ARK: Survival Evolved is a dinosaur survival game that immerses you into a world of Pteranodons, Tyrannosauruses, Quetzalcoatluses and other primitive species from millions of years ago. There's a little something for everyone in this game. You can build bases, tame dinosaurs, farm, dive for pearls, build and sail a boat, raid other tribes' bases and more!
Sounds like a great game doesn't it? Well it is. But, the official servers for this game are an utter disaster. All you have to do is read the reviews on Steam to see the discontent from the players on how the official servers are being managed. There's massive lag. There's alpha tribes destroying all other bases on the servers. Alphas handcuffing and encumbering players with weight, so they can't play. Blocking off spawns and setting traps for new players. and nothing is being done about it.
Luckily though it's quite easy to setup your own ARK server on Ubuntu 16.04. I'll teach you how to get your own server up and running in less than 15 minutes with this guide.
If you don't already have a Linux system to install your ARK server on, and if you've found this guide useful, please consider renting a VPS from Linode with my affiliate ID. You can use coupon code bootstrapped2017 for a free $20 credit to your account.
- Ubuntu (with root privileges)
- 6 GB free disk space minimum
- 4 GB RAM minimum (8 GB RAM recommended)
Install SteamCMD (Steam Console Client), which will be used for downloading, installing and updating your ARK server
sudo su - root apt-get update apt-get install steamcmd
Increase Open Files Limit
ARK will not run unless you increase the open files limit on your Ubuntu server to a minimum of 100000.
If you're trying to run more than one game server on your system, you will most likely need to increase this limit even higher.
echo "fs.file-max=100000" >> /etc/sysctl.conf && sysctl -p echo "* soft nofile 100000" >> /etc/security/limits.conf echo "* hard nofile 100000" >> /etc/security/limits.conf echo "session required pam_limits.so" >> /etc/pam.d/common-session
Create ARK User Account
For security reasons, it's recommended that you create a new user account for ARK to run under
adduser --disabled-login --gecos 'ARK Server' ark su ark
Download ARK via the Steam console client. Depending on the connection speed of your server, this may take a few minutes as it has to download approximately 6 GB worth of files.
steamcmd +login anonymous +force_install_dir /home/ark/server +app_update 376030 +quit
Add ARK as a Service
Switch back to the root user
Create systemd service file for ARK
Paste the following into the file
Description=ARK Survival Evolved Server [Service] Type=simple Restart=on-failure RestartSec=5 StartLimitInterval=60s StartLimitBurst=3 User=ark Group=ark WorkingDirectory=/home/ark/server ExecStartPre=/usr/games/steamcmd +login anonymous +force_install_dir /home/ark/server +app_update 376030 +quit ExecStart=/home/ark/server/ShooterGame/Binaries/Linux/ShooterGameServer TheIsland?listen?RCONEnabled=True?RCONPort=27015 -server -log ExecStop=killall -TERM srcds_linux [Install] WantedBy=multi-user.target
Enable and start ARK service
systemctl enable ark systemctl start ark
Verify the ARK server is running
service ark status
Configure ARK Server
The GameUserSettings.ini file is generated the first time that you start the ARK server. If you haven't already started the server, do so now. A full list of server configuration settings is available here.
Open the config file
Set the name of your server
Set PVE or PVP
Set admin password
Set server password (optional)
After updating the configuration file, to make the changes take effect, restart the server
service ark restart
Congratulations! Your ARK server should now be up and running. Did you have trouble during a certain part of the guide? Do you have a question on how to do something we haven't covered? Let us know in the comments below!
Install RCON Tool
If you want to issue server commands via the console without logging into the game, you can use a RCON tool.
cd ~ wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/ericmathison007/gaming/master/tools/rcon.c
Compile RCON tool
gcc -o rcon rcon.c
Tool command syntax
Syntax: rcon [-P"rcon_password"] [-a127.0.0.1] [-p27015] command
Example on issuing the saveworld command
rcon -P"rcon_password" -a127.0.0.1 -p27015 saveworld
If you're unfamiliar with the console commands, you can view the full list here.
Log into admin
Enable spectator mode
Disable spectator mode
Toggle god mode
Fly around the map
Fly through objects
Deactivate fly mode
admincheat kickplayer <SteamID>
admincheat banplayer <SteamID>
admincheat unbanplayer <SteamID>
Hide admin icon next to name
cheat setadminicon false
Show administration manager window
SteamAPI_Init() failed; SteamAPI_IsSteamRunning() failed
The following error message will most likely occur if you haven't increased the open files limit or if your system doesn't have enough RAM
Using binned. 4.5.1-0+UE4 7038 3077 402 7 [S_API FAIL] SteamAPI_Init() failed; SteamAPI_IsSteamRunning() failed. Setting breakpad minidump AppID = 346110 Mods