99.99%, InterServer also offers 1 dedicated public IP address, redundant storage, cloud backup/snapshot and 24×7 server monitoring service at no extra cost.
InterServer’s KVM virtual servers deployed in their own sophisticated data centers offer the highest level of reliability at an affordable cost. The base price for a single ‘slice’ of KVM virtual server is just $8. It features 1 CPU core, 1 GB RAM, 25 GB dual SAS RAID10 SAN storage and 1 TB monthly bandwidth limit.
As your website grows in size/usage, you can just add more number of ‘slices’ to increase the resource allocation accordingly. You are allowed to scale up to 16 ‘slices’ – which would bring you 4 vCPU core, 16 GB RAM, 400 GB disk space and 16 TB bandwidth limit for a monthly sum of $128.
All KVM VPS plans at InterServer are fully managed solutions deployed instantly within 15 minutes of payment realization. You also get full administrative privilege with root level access (Linux) or RDP access (Windows).