Installation of the Server Manager | ARK Server Manager (2024)

Introduction

Running an dedicated server lets you have total control over your gaming experience. If you want to have custom world settings, create a world just for you and your friends, or create an experience available to the public, you are in the right place. If you are just playing by yourself, you probably don't need to set up a dedicated server though, so save yourself the trouble and just tinker with the settings in the game client.

To successfully get your server recognized by the public (and your friends if they aren't on your LAN) takes some additional work which this Server Manager cannot do for you. This guide will try to walk you through the process, but we cannot account for all possible network configurations, so if you get to a step and find that your setup doesn't apply, you may have to look around on the forums for additional help.

If terms like IP address, ports, firewall and port forwarding are confusing to you, it may take additional effort on your part to understand what is going on. Be patient and diligent.

Please read the

entire

guide before starting, and please don't ask on the forum for "help with networking" if you haven't gone through this guide at least once. That said, lets get started.

Prerequisites and Required Information

Make sure your have the following pre-requisites installed:

  • A Windows OS on which to run the server.
  • The .NET Framework version 4.6.2. You can download it from here
  • The Server Manager, which you can get from the Downloads section of the Release Information board.
  • At least 6Gb of memory is the bare minimum. 8Gb of memory is recommended, and is required if you also plan to run the client on the same machine as the server. Running with insufficient memory will cause the server to take a very long time to start up, may cause server performance problems and may result in server crashes (with possible loss of server save data.) You have been warned.

You do

not

need to have SteamCMD or the game server installed before you start. The Server Manager will install those for you.

You will need the following information during this process. Make sure it is all readily available.

  • Your router/modem make and model. Usually this is on the router/modem itself. If you have multiple routers connected to each other, you will likely need to know about all of them.
  • Your router/modem username and password and knowledge of how to access the router configuration. Typically this is a web page at a specific address, and it may also be on a sticker on the router itself.
  • Your machine's local network address that routes to the internet. This is NOT a Hamachi address or a VPN address except under extremely rare circ*mstances.
  • Which firewall software you are using, and knowledge of how to configure it if it is not Windows Firewall.

Installing the Server Manager and creating a Server Profile

Download the Server Manager. It should try to auto-install. Windows SmartScreen may warn you about the app because it does not have a digital signature. Simply allow it (you may have to click 'More Info" to get the 'Run Anyway') button. The manager will then install and run.

NOTE: it is recommended

not

installing ASM to your desktop. If you do, most likely you'll have permission issues.

The first time the Server Manager runs, it will ask you where you would like to make your Data Directory. This is the location where your server *profiles* and SteamCMD will be installed. It is not necessarily the place your game servers will be installed, which you can set individually for each server you are running. You can change your data directory later if you change your mind.

NOTE: it is recommended

not

installing the Data Directory within the ASM directory. If you do, most likely you'll have corruption issues when ASM is updated.

Once you have confirmed the Data Directory location, the main Server Manager window will appear, and you will be presented with no profiles.

To create your first profile, click the

green '+' button. A Server Profile contains all of the settings for a server. You may have any number of server profiles and run any number of servers with the Server Manager. You

must

give unique Profile Names to each profile you create. The default passwords are randomly generated and will likely be hard to remember - feel free to change them. Note that if the Server Password is blank, anyone will be able to log in to your server. If the Admin Password is blank, then anyone will be able to run admin commands on your server. It is

strongly

recommended that you have an admin password set at all times.

Option 1: If you do NOT already have a server installed...
First, you need to change is the Install Location. Click 'Set Location' and select a directory. This is where the Server will be installed for this profile. Once you have done this, click 'Install' and the Server Manager will download the latest server files into the Install Location. This may take quite a bit of time, so be patient.

NOTE: It is recommended to use something like C:\Servers\Island and C:\Servers\Genesis, etc for each profile/server. But do not install the server directories within ASM's install or data directories.

Option 2: If you already have a server installed...
The easiest way to use an existing server is to import the config files. Click the 'Load Profile' icon and browse to the servers config file where your existing server is located. Once you have selected the config file, the Server Manager will load all of your existing settings and set the Install Location for you. In this case you do not need to install the server, you will be ready to go.

