An inside look at game server hosting

Guest articleMany popular PC titles today have their multiplayer platforms driven by player-hosted servers. This allows players and communities to custom tailor gameplay environments and settings to their liking. Much of these servers can be hosted by anyone who plays the game; at home, or through a game server hosting provider. As the founder and CEO of HostHavoc.com, I was invited by “Syff” of Angry-Mob.com to briefly shed some light on the game server hosting industry which I hope to be insightful to customers and those involved in the industry alike.

Baseline: How does it all work?

If you’re at all familiar with web hosting services, game server hosting is very similar in nature. As a customer, you’re renting space within a set of infrastructure which is effectively the basis of the all-in-one solution which we call “game server hosting”. These services are provided by a game server provider, commonly referred to as a “GSP”. Subscribing to one of these services will provide you with a server for whatever game you’re hosting, as well as control panel which gives you the ability to manipulate the server in any way necessary; starting/stopping the server process, updating files, installing mods and so forth. Advantages to using these services as opposed to hosting one yourself at home include the following:

  • Your game server is online 24/7 without needing to leave a computer/server running at home, driving up your electricity bill.
  • Use of top-tier networks and server hardware, increasing reliability and reducing latency for players
  • Having support technicians at your disposal for help with configuring settings, issue resolution, etc.
  • No hassle of port-forwarding, modifying your router’s settings or putting a strain your home’s internet connection.

What to look for in a game server hosting provider

Having been on both sides (as a customer and operating a GSP), I feel as though I have a pretty good idea of what one should be looking for when shopping around for a new game server. The first thing is support quality and timeliness. Let’s say you’re renting a server and it goes offline at 8:00 PM on a Saturday and is completely unresponsive. Not fun, right? Many GSPs won’t have their ticket system staffed 24/7 unless they have the appropriate level of ticket volume and resources to do so. If it takes 8 hours to receive a response, your night of gaming is effectively ruined. Having been in this exact scenario as a customer to one of these GSPs in the past, I know how aggravating this can be. From the start, at Host Havoc, it’s been our goal to do everything possible to ensure none of our customers ever find themselves in such a situation. Gamers are a 24/7 breed, and any service like ours within the industry should be the operated same way.

Next is going to be reviews. TrustPilot.com and CompareGameHosting.com are great platforms to check to see if any of the company’s customers have been able to share their experience. As with any review, take every experience you read with a grain of salt and be weary of false reviews that look to have been written by representatives of the company. Lastly, ensuring the company offers a money-back guarantee is always ideal. If you’re at all dissatisfied with the service, you’re free to request your money back within the designated time period (generally between 24 and 72 hours).

What’s it like working for a GSP?

At Host Havoc, our operation never sleeps. Our support ticket system is always staffed and additional team members are on call, ready to respond if disaster strikes. Being a smaller team, we’re able to work collectively to determine a fixed weekly schedule that works for everyone. As of early 2018, all of our support technicians work remotely from the comfort of their own homes. Through our experience, we’ve determined that this is the most efficient means of fulfilling our support team’s needs. As a support technician, you have the responsibility of communicating with customers, finding and resolving technical issues, creating helpful support literature and maintaining a watch over our infrastructure. At times, our technicians are tasked with carrying out maintenance procedures on our hosting “nodes”. With the offering of many different game server platforms, a multitude of things can go wrong. Extensive experience with each platform is crucial. It’s necessary for our team to be in constant contact when new issues (and their solutions) arise so that everyone is kept in the loop and has the know-how. All in all, it’s a relatively straight forward responsibility which most find to be accomodating to their lifestyles and personal schedules, given that the work is performed from home.

Hosthavoc

Host Havoc Ltd. is a registered Canadian company based in Ottawa, Canada. Our team is comprised of highly motivated, talented, inspiring individuals. As a company, our number one goal is to ensure our customers’ satisfaction at all costs. We strive to maintain a low overhead operation alongside the adherence to an exceptionally high standard for quality. This allows our customers to reap the benefits of having a cost friendly solution which boasts exceptional performance. If you would like to know more, feel free to contact us.

Clay Berndt

About Clay Berndt

Clay founded Host Havoc in March of 2014 after driving his passion for multiplayer gaming and IT infrastructure into a commercial operation which satisfies the technical needs of thousands each month.