How to set up a Starbound dedicated server

The popular indie game Starbound has been on the market since 2016, but is as popular today as it has ever been. This is not least thanks to continuous innovations and developments in the game. In multiplayer mode as in single player mode, players can tackle a series of quests in outer space. With your own Starbound server, you can start an adventure for yourself and your friends with ease (and less lag).

Host on your own PC or rent a Starbound server?

There are several ways to play Starbound in multiplayer mode:

  1. Add friends via Steam: You can invite your friends to your Starbound game via Steam. However, this is only possible with a maximum of four people.
  2. Community server: Together with your friends, you can join an accessible community server.
  3. Own Starbound dedicated server: With your own Starbound server, you can create a game just for you and your friends.

The most convenient way to play Starbound in multiplayer is to set up your own Starbound server. You can install any number of mods for the game and have full control over who joins your game. Furthermore, you won’t be limited in the number of people you can play with. In contrast to the community servers, your own Starbound server also has the advantage that players cannot join the game without being invited by you. So, there’s nothing standing in the way of a joint space adventure with your friends!

Tip

Not got much experience with servers yourself? This is no problem for setting up a Starbound server. If you are still interested in the topic, you can learn everything you need to know in our introductory article on the subject “What is a server?”.

Requirements for a Starbound server

As soon as you host a game server on your own computer, you’ll be running the server and the game on it. This means that the resources of powerful gaming PCs can become exhausted fairly quickly. Another important factor for the stability of your server is your Internet connection. A download rate that is too low can lead to lags in the game, which cause certain game contents to be loaded with a delay. These kinds of loading problems are particularly annoying in tense or high-stakes game moments.

By hosting a dedicated Starbound server, you can easily avoid these kinds of problems. No official information about the necessary hardware performance of Starbound servers has been provided by the developers yet, but it is possible to make basic statements about the necessary server performance due to the known system requirements of the game.

The required performance strongly depends on how many players you want to play with on your Starbound server. The more gamers, the more server power is needed.

Note

Please note that the following values are to be seen as recommendations only. Due to the lack of official information about the requirements for your own Starbound server, it is not possible to give more precise guidelines at this time.

Processor (CPU) requirements

The CPU seems to be particularly important for Starbound’s performance, seeing as the game’s graphics are also generated with the help of the CPU. For this reason, it is better to choose a higher processor performance if possible. Because the indie game uses a CPU core for the server and a CPU core for the client, it is advisable to go for a high core performance.

For a few players, two processor cores with at least 2.5 GHz are adequate. For more than four gamers, it is recommended to go for a quad-core processor, and for more than ten gamers on a regular basis, it is definitely worth switching to a six- or even eight-core processor.

Requirements for memory (RAM)

RAM is crucial for a gaming experience without memory leaks. Minimal server configurations with 4 GB RAM should be enough for games with up to four players. However, if you want to have more players on your server, who also act on different planets in the game, the minimal setup will no longer be enough. In this case, you will need at least 8 GB of RAM. In any case, 16 GB of Ram should be considered a safe performance solution for most use cases. Since the number of players in Starbound is unlimited, a very high number of players at the same time could possibly lead to 16 GB RAM not being enough anymore.

Hard disk space requirements

The requirements for the available hard drive space are small for a Starbound server compared to the space usually needed. For the Steam game client as well as for the Steam application, you need around 3 GB of storage space. This does not include backups of game saves or similar, so you will also have to consider the storage space required for this if necessary. The operating system you install on your server also requires memory. For the popular Windows Server 2016 or 2019 operating system, 32 GB is a good estimate. If you want to host Starbound on an Ubuntu server, you’ll want to plan for at least 2.5 GB of storage for the Linux distribution.

Bandwidth requirements

To avoid lags, the Starbound server needs enough bandwidth. Especially with an increasing number of players, the bandwidth should be about 10 Mbit/s. With professional providers, this upload speed is not a problem. However, if lags occur, you should check whether your provider limits the maximum upload speed. This is often the case by default. A conversation with your provider can solve this.

Tip

If you are having problems with your Starbound server configuration, it may be worth looking at CPU usage. Starbound is a very processor-heavy game, which experience shows leads to high CPU utilization, so upgrading CPU performance may help at this point.

Starbound server from IONOS: The options compared

Of course, you can host your Starbound server on your own computer. Besides the high operating costs that come with private hosting, the performance of your own computer is often a problem for many players. This is because you cannot easily adjust the server capacities to an increased number of players in this case. Therefore, it is worthwhile considering professional providers like IONOS.

The offers from IONOS includes several variants of servers:

  • Dedicated Server: The hardware is 100% dedicated to your application purpose, you don’t have to share the resources.
  • vServer (Virtual Private Server): You can access virtualized server environments.
  • Cloud Server: you can access virtualized server environments and constantly adapt them to your needs.
Tip

Wondering what the term “dedicated server” means exactly? In our article “Shared Hosting vs. Dedicated Hosting” we’ve explained the differences between dedicated and shared server resources.

Differences between the IONOS server models at a glance

The differences between the individual server models available at IONOS lie primarily in the pricing structure and the way in which resources are made available to you.

If you want to rent a Starbound dedicated server from IONOS, you will be assigned hardware that is 100 percent dedicated to your purpose. This strong performance has a price impact; however, thanks to per-minute billing, you don’t pay more than you used in server performance.

Both the cloud and vServer are virtualized server solutions. However, unlike the vServer, the cloud server is billed by the minute and can be scaled at any time. With the vServer, billing is based on a fixed monthly amount.

