Game Servers and Dedicated Server Companies – Why Many
Many dedicated hosting providers won’t allow game servers to be hosted on their network. This article provides some insight as to why this is the case.
Game servers generate a lot of data transfer
Gaming servers are very bandwidth intensive. Compared to hosting a web application, game servers generate a constant flow of traffic over long periods of time for each user. To ensure that the game play is good, the servers also work best with low latency or FiveM Hosting fast networks, in other words, good quality and local bandwidth. Because of the large amount of bandwidth consumed, hosting costs become high along with price sensitivity.
Business customers or Individuals?
Typically most game server operators are individuals rather than established businesses. Most dedicated hosting companies however are very much focused on providing services to businesses. Businesses by nature tend to have a level of dependence on services, and a level of tolerance for disruption to services that is very different to that of individuals. One of the major costs of providing services for gaming servers is bandwidth. Running a network that meets the needs of businesses and the budget of individuals is complex challenge.
Cheap vs Quality Internet connections
For a hosting provider to deliver a good service they need to operate a network that is fast and free of congestion. Users tend to tolerate their own Internet connection slowing during peak usage periods and congestion and contention ratios on an ISP network is common. From a web hosting perspective however it is seldom tolerated. A slow link means a bad experience for every potential customer that finds the hosted application. Providing a quality service from a network perspective means:
Low latency Internet connectivity
Internet connectivity that is always free of congestion (in normal operation)
Good Internet connectivity to domestic peers – ie not routing bandwidth via international carriers
Redundant network links.
Constant monitoring for faults
Rapid response to any service degradation
It’s very difficult to do all of the above and do it at a low cost.
At Anchor we used to quote on game server hosting and we never managed to land a single client. The prices we discovered we were competing against were most often well below our cost. We can only assume that the bandwidth didn’t come with all of the features above.
Load on the network infrastructure
For every Mbps or GB of data transfer on a network, gaming traffic by nature generates a higher amount of load on switches and routers. Router load is generally proportional to packet count rather than octet count. Gaming traffic typically consists of a very large number of very small packets (ie, lots of packets and not many octets). This increased load increases the infrastructure cost component which in turn demands higher prices on a service which is already very cost sensitive.
Liability for DoS attack
Unfortunately operating game servers on a hosting network presents an increased risk of DoS attacks. When the competitive element of a game spills over into the real world and results in a not so happy gamer triggering a DoS attack against the source of the problem, the network suffers and all of the other customers would suffer. This is a risk many web hosts are not prepared to take.
Gaming as a pastime vs Gaming as a business model