There’s never been a better time to play Terraria. With the recent announcement that the in-development 1.3.6 update will actually be Re-Logic’s fourth major update, titled Terraria: Journey's End! (1.4), plus Terraria’s release on Nintendo Switch, there’s plenty of excitement in the Terraria gaming community. If you’ve never played before, you’re missing out! Terraria is officially the fifth biggest selling game ever (as of 2019, the only best-selling games more popular than Terraria were PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, Minecraft, Diablo III, and World of Warcraft). Similar to Minecraft, Terraria is an in-depth action-adventure sandbox game where players explore, build, craft, and mine while battling zombies, slime blobs, skeletons, bosses, and other players. Your gameplay options are limitless! Thanks to an active modding community, there’s absolutely thousands of user-made mods adding everything from game-changing RPG systems and new soundtracks, to terrifyingly epic bosses. New biomes and difficulty game modes ensures there’s something for everyone.
If you’re just starting out with Terraria, you’ll want to spend some time getting the hang of how to build a shelter, mine for ore, and protect yourself against enemies. It helps to figure out the classes, farming, and crafting mechanics before playing with others, especially in PVP! Terraria is a lot of fun in singleplayer, but the game really comes to life in multiplayer. If you’re ready to grab some friends to join you in your battle against a host of powerful magics and weaponry, you’re going to need to find a Terraria server.
There’s quite a large number of public servers for Terraria. Depending on your style of gameplay, there’s PVE and PVP servers, minigames, ones with an in-game economy, freebuilding, expert survival options, and more. Despite all the options, it’s still sometimes hard to find a good server for multiplayer. Some servers require you to be at a certain level in the game before you can join, others run a series of mods, or allow hacks that might not be what you are after. And, sometimes, the administrators or moderators might not be doing a great job of enforcing rules or regulating play.
If you want more control over who you are playing multiplayer with, setting up your own server is the best option. The people you play with make a big difference to how much you enjoy the game. This is especially true if you’re new to Terraria! It’s not a lot of fun trying to find your feet in the game when you’re surrounded by high-level experts. For experienced players looking for a server, you know how you want to play the game, your favorite mods, the minigames you want installed, and you probably don’t want other admins telling you how to play. When you set up your own private server, you have control over who joins and you set the rules. You can create a private server that’s just for you and your friends, or you can open it up to other players that want to enjoy playing Terraria with the same game style as you. Setting up your own server lets you build the perfect open world Terraria experience! You set your difficulty level, world size, map, plugins, cheats, and all your other fav game options. Terraria offers very different game experiences when you choose either a PVP or a PVE server, especially if you want to play with some RPG elements. With your own server, you can mix things up and play a bit of both whenever suits you and your friends.
Depending on what you’re looking for, there’s a few options for a private multiplayer Terraria server. If you want a free server, you can host it on your own computer. The main downside is that if you are setting up your server on the same computer that you play on, you’ll experience more lag in-game. Plus, setting it up in the first place is a bit of a process with config files, batch files, and port forwarding. The Terraria gamepedia site has a guide for how to set up a server on your own computer (the process is different depending on if you play via Steam Host & Play, or use Windows vs Linux). If hosting on your own PC is your choice, make sure you have a computer with good specs to maintain performance. You’ll definitely be limited in the number of players that can join but, if you’re on a budget and you only want it for you and a couple of friends, this is one way to have some fun with your own server without it costing anything.
The most popular (and easiest!) option for starting your own Terraria game server is simply to choose one of the many game hosting providers that offer game server rentals. It’s comparatively cheap, and definitely far easier to set up. The whole set up process is incredibly fast (you’ll generally be set up and playing within 15 minutes, including the time it takes to choose game settings and mods), and doesn’t require any previous knowledge. Using a game server host involves paying a rental fee each month for space on a larger, shared server. Most larger game server hosts offer packages designed for specific games, so you have the advantage of an established, high performance network already tailored to Terraria with popular mods and game options part of the standard setup options.
