Once you’ve learned the ropes of Unturned in single player mode, with scavenging for supplies, building a fortified base, and trying to live off the land, you’re ready to move to a multiplayer server. Multiplayer makes Unturned a lot more fun! Most players love the challenge of playing on a PVP server. Having to fight to survive and battle your way through the apocalypse against other human survivors adds a ton to the Unturned experience. Joining with other players to survive the zombie infestation, negotiating with other teams, and taking on fortified bases as a group is what makes the game so much fun.
Unturned is one of the best sandbox apocalypse survival games in 2022. The Belgium update and expansion added heaps to the game, and we’re counting down to the release of 4.0. There’s plenty of information online with how-tos for new players looking to get started with Unturned. Singleplayer is a great way to get the hang of the game. It’s a lot less intense, especially if you’re not keen on the infinite deathmatch mentality that is common on PvP servers. You can adjust the settings to spawn more zombies or increase the difficulty if you want more of a solo challenge. Singleplayer also gives you the chance to set challenges with building an epic fortress or maxing out your items with crates full of gear! You’ll soon find yourself having reached all your goals with nothing much else to do in a singleplayer Unturned game.
If you enjoy the exploring aspect of the game, PVE servers are also great if you can find one where the rules are enforced. Despite the no-kill rules, a lot of PVE servers are full of players that will kill you as soon as you get a bunch of good loot. RP (or role playing) servers are also fantastic if you find one with quality RP. Banding together to create a community with civilian roles or military personnel, or factions, trading groups, or any other RP features makes the game a lot more interactive and realistic.
Finding a good multiplayer server can be hard! Not all open servers have good admins. A lot of players find they don’t enjoy PVP and PVE simply because other players ruin the game. If you’re keen on multiplayer but want to share a server with friends or start your own community, setting up your own Unturned server means you get to say who has access and you can enforce your game rules.
Multiplayer Unturned is all about teamwork - working together to build a community and survive. The people you play with make a huge difference to your style of play and how much you enjoy the game. Especially if you want some RP elements. Playing with friends or promoting your server in a group of like-minded gamers means you can create the kind of Unturned world that you have in mind. Your own server also means you can avoid the drama of dealing with people who just want to shoot up your stuff.
Another definite advantage of creating your own Unturned server is having control over the map, gamemode options, and survival elements. You decide if you want to focus on cooperative PVE or hostile PVP. You can choose spawn rates for zombies, vehicles, and loot crates. You can set the rules for KOS plus designate KOS or safe zones. Change damage, experience, armor, resources, and hunger settings to create the best config options for your ideal gameplay style. You can also choose your favorite Unturned map depending on if you want a harsh environment or something with more adventure and good storylines.
Creating your own Unturned server means you get all the benefits of playing coop with friends without the dramas and shooting-sprees common on larger multiplayer PVE or PVP servers.
A lot of people will suggest hosting a server on your own computer. For a small server to share with friends, hosting on your own computer is definitely an option. If that’s your choice, you’ll need a computer with decent specs to maintain performance, especially if you want more than a couple of other players to join you, or you need to also use your computer for other tasks at the same time. When hosting Unturned on your own computer it’s generally easier to set it up on a spare computer (assuming you have one laying around!) to maintain performance. To make sure other people can log in when you’re not playing, the host computer needs to stay running 24/7, which might not be practical in a lot of situations and isn’t great on the electricity bill!
Hosting a shared server also means playing around with the Config.json and Commands.dat files and setting up port forwarding. WikiHow and other online guides are available to step you through the process, but it’s often more trouble than it’s worth considering how cheap and easy it is to setup a hosted Unturned server with a rental company.
The easiest and most popular method of starting your own Unturned game server is to choose one of the many game hosting providers that offer game server rentals. This involves paying a rental fee each month for space on a larger, shared server. It's comparatively cheap and incredibly easy to set up. You can generally be set up and playing within 15 minutes, including the time it takes to choose your own game settings. Most game server hosts offer packages designed for specific games, so you can take advantage of an established, high performance network already tailored to Unturned.
If you think getting your server hosted is the best choice, then there’s a few things worth considering when it comes to choosing the game server host that's right for you. We want to get you set up and playing multiplayer Unturned as fast as possible! So we’ve put together a handy guide to help you understand what to look for when choosing a company to host your Unturned server. We also have a server host comparison chart to show you at a glance who has the best deals on server hosting.
The next level up from renting space on a host server is Dedicated Game Server Hosting. This gives you a server that’s completely dedicated to your world without having to share computer resources with anyone else. If you’re aiming for a massive player base, you plan on monetizing your server, or you need total flexibility in creating a specific Unturned server from scratch, then renting a VPS or an entire dedicated game server might be what you need. This option isn’t for beginners! In exchange for a massive boost in resources, you get less customer support and will have to pay a much higher monthly fee. If Dedicated Game Server Hosting is the direction you want to take, make sure you have clear goals and can manage your own tech setup.
