Best ARK Server Hosting

written by jacob tuwiner Jacob Tuwiner

ARK: Survival Evolved is an open-world survival sandbox with some adventure style features.

As in Rust, DayZ, and various other survival games, you’ll spawn in the world with the skin on your back, and that’s about it.

Despite these similarities, ARK is incredibly ambitious. Should you invest the time, the game will see your progress from a naked man with a spear to futuristic power ranger with dinosaurs as pets.

But if you think you can hop in, play for a few hours and wield an army of dinosaurs and technology, you’re mistaken. ARK takes a ton of time, energy, and in many instances, grinding before you can tame top-tier dinosaurs and wield immense power.

The game takes a lot of resource gathering and upgrading to progress through, which can get boring for some players.

However, there are servers with features that increase the speed at which you gather loot and level up. These options aren’t available on every server, though.

If you want to take total control of your ARK experience, play with friends, and have a blast without worrying about griefers or annoying rules, hosting your own ARK server is the best option.

In this article, we’re taking a look at some of the best ARK server hosting companies on the market.

Let’s dive in!

Logo Host Details Rent
GTX Gaming
  • Top Pick
Rent a Server
Citadel Servers
  • Runner Up
Rent a Server
Host Havoc
  • Also Awesome
Rent a Server

Renting an ARK Server vs Hosting your Own

Hosting your server is okay for you and a few friends, but it’s not a good idea if you want to grow a real community on your server.

Dedicated ARK Server on Your PC

ARK game logo

Hosting your own ARK server is a bit challenging to set up if you’ve never hosted a server before, but there are step-by-step guides on the official ARK wiki-like this one. You can follow the steps, and your server will be up and running.

Aside from being a bit more challenging, running a server requires a fast CPU and plenty of RAM, especially when you’re hosting a large server.

Open world games tend to use more RAM and CPU power than games like TF2 or CS:GO. And more players will increase the server’s strain on your PC.

Think about it:

The game is already pretty performance-hungry without a server running. If you’re already struggling to maintain 60 FPS in 1080p, your performance will be worse while running a large server.

Your friends will probably have a lousy connection too, if your PC can’t handle the server.

Server uptime is another big reason why hosting yourself may not be a great idea. The server will only be live when it’s running on your PC.

If your friends only want to play when you’re on, this is fine - but ARK is a game that requires a ton of grinding, and odds are your friends will want to hop on without you, and vice versa.

This means you’ll need to leave your PC on at all times, with the server running.

And if you want to add any mods or DLC packs to your server, it’ll be tough to figure out on your own.

Renting ARK Server Hosting

That’s where ARK server hosting comes in - dedicated hosting companies like GTX Gaming are experts in the field.

Renting from a company like them will make your life way easier - you’ll have better performance, 24/7 uptime, easy mod installation, and a dedicated support team to help you out (among other benefits).

Which is Best for You?

Don’t get me wrong, running an ARK dedicated server on your PC is doable, especially if you have a powerful gaming PC and only want to host a few friends. In that case, there’s little reason to pay for hosting.

But for most people - especially those who want to host a real server - should find a good hosting company (like one of the options above).

Best ARK Server Hosting

Logo Host Details Rent
GTX Gaming
  • Top Pick
Rent a Server
Citadel Servers
  • Runner Up
Rent a Server
Host Havoc
  • Also Awesome
Rent a Server
Pros
  • Great performance
  • Competitive pricing
  • Free game switching
  • Custom control panels
  • Worldwide support
Cons
  • Knowledgebase could be better
  • Support could be faster
Type
Dedicated
Mods
Yes
Support
Good
Platform
PC
cPanel
TCAdmin
DDoS
Free

GTX Gaming’s ARK servers start at $11.31 for a ten slot server, 5GB of memory, and a 3.8GHz server. That comes out to roughly $1.31 per slot.

But as you increase your slot count, the price per slot goes down. For example, a 30 slot server is $25.95 ($0.86/slot), and a 250 slot server is $79.10 ($0.31/slot).

Bulk discounts are great for server hosts that want a large server.

ARK is by far GTX Gaming’s top-selling server right now, so they know what they’re doing.

Their ARK servers feature instant setup and are Genesis ready. You can order an ARK Genesis server that’s ready instantly.

GTX Gaming is one of my favorite hosting companies (more on that in my GTX Gaming review) for many reasons.

They have an automatic mod updater, 24/7 support, free DDoS protection, all ARK maps and DLCs, and a 24-hour refund policy to name a few.

Oh, and their game switching feature allows you to switch your ARK server out for any other game, whenever you want, free of charge.

