One of the defining characteristics of ARK is its obvious design towards Multiplayer gameplay. While you can certainly play ARK alone, you can’t actually play it through. Limitations in character development and the design of the game effectively prevent a single player from accessing some parts of the end-game.
Hence most players eventually ask themselves: “What server is the right one for me?”. That’s an interesting question, because there are multiple choices to make.
Disadvantages of the Offical Servers
There are hundreds of official servers, which usually enjoy high player counts. They’re a good starting point if you’re playing with people you don’t know, however they do have problems: In practice, they’re often unmoderated. Griefers can easily ruin your day. For example, typical problems include reserving resources, raising fees for access to some parts of the map, and that even on servers that don’t allow direct fighting (PvE). Moreover, some people there already have end-game equipment, and enjoy rubbing that into the face of newcomers.
Private Multiplayer Servers: The Solution?
Those are the reasons for why ARK also offers players the option to create their own, private, servers. This means, players can run their own servers on their computers and others can join them. The logical consequence is that they’ve got complete control over their server instance, including the ability to modify the game almost at will. That means independence from the official servers.
The gameplay on a private server can be radically different. From difficulty level, levelling speed to the prohibition of modern weaponry in the so called “Primitive Mode”, everything can be customized. Most importantly, the owner of a private server can decide himself, who may play on it and who may not. This gives him the power to ban griefers, or to limit the server to his friends and family.
Unfortunately, there are downsides to hosting your private servers on your own computer. Due to the early state of the game, the server software can be unstable, needs huge amounts of RAM and manages to occupy most of the CPU. Many players also expect that a server is online around the clock, which can result in power-costs well into the hundreds of dollars each year.
A Comparison of Server Providers
Consequently, it’s a sensible choice to rent a server in a data center. A disclaimer: We’re currently cooperating with the marbis GmbH, which, among other things, owns Nitrado. Independent of that we’re recommending Nitrado because of it’s objective Advantages over other providers. Nitrado hosts some of the official servers for ARK, and is in direct contact with Studio Wildcard, the people who develop ARK: Survival Evolved. That means, Nitrado has direct insights into the technical details, and can optimize the their servers in terms of stability and speed.
A short comparison of server providers (Date: 10. April 2018, * converted)
|Slots||20 Slots||20 Slots||20 Slots|
|Price(per Month)||15,50 EUR||16,00 EUR||20,48 EUR*|
|Price in US$||$ 18,88||$ 19,49*||$ 24,95|