How to Make Unturned Server: Set Up Your Own Dedicated Game Server in 2024

How to Make Unturned Server: Set Up Your Own Dedicated Game Server in 2024

Unturned is a multiplayer survival game where players navigate through a zombie-infested world, crafting items, building shelters, and fighting zombies and other players for survival. Setting up your server is a great idea to elevate your gaming experience.

This article will help you set up an Unturned server on a Linux virtual private server (VPS). Whether you’re a pro or new to internet hosting, our step-by-step instructions will simplify creating your own Unturned server.

Unturned Server Prerequisites

Gather these necessary components before creating an Unturned game server to ensure a smooth and successful installation:

  • Operating System: Windows, Linux, or macOS. For this tutorial, we will focus on Linux for easy setup and enhanced efficiency.
  • CPU: At least a quad-core processor.
  • RAM: 4 GB or higher for hosting more players.
  • Storage: Minimum 10 GB.

How to Make an Unturned Server

From choosing the best VPS provider to launching your own server, this section will guide you through creating an Unturned server hosting environment.

1. Choose a VPS Provider

Selecting the suitable Linux VPS for your Unturned server ensures a stable and responsive gaming environment.

Hostinger’s Minecraft hosting plans are an excellent choice for your Unturned server hosting needs. Supporting popular games such as Minecraft, Counter-Strike 2, Rust, and Unturned, these plans offer multiple benefits, including:

  • High-performance hardware – our Minecraft VPS plans use Intel Xeon processors and SSD storage, ensuring a fast and reliable Unturned server.
  • Multiple server locations – these ensure low latency for your players, optimizing the Unturned gaming experience.
  • Customization and control – full root access allows you to tailor the server to your preferences.
  • Affordable plans – with plans starting at just $6.99/month, our plans are budget-friendly and scalable to your server’s growth.

To get Hostinger’s Minecraft VPS, follow these steps:

  1. Visit our Minecraft VPS page and choose a plan that suits your server’s needs.
  2. Add your selected plan to your cart and complete the checkout process.
  3. After purchasing, navigate to VPS and click Setup. Name your server, set its password, and select your data center location.

2. Configure the Virtual Private Server

Configuring your VPS is a pivotal step in setting up a publicly accessible internet server for your Unturned game, enabling hosting of either private or public servers.

For Hostinger customers, this begins with logging into your Hostinger account. Then, navigate to the VPS dashboard and check the status of your VPS. It should be set to Running. If not, start it with a click.

Ensuring the VPS status is running in the VPS dashboard of hPanel

Next, proceed to the SSH access tab. Here, you’ll find the crucial details for accessing your server via SSH commands.

Finding SSH credentials in the SSH access tab of hPanel's VPS dashboard

Once you’ve retrieved your credentials, log in to your server using an SSH client like PuTTY on your computer.

Then, update and upgrade your system for the latest features and security patches with the following Linux commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

If it’s your first time updating, add the i386 architecture to ensure compatibility with specific Unturned server dependencies:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

Continue by installing the necessary libraries, each serving a specific purpose:

  • screen – keeps processes running even after a terminal is closed.
  • htop – an interactive process viewer for monitoring your server’s performance.
  • unzip and wget – tools for downloading and extracting files.
  • mono – a software platform needed to run .NET applications (like Unturned) on Linux.

Execute the following commands sequentially:

sudo apt-get install screen htop unzip wget
sudo apt-get install build-essential gcc-multilib libstdc++6:i386 libgcc1:i386 libncurses5:i386 rpm zlib1g:i386
sudo apt-get install libmono2.0-cil mono-runtime
sudo apt-get install libc6:i386 libgl1-mesa-glx:i386 libXrandr2:i386 libXcursor1:i386

3. Create a Steam Account

Creating a dedicated Steam account for your Unturned server management offers several benefits.

First, it keeps your personal gaming and server management activities separate, enhancing security and organization. Moreover, a dedicated account reduces the risk of compromising your personal game data and settings.

Create a new Steam account with these steps:

  1. Visit the Steam web page and click sign up to begin the account creation process.
Selecting the sign up button to register a Steam account
  1. On the next page, enter your email address and country of residence.
Entering details to sign up for a Steam account
  1. After submitting your details, Steam will send a verification email. Follow the instructions in the email to confirm your account.
  2. Once your account is verified, log in to set your username and password. Remember not to use the same password anywhere else for enhanced security.

4. Install SteamCMD and Download Unturned Server Files

Before downloading the Unturned server files, it’s essential to install Wine and SteamCMD.

Wine is a compatibility layer for running Windows applications on Linux. SteamCMD is the command-line interface of the Steam client, used for installing and updating the Unturned dedicated server tool and other game server files.

Here are the steps:

  1. Install Wine by executing the following command:
sudo apt-get install wine
  1. Use the mkdir command to create a directory for SteamCMD. For example:
mkdir ~/steamcmd
  1. Download SteamCMD from the official source using:
wget https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/client/installer/steamcmd_linux.tar.gz
  1. Once downloaded, extract the files with:
tar -xvzf steamcmd_linux.tar.gz

With Wine and SteamCMD ready, proceed to download the Unturned server files.