The next step up from renting space on a shared game server is Dedicated Game Server Hosting with a VPS. This option is only really for those looking for a huge world size with massive player numbers or if you plan on monetizing your server and need total flexibility to create something unique. This option isn’t for beginners! While you will get a massive boost in resources, you also get less customer support on top of having to pay a much higher monthly fee. If Dedicated Game Server Hosting is the direction you want to take for your Terraria server, make sure you have clear goals, a player base to fund the server, and someone to manage the tech setup.
If you’re like the majority of Terraria fans and you decide that standard game server rental is the best choice, there’s a few things worth considering when it comes to choosing the game server host. While it’s easy enough to just sign up for a month to try things out, it’s better to do your research and find the best game server host for Terraria that has all the features you need for the best price. To make sure you get set up and playing on your private server as fast as possible, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you understand what to look for when choosing a company to host your Terraria game server. We also have a server host comparison chart to show you at a glance who has the best deals on server hosting.
Going through one of the many professional game server hosts and renting a private server to share with friends isn't expensive. It’s quicker and easier than doing it yourself, and it lets you create your own perfect Terraria adventure. Our guide to choosing the best game server host will walk you through the process of choosing a company that offers the best options to suit your personal style of gameplay. We’ll give you tips from experienced gamers on how to compare hosts, what to look for in a server provider, and most importantly, how to find a package with all the features you need without having to pay for extras you don't want.
Terraria is a cross-platform game that can be played on PC, Linux, Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, mobile, and now on Nintendo Switch. But it doesn’t support cross-platform play. The console and PC versions of Terraria are fairly similar, but do have some slightly different content. Plus, the Xbox, PS4, and Nintendo versions are typically a few updates behind PC. This means it’s unlikely that it will ever be possible for PC gamers to join console gamers in Terraria. In fact, the game developers have said that “Cross play is tricky - we have no current plans to implement it”.
Before you start comparing anything else, you first need to look at which platforms are supported by the various game server hosting providers. PC gamers will have the largest range of server hosts to choose from. You’ll find providers offering budget friendly hosting ideal for local, player-run servers, right up to serious high-performance hosting for huge player numbers.
While Terraria isn’t hugely resource intensive, you’ll still find that the location of the game server host will make a big difference to your in-game experience. If you're looking to set up a Terraria game server for your friends to play on, choosing the server location will be easy. For local, lag-free gaming, server hosts with quality, low latency infrastructure in your region will generally give the best experience. When browsing hosting options, most companies will list the locations where their servers are located. Some server hosts make it a bit harder to find their locations by only letting you see and choose during the order process.
For any multiplayer server, your goal should be a great game-play experience with minimal lag. We know budget is important! But sometimes the cheapest game server host won’t offer the best gaming experience. For example, if you're based in Australia, you might find there’s cheaper Terraria hosting available in Germany or the United States. But there’s really no point setting up a cheap server to play on if it offers a poor game experience with too much lag. This is especially true if you’re based in a regional area or outside the major server locations. PVP or boss battles in particular will be a nightmare if you’re also up against high ping.
If you’re setting up a private Terraria server that's just for you and your friends, start your search for the best game server host with the companies that have infrastructure at a relatively nearby location. This will give you the best chance at smooth PVE interaction and fair PVP. If you’re aiming your Terraria server at a wider audience from around the world, a centrally located server will help reduce overall lag. This will also help to make your server fair and fun for everyone regardless of location. If you already have a player-base in mind, or you’re talking to people in an online forum about creating a Terraria server, check in with them to see where the majority of players are located before setting things up. If you’ve found the perfect game server provider right near you in the United States, it might be fine for players from Canada but, if you want to attract players from Asia or Europe, then you'll need a server with a good worldwide network and low average ping.
If there’s a chance your player base might change over time, look at the location options offered by the different providers. Some hosting companies will allow you to switch server locations at any time, provided they offer a server in that location. Keep in mind that while it’s easy to choose a server in popular gaming countries with good infrastructure like the United States, UK, or Germany, some companies charge extra for more countries with fewer options like Australia, Brazil, or Singapore.
