Your own game server on Azure – Create a dedicated Counter Strike server

It is nearly every gamer’s dream to have an own server that 100% fits his needs and where he can play god. When I were younger, there were only two ways to get such a personal playground: Installing a server on my home machine and making sure to never switch it of or renting one at a gameserver hoster for more money that I could afford back in the days. Now we have cloud computing and can host servers for some bucks. So why not creating an own game server that lives in the cloud?

1. Create a new server on Azure

Creating a new server on Azure is quite easy. Just click the New button and select the virtual machine you want to host. Steam still runs best on Windows, that’s why we choose the Windows Server 2012 here.

01host

2. Configure the server

Of course we need to tell Azure which type of server we need. For our purpose the default settings are fine. Only the pricing tier might be a bit too high, so let’s select a smaller one that better fits our wallet.

02configure-speed

Once our server has been created by Azure, we can connect to it via Microsoft’s Remote Desktop tool. The easiest way to do that is opening the server page in Azure and downloading the pre-configured connection profile by clicking the Connect button at the top row. Once connected we can start installing our game server.

3. Installing the game server

Fortunately, there is no need to install the full Steam application on your server to create a dedicated server for your game. All you need is the SteamCMD application to communicate with the Steam servers via console. Just download and extract it wherever you want. After starting SteamCMD, it sometimes wants to update itself. Afterwards we can start downloading the files you need.

To download game server files, we don’t need an account so we can log in anonymously into steam by typing login anonymous into the console window. We will also need to tell Steam, where it should download the files to, so we create a folder and set it as your download destination by using the force_install_dir YOUR_LOCATION command. Last, we need the ID of the steam application that we want to download from the official list of IDs. The Counter-Strike: Source Dedicated Server‘s id is 232330. Let’s install the server with the app_update STEAM_APP_ID command!

04installserver

4. Starting and configuring the server

We can start the server as soon as it has been installed completely. For this, we navigate to the previously declared installation directory, hold the Shift-key and rightcklick to a free space and select Open command window here. Now we can type in the srcds -game GAME_FOLDER command. In our case the game folder is called cstrike and the command looks like this: srcds -game cstrike. Now the server configurator should open and we can configure our serverI highly recommend not to change the UDP Port, because we will need it in the next step.

5. Forwarding the right ports

To let the server communicate with the internet and making it accessible for other players, we need to open the server’s UDP Port at our firewall. For this we need to open the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security tool and add a new Inbound Rule for UDP Port 27015, which is the one for our server, if you haven’t changed it.

05portforwarding

Additioanlly, we need to tell Azure to forward all incoming network-communication on our port to the game server. For this, we also need to create an inbound security role for port 27015.

06portazure

6. Start server and connect to it

Now everything is configured and we can start our server. As soon as everything is loaded completely, we can start our local Counter Strike client and connect to our fresh game server. The easiest way might be adding the server as a favorite directly by its IP Address (can be found in the Azure portal) and port.

07connect

Have fun playing with your friends on your own gaming server with full control. More content to come on this blog so keep an eye on our new Gaming Server series!

 

4 Comments on “Your own game server on Azure – Create a dedicated Counter Strike server

  1. No word about cost? A public CS:Source server can be rented for less than 10€/Month… The cheapest A0 instance (1 core, 750meg RAM, 20GB disc) is around 13$/month. A0 might be enough for counter strike, but most game servers need a little bit more than that. e.g. Minecraft is quite resource hungry.

    • Hey Tom, thanks for your reply! You are absolutely right, I completely forgot costs here and will add that. Additionally, I want to point out that you have a higher flexibility here. You can host multiple games and TeamSpeak servers here and you can shut the server down whenever you want to reduce cost. But you are right: if you just want to host a simple gameserver, this might not be the best solution for you from a money-perspective.

  2. Important note regarding teamspeak. When you are hosting the server by yourself your are limited to i gues 35 Slot or so. Even if your maschine has the capacity. If you want more you have to apply for an special key directly on teamspeak and also meet some requirements.

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