How To Host An Ark: Survival Evolved Dedicated Server

Ark: Survival Evolved is an awesome, dinosaur-themed survival online game. Typically, new players join non-dedicated servers to play. These servers have been established officially with set parameters, rules, and maps, and can be used to play with friends, and save your personal progress.

However, a dedicated server gives you much greater freedom. You can choose which mods to apply, which map to base your server around, how many players to cap the server at, and so much more. A dedicated server gives you and your friends full control over gameplay, and gives you a server you can access at any time, since you created it!

To learn how to create and host a dedicated server on Ark: Survival Evolved, follow our step-by-step tutorial below. For all other information (including how to Host and Play Ark at the Same Time) check out our FAQ section at the end of this article.

Note: You can only create a dedicated server on PC.

How to create a dedicated Ark server on PC

  1. On the desktop of your PC, right-click and select New > Text Document from the menu
  2. Double left-click the text document to open it
  3. Paste the following into the text document (without the “ “): 
    1. “start ShooterGameServer.exe TheIsland?QueryPort=27015?SessionName=YOUR SERVER?MaxPlayers=16?listen?ServerPassword=PASSWORD?ServerAdminPassword=PASSWORD? -nosteamclient -game -server -log”
  4. Change YOURSERVER, and the two PASSWORD sections to whatever you like (this will set the name of your server and the passwords to get into and edit it)
  5. You can also change the max number of players allowed into your server, and the location (default: TheIsland)
  6. Next, left-click File and select ‘Save As’. Save your text document as “[ServerName].bat” on your desktop
  7. Copy the .bat file from your desktop
  8. Navigate to: C:/program file(86)/steam/steamApps/common/ARK/shooterGame/Binaries/Win64 and there paste the .bat file
  9. You have successfully created a dedicated Ark server on your PC

How to host an Ark: Survival Evolved dedicated server (PC)

  1. On your PC, Open the ARK/shooterGame/Binaries/Win64 folder where you posted your .bat server file in the tutorial above
  2. Double left-click the .bat file. It will open and begin to load in a new window.
  3. Wait for the command lines in the new server window to read: ‘Full Startup Complete’ (this make take several minutes)
  4. You are now hosting your dedicated server, and can join it via Steam or the console version of Ark: Survival Evolved. To learn how to host and play at the same time, check out our How To guide on the subject!

And there you go: everything you need to know to both create and host a free dedicated Ark server customized to your preferred settings. If you have any further questions, or would like any more information on hosting dedicated servers, please see our FAQs below.


What is an Ark: Survival Evolved dedicated server?

On Ark: Survival Evolved, you will most often be playing on non-dedicated official servers set up by the producers of Ark. You may even be using paid-for unofficial servers so that only you and your friends can join the server and play together. 

A dedicated server, on the other hand, is an Ark: Survival Evolved server which you have created specifically with your own mods in mind, server name, game location, game rules, and even a password, if you so choose. It gives you full control over the gameplay and the people who play it.

A dedicated server will allow you to play online with your friends in the same server whenever you like, ensuring that your progress within that server is saved and won’t be interfered with by other non-dedicated server online players. 

A dedicated server is a server you host on your own device, and which is available only when you choose to make it so.

Is it free to host a dedicated server?

You can pay to play on a range of different Ark: Survival Evolved servers, and so you might assume that it would cost you to host a dedicated server of your own. In fact, it doesn’t! You can actually host dedicated servers simply by pressing ‘Play’ in Steam and choosing to do so (though you wouldn’t then be able to play at the same time).

The only limitation to hosting a dedicated server is the time it takes to create one, and the technology you’re working with. At the end of the day, only high-end PCs and computing units have the processing capacity to host a dedicated server that won’t be laggy or crash during playing.

What do you need to host a dedicated Ark server?

In order to host an Ark: Survival Evolved dedicated server, you need a computer with certain specifications. To run your own dedicated server, you’ll need a computer that has:

  • 2 x CPU physical cores of 3GHz or faster
  • RAM of at least 6-8GB
  • Hard Disk space of around 30GB
  • A strong, secure, fast broadband connection (we recommend using an ethernet cable!)
  • Microsoft or Linux operating system

Can you host a dedicated server on Ark and play it at the same time?

Yes! You can host a dedicated server on Ark: Survival Evolved and play on the server at the same time. However, you cannot do so if you simply choose to host a dedicated server via your Steam app. 

To host and play a dedicated server at the same time, you must either host the server on your PC and access it via a games console, or load the server outside of Steam on your PC, and then play the game server via Steam. For full instructions on how, read our comprehensive guide on how to host and play Ark: Survival Evolved at the same time.