In the unforgiving wilderness of Rust, your only goal is survival – build your shelter, overcome the elements, form alliances, defeat your enemies. The learning curve in Rust can be steep! Dying again and again is all part of the game, but it’s still frustrating to be repeatedly killed by Newmans with nothing to lose or by more experienced players who’ve got all the gear. Staying alive long enough to even start gathering resources can be tricky. Established servers present new players with no option but to hope desperately for a good alliance, or to try and find an unpopulated area to gather strength. With combat, alliances, and raiding playing such a major role in Rust, your player community makes a huge difference to how much you enjoy the game. While some players are lucky enough to find a great public server to play on, for others it’s a lot more enjoyable to create their own Rust server and invite friends to join.
New players will generally just jump in to begin playing on an official Rust server or one of the thousands of community or modded Rust servers. Your experience on a public server could be anything from awesome to atrocious and somewhere in between. If you don’t like the vibe of one server, you’re better off logging out and trying somewhere else.
Tips for choosing a public server-
If you’ve done your time on a public server and are ready to take control of your own Rust world, you’ll want to host your own Rust server. To help, we have advice and tips on how to choose the best server hosting provider for you.
Being solely multiplayer, the survival and competition elements of Rust means the people you play with ultimately determine how much you enjoy the game. Bad servers, hackers, constant aggressive raiding, and players that must NEVER leave their computer are guaranteed to ruin the game for casual players.
On a public server, you’re always going to be outgunned and outmanned. Creating a great Rust server to share with just a few friends means you avoid the angst and frustration of dealing with big teams and constant deathmatches. Too often, players on public servers will just shoot you before they even talk to you. Starting together on a level playing field gives you all a chance to gather resources and progress to PVP in your own time. You can still advertise your server within a group of like minded gamers on Reddit or another forum if you want that larger player base experience but, as Admin, you can set the tone for your server.
Creating your own Rust server means you have control over gamemode options, mod choice, and survival elements. You can decide if you want to try PVE where other players can’t damage your gear, hostile PVP, or Build only. You might want to add in arena fighting, choose a custom map option, set an accelerated gather rate, or choose no decay if your regular players can’t be online every day. With your own server, you can modify loot tables across the map, provide special equipment kits, and have custom server events. Depending on your play style, you can choose solo, duo, or trio options for team size. The flexibility of setting up your own Rust server makes the game so much more enjoyable!
Hosting a Rust server on your own computer can be a good first step to enjoying a multiplayer adventure, but it’s a definite learning curve that’s not for everyone. There are plenty of online tutorials explaining how to set up your own Rust server using your computer, but unless you have some serious computing power it’s not going to be much fun. The default map alone with no entities at all needs a full 2GB of RAM. Once you add in some entities and take into account the processing power to host a number of additional players you need to be comfortably able to set aside 6 to 8GB of RAM.
Creating your own dedicated Rust server means first installing SteamCMD (the Steam Console Client that sets up a command-line version of the game). You should create a new Steam account to run your server. Once you’ve installed SteamCMD and set up the various game folders, all your settings are adjusted from within the command prompt. You need to create a batch script file (which is too long a process to cover here!) and then set up port forwarding so that other players can join your server.
To make sure other players can continue to log in when you’re not playing, your computer needs to stay switched on. If you’re just setting up regular gaming times with friends, that’s not a big deal. But if you want players to be able to access the server 24/7 you’ll have to make sure you can leave your computer running (not great for your electricity bill!). Considering how cheap and easy it is to go with hosted server rentals, it’s often not worth the effort of setting your Rust server up on a spare computer.
The most popular method of starting your own Rust game server is to pay for hosting via one of the many game hosting providers that offer server rental. Hosting providers operate by charging a rental fee for space on a larger, shared server. For popular games like Rust, most hosts have a high-performance network with options tailored to suit the game and its players. This makes it incredibly easy to set up and generally very affordable.
There are a few things to consider when comparing the various game server hosts to make sure you buy a rust server from a hosting provider that's right for you. Our guide will help you understand what to look for when deciding on a company and package to suit you and your players.
Renting space on a private server to share with a community of friendly players isn't expensive. It’s the best way to create your own perfect Rust survival adventure. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of choosing the best Rust game server host to suit your personal style of gameplay. We’ll give you tips on how to compare hosts, what to look for in a server provider, and how to find a package with all the features you need without having to pay for extras you don't want.
Rust servers can currently only run on Windows PC. The game developers stopped selling Linux versions of the game in 2018. And, at the moment, there are only rumours of console support. We’ll keep you up to date on any announcements for Rust coming to console.