Once you've narrowed down your choices to the server hosting providers near you, it's time to think about their included features and how easy it will be to customize your Terraria server to suit your specific needs.
The number of slots you choose for your Terraria server will limit the number of people that can join. The game server host allocates a specific amount of processing power to your server according to the number of slots you purchase. Each slot equals one player, so your choice here will limit the number of players that can join as well as the type of gameplay that will be available to you. Usually, adding more slots means an overall increase in price, but at a lower cost per slot. Your choice here will be determined by the sort of Terraria experience you are looking for.
If this is your first multiplayer server and you are just using it as a cheap way to play with a few friends then you won’t need very many slots. For a casual server to share with a small group of friends, look for server hosting for 10 or fewer people. There are a few game server hosts that either offer no minimum number of slots or have a smaller minimum number (usually a minimum of 4 or 8 slots). Most of the time you’ll need to start with the more common 10 slot minimum. In many cases, it’s likely that the monthly price for hosting 16 slots isn’t that much more expensive than 8. If you plan to open the game up to other players, you’ll be better off choosing a company that offers a wide range of slot number options and with a larger maximum than the common 32 slot cap. Either way, have a closer look at what else is included in the price. Many companies offer great package deals beyond their entry level plan that offer more slots or better features for very little extra cost. You’ll get better overall value for your money with a provider who offers a scaling rate where the more slots you purchase, the cheaper the price is per slot. Our handy Terraria server hosting comparison chart shows you the various minimum and maximum slots available from each of the gaming server providers plus the price per slot.
In addition to avoiding griefers and bad admins, one of the main reasons for starting your own Terraria server is to be able to choose which mods you install. There’s a whole heap of great community workshop mods that add new weapons, equipment, enemies, bosses, and biomes. You can also get mods for new textures, maps, and soundtracks. The best Terraria mods for a multiplayer server are those that add new content or that improve the gameplay experience with inventory management, economies, or RPG elements. Some Terraria mods are really complete expansions to the game and change the whole gameplay experience. Popular mods like Calamity and Terraria Leveled are great for servers. Other popular mods include Spirit Mod, Luiafk, Tremor, and Thorium. TShock is an important server-side mod that contains tools that allow users to summon items and different mobs (including bosses), change the game time, and teleport to other players.
Mod support is pretty standard for most server hosts, but don’t assume it will be possible! Not all game server hosts support mods or make it easy to install them. Sometimes the ability to add mods comes at an extra cost. Because most players get bored with Vanilla eventually and will look for a server with a good collection of mods, it makes sense to check to see if your game server supports easy mod installation. If you want to immediately create a modded Terraria server or you just don’t want to restrict your server to Vanilla in the future, the way mods are handled will be an important consideration. Check to see if each game server provider supports a range of DLC options including plugins, plus their method of mod installation.
Some server control panels offer a simple one-click mod installation system. If you know you want the freedom of adding mods then this is by far the easiest option. You will be able to install mods, maps, and other addons via a built-in Mod Manager. One-click mod managers make it simple with less messing around with the control panel and more time in-game. Other mod support control panels will give you easy access to the range of mods available through the Steam Workshop but you need to subscribe, download, and install the mods yourself. Other game server hosts do support mods and custom maps but don’t make it quite so simple. In some cases, you need to use FTP (file transfer) to upload and install the mods. Some server providers offer a drop-down menu with only a limited number of the most popular mods available.
Latency, commonly referred to as ping, describes the time it takes for data to travel from your network to the game server's network. Your ping rate has a huge effect on game play! Location plays a big factor in the amount of ping that you experience, but it also comes down to network quality and infrastructure. Low ping means a smoother game playing experience. High ping means you’ll experience more lag. PVP and combat-based games like Terraria need a low ping to be enjoyable. Ideally, you want to be able to play Terraria with zero lag. For the best multiplayer experience, it's important to choose a host with the lowest possible ping. It might take a bit of research and testing to make sure you choose a host that actually delivers on their claims of low ping. A lot of game server hosts will have demo servers set up in various locations, so you and your friends can easily join at the same time to test the latency or ping to each computer. If the company you’re considering doesn’t advertise a test server, it’s often worth contacting their customer support for an IP of one of their servers to ping.