Special Note: If you installed the Server Manager and you already have a

running

server, and you used option 2 above, then the Server Manager should automatically recognize that your server is running, and the Server Status will say 'Running'. If it says anything else, proceed through this guide to ensure everything is set up correctly - particularly the Server Manager may need to be told which IP to run the server on.

Setting your Ports and IP address

PORTS: By default, the Server Manager will select the default ports - these are the standard ports used by the game server and Steam. If you know something else is using those ports on your network, you should change them now. The defaults work for most people.

LOCAL IP: The Server Manager will also attempt to determine the correct Local IP for your server. The Local IP is your machine's private IP address on your personal network. This is nearly always different from the Public IP which is shown at the top of the window. Check the Local IP and ensure it is the correct one, usually a 192.168.* address, but occasionally a 10.0.* address. It is up to you to know what your machine's proper local IP address, but the Server Manager usually does a good job of figuring out the right one.

NOTE: Do

not

use the option LET ARK CHOOSE for this will cause issues with people trying to connect to your server or your server being seen in the ARK server listing.

Configuring your Firewall
Now that the server is installed, you need to ensure your firewall is open.

Option 1: Windows Firewall
If you are using Windows Firewall, you can skip this section, because the Server Manager will automatically handle opening the correct ports for each server you run. When you run the server, you may be asked to allow Administrator access to change the firewall. If you choose not to allow this, you will need to manually configure your firewall settings as described in Option 2 below.

Option 2: A third-party firewall
If you are running a different firewall software such as Symantec, Norton, Kapersky etc., you will need to open both the Server Port and Query Port for each server. Ensure that these are open for both TCP and UDP. Your firewall may require you to enter the path to the executable for the server. Your firewall may already have ports opened for the client if you have run the game on your machine before, but you will still need to open the ports for the server.

Forwarding ports from your router

In the unusual case that your machine is directly connected to the internet (where your Public IP and Local IP are the same) you may skip this section. Otherwise...

There are many variations of routers, with different admin control panels. For detailed instructions for your specific router, you can go to Port Forward and enter your router model number. You do

not

need to purchase any software from them unless you wish to. Everything can be done manually. What follows is a

general

description of what needs to be done. It is up to you to know your router and be able to translate this into specific settings on your device.

First, open up your router's administration panel, which is usually a web page you can go to (like or similar.) Alternately, on newer versions of Windows you can go to the Control Panel, select 'Network and Internet' then 'View network computers and devices'. Your router will normally show up under Network Infrastructure. Right click on it and select 'View device web page.' Then proceed below.

Once you are logged in to your router, we need to ensure you don't have multiple routers. Find your

router's

IP address. This may be called the WAN IP, Internet IP or similar. You may have to look around for it.

Case 1: If your router's IP is the same as the Public IP in the Server Manager...
This is the most common case. Continue with setting your port forwarding as described below

Case 2: If your router's IP is different to the Public IP in the Server Manager...
Your router is likely hooked up to another router. This can happen if you have a cable or DSL modem that is wired and then have a separate wireless bridge device. In this case the router's IP may look like 192.168.0.*, meaning the router you are logged in to does not have public IP address. You will need to repeat the port forwarding instructions below on the router to which this router is connected. Check your cable or DSL modem for information on how to do this. Alternately, you may need to check your ISP's web page for information on logging in to your modem.

Case 3: Your router's IP is different to the Public IP and it looks something like fe80::5ca6:b3e1:eb29...
That address is an IPv6 address, not an IPv4 address. If you cannot find an IPv4 address for your router, you probably cannot host a server from your network. You may be able to contact your ISP and have them issue you an IPv4 address. If you are unsure whether you actually have an IPv4 address or not in this case, contact us on the forums, we may be able to take a look.

Now, locate the Port Forwarding or Virtual Server page in your router - it may be under WAN settings. On this page, you will need to enable port forwarding and add new entries for both the Server and Query ports from your Server Profile in the Server Manager. If your router accepts a range of ports, enter the same number for both the start and end of the range. For example, 7777-7777 and 27015-27015. Ensure that for each port, the option to forward both TCP and UDP is selected. If the entry requires a Local Port as well, it should be the same port as put into the first port range box. In the example above, you would enter 7777-7777 for both the service port and the local port.