Going through a professional game server host and renting a private server to share with friends isn't expensive. It’s quicker and easier than doing it yourself, and it lets you create your own perfect Unturned survival adventure. Our guide will walk you through the process of choosing the best Unturned game server host to suit your personal style of gameplay. Get tips from experienced gamers on how to compare hosts, what to look for in a server provider, and finally how to find a package with all the features you need without having to pay for extras you don't want.
For some games it’s important to choose a server that can accommodate both PC and console gamers. While there’s been plenty of speculation from fans about Unturned 4.x coming to console, the game designer, SDGNelson, said on the official forum - “There are no plans at the moment to bring 4 to consoles. My focus is entirely on PC and improving the experience of the game on PC, so it wouldn’t be me working on the console version.” We’ll keep our guide updated with the latest news once the new version of Unturned is released. For now, the game is only available on PC.
The location of the host server makes a big difference on the in-game experience. If you're looking to set up an Unturned game server primarily for your friends to play on, choosing the server location will be easy. For local, lag-free gaming, server hosts with infrastructure in your region will generally give the best experience with low ping. When browsing hosting options, most companies will show a list of the locations where their servers are located. Other server host sites make it harder to find their locations by only displaying details as an option during the order process.
For any multiplayer server, the goal should be a great game-play experience with minimal lag. While you might have a small budget, sometimes the cheapest game server host won’t offer the best gaming experience. This is especially true if you’re based in a regional area or outside the major server locations. For example, if you're based in Brazil, you might find there’s cheaper Unturned hosting available in the United States. But if you’re aiming for a competitive game that’s fair and offers smooth PvE interaction, the high ping will be frustrating for local players. If you’re setting up a private Unturned server that's just for you and your friends, start your search for the best host with a company that has servers at a relatively nearby location.
If your Unturned server is aimed at a wider audience and you intend to play with people from all over the world, a centrally located server will help reduce lag. This will also help to make your server fair and fun for everyone regardless of location. If you’re already talking to people in an online forum about creating a server, check in with them to see where the majority of players are located before setting up your server. If you’ve found an awesome game server host right near you in England, it might be fine for players from Europe but, if you want to attract players from the United States or Canada then you'll need a server with a good global network and low average ping.
Some hosting providers will allow you to switch server locations at any time, provided they offer a server in that location. This feature might come in handy if your player base changes. Keep in mind that while it’s easy to choose a server in popular gaming countries with good infrastructure like the US, UK, Germany, or the Netherlands, some companies charge extra for more countries with fewer options like Singapore, Australia, or South Africa.
Once you've found several choices for hosting providers with servers located near you, it's time to think about what features they include, and how easy they make it to customize the server to your specific needs.
The amount of processing power you get from your host is determined by the number of slots you choose to allocate to your Unturned server. Each slot equals one player, so your choice here will limit the number of people that can join. Usually, adding more slots means an overall increase in price, but at a lower cost per slot. Your choice for the number of player slots you want to purchase for your game server will vary depending on the type of gameplay you have in mind.
If you are setting up a low-cost, fun and casual server to share with a small group of friends, you will only need server hosting for 8 or fewer people. There are a few game server hosts that either offer no minimum number of slots or have a smaller minimum number (usually a minimum of 4 slots). Most of the time you’ll need to start with the more common 8 slot minimum. You’ll probably find, though, that the monthly price for hosting 8 or 10 slots isn’t much more expensive than 4. Either way, have a closer look at what else is included in the price. Many companies offer great package deals beyond their entry level plan that offer more slots or better features for very little extra cost.
If you aim to build a larger Unturned world or are part of a larger gaming community, then you'll want to find a game server host that has a higher slot capacity. You’ll get a much cheaper price per slot if you get a package with 24 or 48 slots. If you already have a lot of players who want to join your server, you’ll get a cheaper price per slot if you choose a host offering plans designed for larger multiplayer game. You’ll get better overall value for your money with a provider who offers a scaling rate where the more slots you purchase, the cheaper the price is per slot.
If you’re new to multiplayer servers and you’re not sure what you need, it's better to start small and then add more slots later if you need them. Make sure you consider all the options and choose a server host to suit your future expansion goals. If you want to start off with a small server just for friends and family with the goal of building up to a larger server for people from around the world, make sure you take that into consideration when comparing hosting providers.
Our handy Unturned server hosting comparison chart shows you the various minimum and maximum slots available from each of the gaming server providers plus the price per slot.