The control panel is where you will first set up and continue to manage your own Terraria server. The main server control panel allows you to alter the game configuration files, set the server visibility or password (for either a public or private server), enable admin cheats, make a back-up of your world, and install mods/plugins. You can also choose your world size, spawn rates, and more.
The standard TCAdmin panel is what you'll find from most game hosting providers. It's straight-forward, intuitive, and easy to use. TCAdmin is all you really need if you're just running a private server for friends. Specialized or bigger game server hosts will offer more options, some of which are customized specifically to suit Terraria and give you a lot more options. For example, Nitrado and gameservers.com are known for their highly customized control panels designed to suit specific games including Terraria. And LOW.MS have recently designed a completely customized, state-of-the-art, intuitive control panel that makes admining your Terraria server really easy.
For a server aimed at a wider player base, a customised Terraria control panel can help make administration easier by allowing you to schedule tasks and in-server messages, or manage multiple servers at the same time. If you need to administer your Terraria game server on-the-go, some hosts also offer a user-friendly mobile control panel optimized for devices.
Your host should make new official Terraria version updates available immediately. Different game server hosts handle the actual installation of updates in different ways. While it’s important to be able to quickly and easily install new versions and official updates, if you’re running particular mods you might not want updates installed automatically. In most cases, just clicking the Steam Update button in the control panel should initiate updates without affecting your in-game world. If automatic updates are possible, there should be a checkbox in the control panel so you can choose if your server is automatically updated when a new version is available. Automatic update installation is the simplest and most hassle-free way to manage game version updates and patches. But it's not always easy to return to an older version, and some mods could break your server due to incompatibility with a new version of the game. If you’re running mods, be careful when selecting how updates are handled.
You should be able to easily backup or restore your world as needed via the control panel. Don’t take risks with saving backups of your world, particularly if you’re running a public server with a large player base. Nothing will make you more unpopular than losing your players’ world or progress! Most game server hosts for Terraria will allow you to easily backup or restore your world as needed. For extra safety, it can be good to choose a host that provides automatic scheduled backups or auto backup on restart. Ideally, a zip file of the backup should also be stored on an offsite system offering an additional layer of protection. If something goes drastically wrong with the server’s systems, there is an extra off-site copy that can be used to restore your world.
Full FTP access makes it easier to administer your server and store backups. This is a feature supported by most game server hosts. FTP access will allow you to upload or download files between your computer and the server. This gives you more control and can be handy for downloading backups, installing mods, uploading existing configuration files, or existing game save files. If you’re tech savvy, FTP access will also allow you to migrate to another host in the future if you choose.
Changing hosts for your Terraria server should be easy! Most server hosts will offer the ability to migrate server data from, or to, another host. If you're not happy with the service offered by your current Terraria game server provider and you're looking to change companies, the ease of site migration might be one of the most important features for you. It’s also important to make sure you can migrate away from your new host in case you want to change game servers in the future. Some hosts are happy to offer a migration service for free but, in most cases, this will be a service addon. It helps to compare migration policies when considering a new server host. Uploading a local save from your own computer to your new server is another option which should be possible just with FTP access.
Distributed Denial of Service attacks (commonly referred to as DDoS) are attempts to cripple or shutdown online services by bombarding them with traffic from multiple sources. Specialized software and hardware, or multiple redundant servers, are needed to prevent DDoS attacks or minimise downtime in the event of an attack. DDoS protection should be pretty standard, and most hosts offer it to protect themselves as much as to protect you, but a lot of server hosts either don't provide protection or only offer it on some network locations. This might not be a big deal for small, private Terraria servers aimed at casual gameplay with friends, but if you intend to market your game server to a wider audience with guaranteed up-time, DDoS protection is essential.
