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How to create an ARK server
Ark: Survival Evolved (stylized as ΛRK) is an action-adventure game released in 2017 by the game development company Studio Wildcard. The game is available for PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PS4. Mobile versions of the game exist for Android and iOS.
In the game, you start as a man or woman stranded on the shores of a mysterious island called ARK, populated with roaming dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. The player has to hunt, harvest resources, craft items, grow crops, research technologies, and build shelters to withstand the elements and survive. There are currently more than 150 creatures that populate the world of Ark, and one of the primary mechanics of the game is taming these creatures using projectiles like tranquilizing darts or weapons. During the game, the player can team up with, or prey upon, hundreds of other players on various ARK servers to survive, dominate - and finally escape from the island!
“Ark: Survival Evolved” is a survival game, as the title indicates, where you are stranded in a hostile world with nothing. You have to hunt, harvest, craft and gather your way towards bigger and better resources. The game concept is similar to other games like Minecraft, Dayz and Rust. You can explore the island and its imposing environment, which is composed of many natural and unnatural structures, above-ground, below-ground, and underwater. While doing this, you discover the most exotic procedurally randomized creatures and rare blueprints, allowing you to build structures and level up your character. All your actions require resources, and you have to eat and drink to keep your character alive.
The game supports both single-player local games and massive multi-player games using more than 100 Ark servers. You can create a tribe on the server and invite your friends to join your tribe to be even stronger. In your tribe, all tamed dinosaurs and building structures are usually shared between tribe members, and you can delegate tasks to other members of your tribe.
When playing “Ark: Survival Evolved” on one of the existing public servers, you are limited to the constraints and resources available on this server. These predefined ARK maps and assets are an excellent start to get some initial inspiration. Still, they will not allow you to imagine and design your own unique ‘Procedurally Generated ARKs’ for infinite replayability and endless surprises.
By starting your own “Ark: Survival Evolved” server, you can design an ARK map precisely to your creativity and liking.
In this tutorial, you will learn how to create an ARK server on a Scaleway Instance to design your ARK and invite your friends to play with you on a server tailored to your needs.
- You have an account and are logged into the Scaleway Console
- You have configured your SSH Key
- You have created an Instance which is running Ubuntu Bionic Beaver (18.04) or Ubuntu Focal Fossa (20.04).
- You have sudo privileges or access to the root user.
- You have a copy of “Ark: Survival Evolved” for your local computer
The “Ark: Survival Evolved” game server application requires at least 6GB of RAM to start. Memory requirements increase as the number of connected players increases, as well depending on the activated mods. We recommend that you use at minimum a DEV1-L instance for smooth gameplay.
Connect to your Instance using SSH.
aptpacket cache and upgrade the software already installed on the Instance:
apt update && apt upgrade -y
Create a new
useradd -m steam
The ARK server application requires SteamCMD, a command-line version of the Steam client. To install it, the
multiverserepository and the
i386architecture are required. Configure these settings and update the
aptpackage manager before installing the SteamCMD client:
dpkg --add-architecture i386
apt install lib32gcc1 steamcmd -y
During installation, you are requested to agree to Steam’s license agreement. Use the Tab key to move to OK, then press Enter to accept the terms:
steamuser account and create a new directory for the ARK server.Note:
Make sure to have at least 12 GB of free disk space available to be able to download and expand all ARK server files.
mkdir -p /home/steam/servers/ark
The Steam console displays:
Steam Console Client (c) Valve Corporation
-- type 'quit' to exit --
Loading Steam API...OK.
Log in as
anonymoususer to the steam service, set the directory for the ARK server files (
/home/steam/servers/ark), and download the application with the ID
376030for “Ark: Survival Evolved”. Then leave the Steam console using the
Steam> login anonymous
Steam> force_install_dir /home/steam/servers/ark
Steam> app_update 376030 validate
You can also execute these steps directly from the console by running the following command:
steamcmd +login anonymous +force_install_dir /home/steam/servers/ark +app_update 376030 +quit
Create a symlink to the
ln -s /usr/games/steamcmd /home/steam/steamcmd
Create a systemd script named
/etc/systemd/system/ark-server.servicewith the following contents. Make sure to replace
<server_name>with the desired name for your ARK server:
Description=ARK Survival Evolved Server
After=syslog.target network.target nss-lookup.target network-online.target
ExecStartPre=/home/steam/steamcmd +login anonymous +force_install_dir /home/steam/servers/ark +app_update 376030 +quit
ExecStart=/home/steam/servers/ark/ShooterGame/Binaries/Linux/ShooterGameServer TheIsland?listen?SessionName=<server_name> -server -log
ExecReload=/bin/kill -s HUP $MAINPID
ExecStop=/bin/kill -s INT $MAINPID
Enable and start the newly created systemd server:
systemctl enable ark-server && systemctl start ark-serverNote:
You can verify if your ARK server is running by typing the following command:
systemctl status ark-server.service. An output like the following example displays:
● ark-server.service - ARK Survival Evolved Server
Loaded: loaded (/etc/systemd/system/ark-server.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
Active: active (running) since Thu 2020-11-12 16:30:05 UTC; 1min 55s ago
Process: 1791 ExecStartPre=/home/steam/steamcmd +login anonymous +force_install_dir /home/steam/servers/a
Main PID: 1836 (ShooterGameServ)
Tasks: 14 (limit: 4915)
└─1836 /home/steam/servers/ark/ShooterGame/Binaries/Linux/ShooterGameServer TheIsland?listen?Ses
To customize your server, open the
GameUserSettings.inifile in a text editor and edit the parameters towards your requirements. You can also use a Configuration Generator to automatically generate the required settings from a visual interface.
Install a firewall on your Instance to protect it. We use UFW in this tutorial:
apt install ufw
Create a script
configure_ufw.shand put the following content into it:
if [[ $EUID -ne 0 ]]; then
echo "This script must be run as root"
for port in 7777 7778 27015; do
ufw allow $port/udp
ufw allow 27020/tcp
ufw allow 22/tcp
ufw default deny
ufw default allow outgoing
echo "Firewall rules configured and activated."
After successfully completing the installation of your ARK server, you can connect to it by following these three steps:
Start the “Ark: Survival Evolved” client on your local computer and click Join ARK.
Use the server name filter to find your server and select it.
Enter the server password and click Accept to connect to it.
You now have created, started and configured an ARK server on a Scaleway Instance, installed basic protection through UFW and are ready to invite your friends to build your tribe on the server. For more information about customization and additional mods, refer to the official ARK Community platform.