For PC gamers, there's a huge range of specialist Rust game hosting providers to choose from. These include budget friendly hosting ideal for local, player-run servers running solo or duo matches, right up to epic high-performance hosting that would suit huge player numbers if you’re looking to create a large team-style game server.
When setting up a Rust game server for your friends to play on, choosing the server location will be easy. For local, lag-free gaming, the obvious first step is to start looking at the game server hosts with infrastructure in your region. Hosting companies will generally provide a list on their website showing the locations where their servers are based. Some server hosts only show you their server locations as an option to select during the order process. To make it easier for you, our easy-to-understand Rust server comparison table shows at a glance where the servers are located for all the best Rust hosting companies.
A smooth gameplay experience for all your players will depend upon minimal lag. Your goal for your server should be low ping. The cheapest game server host often won’t offer the best gaming experience. For example, if you're based in Russia, you might find the cheapest Rust hosting is located in France or the United States. If you’re aiming for a truly competitive game with smooth combat and PvP interaction, the high ping might make it impossible for you to survive against players located closer to the server, or even against attacking animals if the lag is too bad. For a private Rust server that's just for you and your friends, you should start by comparing game hosts with a relatively nearby location.
If your Rust server is aimed at a wider audience to support play with people from all around the world, a centrally located server will help reduce lag for the majority of players. You want to make sure your server is fair and fun for everyone. If you’ve found an awesome server host right near you in Australia, it might be fine for players from Singapore or New Zealand but, if you want to attract players from Europe or the United States, then you'll need a server with a good global network and low average ping.
It's important to note that while it’s easy to choose a server in well-known countries like the US, Canada, France, UK, or Germany, some hosts charge extra for more “exotic” locations like the UAE, Singapore, Japan, or South Africa.
Once you've narrowed down your choices to the range of server hosting providers near you, it's time to consider the features you’d like to be included and the ability to customize the server to your specific needs.
The number of slots you choose to allocate to your Rust server will limit the number of people that can join. This will have a huge impact on the style of gameplay that’s possible when it comes to team-size. Usually, more player slots means an overall increase in price, but at a far lower cost per slot. Consider the type of gameplay you want to encourage on your server and then make a choice for the number of player slots to suit.
If you want a low-cost, casual server to share with friends playing solo or duos, you might choose a server host that offers budget plans starting with 20 or fewer slots. The standard range is from 50 to 200 slots but, because Rust is great when played with large numbers of people, it’s common to find server hosts offering huge slot numbers at a really cheap price. Either way, have a closer look at what else is included. Many companies have great deals beyond their entry-level plan offering more slots or better features for very little extra cost.
If you’re pretty sure you’re going to have a bunch of players wanting to join your server, you’re likely to get a cheaper price per slot if you choose a company offering above a minimum number of 50 slots. Most providers let you customize your server plan by offering a scaling rate where the more slots you purchase, the cheaper the price per slot. By comparing the offered slot capacity of each hosting company, you’re sure to find a server with the best overall value for your money.
If you’re not sure what size server you need, it's better to start small and then add more slots later if you need them. Just be sure to choose a server host to suit your possible future goals. If you plan to start your server off small to cater to friends and family, but you think there’s a chance you might want to build up to a huge server full of players from around the world, factor that in when comparing hosting providers.
Our handy Rust server host comparison list shows you the minimum and maximum slots available plus the price per slot offered by each provider.
One of the most popular reasons for starting your own Rust server is the ability to control the game map and which mods or plugins are installed. The best Rust mods for servers are those that improve the gameplay experience with on-screen player info, teleportation, quicker smelting, or item drops. But you can add a whole new Rust experience for your players with mods that add quests or an economy.
Not all game servers support mods! Oxide (or uMod) is a modding and plugin platform commonly used for Rust servers. Vanilla Rust can be frustrating, so if you know you want to create a modded Rust server make sure you confirm that your potential server host supports mod and plugin installation. The range of DLC options you should look for includes modded support, paid and free plugins, and custom map generation.
The method of mod installation is also important. Some server control panels offer a one-click plugin install system. If you’re sure you want the freedom of adding mods, then this is the easiest option. Generally, a built-in mod manager will let you take advantage of the range of mods available through uMod or the Steam Workshop. This generally means less messing around with the control panel and more game time. Some game server hosts support uMod installation but you need to use FTP to install it yourself. Other companies offer a drop-down menu with a limited number of the most popular mods, like the Rust Zone Manager or IO Map Viewer. Sometimes the ability to add mods is a premium feature that comes at an extra cost.
