First of all what are game server providers, GSPs, and why do I need one? If, like me, you love playing games with your other online gaming buddies you generally play together online. You and your team need a playground that will provide the online space for you to. How and where does all that information get processed? There are two main methods.
The first is peer to peer. Peer to peer is a well established protocol of information sharing between willing computers. In the case of online computer games this is where one computer acts as the host (master computer if you like) and all other players’ computers send their information to the master. This gives the player hosting the game a slight advantage in response time or lower ping and of course once that player leaves the game the server no longer exists as it was dependent on his connection, historically this has been referred to as a ‘listen server’.
Dedicated Servers. Some games companies like Activision and EA provide their own online “official” or “ranked” dedicated servers where they have their own machines in their own data centre hosting official servers that they control and admin. Console games generally also have their own dedicated servers provided by the developers or peer to peer solutions in some cases as with Modern Warfare 2 and 3. But some servers are provided by individuals who like to have personal control over how their game server is setup. These come in two options. Either the individual has a rented or owned machine and hosts the game server themselves. The second option is to rent a dedicated game server from a large list of GSP’s (game server providers) who for a small monthly charge can host your server for you 24 hours a day and have web based graphic user interfaces in order to start, stop, reinstall, edit configuration files, setup scheduled restarts, install mods and much more. This is in large part the most common choice as it is both cost effective and much easier to get started. Only basic knowledge is needed in order to host a server this way. That is why the GSP industry has grown to a 5 million dollar a year industry.
What are online servers?