  1. First, create a directory for your Unturned server files by running:
mkdir ~/unturnedserver
  1. Then, run this Linux navigate command to access the SteamCMD directory:
cd ~/steamcmd
  1. Start SteamCMD by executing:
./steamcmd.sh
  1. In the SteamCMD interface, log in to your Steam account or use an anonymous login with this Unturned server command:
login anonymous
  1. Set the installation directory and download the Unturned server files:
force_install_dir ~/unturnedserver
app_update 1110390 validate

Suggested Reading

Wine is also crucial for installing other Steam-based game servers like Enshrouded. Read our article if you’re interested in configuring your own Enshrouded server.

5. Download and Configure RocketLauncher

With your Unturned server files downloaded, the next step is to set up RocketLauncher. It is a server wrapper with additional functionality and customization options that enhance overall server management.

Follow the instructions below:

  1. Ensure you are in the directory where you installed SteamCMD. Then, use the following commands to download RocketLauncher:
cd ~/steamcmd
wget https://ci.rocketmod.net/job/Rocket.Unturned/lastSuccessfulBuild/artifact/Rocket.Unturned/bin/Release/Rocket.zip
  1. Once the download is complete, extract RocketLauncher and remove the ZIP file:
unzip Rocket.zip && rm -rf Rocket.zip
  1. Move RocketLauncher and its scripts to the unturnedserver directory:
mv Scripts/Linux/RocketLauncher.exe ~/unturnedserver/
mv Scripts/Linux/*.sh ~/unturnedserver/
  1. If you’re planning to run a modded server with RocketMod, move the RocketMod files into the Modules directory of unturnedserver:
mv Modules/Rocket.Unturned/ ~/unturnedserver/Modules/

RocketMod offers a range of mods and plugins, including WorkshopDownloadConfig.json file, to enhance server customization and management.

During startup, the Map command searches this workshop file for specific mods and maps, automatically integrating them into the server.

6. Edit the Update Script

The next crucial step is to tailor the update.sh script for your Unturned server. Typically a batch script or a text document, this file automates updating the server files through SteamCMD.

To open the update script with the nano editor, run the following command:

nano ~/unturnedserver/update.sh

Here’s a basic outline of what you might find inside the update.sh file:

#!/bin/bash
# Navigate to SteamCMD directory
cd ~/steamcmd
# Log into Steam (use 'anonymous' or your dedicated account)
./steamcmd.sh +login [username] [password]
# Update/install Unturned
./steamcmd.sh +app_update 1110390 validate
# Exit SteamCMD
./steamcmd.sh +quit

Key points to edit within this script include:

  • Steam login – replace [username] [password] with your dedicated Steam account credentials.
  • Directory path – ensure the script correctly points to where SteamCMD is installed (in this case, ~/steamcmd).
  • App update command – the +app_update 1110390 validate command is crucial, as it specifies the Unturned server’s app ID and checks for missing or corrupted files.

If you decide to input your Steam account credentials into the script, ensure the file permissions are set to restrict access. Use the chmod command to set the permissions, allowing only the admin (you) to view or edit this file. For example:

chmod 700 ~/unturnedserver/update.sh

7. Configure the Firewall and Port Forwarding

After setting up your game server, configure the firewall and set up port forwarding to ensure your server is accessible to players. This Unturned server troubleshooting step is critical for preventing and resolving connection issues.

Configure the Firewall

You’ll use UFW (Uncomplicated Firewall) to manage network traffic. First, enable UFW:

sudo ufw enable

Next, allow the default Unturned ports. The recommended port values for incoming connections are 27015 to 27017:

sudo ufw allow 27015:27017/tcp
sudo ufw allow 27015:27017/udp

If your server uses different ports (as specified in your server settings or Commands.dat file), replace 27015:27017 with your server’s port range.

Set Up Port Forwarding

Port forwarding enables multiple devices to connect to your server through your router.

First, find your internal IP address by accessing Hostinger’s VPS dashboard or running ip addr in the SSH client.

Next, access your router’s settings via your web browser, typically by entering the router’s default gateway address.

Navigate to the Port Forwarding section and create a new rule as follows:

  • Service Name – Unturned.
  • Protocol – UDP (as Unturned primarily uses UDP).
  • External Starting Port and Internal Starting Port – Your server’s starting port (e.g., 27015).
  • External Ending Port and Internal Ending Port – Your server’s ending port (e.g., 27017).
  • Internal IP Address – your VPS IP that hosts the Unturned server.

Finally, save and apply these changes.

8. Set Configurations for the Server

Now that you have set up the firewall and port forwarding, it’s time to configure your server. Proper Unturned server optimization is essential to enhancing the gameplay experience.

You’ll find several DAT files to edit with a text editor in your Unturned server directory. These configuration files include Adminlist.dat, Blacklist.dat, Commands.dat, and Whitelist.dat.