One of the biggest reasons for starting your own Unturned server is to be able to choose which mods you install. There’s a whole heap of great community workshop mods that add new vehicles, weapons or clothing packs. The best Unturned mods for multiplayer servers are those that add new content or simple improvements to the gameplay experience like farming mods, medical enhancements, or better weapons and vehicles. But you can create a whole new Unturned experience for your players with Futuristic mods and even dinosaurs! It’s your server! So add in whatever you like.
Remember that not all game servers support mods or make it easy to install them. A lot of players get bored with Vanilla and will look for a server with a good collection of mods. If you want to immediately create a modded Unturned server or you just don’t want to restrict your server to Vanilla in the future, then start by checking that your potential server host supports mod installation. Check whether they support a range of DLC options including custom maps, plugins, and their method of mod installation.
Some server control panels offer a simple one-click mod installation system. If you know you want the freedom of adding mods then this is by far the easiest option. You will be able to install mods, maps, and other addons via a built-in Mod Manager. Other mod support control panels will give you easy access to the range of mods available through the Steam Workshop but you need to subscribe, download, and install the mods yourself. One-click mod managers make it simple with less messing around with the control panel and more time in-game.
Other game server hosts do support mods and custom maps but don’t make it quite so simple. In some cases, you need to use FTP (file transfer) to upload and install the mods. Some server providers offer a drop-down menu with only a limited number of the most popular mods available. Mod support is pretty standard for most server hosts, but sometimes the ability to add mods comes at an extra cost.
Latency, commonly referred to as ping, describes the time it takes for data to travel from your network to the game server's network. Your ping rate has a huge effect on game play! Location plays a big factor in the amount of ping that you experience, but it also comes down to network quality. Low ping means a smoother game playing experience. High ping means you’ll experience more lag. Battle and survival games like Unturned need a low ping to be enjoyable. You'll have no chance in PVP or against zombies or attacking animals if latency means you’re response time is several seconds behind the game. Ideally, you want to be able to play Unturned with zero noticeable lag. For the best multiplayer experience, it's important to choose a host with the lowest possible ping. It might take a bit of research and testing to make sure you choose a host that actually delivers low ping. A lot of game server hosts will have demo servers set up in various locations so you and your friends can easily join at the same time to test the latency or ping to each computer. If the company you’re considering doesn’t advertise a test server, it’s often worth contacting their customer support for an IP of one of their servers to ping.
The control panel is where you first set up your own Unturned server. The main server control panel allows you to alter the game configuration files, set the server visibility or password (for either a public or private server), enable admin cheats, make a back-up of your world, and install mods. You can also choose your world gen size, select gamemode, spawn rates, and day/night lengths.
The standard TCAdmin panel is what you'll find from most game hosting providers. It's straight-forward, intuitive, and easy to use. TCAdmin is all you really need if you're just running a private server for friends. Specialized or bigger game server hosts will offer more options, some of which are customized specifically to suit Unturned. Drop down menus and slider bars make changing config values simple. For example, Nitrado and gameservers.com are known for their highly customized control panels designed to suit specific games including Unturned. A customised Unturned control panel can help make server administration easier by allowing you to schedule tasks and in-server messages, or manage multiple servers at the same time. If you need to administer your Unturned game server on-the-go, some hosts also offer a user-friendly mobile control panel optimized for devices.
Different game server hosts handle installation of official updates in different ways. While it’s important to be able to quickly and easily install new versions and official updates, if you’re running particular mods you might not want updates installed automatically. In most cases, just clicking the Steam Update button in the control panel should initiate updates without affecting your in-game world. If automatic updates are possible, there should be a checkbox in the control panel so you can choose if your server is automatically updated when a new version is available. Automatic update installation is the simplest and most hassle-free way to manage game version updates and patches. But it's not always easy to return to an older version, and some mods could break your server due to incompatibility with a new version of the game. If you’re running mods, be careful when selecting how updates are handled.
Don’t take risks with saving backups of your world, particularly if you’re running a public server with a large player base. Nothing will make you more unpopular than losing your players’ world or progress! Most game server hosts for Unturned will allow you to easily backup or restore your world as needed. For added assurance, check to see if your host provides regularly scheduled backups or automatically backs up your server every time you restart. Ideally, a zip file of the backup should also be stored on an offsite system offering an additional layer of protection. If something goes drastically wrong with the server’s systems, there is an extra off-site copy that can be used to restore your world.
Full FTP access makes it easier to administer your server and store backups. This is a feature supported by most game server hosts. FTP access will allow you to upload or download files between your computer and the server. This gives you more control and can be handy for downloading backups, installing mods, uploading existing configuration files, or existing game save files. If you’re tech savvy, FTP access will also allow you to migrate to another host in the future if you choose.