GTX Gaming has a great support staff for the game and an extensive knowledgebase.

Unfortunately, they only support Steam PC ARK servers - if you want a server for the Xbox One or PS4, you’ll need to check out the section below about Nitrado.

But if you’re looking for an ARK server on PC, GTX Gaming is my top pick.

Cheapest ARK Server Hosting

Pros
  • Dude they're dirt cheap
  • Long established company
  • Fastest servers
  • Great support
Cons
  • A bit less performance than competition
Type
Dedicated
Mods
Yes
Support
Ok
Platform
PC
cPanel
TCAdmin
DDoS
Free

If you’re in the market for a cheap ARK server hosting company, Citadel Servers is for you.

Their ARK servers start at $0.87 per slot with a minimum slot count of 15, bringing their minimum monthly payment to $13.05.

It’s important to note, however, that your location may have an impact on price.

Citadel Servers supports more than 1,000 ARK mods with one-click installation and free DDoS protection.

Their performance is pretty darn good for the price, and I had a pleasant experience with their support team as well.

All in all, Citadel Servers is a great runner up pick for the best ARK server hosting company.

Pros
  • 99.9% Uptime
  • Servers around the world
  • Best game server hosting support
  • Great control panel
  • Easy plugin/mod support
Cons
  • High minimum server slot count
  • No free trial
Type
Dedicated
Mods
Yes
Support
Great
Platform
PC
cPanel
TCAdmin
DDoS
Free

Host Havoc is another great hosting company (more on that in our Host Havoc review) because of their excellent performance, fair pricing, and awesome support.

Host Havoc’s ARK servers start at just $0.50 per slot, but their minimum slot count is 30 players. This means their ARK servers start at $15/month.

However, Host Havoc’s ARK servers also use a tiered pricing system that heavily rewards buying a larger server.

When you buy a server with 100 players (their maximum slot count), the price per slot drops down to $0.30/slot.

Of course, you can add performance upgrades like extra CPU priority and additional RAM, but it’s optional, and for most, unnecessary. They also have a 72-hour money-back guarantee on all of their ARK servers which is pretty dope.

Host Havoc really shines with their support - they answered my ticket in a matter of minutes. If you’re new to server hosting and want dedicated support staff to help you through the inevitable problems, Host Havoc is for you.

Logo Host Details Rent
GTX Gaming
  • Top Pick
Rent a Server
Citadel Servers
  • Runner Up
Rent a Server
Host Havoc
  • Also Awesome
Rent a Server

ARK Server Hosting for PS4 & Xbox One

Nitrado is currently the leading game server hosting company that supports ARK servers on Xbox One and PS4.

If you want to purchase ARK server hosting for the PS4, you can do so directly from the Nitrado website.

Renting an Xbox ARK server is a bit different. ARK is a game for Xbox One or Windows 10, so servers for it can only be ordered through the Nitrado App on the Microsoft Store.

As you can see below, Nitrado offers tiered pricing for their PS4 and Xbox One ARK servers:

ark server hosting for PS4 and Xbox One

The more slots you buy, the cheaper your cost is per slot.

There are a few other hosting companies that offer ARK servers on console, but Nitrado is by and large the most reputable company in the console ARK server space.

ARK Mobile Server Hosting

If you want to host an ARK mobile server, Nitrado is the official mobile server provider. You can rent a mobile server from their website, or you can open the Nitrado app from the ARK mobile server menu to rent your own server.

ARK Server Hosting Free

You don’t have to pay for ARK server hosting, but there aren’t any free ARK server hosting companies. After all, free ARK hosting sounds more like charity than a business, and it’d probably suck.

If you want to host a free ARK server, you have to host it on your PC.

Hosting yourself isn’t a big deal for a small server with a few friends, but like Rust, the open world of ARK is better when it’s running 24/7.

For reasons we already discussed at the top of this article, hosting yourself isn’t ideal, but it can be done.

If you’re interested in learning how to make an ARK server, here’s a video tutorial that’ll show you what to do:

Things to Note About ARK Hosting Providers

ARK game logo

Here are some of the most important things to consider before you buy an ARK server:

You Get What You Pay For

First of all, you get what you pay for.

Expect worse performance from an ARK server host that costs much less than a higher-quality (and more expensive) host.

Quality comes in the form of not just server performance but also support response time, mod support, and more.

At the same time, though, don’t go overpaying for the best host on earth if you only want to run a simple server for you and a few friends.

Customer Support

Customer support is a BIG one because you’re bound to run into trouble with your server at one point or another.