A lot of low-cost server hosts use branding as a way to offer cheap prices and advertise their company. In-game branding might include displaying their company name at the beginning of your server name, or it might involve a semi-intrusive message of the day that pops up every time players join the server. It usually costs extra to remove the company branding. If you want a cheap private server to enjoy with friends, the branding might not bother you. But if you are aiming for a more professional look for your Terraria server, check to see that the host offers free or affordable debranding.
Don’t be suckered in by the cheapest prices for your game server. We all know you get what you pay for! Game servers are no different. Once you've found several companies offering good local infrastructure with low ping, the right number of slots, an intuitive control panel, mod and plugin support, and with all the extra features you need, it's time to start comparing prices. In most cases, you should be able to find a great game server for less than $1 per slot if you're in the United States, or 75p for those in the UK. You might have to pay up to $2 if you’re in Australia. Those looking for smaller servers might have to pay a little more per slot. The best value package might not be the one with the cheapest monthly price on offer. Consider each of the points listed here to make sure you know what you're paying for and exactly who you are signing up with. It’s important to remember that the cheapest game host is not necessarily the best option. Find a balance between price per slot, control panel options, protection, and ping.
Once you've settled on a few potential game server hosts, take a look at their individual company information before you sign up.
You need to consider the following:
A great reputation for customer support is essential when choosing a host for your Terraria server. At some point, you're guaranteed to need to contact them with an issue of some kind. Before you sign up with a host, it helps to know how responsive they are to customer enquiries. Check their website for contact options to see if there is a contact method that suits you. In addition to the usual ticket system, do they offer chat services or email support? You could even try contacting them to ask a few questions and judge their professionalism and response time before signing up. Unfortunately, some of the larger companies with cheap prices have many customers and fewer customer support staff, so it can sometimes be challenging to get their attention.
If you’re new to game server hosting, or you're not sure your potential host offers the services you need, it might be worthwhile asking them if they'll create a test server for you to trial. Hosts won't always advertise the possibility of a trial, but if you contact them you might be surprised by their willingness to provide a test service. If a trial isn't possible, you need to be clear on their refund policy. See if they offer a “money back guarantee”. Some game server hosts will offer refunds if requested within the first 24 to 72 hours and, in rare cases, even up to 7 days. Others clearly state that they don't offer refunds except under extreme circumstances. If you're still unsure, try googling refund + the server hosting provider name to get an idea of other people's experiences with them.
Just to be safe, it’s good to check to see how long the company has been in business. A well-established company can be the most reliable. It will usually say on their landing page or About Us page how long they’ve been providing game server hosting. If they've been servicing the gaming market for several years, there's a good chance they're doing something right. Some companies focus on servicing just one or two games, but it’s becoming more common to see hosts offering support for a huge range of the latest multiplayer games. A game server host specializing in action-adventure or sandbox games is going to make it their business to tailor their services to offer the best user experience for games in that genre. On the other hand, larger companies that offer a range of hosting services might have extensive infrastructure that you can tap into. A company that has grown alongside online gaming and who have a solid track record of providing a reliable service is likely to know what they're doing and be around to support you in building a successful server long-term.
Reading online reviews and ratings from previous or existing customers is a must when it comes to spending your money. If you're looking for specialized features for your server, searching reviews for customer feedback can be a great way to judge if your potential game server host is living up to their claims. You can see if customers in your local area are getting low ping, check on downtime, look out for deals or coupons, and see what features are important to those who are already running successful servers. The official Terraria community forum and the Terraria Steam community are both great places to find reviews on game servers and server hosts. TrustPilot is another well-established site that shows crowd-sourced customer reviews for game server hosting companies.
To summarize, here are the basic steps to take when searching for a Terraria game server hosting provider:
Hopefully this guide has helped make it easier for you to compare all the options and find the best game server host for Terraria. For an easy-to-understand summary of the features offered by the most popular Terraria game server providers, check out the Terraria server hosting comparison table on our home page.