How to install ARK: Survival of the Fittest server on Ubuntu 16

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Ark: Survival Of The Fittest

Ark: Survival Evolved is a popular action game that features survival-themed crafting, combat, and most notably, the ability to tame and ride dinosaurs. Ark: Survival of the Fittest is a special game mode with fast-paced rounds in which the last player standing wins.

Ark: Survival of the Fittest must be played using specific servers. This guide will walk you through the steps of setting up this server on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

Getting started

In order to follow this guide, you must have these requirements prepared beforehand:
• 1 server (Cloud Server or Dedicated Server) running a fresh installation of Ubuntu 16.
• This server must also have at least 2 vCores and 6GB of ram, which will be suitable for under 10 players. As more players will join your server you are to consider adding more RAM to your server.
• All commands will be run as root unless otherwise specified explicitly. A user will be created later for the Steam components.


Before beginning the installation process, wake sure your system is up to date. This is also a good time to install the basic dependencies.

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade -y
apt-get install nano wget tar lib32gcc1 -y

The first step is to create an user for Steam related content. For security reasons, you won’t want to use root for this.

adduser --disabled-login --disabled-password steam

Now it’s time to prepare your system with specific parameters to allow the game server to run. First, increase the amount of simultaneous system files that can be opened. You can do this by editing your sysctl.conf.

echo "fs.file-max=100000" >> /etc/sysctl.conf
sysctl -p

Append the following changes to your system limits configuration file.

echo "* soft nofile 1000000" >> /etc/security/limits.conf
echo "* hard nofile 1000000" >> /etc/security/limits.conf

Finally, enable the PAM limits module. Now your server is prepared to install Ark: Survival of the Fittest.

echo "session required" >> /etc/pam.d/common-session

Now to proceed to the installation of the Ark server software.

cd /home/steam
/home/steam# su - steam
tar -zxvf steamcmd_linux.tar.gz
rm steamcmd_linux.tar.gz

This will be done through the Steam command line interface. To install your game server, you must execute the following commands:

login anonymous
force_install_dir ./arkserver
app_update 445400 validate

Wait for the software to be downloaded. Once you see the following, the installation is complete.

Update state (0x61) downloading, progress: 99.95 (3222988684 / 3224465090)
Success! App '445400' fully installed.

Now that the server is installed, simply type quit to get out of the steam command line interface.

The next step is to configure your newly-installed Ark server. You will need to use the root user for these next commands.

Let’s create an init script so that your Ark server will start automatically if the Ubuntu server were to reboot. Create the following file:

nano /lib/systemd/system/arkserver.service

Add the following contents into the file, making sure that the ExecStart line corresponds to what you had in the previous file.

Description=ARK Survival Server
ExecStart=/home/steam/arkserver/ShooterGame/Binaries/Linux/ShooterGameServer TheIsland?listen?SessionName=?ServerPassword=?ServerAdminPassword= -server -log
ExecStop=killall -TERM srcds_linux

Start and enable the Ark Survival Server on system boot.

systemctl --system daemon-reload
systemctl start arkserver.service
systemctl enable arkserver.service

You can check your server is actually running with systemctl. Below you’ll find the exact command and the expected output which confirms that the daemon is operational.

systemctl status arkserver.service
arkserver.service - ARK Survival Server
Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/arkserver.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
Active: active (running) since Fri 2016-08-12 20:47:46 UTC; 4min 13s ago
Main PID: 24825 (ShooterGameServ)
CGroup: /system.slice/arkserver.service
??24825 /home/steam/arkserver/ShooterGame/Binaries/Linux/ShooterGameServer TheIsland?listen?SessionName=MyARKServer?ServerPassword=friendspassword?ServerAdminPassword=superadminpassword -server -log

Since this is a fresh Ubuntu server, its firewall service should be already enabled. The default settings are suitable but we will be adding a few rules for Ark server traffic. We’ll open up these ports.

ufw allow 27015/udp
ufw allow 7777/udp
ufw allow 32330/tcp

For your reference, here is the traffic that will be flowing through these ports:
• UDP 27015: Query port for Steam’s server browser
• UDP 7777: Game client port
• TCP 32330: RCON for remote console server access (optional)

Of course, you can also use the classical iptables method via these commands:

iptables -A INPUT -p udp -m udp --sport 27015 --dport 1025:65355 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -p udp -m udp --sport 7777 --dport 1025:65355 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -m tcp --sport 32330 --dport 1025:65355 -j ACCEPT


With that, you should now have a properly installed ARK Survival Server ready to welcome players. Be sure to upgrade your server if you find yourself regularly approaching or exceeding 10 players a game. If you liked this article, please share it with your friends.