Setting up an Ark Dedicated Server on Linux

In this tutorial, we will walk you through setting up your own Ark: Survival Evolved dedicated server on Linux.

ARK Dedicated Server Linux

Ark Survival Evolved has continued to be one of the most popular survival crafting games since its release. It sports numerous different maps that are filled with a variety of different monsters that you can tame.

By setting up a dedicated server for Ark on Linux, you can have up to 70 players playing simultaneously. Of course, to maximize the number of players, you will need good enough hardware to handle it.

You don’t even need to own Ark or have a Steam account to be able to host your very own server. All you need is hardware that is good enough to run the server, which for Ark means you need at least 6 GB of RAM to get it running.

In the following sections, we will walk you through setting up and running an Ark Dedicated server on Linux.

While our steps are written for Debian systems like Ubuntu, they should work with most other systems with very few changes.

Installing and Running an Ark Dedicated Server on Linux

The following steps will walk you through installing and running the Ark dedicated server on a Linux-based operating system.

Due to the size of the Ark server, this process can take a few minutes to complete, as the server can take a while to download.

Preparing your System for the Server

1. Before we begin, we should ensure that our operating system is entirely up to date.

Updating any Debian system is as straightforward as using the following two commands.

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

2. Next, we must install the “software-properties-common” package to your system. This package will allow us to add additional architectures and repositories to the package manager easily.

To install these packages, run the command below.

sudo apt install software-properties-common

Installing SteamCMD

3. To install the Ark dedicated server on Linux, we will use the SteamCMD tool. The advantage of using this tool is that it makes downloading and installing the server incredibly straightforward.

Before we can install this tool, we must do a few tasks. The first is to add the “i386” architecture to the package manager. We need to do this as SteamCMD is a 32-bit software.

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

4. With the 32-bit architecture now added to the package manager, we must change the available repositories since SteamCMD isn’t available in the default ones.

For those who are running the Ubuntu operating system, you will want to add the multiverse repository by using the command below.

sudo add-apt-repository multiverse

Alternatively, for other Debian-based operating systems, you will want to add the “non-free” repository.

sudo apt-add-repository non-free

5. Since we have made changes to the repositories and the available architectures, we must update the package list cache.

You can update this cache by running the command below.

sudo apt update

6. Finally, we can install SteamCMD using the command below within the terminal.

After installing this tool, we will be able to move on to installing and setting up the ARK server itself on our Linux system.

sudo apt instal steamcmd

Setting up a User to run the ARK Dedicated Server on Linux

7. Now that we have the SteamCMD tool installed, we can begin preparing our Linux system for the Ark dedicated server.

Our first step is to create a user called “ark” by using the useradd command. We will use this user to run the ARK server.

sudo useradd -m ark

By using the “-m” option we will also be creating a home directory for our new user.

8. With our user created, we will want to temporarily change to it. You can use the sudo command to change to our new “ark” user.

You should not be prompted to enter a password.

sudo -u ark -s

9. As we are now using the terminal as the “ark” user, we will want to change to its home directory.

You can change to the current user’s home directory by using the cd command followed by the tilde icon (~).

cd ~

Installing the Ark Dedicated Server on Linux

10. We finally have everything in place to install the Ark Dedicated Server on our Linux system.

To download the server, we can use the following command. Please note that this process can take some time as it has to update SteamCMD itself and then download the fairly large server software.

/usr/games/steamcmd +@sSteamCmdForcePlatformType linux +force_install_dir /home/ark/arkserver +login anonymous +app_update 376030 +quit

11. Once the server has finished downloading, you can exit out of the “ark” user by typing in the command below.


Writing A service to Manage your Ark Server on Linux

12. To run the ARK server on Linux, we will use a service. The service will allow you to start, stop, and manage your server much more easily than simply executing the server software.

Using the command below, we can use the nano text editor to begin writing this service file.

sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/arkserver.service

13. Within this file, you will want to type in the following lines. While typing out this file, you will want to replace the following placeholders.

  • <MAPNAME>: Replace this value with the map name you want the server to use. If you want to stick with the default map, set this value to “TheIsland“.

    The valid map names are the following.
    • TheIsland
    • TheCenter
    • ScorchedEarth_P
    • Ragnarok
    • Aberration_P
    • Extinction
    • Valguero_P
    • Genesis
    • CrystalIsles
    • Gen2
    • LostIsland
    • Fjordur
  • <SERVERNAME>: Use this to specify the name of your Linux-powered ARK Dedicated server. For example, you called name the server “PiMyLifeUp“.
  • <SERVERPASSWORD>: Setting a password allows you to restrict who can access your server. The user will need to enter the password you specify here to join.
  • <ADMINPASSWORD>: The final value you must replace is the admin password. You will use this password to access the in-game admin panel.

    Ensure you set this to something secure, as someone can mess up your ARK server if they work out the admin password.
Description=ARK Dedicated Server

ExecStartPre=/usr/games/steamcmd +login anonymous +force_install_dir /home/ark/arkserver +app_update 376030 validate +exit
ExecStart=/home/ark/arkserver/ShooterGame/Binaries/Linux/ShooterGameServer <MAPNAME>?listen?SessionName=<SERVERNAME>?ServerPassword=<SERVERPASSWORD>?ServerAdminPassword=<ADMINPASSWORD> -server -log -crossplay


14. After filling out the service file, save and quit by pressing CTRL + X, Y, and ENTER.

Starting up the Ark Dedicated Server

15. With the service file now written, we can move on to enabling our Ark Dedicated Server on Linux.

By enabling this service, the ARK server will automatically start whenever your system restarts, this is useful for ensuring you can get back to playing as soon as your device restarts.

sudo systemctl enable arkserver

16. While we now have the service set to automatically start when your system restarts it won’t start immediately.

We can immediately start the ARK Dedicated server by typing in the command below.

sudo systemctl start arkserver

17. We can verify that your server is up and running by retrieving the status of the “arkserver” service we created.

You can get the status of this service by using the command below in the terminal.

sudo systemctl status arkserver

If the service is working properly, you should see the status marked as “Active: active (running)“.

18. You can now connect to your new ARK server by utilizing your machine’s IP address.

If you run into issues you may have to allow the following ports through your firewall. Additionally, if you are hosting this in your home you may also need to port forward these ports as well.

  • 7777
  • 7778
  • 27015


Hopefully, you will now have an ARK dedicated server up and running on your Linux system at this stage.

Linux is a great system for hosting game servers. It is relatively lightweight, so you can get the most out of your system.

Please feel free to comment below if you have had any issues with getting this game server to run.

If you found this tutorial helpful, we highly recommend checking out our many other game server guides.

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