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What are the Best Tips for Setting up a Linux® Game Server?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated May 16, 2024
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The Linux operating system (OS) can be well suited to running dedicated game servers. Linux is both powerful and relatively stable, and is also free. Setting up a Linux game server may seem daunting, especially to those unfamiliar with Linux. Some useful tips for setting up a Linux game server include becoming familiar with the OS, verifying the server stats are adequate, and getting the most current binaries. Linux can also offer some useful tricks, such as the ability to use a shell script to restart the server if it ever happens to crash.

A good tip for setting up a Linux game server applies specifically to users that are new to the OS, as it may be a little different from what they are used to. Acquiring and installing programs on Linux is a slightly different process than that used by other OSes, and extensive use is made of the command shell to perform various tasks. A new Linux server admin should usually begin by learning a variety of shell commands.

Before setting up a Linux game server, it can also be important to verify that the specifications to operate the server are met. These requirements are often provided by the gave developer or publisher. Something to keep in mind is that the requirements may increase depending on the number of client connections the server will allow. The requirements may also be higher depending on other factors, such as game modifications or bots.

Installing the most recent game binaries can also be important, since clients running newer versions of the game will typically be unable to connect to an outdated server. In the case of some older games, the most recent binaries may not be the ones available from the developer or publisher. Some research may be required in these cases, as the latest server files may be maintained by some third party. Server binaries are typically free unless they are not separate from the actual game files.

When installing the game binaries, it may be a good idea to make a new user to handle only game installs. This user may then be granted permission to deal with the game directories by using the chown command. Failing that, the server may instead be installed within the user directory. Taking this precaution prior to install may help avoid future problems.

Even though Linux is a fairly stable OS, a Linux game server may crash from time to time. In order to keep the server up without manually restarting it each time, a simple shell script can be created. Writing such a script can be fairly simple with a solid understanding of Linux commands, or an existing script may be located and reused. The purpose of the script is to check if the server is running, and to automatically launch if it isn't.

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