Changing hosts for your Unturned server should be easy! Most server hosts will offer the ability to migrate server data from, or to, another host. If you're not happy with the service offered by your current Unturned host and you're looking to change servers, the ease of site migration might be one of the most important features for you. It’s also important to make sure you can migrate from your new host in case you want to change game servers in the future. Some hosts are happy to offer a migration service for free but, in most cases, this will be a service addon. It helps to compare migration policies when considering a new server host. Uploading a local save from your own computer to your new server is another option which is possible if FTP access is provided.
Distributed Denial of Service attacks (commonly referred to as DDoS) are attempts to cripple or shutdown online services by bombarding them with traffic from multiple sources. Specialized software and hardware, or multiple redundant servers, are needed to prevent DDoS attacks or minimise downtime in the event of an attack. DDoS protection should be pretty standard, and most hosts offer it to protect themselves as much as to protect you, but a lot of server hosts either don't provide protection or only offer it on some network locations. This might not be a big deal for small, private Unturned servers aimed at casual gameplay with friends, but if you intend to market your game server to a wider audience with guaranteed up-time, DDoS protection is essential.
Many low-cost server hosts use branding as a way to offer cheap prices and advertise their company. In-game branding might include displaying their company name at the beginning of your server name, or it might involve a semi-intrusive message of the day that pops up every time players join the server. It usually costs extra to remove the company branding. If you want a cheap private server to enjoy with friends, the branding might not bother you. But if you are aiming for a more professional look for your Unturned server, check to see that the host offers free or affordable debranding.
We all know you get what you pay for! Game servers are no different. Once you've found several companies offering a local network with low ping, the right number of slots, an intuitive control panel, mod support, and with all the extra features you need, it's time to start comparing prices. In most cases, you should be able to find a great game server for less than $1 per slot if you're in Australia, around 75c for users in the United States, or 60p for those in the UK. Obviously, you want to choose a package that offers the best value. The best value package might not be the one with the cheapest monthly price on offer. Consider each of the points listed here to make sure you know what you're paying for and exactly who you are signing up with. It’s important to remember that the cheapest game host is not necessarily the best option. Find a balance between price per slot, control panel options, protection, and ping.
Once you've settled on a few potential game server hosts, take a look at their individual company information before you sign up.
You need to consider the following:
A great reputation for customer support is essential when choosing a host for your Unturned server. At some point, you're guaranteed to need to contact them with an issue of some kind. Before you sign up with a host, it helps to know how responsive they are to customer enquiries. Check their website for contact options to see if there is a contact method that suits you. In addition to the usual ticket system, do they offer chat services or email support? You could even try contacting them to ask a few questions and judge their professionalism and response time before signing up. Unfortunately, some of the larger companies with cheap prices have many customers and fewer customer support staff, so it can sometimes be challenging to get their attention.
If you’re new to game server hosting, or you're not sure your potential host offers the services you need, it might be worthwhile asking them if they'll create a test server for you to trial. Hosts won't always advertise the possibility of a trial, but if you contact them you might be surprised by their willingness to provide a test service. If a trial isn't possible, you need to be clear on their refund policy. See if they offer a “money back guarantee”. Some game server hosts will offer refunds if requested within the first 24 to 72 hours and, in rare cases, even up to 7 days. Others clearly state that they don't offer refunds except under extreme circumstances. If you're still unsure, try googling refund + the server hosting provider name to get an idea of other people's experiences with them.
It pays to check to see how long the company has been in business. A well-established company can be the most reliable. It will usually say on their landing page or About Us page how long they’ve been providing game server hosting. If they've been servicing the gaming market for several years, there's a good chance they're doing something right. Some companies focus on servicing just one or two games, but it’s becoming more common to see hosts offering support for a huge range of the latest multiplayer games. A game server host specializing in survival games is going to make it their business to tailor their services to offer the best user experience for games in that genre. On the other hand, larger companies that offer a range of hosting services might have extensive infrastructure that you can tap into. A company that has grown alongside online gaming and who have a solid track record of providing a reliable service is likely to know what they're doing and be around to support you in building a successful server long-term.
Reading online reviews and ratings from previous or existing customers is a must when it comes to spending your money. If you're looking for specialized features for your server, searching reviews for customer feedback can be a great way to judge if your potential game server host is living up to their claims. You can see if customers in your local area are getting low ping, check on downtime, look out for deals or coupons, and see what features are important to those who are already running successful servers. The official Unturned community forum and the Unturned Steam community are both great places to find reviews on game servers and server hosts. TrustPilot is another well-established site that shows crowd-sourced customer reviews for game server hosting companies.
To summarize, here are the basic steps to take when searching for an Unturned game server hosting provider:
Hopefully this guide has helped you become more confident when comparing all the options for choosing a server hosting provider for Unturned. For an easy to understand summary of the features offered by the most popular Unturned game server hosts, check out the Unturned server hosting comparison table on our home page.