The first step on how to host a server for ARK is to retrieve, and setup SteamCMD the tool where you will be using to install and update your ARK: Survival Evolved dedicated server. You can download it from the SteamCMD website here. Alternatively, a button to the direct URL for Steam is below.
Once downloaded, extract the ZIP to a folder of your choosing and double click the steamcmd.exe which will setup SteamCMD fully. We are now ready for step two.
After double-clicking the steamcmd.exe it will extract and set up the core files and present a console window similar to the image displayed here, once it shows Steam> we can start entering commands. Each line is a separate command, submit with enter (return key).
Examples of the process in action is shown in the gallery on this page.
You can also make a .bat file to make the process easier and also allows for future easy updating. Ensure this is put within the folder containing the steamcmd.exe.
Now we have the server files all that we need to do is configure the server settings. ARK servers have two core files and the command line for configuring settings. These files are not created until the server is started for the first time. We provide an example for each file. You will need to save these in a text editor as the file names below and place them in the correct folder.
Create a .BAT file using a text editor and place this file in the directory \ShooterGame\Binaries\Win64
This file you have made is your startup file. It can be as simple as the basic example file below or more complex to allow for additional ARK dedicated server command-line options. We give examples below, but of course, this is down to your individual needs you can add and remove options as you require.
start ShooterGameServer.exe TheIsland?listen?SessionName=Changeme?ServerPassword=Changeme?ServerAdminPassword=Changeme?Port=7777?QueryPort=27015?MaxPlayers=10
Starting the server.
Everything is ready so you can go ahead and double click the .bat file you created to start the server. This file will start your ARK: Survival Evolved dedicated server. You will get a window pop up like the example here. It will confirm when fully started up and ready to go. Depending on your world size, settings and mods will dictate how long the server takes to startup entirely from less than 60 seconds to up to 30 minutes. This startup time is also dependant on your hardware.
Lastly, you need to configure your firewall ports and sort your port forwarding to allow you to find and join your ARK dedicated server. The ports required are shown here although these are just the default ports. If you are running multiple servers, you would not be able to use the same ports on the same IP so in this case, you would + 10 to all the ports.
If you need guidance with port forwarding or have questions regarding setting up or configuring port forwarding on your router, you can check for specific advice on http://portforward.com.
UDP 27015 – Query port for Steam’s server browser
UDP 7777 – Game client port
UDP 7778 – Raw UDP socket port (always Game client port +1)
TCP 27020 – RCON Port
If the main ARK game updates, an update will be released for the server-side client as well. In some cases, the server-side files will receive an update only. Not all updates require the server to be updated. Only major version changes require you to process an update.
– Your server is running version V302. The game updates to version V303. The server will require a server update for it to be join-able.
– Your server is running version V302. The game updates to version V302.1. The server will not require updating.
You will generally know if you need to update because when you try to join the server when it is online will result in the error ‘Unable to query the server for invite.’
To update, run the steps in step 2, or the .bat file you created.