Three tips to choosing your game server host

Happy very belated Easter all :)

I didn’t receive any Easter Eggs this year, I’m far too old for that kind of stuff. Anyone wanting to send some chocolate through to me can do so through our contact page ;) Anything, to get me away from Call of Duty 4. It’s far too addictive :(

One thing I’ve been thinking about over the Easter break, is how do people choose a game server provider? Back in the day (/me gets out tweed hat and pipe) it was a relatively easy task. When we started five years ago, you had three, perhaps four providers at max to choose from.

As the price to rent dedicated servers has decreased, so has the number of game server hosts. Again, at risk at sounding an old git the first dedicated server we rented was £100 a month, and we paid £100 setup. That was for a Pentium 4 2.4 with 1GB RAM :)

Many dedicated server providers have in turn, completely ignored that power and space costs are around 5x + what they were 2-3 years ago. But that said, servers are now way more power efficient, so you get more bang for your buck ;) You can now pick a dedicated server 4x as powerful for less than £70 a month. Granted, we don’t rent dedicated servers anymore. In fact, we rent them out to lots of smaller GSP’s and clans. But, basic fact – cheaper dedicated servers = more game server providers!

The majority of game server hosts rent these cheap dedicated servers. Now the hardware itself has to come at a catch right? So very often that dedicated server is no better quality than a cheap desktop stuck in a rack. Stick a copy of Windows XP on it (naughty, naughty) and bang a control panel on.


You then have game server hosts that invest in quality hardware, quality network infrastructure, and try and keep those middle men down.

So, tip #1. Ask your game server host, is your next Call of Duty 4 server going to be hosted off someone’s second hand desktop PC? Or are they running nice business class hardware. While the cheap end makes it easy to host at daft prices (we’ve seen below 50p a slot!), it isn’t going to give you and your clan / community the quality it deserves.

If you go into town, and you want a service, whether it be paying cash in at the bank, getting something horrible removed from your foot at a chiropodist, or chewing on a muffin…in a coffee shop, you know their opening hours, yah?

It’s not like they can shout, “Er hai, eat your muffins 24/7″ and lie about it. Because if you had the hankering at 2am for a chocolate chip, and you found they were closed, they’d get found out.

It’s a lot easier on the internet. I’ve seen web hosts, game server hosts claim the funniest of things.

‘We’re 24/7 because my MSN is signed in all day’ – Erm, come again. My msn is signed in 24/7, but you certainly wouldn’t want to catch me on there before I go to bed.

We’ve seen one-man-bands who go to college / school / work all day claim to be 24/7 -We answer all emails within 24/7′.

Continuing the rather enjoyable food theme of this article, please, don’t be such a donut! That’s not 24/7 support. It’s not even part time.

Good support would be 9-5. And that means, always someone logged in 9-5. Excellent support is 12 hours, i.e. 10-10. INX and a few other game server providers properly manage it. Amazing, theoretical support is 24.7 support, which we haven’t yet seen a GSP claim, and live up to :) Although like any professional internet service provider, we monitor all our equipment 24.7. And if something breaks, we don’t hang around to fix it.

So, tip #2 - Find a host that’s good with support, but honest with support. Because there’s far too many bullsh*tters out there.

And for our final tip, I shall try and keep off the thoughts of food, as its a recipe for disaster. Oops, ok, it’s Friday, I finish work soon and I have pizza to look forward too :)

How long as your new potential new gaming server host been around? 5 years (we and a few others have :) ), 5 months? 5 weeks? 5 minutes? There are so many fly by nighters. Going on the point above, how long do you think a small host can survive on unrealistic pricing margins. Every week or so we see a host disappear, along with customer’s hard-earned pre-paid money.

While age isn’t everything (as someone with a younger girlfriend, I wouldn’t so much agree, but that’s not suitable for a company blog) it’s not a bad indication of how long a potential host will stay around to look after you.

Tip #3 – wisdom comes with old age. :)

Until next time, enjoy your weekend’s gaming :)

- Olly

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3 Responses to Three tips to choosing your game server host

  1. John says:

    I think the key thing is that, while the “cowboys” who just do as you said and whack some hacky software on a crummy old box may lure in lots of customers they sure as heck won’t get returns.

    Whereas at INX we do.

  2. Official Developer says:

    Well.. Kinda

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