Each port forwarding entry probably also requires a Local IP. This should be the same Local IP as is in the Server Manager.

NOTE: If you fall under Case 2 above, the router/modem that your

router

is connected to (not the one your server is connected to) must specify the IP of the first router, not your machine's local IP. The link looks like this:
YOUR SERVER <-> FIRST ROUTER <-> SECOND ROUTER/MODEM <-> INTERNET. The FIRST ROUTER is forwarding to YOUR SERVER. The SECOND ROUTER/MODEM is forwarding to the FIRST ROUTER. You cannot forward directly from the SECOND ROUTER/MODEM to YOUR SERVER, because they are not on the same network.

NOTE on DHCP and Local IPs: If your machine gets its Local IP from the router automatically through DHCP, you should ensure that your machine is assigned a static IP if possible. This will ensure that if your machine reboots it continues to receive the same address each time. Otherwise you will have to repeat the port forwarding process each time your machine receives a new IP address. If you have multiple routers, this same principle applies to the routers on your private network (the ones that aren't connected directly to the Internet.)

Make sure you Save/Apply your changes. If you are under Case 2, repeat this process for all routers in the chain.

Starting the Server, Verifying it is Public

Now all your firewall and networking is configured, your server is installed, you should be ready to go. In the Server Manager, click 'Start'. The Server Status will change to Initializing, and after a bit it will switch to Running. Then the Steam Status will go from Unavailable to Waiting for Publication, and then finally to Available. It may take several minutes for the Server Status to change from Initializing to Running, depending on how powerful your machine is and whether you have enough RAM.

Open up Steam (on any computer) and open the Servers list (from the 'View' menu select 'Servers'.) Click on the Favorites tab, and click 'Add A Server'. Enter your Public IP from the Server Manager. If you changed the Query Port, you should add a colon ':' followed by the port. For example, 24.16.178.210:26000 if your Public IP is 24.16.178.210 and your Query Port is 26000. Once you do this, your server should show up in the Favorites list. You may need to 'Refresh' it a couple of times. If you click 'View Server Info and it shows your server's name and the number of players, you are done and your server is accessible to the public.

NOTE on the Steam server list: There is a limitation on the Steam master server list that it will only show the first few thousand server entries, no matter how many servers there actually are. Your server may not show up in the general list because of this issue. The Favorites method is the definitive way to know that your server is public. Give your Public IP to your friends and they can add it to their favorites and join by double-clicking on the entry.

Common Problems

Server Status is stuck on 'Initializing'

Either your server does not have enough memory and it's taking a very long time to start, or your firewall settings are incorrect. The Server Manager tries to query your server on the Query Port directly - without going through Steam. When the server has fully loaded, it will respond to the Server Manager's queries on the Query Port. If the firewall settings are incorrect, then the Server Manager will not be able to see that the server is ready to accept connections and it will remain on 'Initializing.' Correct the Firewall entries and it should proceed to 'Running'.

Steam Status is stuck on 'Waiting For Publication'

Go back to the Port Forwarding section and repeat the process. In particular, if your Local IP has changed because you restarted your machine and it got a new local IP address, your port forwarding may be incorrect now. In that case you should also consider assigning your machine a static local address in the DHCP settings of your router.

Asking for Network Help
The above guide is fairly comprehensive and covers virtually every case we have seen so far. However, if you are

still

stuck and you have gone through the guide at least twice to ensure you did not make a mistake, you may be able to ask someone for personal help.However, remember that no one is getting paid to do this, no one here works for the game developer or is responsible for the game server, and hosting a server is considered an advanced scenario - not for the faint of heart. People may be unwilling to help if you have not exhausted all other methods available to you.

IF YOU GET A CRASH

Should the Server Manager crash for some reason, it will pop up a dialog explaining the situation and show you a crash log file. Please paste the contents of this file into pastebin.com and then post the link here so we can take a look. If further information is necessary, we may ask for the dump file, which has the same name as the log file except with .dmp appended. This file contains a detailed dump of the process at the moment is crashed, but if we need it we will ask you for it specifically.

Installation of the Server Manager | ARK Server Manager (2024)
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