Counter Strike is a very old game. It has been around for more than 20 years and it still has a huge fan base. There have been plenty of versions over the years, but the core reason for its popularity is the multiplayer – there are professional teams and tournaments with million-dollar prizes.
However, for many players the regular multiplayer with friends is enough. While there are plenty of Counter Strike servers out there, some players prefer having their own. There are several good reasons for that.
Why should you opt for a private Counter Strike server?
Counter Strike is a great game, but if you want to be properly good at it, you will need to practice. A lot. You can play it casually, but if you want the big “pro-gamer” highlights, then you will need to put in the work. A private server is a must-have for someone like you.
Having a private Counter Strike server will allow you practice with your team as much as you want to. You will have full control over the environment and you can practice angles, strats and anything else you want.
Why can’t you do that on an “official” server? After all, the Counter Strike server list is so vast, you can always find what you need, right? Well, official servers have a ranking system and strict rules. So mods aren’t allowed. Nor is behavior which may be considered strange. For example, an entire team losing round after round, merely being standing targets.
Moreover, you will be connected with other players who will notice that you’re training and/or may not be so appreciative and just want to play. You don’t want to reveal your training strats and methods.
Using a private server is also great when you want to play with specific people and not worry about ques and ranking. If you’re having a classic LAN party with friends, a private server is the way to go. This way you can have as much fun as you want to.
And another thing. When you make the server, you can decide which version of Counter Strike you want to run. You can have fun on your own Counter Strike 1.6 server or if you are among the few, you may prefer rocking a Counter Strike Source server. Or Global Offence which we will take a look at.
What resources do you need?
First, you need the hardware. You will need a powerful configuration, if you want to run a server with more than 10 players. This will be needed if you plan on playing various CS game modes. Some of them can feature up to 32 players. For such a server you would need at least 8GB RAM and a 2-thread CPU per server with 2.4GHz or more.
If you plan on rocking the classic game mode which is at most with 10 players, you could get away with a single thread CPU server and 4GB RAM. Yet, it’s best if you opt for a server with more “punch”, so that you can play without issues.
You have several options here. You can rent a server. It can be a cloud server which you share with other users and there are plenty of options for that. Or you can get a dedicated server and use all of its resources. Or simply use your own machine.
Next up, the operating system. You can install a Counter Strike server on both a Windows and a Linux machine. If you opt for Windows, you need to factor in more RAM and 8GB are the minimum for you.
So, how to make your own Counter Strike server?
It’s obvious, but we still need to say it. You need to own the game on your computer, too. And you need to have a Steam account. This way you can actually test and use the server.
Now, it’s time to get rolling. The full, detailed instructions are right here. They are official, coming straight from Valve, the creator of Counter Strike. You can’t get much better than that. So, we will cover some of the basic steps and the potential issues or mistakes to avoid.
First, download the Counter Striker Dedicated Server application. It’s called SteamCMD. Install it on the server machine.
Next, setup a Steam authorization token. You need to visit this page and follow the instructions. You will need this token, so make sure you copy or write it down.
When you start the server, you will have to enter your token. You have to create a startup script with all of the server game modes. Simply open your CS folder and create a new text document there. Enter the commands for the game modes and don’t forget to add your token to each one.
Then save that file as start.bat and make sure it’s in the same directory as the srcds.exe file. Now, when you click that start.bat file, your server will run with the enabled game modes available. You can change, remove or add more at any time you want.
Connecting to your Counter Strike private server
You need to know your public IP. If you’re using a cloud hosting or a dedicated server, you can get that IP via your service provider. If you’re hosting the server on your own machine, you can see the IP via the network settings panel of the OS. You can also run a srcds_run command which will display it. Or simply open Google and type in “what’s my IP”.
The next step is to add that server IP to steam or CounterStrike. For Steam, this is possible via the Steam app > View > Servers.
You can also add it via the game. Click the Play button and then the Official matchmaking drop menu. Opt for Community Server Browser and click the Favorites tab. Add the sever IP here.
Other notes and features
Let’s explore some additional features you may or may not want on your Counter Strike private server.
This is a way to create a broadcast of the games on your server and allow other people to watch. It’s a nifty feature, but it will basically double the amount of RAM needed to ensure the server runs smoothly. So, it’s a feature you don’t really need to add for a server you will use to play with friends. If you’re hosting a tournament with spectators, though, you may need this one in order to provide a good experience.
Encryption and DDoS
Believe it or not, CS games often are the targets of various hackers. They know the game is popular and as such they can use it for “target practice”. Or simply to ruin someone’s tournament or afternoon. This is why it’s recommended that you run an SSH connection at the very least. Also, some cloud and dedicated server hosts offer DDoS protection via their enterprise-grade data centers.
The tick rate is the frequency with which the server updates the player and object movements. In theory, the higher the rate, the more precise everything is. But it also means more resource usage.
A typical Counter Strike server is running at 64 ticks. This means the player receives 64 updates per second. You can also run a 128 tick CS server, but there are a lot of debates whether or not this is actually needed. Some say it changes the parameters of the game way too much. Others prefer it. It’s up to you and your friends, but know that a 128 tick CS server will need more resources, forced changes on the client side, too.
If you are up for a classic CS experience and don’t want to go through all of the hassle of reconfiguring for 128 ticks, a standard 64 tick server will do just fine for you.
That’s about it. Installing the server can be challenging at first, especially if you don’t have the experience of running commands in a CMD environment, but in reality isn’t that difficult. So don’t worry or feel intimidated. Set a bit of time apart for it and then enjoy playing your favorite game with your friends the way you like it!
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