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ARK New User Startup Guide - Everything You Need To Know About Running An ARK Server!

Ark New Server Startup Guide

Everything you'll need to know about Ark: Survival Evolved Servers.


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Getting Started

This guide is focused on helping GameServerKings' users set up and build their ARK Survival Evolved Server easily and quickly. This guide is always evolving to ensure the easiest methods possible for our users. If you're thinking about hosting an ARK SE server, give us a try! You can purchase a high-quality server with industry low pricing by following this link. If you wish to learn more about ARK SE, you can read up on our ARK Knowledge Base to learn more!

Within this section, you will find information which is extremely important to know. We recommend you write down or save this information somewhere on your person so you do not lose any of it. You'll save yourself quite a bit of time that way!


How to find your Admin Password

To find your admin password, all you must do is log into your Game Server Management Panel with the TCAdmin sent to you within your verification email. From there, head to your File Manager. Travel to /ShooterGame/Saved/LinuxServer/ then click on the pencil next to the config file titled, GameUserSettings.ini. This will allow you to read the contents of the file. Within, is information on your server. On the 10th Line, you will find the value "ServerAdminPassword=Your Password" Save this information as it will most likely be the most valuable tool you own for running your server.

What does this let me do? You ask. Well, your Admin Password is used to log in via your game console to use admin commands. You can also use it as a Remote Console (RCON) password. This allows you to post updates to your Ark Server from anywhere in the world, not just in the game.


How to find your SteamID and Steam64 ID

You will need to know your Steam ID for many admin commands and setting up an admin account. 

Click To Expand

It's very simple and quick to find. First, go to your steam profile page and within the URL bar, copy your steam community profile URL, from there, insert it into the tool located here: steamid.io.

Steamid.io shows information about your steam account and other user's accounts based on the steam community link.

Click To Expand

Information is given such as the users SteamID, SteamID3, Steam64 ID, and more. All of this information may be referenced by commands in other steam games as well so this is a useful link to bookmark.


Getting To Know Your Server

Getting your ARK: Survival Evolved Server IP

After you purchase your Ark Survival Evolved server from us, you will receive an email with your TCAdmin login information. First, go to your GSK Server Management Panel (link at the top of this guide) and log in with your TCAdmin login and password. From there, go to your game services panel, located within the navbar on the left-hand side of the screen. From there, you will see four IP addresses. The one you will use to connect to your server via IP is the range titled "Query Info."


Connecting to your ARK: Survival Evolved Server

Sometimes, your ARK: SE Server won't immediately appear on the server browser. This is normal and may take up to an hour after initial server startup to see it appear. To connect to your server before it appears on the server browser, you can connect to it by making it a steam favorite server. All you need to do is open up steam, click on view, then servers. From there the steam server panel will appear. This will show you servers which you may connect to with all of the games in your library. Now that you have the panel open, click on "Favorites." From there, click the button in the bottom right-hand corner of the pane which says "Add A Server" It will open a new panel which will ask you for your server IP. Find your server IP (reminder, this is your Query IP within TCAdmin), and insert it into the text window. Click "Add this server to favorites" and it will now appear as a favorite within your steam server favorite panel. 

Now, you can connect to the server by either right-clicking on your server information, and click "Connect to server" or you may log in through ARK. To do this, fire up ARK, click on "Join." A panel listing all of the servers which you may connect to will appear. Go to the sorting options located on the bottom left-hand side of the search window, and select "Favorites." Your server will be listed in this group, which you may now select and Join. 


Server Administration

Although it is not required to have an admin account, it's highly recommended as there are hackers, thieves, and griefers who will want to disrupt harmony or tip the scales of war unfairly. It's important as a server owner, to also regulate your server so that users do not feel as though their gameplay is disrupted by hackers or individuals who break server rules. There are two ways you can do this, you can create a whitelist for admin accounts, where only certain users can use the admin password, or you can log an account into an admin session. We recommend doing both, but Admin whitelists are of course, optional.


How to Login to an Admin Session

To login to an admin session it's VERY simple. First, find your admin password. You can do so by following this guide, referenced earlier in this post. From there, just log into your server and press tab. Copy and Paste/Type your Admin password into the in-game console (NOT THE CHAT) and nothing else. You will then be able to access all admin commands. If you'd like a list of all available ARK SE admin commands, click this link!


How to Create an Admin Whitelist

In addition to knowing how to log into an admin session, your server should also have an admin whitelist set up. This makes it so if your admin password is leaked, only users within the admin whitelist can use your password. Thus, giving you time to change it and notify all current admins.

