How To Setup an ARMA 3 Dedicated Server [Windows Server 2008+]
Last updated: November 21, 2020
Have you outgrown your shared ARMA 3 server provider (that you most probably found thanks to my field testing research on the home page) and need to add mods that aren’t allowed or feel you can get better value for money for your large community server?
Then maybe you need a dedicated ARMA 3 server of your own, installed on a Windows VPS or dedicated server.
Is an ARMA 3 Dedicated Server Right For Me?
There are 2 main ways to go about setting up your own ARMA 3 server for you and your friends to play on.
What is shared ARMA 3 server hosting?
This is a ready-to-go solution that will see you playing with your friends on your own private server in minutes.
A game server company will take your requirements and build you a server behind the scenes unique to you then email you the details for you to join.
The company (all the companies I have tested and put on the home page at least) provide you with a web based control panel for adding mods and managing rules and players too.
Your support will be included, this means you can ask for help for all sorts of things to keep your server running and your mods working.
Prices start at around $10 a month for an ARMA 3 server, which is pretty reasonable when you consider the game uses a lot of resources!
What is a dedicated ARMA 3 server?
A dedicated ARMA 3 server (in this instance) is one that you install yourself on a VPS, a rented dedicated server in a data-center or could even be hosted on a spare computer on your local network.
With a dedicated server you will need to rent or own the machine it is going to be on and ensure that it runs the right operating system and be powerful enough.
A major downside to going this route compared to a shared server is the complexity and the lack of support you will find trying to set it up and maintaining it.
Another drawback can be the cost. Renting a machine with its own operating system (especially Windows based) is that you will be paying quite a bit for the privilege of having your own dedicated machine/environment.
How To Setup An ARMA 3 Dedicated Server
So you have decided to set up your own ARMA 3 server on a Windows Server based machine and have opted out of the done for you providers on the home page.
Lets look at the steps involved in making that happen, I will try to break it down to as simple as possible.
What are the requirements?
- You need to have a Steam account that owns a copy of ARMA 3
- A modern version of Windows Server OS installed that’s version 2008 or newer
- At least 4GB of RAM
- At least 32GB of free SSD
- A 3.5GHz CPU or better
- Technical knowledge
Setting up a dedicated ARMA 3 server on a Windows Server OS
The easier of the 2 methods in my opinion is the Windows Server as you can point and click through Remote Desktop rather than command line through SSH like you would with Linux.
Here are the steps you need to take to install an ARMA 3 dedicated server on a Windows Server machine:
1. Make sure DirectX is updated
Head over to the Microsoft website and update DirectX to the latest version, this is important that you do this first before anything else.
2. Create the needed directory on your machine
An ARMA 3 dedicated server needs the following empty directory created in order to install the needed files:
- A directory for your server to live, ideally somewhere easily remembered like on your desktop or root f your hard drive with a short descriptive name ie. “ARMA3Server1”
3. Download and run SteamCMD
Next, head over to the official SteamCMD page and download the latest version of SteamCMD, then place this downloaded file in your target server folder from step 2.
Extract the downloaded files contents into the same folder.
Now double click the steamcmd.exe file to launch it and begin its self updating, a window will launch and show you what it is doing step by step.
4. Tell SteamCMD to download the latest ARMA 3 server files
Once the SteamCMD tool has finished updating itself it will wait for the next command, you know this is the case when it display Steam> on a new line.
You need to tell the SteamCMD tool to download the server files and folders for ARMA 3, this can be done by typing in (or copying) this command:
Then, when asked for your password enter the one associated with the username used above. Once your password has checked out enter the next 2 lines of commands separately:
app_update 233780 validate
Be sure to change the folder location in the first line to be the folder you set aside in the first step.
Now that the server is installed you need a way to easily manage the options associated with it.
Luckily a community modder has created a tool that is free to use that can easily manage your server to reduce the complexity.
Download, extract and place in your root ARMA 3 server folder the Arma Dedicated Server Tool (TADST) by Tophe.
Double click the TADST executable file that the tool has placed in your server folder to launch it. Here you now see a bunch of tools and reports for your server to make running things a lot easier.
Saving this tool creates a configuration file that sets the rules of your server, essentially freeing you up from having to edit code.
It also adds an easy way to Launch your server as well.
Thanks to these guys for reference while putting together this ARMA 3 dedicated server setup guide:
- The official ARMA 3 dedicated server setup instructions – https://community.bistudio.com/wiki/Arma_3_Dedicated_Server
- The official SteamCMD page: https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/SteamCMD