Ark Survival Evolved is a very unique sandbox game that was initially released back in August 2017 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One before making its way to Android, iOS, and Nintendo Switch about one year later. The gameplay is similar to that of other popular sandbox titles like Minecraft where you start off with nothing and have to gradually explore the world in order to gather the resources needed to construct buildings, craft weapons and armor, cook food, and more.
What makes this particular game’s take on the genre so special is the fact that you are dropped on an island inhabited by dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes. Imagine Jurassic Park but without any tour guides, safety lines or any means of communications with the outside world.
Just as its name indicates, Ark is all about survival, which can be particularly tricky in the early stages of the game. Due to its difficulty, it’s often a good idea to start slow and learn the ropes in single-player before jumping into the multiplayer where other people can pose just as big of a threat as the dinosaurs.
So what if you want to play the multiplayer but in a more controlled environment? What if you want to play Ark Survival Evolved just with your friends and no one else? Well, the best course of action, in that case, would be to set up or rent a private server where you have full control over who you play the game with. Both these options will achieve the desired result but each of them has its pros and cons.
Renting a Server vs Hosting Your Own
Setting up an Ark Survival Evolved server is not particularly difficult and won’t cost you a thing. Or rather, it won’t cost you any money to be more precise. However, if you’re serious about hosting a server you have to keep in mind that you’ll need to take care of everything yourself, ranging from backups and updates to maintenance and taking care of any issues that are bound to occur from time to time when playing online games.
In addition, you’ll also need to make sure your PC runs 24/7, otherwise, everybody will be kicked out as soon as you shut your system down. Running the server day and night will obviously also eat up a good chunk of your resources so it’s usually a good idea not to host it on your main PC. Unless, of course, you happen to have a very high-end rig.
By comparison, you won’t have to worry about any of those problems when renting a server as the provider will take care of everything for you. However, you will need to spend some money in return for the company’s services. Renting an Ark Survival Evolved server will usually set you back anywhere between $15 and $30 per month depending on your requirements, though there are certainly a few more expensive options as well.
A Few Things to Note About Hosting Providers
If you decide that you don’t want to bother hosting a server on your machine and would rather just rent one instead, there are a few things you need to be aware of. One of the most important things you’ll need to figure out is the number of people you expect to play on your server. If you’ve been browsing around for game servers you may have noticed that every provider mentions something about ‘slots’ at one point or another. These basically indicate the number of players that are supported by the server, with each player taking up one slot.
Every server has a minimum and a maximum number of slots available. The bare minimum usually sits at about 20 while the maximum can reach up to 250 or more. Needless to say, the higher the capacity, the higher the price. If you’re thinking about building a large community and possibly even monetizing your server, you’ll definitely want to go with a package that can support a fair number of players. On the other hand, if you want a server where you can chill out with just a couple of buddies you can get away with one of the cheaper options.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most servers are exclusive to a particular platform. For example, if you purchase a server for the PC version of Ark Survival Evolved, PS4 and Xbox One players will not be able to join. Likewise, it’s important to verify if the server you want to purchase includes support for DLCs and mods because not all of them do. Server location, customer support, latency, and the company’s refund policy are a few other important aspects you should consider when picking a server.
Top 5 ARK: Survival Evolved Server Hosting Companies in 2019
Now that you have a pretty good idea of what to keep an eye on while browsing for servers, we wanted to give you some insight into our top recommendations and why we picked them. We took into consideration a number of things when compiling this list, including price, features, support, and more.
Although we decided to create a ranked list, it’s worth noting that each of these providers can definitely do a great job at hosting your Ark Survival Evolved private server. At the end of the day, every player has different needs so our fifth favorite provider could very well be a lot of people’s number one choice. Don’t hesitate to check them all out and pick the one that’s most suitable for you.
1. AS Hosting
AS Hosting is often seen as the number 1 provider for Ark Survival Evolved servers and with good reason. The company was established around the same time the game left Steam Early Access and was officially launched. Unlike most of its competitors, AS Hosting specializes exclusively in Ark Survival Evolved servers and they offer a very nice selection of free features to get you started on the right foot.
