Gaming Servers | How to Optimize

In this article, we delve into gaming servers, what they are and how to optimize their performance. Essentially, they are servers that host a video application for multiplayer online gaming. They can run either on dedicated hardware or on cloud-based platforms, depending on the game’s hosting requirements.

Optimizing Your Game

•  The type and genre of the game matters. Different games have different demands on the server’s CPU, RAM, storage, bandwidth, and network latency. For example, a fast-paced shooter game requires more CPU power and lower ping than a turn-based strategy game. Just makes sense, right?

•  The number and location of players is another consideration. The more players that join the server, the more resources the server will need to handle the game logic, physics, graphics, and network traffic. Also, the geographic distance between the players and the server will affect the ping and the quality of the gameplay. Minimizing latency is critical.

•  The level of customization and modifications comes into play as well. Some games allow the server admins to customize and modify various aspects of the game, such as maps, modes, rules, skins, etc. This enhances the gaming experience, but also increases the server’s workload and storage needs.

What should a decent gaming server have?

First, a powerful CPU – It’s responsible for processing the game logic, physics, and graphics on the server side. A faster CPU can handle more players and complex calculations without lagging or crashing. Who the heck wants that? A quad-core CPU or higher is recommended for most games.

A gaming server may benefit from a CPU having more cores and threads, especially if it has to run multiple instances of the game, support many players, or handle complex game logic. Its clock speed and boost speed are the measures of how fast the CPU can execute instructions. A higher clock speed and boost speed can improve the responsiveness and performance of the gaming server, especially for games that are more CPU-intensive or single-threaded.

Cache size and memory bandwidth is important too. These are measures of how fast the CPU can access data from the memory. A larger cache size and higher memory bandwidth can reduce the latency and increase the throughput of the gaming server, especially for games that require a lot of data transfer or random access.

My personal favorite is the AMD Ryzen 7 7700X: This is an 8-core, 16-thread processor that can handle any games and streaming-related tasks. It has a base clock of 3.8 GHz and a boost clock of 4.6 GHz, and supports PCIe 4.0 and DDR4-3200 memory. It also comes with a Wraith Prism cooler and costs around $370.00

Type and Size of RAM – RAM is where the server stores the game data and assets that are frequently accessed by the CPU. Having enough RAM can prevent the server from swapping data to the storage device, which can slow down performance.

DDR4 RAM, one of the newer types of RAM technology, has a peak transfer rate of 19200 MB/s (megabytes per second), whereas a typical SSD (solid-state drive), one of the newer types of storage device technology, has a peak transfer rate of 200 MB/s. Quite a difference!

8 GB of RAM or more is recommended for most games.

Fast storage – The storage device is where the server keeps the game files and saves. A fast storage device can improve loading times and reduce the risk of data corruption or loss. A Solid-State Drive (SSD) is preferred over a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) for gaming servers. My preference for SSD drives are PCIe NVMe. These are types of drives that use the PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express)  interface and the NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) protocol to communicate with the CPU. PCIe NVMe SSDs are faster and more efficient than SATA or SAS SSDs, which use older interfaces and protocols that were designed for HDDs (hard disk drives). These are more expensive, but your players will thank you.

 A reliable network – The network is how the server communicates with the players and other servers. A reliable network can ensure a smooth and stable gameplay without lag, jitter, or packet loss. A high-speed internet connection with enough bandwidth and low latency is essential for gaming servers.

Robust DDoS protection can prevent malicious attacks that can disrupt or damage the server. We’re always seeing requests from OPs (original posters) on web hosting forums of admins asking about DDoS protection like, what level of protection is appropriate? Or is protection even offered by their provider?

Some more factors that should be considered

OS – The Operating System (OS) is the software that runs on the server and manages its resources. Some games may only support certain OSs or have better compatibility with them. For example, most games run on Windows OS, but some may also run on a Linux OS or other platform.

VNC – (remote management) is a software that allows you to access and control your server from another device. This can be useful for monitoring, updating, troubleshooting, or configuring your server without being physically present at its location.

Voice chat servers – These can enhance the social aspect and teamwork of multiplayer gaming, but also require additional resources from your server or a separate hosting service.

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Steve
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