To create an admin whitelist is very simple as well. First, log into your GSK Game Server Management Panel with your TCAdmin information given to you within your verification email. Next, go to your Game Services page by clicking on "Game Services" within the navbar on the left-hand side of the screen. Click on "File Manager" then, within the file manager, navigate to the "ShooterGame" folder. Within that folder go inside the "Saved" folder. Within the saved folder you will be greeted with three more folders and a file named "AllowedCheaterSteamIDs.txt." Open that file with our text editor by clicking the pencil icon next to the file name. 

You'll be greeted with a blank page. Using this file, you can add multiple admin accounts, as many as you like. Just be careful, as these users will be able to do any and all admin commands without any restriction. To do this, follow this guide on finding steam ID's. Once completed, place the users' Steam64 ID's within this area. One line per user. 

Once complete, go back to your game services panel and reboot your server by pressing "Restart." Congratulations, you've added an admin whitelist, and taken an extra step to securing your server. Great job!


Edit Config Files

Change your ARK SE Server Name

Your Server Name will be what potential users can use to identify your server within the Ark Survival Evolved Server Browser. To set this, we've made it very easy. All you need to do is log into your GameServerKings Game Server Manager and log in with your TCAdmin information sent to you in your verification email. From there, go to your Game Services Panel by clicking on "Game & Voice Management" and then "Game Services" within the left-hand side navigation menu. From there, click "Configuration files" and then open "GameUserSettings.ini" with the Text Editor.

Next, under the "[Session Settings]" area you'll find the parameter "SessionName." Change the value to what you want your server's name to be. For example:

SessionName=GameServerKings Official Ark Server

Once you've set your server's name, click save in the upper left-hand corner of the text editor. Go back to your game services page, and reboot your server. You've just changed your Ark SE Server's Server Name! Changes should immediately appear within the server browser.


Change Your ARK SE Message Of The Day

The Message of the Day (MOTD) is a message which appears in a popup whenever a user joins your ARK Survival Evolved Server. You can display a message, with whatever text color you desire. This section of the guide will teach you about the basics of ArkML MOTD Formatting.

The first step is to log into your GameServerKings Server Management Panel and logging in with the TCAdmin information you received with your verification email. From there, go to your Game Services Panel by clicking on "Game & Voice Management" and then "Game Services" within the left-hand side navigation menu. From there, click "Configuration files" and then open "GameUserSettings.ini" with the Text Editor.

At this point, you'll see what looks like a wall of text. To change your MOTD, scroll to the bottom of the page and locate the area marked with the tag "[MessageOfTheDay]." Underneath, you'll see two parameters. Message and Duration. Changing the string after message will show what message is displayed. Duration is the duration of time in which the message stays on screen.

Now you know how to modify your MOTD! But, what if you want more style? Well, you can change text color options by adding a little bit of Ark Markup Language (ArkML) Code. Similarly formatted to XML, all you must do is add the inline attribute RichColor. Rich Color is defined as so: <RichColor Color="RGB Value">Text which you want to be colored</> 

Now that you know how to change text colors, what if you want more than one line? That issue is easily solved by adding "\n" in your message parameter. This will tell Ark to insert a new line wherever "\n" is seen.

So, say for example you want to start off your MOTD with "Welcome to my server!" in a bright red color. Then, on a new line, you want to thank them for joining. You'd set your Message Parameter up something like this:

Message=<RichColor Color="255,0,0">Welcome to my server!</>\n It means so much that you'd join our server!\n etc.


Change Your ARK SE Map

If you've been playing your ARK SE map for too long, you may need to change it up. You can do so easily by using our commandline editor within our Game Server Management Panel. To get to your Game Server Managment Panel, click the link at the top of the page and bookmark it within your browser. From there, log in with the TCAdmin information provided to you via your server verification email. 

Next, you'll need to go to your Game Services page. To get there, click on "Game Services" within the navbar on the left hand side of the screen. Next, you'll need to edit the command line with the commandline editor. Click on the button labeled "Commandline Editor" and you will be presented with a new window.

Within the Commandline Editor, click new. From there, give your command line a description, then select "Map." Next, select a map from the drop-down menu. When you've finished, click save. Go back to your custom commandline settings, and select the commandline with the description you just made. Go back to your TCAdmin panel, and reboot your server. You've just changed your map!


Wipe your ARK SE Server

It's recommended that you wipe your ARK Server once every so often to keep your public server from being cluttered or filled with claimed areas structures. To do this, all you need to do is delete your "SavedArks" folder and reboot your server. This guide will show you step by step how to do this.