Tip

The different server models from IONOS perform well with games other than Starbound. If you enjoy pixel art, you can also create your own Minecraft server setup or a Terraria server. For fans of other genres, it’s easy to create a CS:GO server or a LS19 server, for example. If you prefer survival games after all, it might be worth your while to set up an “ARK: Survival Evolved” server, a Valheim server or a Rust server.

Starbound server: Example cases and the right IONOS plans

For each of the presented server models, there are various plans that are differently suited for different use cases of your Starbound server. The following table provides a brief overview of different Starbound scenarios and the appropriate plans for each server model:

 

Minimum requirements

Recommended vServer

Recommended Cloud Server

Recommended Dedicated Server

Starbound server for 2-4 players

Windows: 2.5 GHz (min. 2 Cores), 4 GB RAM, 40 GB storage space

 

Linux (Ubuntu 20.04): 2.5 GHz (min. 2 cores), 4 GB RAM, 30 GB storage space

IONOS VPS Server L

IONOS Cloud Server L

IONOS Dedicated Server L-16 HDD

or

IONOS Dedicated Server AR6-32 HDD

Starbound server for 4-8 players

Windows: 2.8 GHz (min. 4 cores), 8 GB RAM, 50 GB storage space

 

Linux (Ubuntu 20.04): 2.8 GHz (min. 4 cores), 8 GB RAM, 40 GB storage space

IONOS VPS Server XL

IONOS Cloud Server XL

IONOS Dedicated Server L-16 HDD

or

IONOS Dedicated Server AR6-32 HDD

Starbound server for more than 8 ends

Windows: 3.2 GHz (min. 6 cores), 16 GB RAM, 60 GB storage space

 

Linux (Ubuntu 20.04): 3.2 GHz (min. 6 cores), 16 GB RAM, 50 GB storage space

IONOS VPS Server XL RAM

IONOS Cloud-Server XXL

IONOS Dedicated Server IX8-64 HDD

or

IONOS Dedicated Server AR6-32 HDD

Note

When there are significantly more than eight players, the minimum requirements presented here may no longer be enough, so individual adjustments to your Starbound server configuration may be necessary.

Create a Starbound server: Step by step to your own server

Once you have decided on a server configuration, you still need to select a suitable operating system. For a Starbound dedicated server, the Microsoft server system Windows Server and the Linux system Ubuntu are equally suitable, so the choice is yours.

In the following tutorial, we will show you how to create your own Starbound server and play the indie game together with your friends. The server system used is Windows Server 2016.

Step 1: Connect to the server

In the first step you establish a remote connection with the server. If you have chosen one of the IONOS server solutions, you can easily set up this connection via the Cloud Panel. To do this, first log in to the IONOS login page with your individual account data. Clicking on the category “Server & Cloud” will take you to an overview page with the plans you have. Select the server solution you have booked for your Starbound server.

The start page for your server package will then open. Under the item “Access data” you will find the entry “Remote Desktop connection” with an associated download link.

Download the remote desktop connection. In the following dialog, select “Connect” to begin setting up your Starbound server.

Afterwards, you will be prompted to enter your login information in a dialog box. If you have not yet stored any individual data, you will find the default credentials in the Cloud Panel under the keywords “User” and “Initial Password”.

Note

When you connect to your server for the first time, you will receive a security warning on Windows because the certificate of your Starbound server has not been trusted yet. By clicking on “OK” you can continue with the setup. If you also click the checkbox next to “Do not ask for connections with this computer again”, you will prevent dialog boxes like this in the future.

After you have logged in with your credentials, the server will open.

Step 2: Install Starbound server using Steam

The software you need to set up your Starbound server can also be found on Steam. First, download the Steam client to the server as well and then log in with your Steam credentials. Once you are logged into Steam, you can use the “Search” field in your game library to find the appropriate dedicated server software. To do this, simply type “Starbound” into the search box. Under the “Tools” item you will find the appropriate “Starbound Dedicated Server” application. Install it by clicking on the list entry.

Step 3: Enable port

In order for the Starbound server to run, you still need to enable port 21025 in the IONOS Cloud Panel. To do this, click on “Network” and then on “Firewall Policies”. Create a new configuration under the “Incoming” tab by first selecting TCP under “Protocol” and then entering the port number 21025. Confirm the new rule by clicking on the blue checkmark icon on the right.

Step 4: Configure Starbound’s Options

Now open Starbound. After the game has loaded, select the “Options” tab in the menu. A window opens in which you can make individual settings. Click the checkboxes to allow both the connection via IP (“Connect via IP”) and the use of different game assets (“Allow assets mismatch”). Click on “Accept” to confirm the changes you have made.

Step 5: Start your Starbound server

In the next step, start the Starbound server. The executable file for this is usually located in the data path C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Starbound Dedicated Server\win64\starbound_server.exe. It is worth creating a desktop shortcut by right-clicking on the program and then clicking on the “Create shortcut” option. This way you can select your server directly from your desktop.

Step 6: Connect to the server

In a final step, you and your friends connect to your server. This is easily done by clicking on “Join game” in the Starbound menu. You can first create or select a character and then enter the IP address of your server. For testing purposes, you can also enter the IP address of localhost, 127.0.0.1, as the server host. If you have not made any other settings in the advanced configuration settings of your Starbound Dedicated Server, you can leave the fields for account name and password blank. Click on “Join server”, and you’ll do just that: You’ll join your Starbound server and the game will load.

Step 7: The adventure begins!

As the leader of your space adventure, you can now join your friends in exciting quests.

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