AS Hosting offers mass mod installation support along with automatic mod updates and support for all available expansion packs. The provider also backs up your server every hour and allows users to configure their server to automatically restart whenever they want. With AS Hosting you can also expect free DDoS Protection, procedural map generation, cluster support and debranding as well as FTP access, easy location switching, data migration services, free BattleMetrics Premium RCON, and more. The company has pretty good location coverage across the US but not much to offer outside the states aside from one location in London.
The cheapest server can you can rent from AS Hosting comes with 30 slots and will set you back $20 per month or about $0.67 per slot. If you’re looking to build a larger community you could go for the $30 package that gives you 60 slots or the $50 that gives you a whopping 250 slots. AS Hosting only offers three plans to choose from, which doesn’t give you a lot of flexibility but you do get a good bang for your buck.
AS Hosting offers 24/7 customer support via email, chat, and tickets. The company also has one of the biggest Ark Survival Evolved Discord channels around. In other words, the company offers pretty much all the support channels you could ask for.
- Wide variety of features
- Decent prices
- Active Discord community
- 14-day money back guarantee
- Free BattleMetrics Premium RCON
- Poor location coverage
- Only three hosting packages to choose from
GameServers is one of the most popular providers in the world and offers support for a wide variety of different games. They’re also one of the longest-running providers out there, having been around since 2000. If you want to sign up with a very experienced company you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better choice than GameServers
GameServers offers free DDoS protection, debranding, cluster support, and procedural map generation. The company also includes mod and plugin support, as well as a mod manager GUI, 1-click mod installs, and an auto-updating feature for mods. Location switching and FTP access are available as well but there are no automatic backups. One of the biggest selling points of GameServers is its very impressive location coverage. The company has servers in over a dozen countries, including the US, UK, Germany, Russia, Japan, Australia, and South Africa.
Prices at GameServers start at $29.95 per month for a 30-slot server and can reach a maximum of $69.95 for a 70-slot server, so that’s about $0.99 per slot. That’s pretty expensive all things considered but the company does offer discounts for those who want to pay in advance. Paying for 1 year in advance will grant you a 15% discount while paying for 3 or 6 months in advance will grant you a 5% or 10% discount, respectively.
GameServers offers 24/7 customer support and can be contacted via email or the ticket system. There is no live chat or a Discord channel dedicated exclusively to Ark Survival Evolved. There is some useful information on their site that can help you in case of a problem but nothing to write home about.
- Very impressive location coverage
- Flexible payment system + discounts
- Highly experienced
- Fairly expensive
- No automatic backups
3. Nitrous Networks
Nitrous Networks has been around since 2010 and provides private servers for over two dozen different games. The company takes pride in its high-performance server and flexible pricing options. Nitrous Networks invests a lot into hardware in order to provide the best possible performance, however, this does come at a cost.
The company offers a good amount of useful features, including a free MySQL database, full FTP access, DDoS protection, and debranding. Ark Survival Evolved mods are supported and there’s even a special mod manager GUI to help you out, however, there is no auto-update feature. Likewise, automatic updates and location switching are not available but you do get cluster support and procedural map generation. The location coverage is pretty decent, as the company has servers not just in the US but also in the UK, Germany, and The Netherlands.
Prices at Nitrous Networks start at $19.40 per month for a 20-slot server and can reach up to a maximum of $67.90 per month for a 70-slot server. On average, that’s about $0.98 per slot, which is a bit on the pricier side. The good news is that Nitrous Networks allows you to set the exact amount of slots you want for your server, as long as the value falls anywhere between 20 and 70 slots. The company is also very flexible in regards to billing cycles, allowing you to pay for your server on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or yearly basis.
Nitrous Networks offers 24/7 customer support but can only be contacted via tickets so no email or chat channels here. They don’t have a dedicated Discord channel either but they do have a fairly well put together FAQ page on their official website.