First, log in to your Game Server Management Panel with your TCAdmin information given to you in your verification email. From there, go to your "Game Services," which is located within your navbar on the left hand side of your screen. From there, you'll be presented with many options. Click on the button which is titled "File Manager."

From there, you'll be presented with a file explorer. All you need to do now is click on the file, "ShooterGame" and within that folder you will find another folder, which is titled "Saved." After you enter that folder you'll be greeted with your "SavedArks" folder. Click on the checkbox next to your "SavedArks" folder, and then, with your folder selected, click "Delete."

From there, make your way back to your Game Services page, and reboot your server by pressing the button which says "Restart". ARK's server side client will regenerate the missing files as if it was a new server. Congratulations, you have just wiped your ARK Survival Evolved Server files!


Mods

Mods are very useful to many server owners. They allow you to do things that you normally can't do, or give items to players which they normally can't have. Currently, the easiest and most popular way to add mods to your ARK Survival Evolved server, is to use Steam Workshop mods. This allows you to add items which will be fast downloaded to your users' local files so that all users can use all workshop content. 


How to Install Steam Workshop Mods

Installing Steam Workshop Mods is very simple. Before we begin, we'd like to say that you'll be editing files using our File Manager, if you're more comfortable using an FTP Client such as FileZilla, you may do so as all GSK servers have FTP Client settings available to all users. A link to our guide is located at the top of the page. First, log in to your GameServerKings Game Server Managment Panel with your TCAdmin information given to you via your verification email. From there, make your way to the Game Services panel by clicking on "Game Services" located in the navbar on the left-hand side of your screen. From there, you'll see many options, click on the button titled "File Manager." This will open up a file explorer for you to view your server side files. 

While this is open, go to the ARK Steam workshop, and download your steam workshop file to your local computer. You'll find that file within your steam directory, then under steamapps\common\ARK\ShooterGame\Content\Mods. Your file will be named after a long string of numbers, which is the same as the extension for the URL for the workshop mod. You'll see that if you go to the workshop mod's page, the number in the last bit of the URL will be the same as your file name. Compress this file by right-clicking it, selecting send to, then compressed zip folder. Move this file somewhere you will be able to find it, and you'll be ready for your next step.

Next, go back to your File Manager, or FTP Client and navigate to ShooterGame/Content/Mods. Upload your zip file. Now that your file is uploaded, next to the file name, click on the button which looks like a file which is being compressed with a clamp. When you hover over the button it will say "Extract." This will extract the files from within your .zip file to your mods folder. Select the .zip file, now that it's been extracted, and delete it with your File Manager. This is to save space.

Now that you've completed this task, go to your "Game Services" panel and reboot your server by pressing "Restart." Upon server initialization, your server will load in the steam workshop items, and upon logging into your server, the files will be temporarily sent to your users' personal computers so that they can use the workshop mods, without having them installed permanently. Great job!


RCON Tools

The list of RCON tools usable by ARK will always be growing. Currently, there's one major tool which is used by server admins far and wide, ARKon. By reading this section of the guide you'll learn how to connect and use ARKon to its full potential. We recommend ARKon due to its simple implementation and instant usability. 


ARKon Remote Console Tool

If you're familiar with Rusty for Rust, this program was designed by the same Steam Workshop user, FaceWound. To download ARKon, go the steam community thread by following this link. Then, download the zip file. Extract it to your desktop.

From there, open the file and run ARKon.exe. From there, it will ask you to pick a GUI setting, I picked dark. To connect to your server, click on settings, and fill out the fields within server settings. It will need a name to remember your configuration, your server's IP, your RCON Port, and your RCON Password. Then, you can set a custom name for this admin instance. Once the forms are filled out, press Save.

Once you've saved your server config, load it by selecting the server by the name you chose, press load, and then press connect in the bottom right-hand corner of the program to connect to your RCON service. Now that you're connected, you can click on Console, and it will give you three text boxes to choose from. The first text box is for commands, the second one is for broadcasting chat messages to the server, and the third is for private messaging users. 

Additional features ARKon offers are basic admin commands under the admin panel, setting MOTD's on the fly, changing the server time on the fly, viewing logged in users, and more. We recommend all serious server admins use this program as it's much easier and more convenient to enter admin commands as you don't need t worry about people getting your admin password. This can save you time, and from the click of a button do pretty much anything other than massive server overhauls. Very convenient!