You should take a look at their knowledge base - a hosting company with a solid knowledge base is a great sign. Not only will it help you set up and troubleshoot your server, it also usually means the company knows what they’re doing.

Response time is something else to consider, which you can typically find in reviews. Host Havoc, for example, gets back to me within minutes of submitting a ticket.

On the other hand, GameServers sucks at support. They take hours to reply.

No matter how tech-savvy you are, it’s always good to pay extra for excellent customer support.

Refund Policy

Some companies have a refund policy, which is great if you just want to dip your toe in the water. ARK server hosting isn’t for everyone, and you might realize you’re in over your head.

That’s why refund policies are fantastic. PingPerfect offers a 24-refund policy, as does GTX Gaming. Host Havoc has a 72-hour refund policy, no questions asked.

And some companies even offer free trials.

Either way, a company that is confident enough in the servers to offer a money-back guarantee is one worth your time and money.

History

Looking at a hosting company’s history is a great way to assess their quality.

Take a look at how long they’ve offered ARK server hosting, and how long they’ve been in business in general. Older companies will (hopefully) have a good reputation and awesome customer support.

Conversely, a company new to ARK might not know the ins and outs of an ARK server.

This leads us to the next point:

Reviews

A hosting company’s reviews are critical to read before purchase and will give you an idea of their reputation.

This one is obvious, so I won’t go into much detail here.

Server Locations

Lastly, make sure the hosting company has a server location near you and your friends. The closer you are to the server, the better your performance will be.

Conversely, using a server across the continent (or the ocean) will result in high ping and poor performance, which nobody likes.

Luckily, most hosting companies have server nodes all around the world, including the companies I’ve listed above.

ARK Server Manager

ARK server manager screenshot

ARK Server Manager is a huge help for server hosts. According to the official community page:

The Ark Server Manager is designed to help you set up and maintain your own Ark: Survival Evolved (tm) dedicated servers. It provides a simple user interface allowing you to create and edit server profiles containing all of the settings you need to customize the playing experience for you and your friends.

Essentially, the ARK server manager:

  • Manages SteamCMD and server updates
  • Organizes settings automatically
  • Tracks server status
  • Save and load server profiles
  • Schedule updates

It’s an insanely useful tool for ARK server hosts, especially on the PC. You can download it from this official page.

Best ARK Server Mods and Plugins in 2020

These are some of the mods and plugins recommended by lists on PC Gamer and elsewhere on the net:

Grind elimination mods

ARK requires a TON of grinding before you can even tame a dinosaur, much less fly around in power armour.

If you want to remove some of the grind from the game and make building/crafting easier and more interesting, use a grind elimination mod.

Structures Plus

ARK structures plus

ARK is all about building and crafting, but the building mechanics in the game are far from great.

Structures Plus makes ARK’s building and crafting way easier. The mod fixes a ton of weird snap points and odd limitations.

You can also pick up things to move them, rather than destroying and replacing them. Lastly, you can pull resources from nearby containers, so you don’t have to run around to gather supplies before crafting.

Upgrade Station

Upgrade Station allows you to upgrade your ARK gear from primitive to master without relying on random loot drops.

Stargate Worlds

ARK stargate worlds

Stargate Worlds allows you to build teleportation stations around the map, which act as a ‘fast travel’ system.

It may seem like cheating, but trust me, they’re not easy to build. And once you do grind it out, you won’t have to deal with many of travel-related dangers.

Automated ARK

Once your base gets pretty big, you’ll be spending a lot of time cleaning up poop, refilling troughs, and planting food.

Automated ARK will automate that repetitive process for you so you can enjoy the better parts of the game. This is especially handy for those who want to get into farming.

People Also Ask

Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions about ARK server hosting:

Can I Host My Own ARK Server?

Yes, you can host your own ARK server, either on your PC or via a paid server hosting company.

How Much Does it Cost to Host an ARK Server?

Most ARK server hosting companies charge between $12-$120 for an ARK server, depending on the slot count and performance of your server. You can also host a server yourself for free, but it’s not recommended for most people.

Are ARK Servers Free?

Hosting an ARK server on your PC is free (aside from electricity costs), but renting a dedicated ARK server is not free.

How Much RAM Does an ARK Server Need?

You need to have at least 6GB of RAM for an ARK server, but we recommend 8-16GB of RAM for the best performance.

Final Word

ARK server hosting is the best way to play the game. It gives you full control over your ARK experience, the ability to play with your friends, and an opportunity to grow an awesome community.

If you have any more questions about ARK server hosting, please feel free to contact me and I’ll get back to you ASAP.