Latency, also commonly referred to as ping, is a term used to describe the time it takes for data to travel from your network to the game server's network. Location plays a big factor in your ping rate, but it also comes down to network quality. Low ping means a smoother game playing experience. High ping means you’ll experience more lag giving you no chance against zergs or attacks from other players. Ideally, you want to be able to play Rust with zero lag. For a smooth multiplayer experience, it's important to choose a host with the lowest possible ping. A lot of game server hosts will have demo servers set up in various locations that you and your friends can join to test the latency or ping to each computer. If the company doesn’t advertise a test server, you can try asking their customer support for an IP of one of their servers to ping.
The control panel is going to be where you first set up your own Rust server. It will allow you to alter the game configuration files, change server visibility (public or private), enable admin cheats, back-up your world, and install plugins. You can also choose your map size and type, select gamemode, resource gather rates, set loot tables, decay rates, wipe frequency, and team size limits.
The standard TCAdmin panel is what will be offered by most game hosting providers. It's intuitive and easy to use, and it’s all you really need to run a server for Rust. Specialized or bigger game server hosts will offer more options, some of which are customized specifically to suit the most popular features for Rust servers. For example, Nitrado and GameServers.com are known for their highly customized control panels designed to suit popular games including Rust. A customized Rust control panel can help make server administration easier by allowing you to schedule tasks and in-server messages, or manage multiple servers. If you need to administer your Rust game server on-the-go, some hosts offer a mobile control panel optimized for smaller devices.
Because Rust developers release a patch update each month, it’s important to be able to quickly and easily get access to new versions and official updates. Just clicking the Steam Update button in the control panel should initiate updates without affecting your in-game world. Some game server hosts have an automatic update option in their control panel that makes sure your server is automatically updated when a new version is available. This is the simplest and most hassle-free way to manage game updates.
Most game server hosts for Rust have an easy backup and restore system to make it simple to safeguard your world. For extra safety, check to see if your host provides regularly scheduled backups or even automatically backs up your server every time you restart. Ideally, a zip file of the backup should be stored on an offsite system offering an additional copy that can be restored in case something goes wrong.
Full FTP access makes it easier to administer your server. 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 can be handy for downloading backups, installing mods, and uploading existing configuration or 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 Rust 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 your current Rust host and you're looking to change servers, the ease of migration might be the most important feature for you. It’s also important to make sure you can migrate from any new host in case you want to change game server companies in the future. Some hosts are happy to offer a migration service for free but in most cases there will be a service addon cost. 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 might seem 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 Rust 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 something you want to check for.
The majority of low-cost server hosts use branding as a way to offer cheap prices. 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 when players join the server. Sometimes it costs extra to remove the company branding and sometimes you can get a discount for adding it. 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 Rust server, choose a company that offers free or affordable debranding.
Finally, once you've found several companies offering a local network with low ping, a sufficient number of slots, an intuitive control panel, plugin support, and with all the extra features you need, it's time to look at price. In most cases, you should be able to find a great Rust game server host for less than 50c per slot if you're in Australia or need special custom features, and around 20c for users in the United States or Europe. Obviously, you want to choose a package that offers the best bang for your buck. But it’s important to remember that the cheapest game host is not necessarily the best option. 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.
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 their the following:
Good customer support is essential when choosing a host for your Rust server. At some point, you're guaranteed to need to contact them with an issue of some kind. Before you sign up with them, it helps to know how responsive they are to customer enquiries. Check their website for contact options to make sure there is a contact method that suits you. In addition to the usual ticket system, do they offer chat services or email support? Maybe they have a Discord server you can join? You could even try contacting them to ask a few questions and judge their professionalism and response time before signing up.
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 (often called “money back guarantee”). Some game server hosts will offer refunds if requested within the first 24 to 72 hours and in rare cases even 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.
A well-established company is often the most reliable. You can easily check to see how long the company has been in business. 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. 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 with online gaming and who has 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 pings or downtimes, look out for deals or coupons, and see what features are important to those who are already running successful servers. The official Rust community forum, Reddit, and the Rust Steam community are all great places to find reviews on game servers and server hosts. TrustPilot is also a well-established site that contains many crowd sourced customer reviews for game server hosting companies.
To summarize, here are the basic steps to take when searching for a Rust server hosting provider:
Hopefully this guide has helped you become more confident when comparing all the options for choosing a server hosting provider for Rust. For an easy to understand summary of the features offered by the most popular Rust game server hosts, check out the Rust server hosting comparison table on our main page.