According to Capcom, the global online gaming market was worth 33 billion dollars in 2018. The U.S. is one of the biggest gaming markets in the world. With the increasing popularity of mobile and PC gaming, the business opportunities for game server hosting providers is expected to grow even more quickly over the next few years.
See Also: ServerMania Game Server Solutions
Multiplayer online gaming has become a mainstream pastime, and there is a huge market of individuals, clans, and businesses looking for high-performance, low-latency, reliable game server hosting.
At ServerMania, we provide the dedicated servers on which game server hosting providers like GTX Gaming build their businesses. But to build a successful game hosting business, you’ll need more than a server. You will also need a game server hosting control panel.
It is possible to run a game server hosting business without a control panel, but attempting to do so is likely to result in a poor experience for server hosting clients and gamers. You would have to replicate much of the functionality of professionally developed game control panel, and, with so many excellent proprietary and open-source options available, it is unlikely to be worth the investment in time and money.
A game server hosting control panel, combined with a dedicated server, will allow you to get your server hosting business up and running quickly and help you to run a professional and reliable service.
What Should You Expect From A Game Server Control Panel?
The terminology around server hosting can be a little confusing, so let’s clarify how we’ll be using some terms.
- Dedicated server or host. This is the physical machine on which individual games are hosted. It runs either Linux or Microsoft Windows operating system.
- Game server. This is the software that runs the game, manages users, and enables gameplay. Each host supports multiple game servers.
- Game server control panel. The control panel is an interface that server administrators use to deploy and manage game servers, often automatically in response to the needs of the hosting provider’s clients. The interface itself is the tip of the iceberg and depends on a library of scripts and tools to do its job. A control panel oversees multiple servers, and, for larger game server hosting providers, multiple dedicated servers.
In essence, a game server control panel allows game server hosts to automatically allocate host resources to a server, install and run the game server, and manage it throughout its life.
The game server control panels we’ll be looking at in a moment also provide a wealth of other functionality, including:
- Support for a wide variety of games. When choosing a control panel, it’s essential to make sure it supports the games you want to offer to hosting clients.
- FTP support for file management, both for the game host and gamers and clan admins.
- Integration with billing and subscription services to automate payment, new account creation. The control panel should be able to take a new client from initial signup and payment to a fully deployed server quickly and efficiently. This is a significant benefit of using a control panel rather than relying on human administrators.
- Support for a VoIP platform such as TeamSpeak. While this isn’t strictly necessary for hosting games, game hosting clients will expect to be able to deploy a TeamSpeak server alongside their game server.
- Statistics and analytics. Game hosting providers should be able to view performance and resource statistics for all game servers running on their nodes.
We’ve covered only the basic features of game server hosting control panels here. The control panels we’ll look at in the next section have additional features to improve the security, functionality, and user experience of gamers.
Three Leading Game Hosting Control Panels
There are many game hosting control panels we might have included on this list, but these three account for the vast majority of business and amateur game hosting.
TCAdmin is one of the oldest and most popular game hosting control panels. It is a proprietary control panel developed by Balance Servers. TCAdmin is the preferred control panel of many large game hosting providers because of its stability, reliability, and support for a huge number of games.
TCAdmin is relatively easy to install for anyone with a modicum of Linux server experience. For payments and subscriptions, it integrates with the WHMCS billing and automation control panel. It is not the best-looking control panel on the market, but it includes such a vast array of functionality that it should be your first port of call if you’re looking for a proprietary control panel with the broadest possible game support.
Pterodactyl is an open-source control panel built on PHP7, Nodejs, and Go. It is a less mature—and better looking—control panel than TCAdmin, but it includes all of the functionality required to run a successful game server, including a WHMCS integration.
Pterodactyl’s developers prioritize security, and the control panel includes password hashing, two-factor authentication, and HTTPS as standard. One of the most interesting design and security decisions made by the developers is Docker support. All game servers run in Docker containers, providing excellent control over resources, improved security, and environments tailored to the needs of each game.
Multicraft is a modern gaming control panel with excellent game support for those looking to host Minecraft servers. It boasts a rich variety of features that include support for all Minecraft server versions, plugin installation, and much more.
If you’re looking for an easy-to-use Minecraft game server control panel and TCAdmin doesn’t appeal to you, Multicraft is an excellent choice.
A game server control panel is an essential part of a successful game hosting provider’s toolkit, but even the best control panel won’t make up for a slow server. That’s why ServerMania provides GSPs with the lowest-latency, enterprise-grade hardware that gamers demand. Each of the control panels we’ve reviewed are fully supported on any of our servers. To learn more, book a free consultation today.