Commands.dat File Configuration

The Commands.dat file allows you to set various server configurations as the Unturned server admin. To open Commands.dat, run:

nano ~/unturnedserver/Commands.dat

Here, you can modify various setup commands to configure your server, such as:

  • Name [Server Name] – sets your server’s name.
  • Password [Server Password] – establishes a password for private access.
  • MaxPlayers [Number] – defines the maximum number of players allowed.
  • Map [Map Name] – selects the map for your server. To use a player-created (workshop) map, place the workshop map folder in the Workshop directory.
  • Port [Port Number] – specifies your server’s port (default is 27015).
  • Mode [Easy/Normal/Hard] – determines the difficulty mode.
  • Owner [Steam 64 ID] – assigns the server owner, granting complete administrator commands.
  • Perspective [Type] – sets the allowed views (First, Third, Vehicle, Both).
  • PvE [True/False] – toggles between PvP and PvE modes.
  • Bind [Internal IP] – binds your server to an internal or network adapter IP address.
  • Cheats [True/False] – disable or enable cheats on the server. Only available for server administrators.

When editing these commands, ensure each is on a separate line to maintain clarity and prevent configuration errors.

Config.json File Customization

The config.json file plays a key role in more advanced Unturned server customization. Located at {UNTURNED}\Servers\(Server name)\config.json, this file allows for more detailed server configuration, including game rules and listing display.

When editing config.json, it’s crucial to adhere to the JSON format. Only edit the values after the colon (:) and within the quotation marks. Here are some elements you might encounter and modify:

Browser:

  • Icon – path to an image file used as the server’s icon.
  • Desc_Hint – short description or hint that appears on hover in the server list.
  • Desc_Full – complete description of your server.

Server:

  • VAC_Secure – enables or disables the Valve Anti-Cheat system.
  • BattlEye_Secure – toggles BattlEye Anti-Cheat.

Gameplay:

  • DayNight_Cycle – adjust the length of day and night cycles.
  • Player_Difficulty – sets the default difficulty for players.
  • Max_Players – determines the maximum number of players.

The game options mirror those in the in-game Play > Singleplayer > Config menu, allowing for a familiar and intuitive setup process.

Unturned Multiplayer Server Setup

If you plan to run multiple servers or set specific server list queries, fine-tuning the settings in Commands.dat and config.json is essential.

Configure distinct server names and port numbers in the Commands.dat file and different gameplay settings in the config.json file to provide a varied experience across your dedicated servers.

Additionally, managing multiple file IDs is important when configuring various settings for each server. This ensures each server instance is assigned a unique file ID, enhancing the overall server management process.

Furthermore, consider leveraging Unturned server plugins and mods to introduce new features or alter game mechanics. These can be found and managed in the Modules folder.

Regularly test these additions for compatibility and balance, ensuring they contribute positively to the multiplayer servers.

9. Launch Your Unturned Server

Once the Unturned server configuration is complete, it’s time to start it up and welcome players. This launch server step is crucial to make your server available for multiplayer gaming.

Execute Launch Commands

The command to start an Unturned server on Linux varies depending on the distribution and your admin preferences. The basic format for an internet server run is:

wine Unturned.exe [options]

The [options] include various parameters setting up player limits, using workshop maps, and customizing game modes. For example:

wine Unturned.exe -nographics -pei -normal -nosync -pve -players:16 -sv

Use screen or tmux for Detachable Sessions

To keep the server running in the background, even if you disconnect from SSH, use tmux or screen. Start the server with:

screen -S unturnedserver wine Unturned.exe -nographics -pei -normal -nosync -pve -players:16 -sv

To detach from the screen session and leave the server running, press Ctrl+A → D. Reattach anytime with:

screen -r unturnedserver

Guide for Players to Join

As the owner of the host computer, you can connect to the server directly by running Unturned through Steam. Click Play → Connect, then enter localhost in the IP field.

Other players will need your server’s IP address to connect. Instruct them to select Join in Unturned’s main menu and enter your VPS’s IP to join your server.

Unturned Server Backup and Maintenance

Maintaining a healthy Unturned server involves regular backups and monitoring server performance. Routinely back up config files such as Commands.dat, config.json, and the entire server directory to secure locations to safeguard against data loss.

Monitoring server performance, mainly CPU and memory usage, is vital for optimal operation. Use tools like htop for real-time performance tracking.

Keeping the server and mods up-to-date ensures access to the latest features and security patches. Regularly review server logs and player feedback for potential issues or areas for improvement.

Scheduled maintenance periods are essential for applying updates and performing server restarts. Inform players in advance to minimize disruption.

Conclusion

In this guide, we’ve explored the process of setting up Unturned private servers, equipping you with the tools and knowledge needed to launch your gaming environment. Following each step, from selecting a reliable VPS to configuring server settings, is crucial to start a server on Unturned.

Remember, the success of a server often relies on regular maintenance and community support. Embrace the challenges and actively seek guidance for further documentation. Here’s to many thrilling survival adventures on your first server!

Author
The author

Ariffud Muhammad

Ariffud is a Technical Content Writer with an educational background in Informatics. He has extensive expertise in Linux and VPS, authoring over 200 articles on server management and web development. Follow him on LinkedIn.