The Best Guild Hosting: Who’s The Best For Your Site? [Updated: 2019]
While many people think that gaming is a solitary activity, over the years the internet has caught up to the real world in making gaming a social phenomenon. Where previous generations met to play darts or go bowling, people have started forming teams to play games together, meeting both on-and-off-line. Not only do they play for fun, but gaming guilds, clans, and factions compete in tournaments around the world for real money and prizes.
The gaming industry is big business, expected to generate over $108 billion in 2017. With the growing professionalization of gaming, these players are also interested in having a web presence. New web hosting companies are appearing to cater this growing and very lucrative market.
Many people interested in a web presence for gaming will also want to run a private gaming server. The reason is that they can customize the conditions of a game to their own liking while also keeping out certain players. Anyone who’s had preteens screaming profanities into their ears over their headsets while playing Call of Duty might understand why they’d want to do so.
Many potential customers will want not only a website but will also want to have it double as a game server. The most obvious use for the website would be to advertise the game server itself. Since web hosting is relatively simple for low-traffic sites, it’s not that much of a stretch to turn it into a game server as well.
While it’s perfectly possible to run a game server on a home computer, the main bottleneck is the fact that most residential connections are asymmetrical. That is, the download speed is much faster than the upload speed. While this is perfectly fine for web surfing and Netflix streaming, it makes running game servers difficult, as slow upload speeds result in “lag,” or the game action being delayed. For fast-paced action games, many gamers find this intolerable. For this reason, hosted servers have very fast connections that are symmetrical.
The other strike against a local game server is that it ties up a computer. A game server running 24/7 consumes electricity and bandwidth. Dedicated servers hosted in data centers are much cheaper in the long run.
The main consideration for a game server will be the same as with selecting another hosting provider: reliability. While gaming might not seem to require a robust service level agreement (SLA), gamers will expect their server to stay up as much as a business who depends on a website does. And with professional gaming, competitive gamers are as unable to conduct business as e-commerce sites when a server goes down.
Game servers must also be fast enough to handle games, especially action-oriented games like first-person shooters. The server software itself keeps track of the game logic and what the players are doing, while client machines handle the graphics, but the server still has to be reasonably responsive or risk lag. That means that the servers will have to be specially tuned for performance.