What can a VPS do to enhance my gaming and media consumption?
There are lots of other great ways to use a VPS to enhance your gaming and media consumption, but we hope that these two ideas are a good place to start
A virtual private server (often shortened to just VPS) is one of the more unique technologies that gaming enthusiasts and media consumers might know about. A VPS is essentially a server that shares its resources across multiple instances. For example, a server that uses a terabyte of ram might be separated into a dozen or more instances, each with a certain allocation of storage space and system resources.
You can think of it as splitting your computer into multiple virtual instances that each run a separate copy of Windows, but you need to dedicate resources to each one to ensure they run correctly. Of course, this means that you’re going to need to have a powerful server or computer if you want to run multiple copies of something like Windows, but it’s a good example of what can be achieved with a VPS.
But how exactly does it relate to gaming? Why should you rent a VPS and what can it do for gaming and media consumption?
Creating your own game servers
One of the most unique ways to use a VPS is to set up your own game servers. If you love playing Minecraft with your friends and want to have more control over the server, then you can move away from using the built-in Realms feature and instead, host your own Minecraft server using a VPS.
Since it’s a video game, you’ll want to rent a VPS that has a lot more RAM and a more powerful processor to ensure that there’s no lag or performance issues. You’ll also want to pick a server location that is geographically close to you to reduce the latency. Installing a game on a VPS can be difficult for beginners, but you don’t need to rent a VPS specifically for games.
Instead, you can visit different Minecraft hosting websites which are typically all VPS-based as well. They have very simple setup options that allow you to get a server running in minutes, and you also have the option to install modifications to make the game more interesting or pack it with lots of features.
But it’s not just Minecraft that you can set up. You can run a game server for basically any kind of game that supports dedicated servers. This includes popular titles like Terraria and ARK, but it also means older titles like Garry’s Mod and Counter-Strike.
VPS game hosting is usually extremely cheap and you don’t need a very powerful system if you’re just inviting a few players. However, if you want to run a community Minecraft server or something similar, then you may need to eventually upgrade to dedicated hardware to ensure that everyone can join and play without lag.
Setting up a Plex server
Plex is a fantastic way for people to store their favourite films, shows and music on a private service that they can access much like Netflix. Using Plex almost feels like having a personal Netflix or Amazon Prime. You can add whatever shows you want to it and you can browse and watch them at any time.
A VPS is a great option for Plex because you don’t need a powerful system to run it. In most cases, a typical VPS is good enough for Plex, but you may need to combine it with a cloud storage system if the VPS only offers a limited amount of space. Plex hosting is a subcategory of VPS hosting that offers scalable hard drives too.
Keep in mind that Plex requires you to personally have files on the server computer. You don’t just choose a show and download it. Instead, you typically need to buy the film, show or music CD and then rip and upload it to your Plex server. This can be a time-consuming process if you have a slow computer, and upload the film can take a really long time if it’s in a high-quality format or if you have a slow internet connection.
While a VPS is a great option for setting up Plex, some heavy users might prefer to set up their own system at home. This can be fairly easy and it’s not expensive to buy a second-hand computer or use older parts that you have laying around to create a computer. However, if you want to access your server from basically anywhere without needing to leave your computer on, then hosting your Plex media on a VPS is generally a good idea.
Picking the right VPS for gaming and media consumption
It’s often difficult to pick the right VPS for gaming and media use because they often don’t advertise specifications. Thankfully, even a cheap VPS should have excellent customer service, so you can easily email them or message on a live chat service to ask about the hardware they have. If you’re unsure what good or decent hardware is, then you can always propose your intended use case and they’ll often suggest a service tier that is suitable for your needs.
Keep in mind that a VPS charges you every month for use. However, the cost is usually really low and you can typically scale it up depending on your needs. For example, if your Minecraft server starts to lag a bit because there are too many players, then you can easily request to add more RAM or be switched to a more powerful processor. This is usually good enough for most players, but you may need to upgrade to a dedicated server if you start having dozens of players active per day.
There are lots of other great ways to use a VPS to enhance your gaming and media consumption, but we hope that these two ideas are a good place to start and will give you inspiration. A VPS might seem hard to use and daunting to get started with, but it’s honestly very easy to learn and those skills will carry over if you ever decide to set up your own server at home.