How to Make a Dedicated Server in ARK: Survival Ascended

Easier said than done.

ARK Survival Ascended dedicated server
Image via Studio Wildcard

Playing ARK is fun by yourself, but creating a server and inviting a few friends to tag along for the adventure is even better. Here’s how to make a dedicated server in ARK: Survival Ascended.


Installing and setting up your own server requires modifying game files – Proceed at your own risk!

How to Make a Dedicated Server in ARK: Survival Ascended

There are multiple ways to create a dedicated server in ARK: Survival Ascended:

  1. Purchase a paid subscription package from services like Nitrado ARK: Survival Ascended server hosting.
  2. Use Steam to create a privately owned dedicated server using a second account.

If you want a relatively quick and easy approach, spending some money to buy a host allows you to get a server quickly without changing any game files. However, if you wish to save money or want the server for an occasional party with friends, you’ll have to dive into your ARK directory and change some files.

Purchasing a Dedicated Server

The quickest way to get a dedicated server running is by purchasing a hosting package through sites like Nitrado. Each of the three most popular packages includes the following features

  • Crossplay for consoles and Windows
  • Integrated CurseForge Mod management with Crossplay Mods
  • Automated Server backups
  • DDoS protection

You can also create a configuration to include up to 200 player slots or run for up to one year. The site allows you to prepay for a specified time or use a subscription to renew your purchase automatically.

Creating a Dedicated Server Through Steam

Alternatively, if you wish to save some money and run the server yourself, you can head into your game files and create one. However, this is only available for those with a 64-bit Windows OS. You’ll also need around 8-10GB of drive space to support server installation, player profiles, mods, and future updates, and upwards of 32GB of RAM for it to run properly.

Below is a quick summary of how to run a dedicated ARK: Survival Ascended server, as detailed by various community guides and comments:

  • Make sure you have enough disk space, RAM, and other recommended specs to run both ARK and the server.
  • Install SteamCMD on your PC and follow the initial installation instructions.
  • Use your Steam ID and ASA’s App ID to modify the SteamCMD installation command
  • Create a name for your server and use your ASA Dedicated Server address to start the server.

While this method typically requires multiple Steam accounts to work, you can also set your Steam client offline so you stay logged in, don’t get a prompt to log out, and can manage the server on one system.

You can also modify your server settings through your GameUserSettings.ini, which you can access by heading to steamapps > common > ARK Survival Ascended > ShooterGame > Saved > Config > Windows.

In other words, making your own dedicated server in ARK: Survival Ascended without buying a host is a lot of work, but at least you’ll save some money.

If you want to experiment in your game, check out our list of all console commands for ARK: Survival Ascended, or click the tag below to explore our growing article collection.

About the Author

Madison Benson

Madison is a staff writer at Prima Games who has played video games for over twenty years and written about them for over two years. Her love for video games started with turn-based strategy games like Heroes of Might and Magic and has since extended to casual farming sims, MMORPGs, and action-adventure RPGs.