Renting an ARMA 3 server is relatively cheap and is a great way to create a community server for you and your friends to play on.
It’s far easier and hundred times quicker to rent a server rather than set up your own on a dedicated machine or computer.
A game server hosting company will have your service running within 10 minutes and will allow you to customize your game world to fit your play style. Choosing a host can be a daunting task if this is your first time so I have created a “what to consider” guide before you make your first purchase.
What To Consider
Most hosting companies will offer several different location options. In order to maximize your game play and server speed you will need to connect to a server that is closest to you. For example if you and your friends live in the United Kingdom it’s best to rent a server located in or near the UK.
Other players in other countries can join the server but they may notice some lag or slowing on their performance, this is because their connection distance is a lot further.
If you have friends that are spread across the world try to pick a serve that is central to all of you in order to share the distance connectivity. This will give all players a better ping time.
If you are unsure on a server, ask your host to provide a test server for you to ping.
The amount of players you host will dictate the amount you can expect to pay for your server. The cheapest ARMA 3 server hosting I could find on my comparison article was just $9.80 for 10 players. This is a very cheap starting point for ARMA 3 as most hosting companies only allow you to rent 30 or more slots.
If you are going to rent a server it’s a good idea to first think about how you are going to use the server. Are you going to play casually with your friends or do you want to create a large community? Most servers are usually between 30 – 100 players.
Each hosting company will give you access to their own control panel once you have rented your server. This is the area that you will use to customize your service. You can modify the config files, change the server password, enable cheats for the admins, install mods, select the game-mode and also make back-ups of your world that can be restored or transferred.
Most server providers will offer the standard TCAdmin control panel as this is the industry standard for game server hosting. However some companies do offer their very own custom built control panels that offer you even more customization on your server.
TCAdmin is very user friendly and a good understanding of the control panel will allow you to get the most out of your server. You will also be able to apply your TCAdmin knowledge across 95% of hosting providers.
Losing your progress and world can be very disheartening for you and your community so it’s always best to have regular backups of your ARMA 3 worlds.
Most hosting companies boast that their services are 99.9% secure but accidents do happen and you would risk losing everything if you haven’t made a back-up.
Back-ups are usually made automatically on a daily basis but you can also do it automatically from your control panel. Ask your host what the default settings for backups are if you’re unsure.
If you do happen to lose your progress and don’t have a back-up saved get in contact with the host. Your game hosting company will usually have server backups that will be done on a daily or weekly basis. They may be able to find your data saved in a separate location. If they do find your data ask them to re-install it to your server, this should be all part of the package and included in the price you paid for their service.
If you decide you want to leave your hosting provider or want to transfer your world to a dedicated server this is relatively easy.
Most game server hosting companies will offer the feature “Server Migration” which allows you to transfer all of your settings, progress and config data to another company’s platform. It’s pretty common for players to change providers as prices change and new companies pop up everyday.
Always ask your new provider if they are capable of carrying out a game migration for you before switching over to them.
You can also upload your own local saved data if you’re running a server on your own computer. This can be a little more difficult if you’re a novice at server hosting as you will have to supply the new company with the files to be uploaded. Many companies will happily guide you through this migration process, but check before you buy.
Servers can be externally attacked by other players and hackers. If you have annoyed someone or a hacker is targeting your hosting company you may notice that your server is slowing down or you can’t even access it.
This process is known as a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. Most companies will have DDoS because it’s a pretty standard issue with game servers. However it’s always best to check with the company before you purchase your server.
Most game hosting companies realise how important it is to offer an amazing server and will back the service with a money back guarantee. It’s pretty typical to see a 1 -7 day refund within the policy details.
Always check the details in a hosting companies policy section before finalising any payment as some hosts do state that they will not honour a refund request.
If you are unaware of the policy it’s best to contact the customer support team via live chat or email. If you still can’t find out the policy I would suggest avoiding the host and choose one that makes this information a little more obvious.
Customer reviews will give you a good idea of the performance of the hosting company.
You can find reviews on third party websites and community forums that will highlight all of the positives and negatives aspects of a hosting company.
When reading reviews you should look out for the following information:
- Does their support have good feedback?
- Are they friendly and responsive when answering reviews.
- How many good reviews compared to bad reviews do they have.
- Are there lots of complaints?
- Do the rectify mistakes and complaints
- Do other players recommend them in their reviews
If you read 4 to 5 reviews and they are all positive then you know that this host is a great option. However be aware that sometimes hosting companies will try to pad out the review sites and community threads with paid reviews to trick new customers.
It’s worth reading both the good and bad reviews for a company to get and all round perspective.