- Very good performance
- Flexible pricing system
- Free MySQL database
- Fairly expensive
- Few support channels
- Monthly billing cycle only
ServerBlend was established back in 2014 and managed to make a name for itself over the years thanks to its very affordable prices. Sometimes low prices translate to bad performance but that’s definitely not the case here as ServerBlend hosts all its servers on fairly powerful machines.
ServerBlend offers free DDoS Protection, optional free debranding, procedural map generation, and cluster support. The company is doing very well in the mods department, offering support for all plug-ins and expansions, as well as 1-click installs, a mod manager and auto-updates. Free daily backups are included but you’ll need to pay a fee if you want to back up your server every hour. ServerBlend also includes free FTP access and automatic game updates along with cross travel between servers in exchange for an extra fee. The location coverage is pretty good, with servers being available in the US, UK, Australia, and The Netherlands.
Renting an Ark Survival Evolved server from ServerBlend can cost anywhere between $15 per month for 30 slots and $50 per month for 100 slots. That’s just $0.50 per slot, which is a very reasonable price. There are also plenty of options to choose from in-between, as the pricing system is quite flexible. The only downside (for some) is that ServerBlend only works with monthly payments and don’t offer the possibility of paying in advance.
GameBlend offers 24/7 customer support but their agents can only be contacted via tickets. However, the company does include Discord bot integration along with a pretty solid knowledge base that includes plenty of helpful tutorials along and an FAQ page
- Affordable prices
- Flexible payment system
- Discord bot integration
- 14-day money back guarantee
- Few support channels
- Monthly billing cycle only
5. Host Havoc
Host Havoc is a well-known game hosting provider that was established in 2014. The company strikes a good balance between affordability and performance while also offering most of the features you would expect from an Ark Survival Evolved server provider.
Host Havoc servers are compatible with all the mods and DLCs currently available. The mod support is quite good and includes Steam Workshop integration, mod manager, 1-click installs, and auto-updating mods. You can also expect free DDoS protection, debranding, cluster support, procedural map generation, and a 70% discount on BattleMetrics RCON. Automatic game updates, server restarts, and FTP access are all available for free but location switching and automatic backups are not. Location coverage is pretty good, with servers being available in the US, Canada, Australia, France, and Germany.
The prices at Host Havoc are pretty much identical to those of GameBlend. 30-slot servers are available for $15 per month while 100-slot servers are available for $50 per month, with loads of options in-between. However, in the case of Host Havoc, there are more billing options and even discounts. Signing up for an annual plan will grant you a 12% discount while going for a quarterly or semi-annual plan will grant you a 5% and 8% discount, respectively.
Host Havoc offers 24/7 support and can be contacted via all the usual channels including email, tickets, and chat. There is no Discord integration but the company has a nice support system that makes it easy to contact agents specialized in various areas such as game servers, web hosting, billing, and more.
- Affordable prices
- Flexible payment system + discounts
- Great mods support
- 70% BattleMetrics Premium RCON
- No free automatic backups
- No free location switching
We hope our Ark Survival Evolved hosting providers guide will serve you well regardless of whether you’re an experienced user or just now thinking about setting up your first server. If you’re willing to invest a bit of time and effort you can definitely host a server without having to rely on the companies mentioned in this article. However, renting a server has plenty of advantages and is generally not very expensive so we recommend considering this option instead.
AS Hosting was our number 1 pick because they are one of the few companies that specialize exclusively on Ark Survival Evolved and its agents are very knowledgeable when it comes to all aspects related to the game. However, they have their pros and cons just like any other company and might not be the best choice if you’re based outside the US.
If you’re looking for a provider with good location coverage, GameServers is clearly your best pick. Meanwhile, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better option than Nitrous Networks if you’re mainly interested in performance. Finally, both ServerBlend and Host Havoc are fantastic options for those looking for affordable hosting.
Each of the companies we covered in this article target a specific type of audience so at the end of the day you should go with the provider that caters to your specific needs.