Source Dedicated Server

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The Source Dedicated Server or SRCDS is a tool that runs the server component of a Source game without the client component. In other words, it simulates the game without drawing it. SRCDS is chiefly used by server providers who want to serve up as many games from the same computer as they can.

This page, however, is aimed at mod developers who want to run SRCDS on their home computer. Doing this is a must if you are creating a multiplayer mod as the behaviour of dedicated servers differs from that of listenservers (those started from the main menu) in some areas. Crashes that only happen on a dedicated server are entirely possible!

Connectivity

No matter which type of server you are using, your computer must be able to receive unsolicited incoming connections. This is exactly what routers and software firewalls exist to prevent, so if you are using either you will have to reconfigure. Refer to the manufacturer instructions for how to do this.

The ports SRCDS officially requires are:

  • 27015 TCP/UDP (game transmission, pings and RCON)
  • 27020 UDP (SourceTV transmission)

SRCDS has also been spotted opening connections on 27005 and 51840 UDP, but these may be outbound only.

Tip:Pinging your own server will fail with some routers and/or ISPs. The most reliable way to test whether your connection is open is either to get a friend to try connecting, or to install the Microsoft Network Monitor (apply the filter Udp.Port == 27015) and watch for requests coming in from random people around the world. Note that the heartbeats you will see being sent to the two master servers do not mean that the connection is open.
Note:A residential internet connection may not have the upload capacity to support large games.
Note:Using service providers which use CGNAT (such as mobile providers or an increasing amount of residential providers) may make it impossible to host any kind of server.
Note:Servers won't respond to queries until a map is loaded.

Installation

See SteamCMD for most games. See HLDSUpdateTool for games that haven't been updated in a long time.

For modders

Note:The Source 2006 dedicated server has been removed from Steam, leaving only the Source 2009 version (its GCF says 2007, but don't be fooled). Mods, whether for 2006 or 2007, can now only be run from SRCDS installs. Errors about "SetupArrayProps_R" will appear if you mix versions.
Note:The HLDS Update Tool does not provide Lost Coast, even though SDK Base does. Multiplayer mods should either not use anything from Lost Coast, or include what they do use in their dedicated server download.
  1. Install HLDSUpdateTool
  2. Run the update tool with -command update -game orangebox. Optionally, add -dir <path> to download to a custom location.
  3. To start the server, run orangebox\srcds.exe -console -game <vproject>.
Tip:If you already have the game client installed, you can cancel the tool with Ctrl+C once it starts downloading materials in step 1. You can skip the bulk of the downloading by extracting the GCFs already on your system with GCFScape instead.
  • You will need to extract sounds, materials and models; do the "source X" GCFs before the "source 2007 X" ones.
  • You should end up with <server_path>\hl2 from your GCFs and <server_path>\orangebox from the update tool.
  • You may want to run the update tool again after extracting to make sure that everything is correct.

Configuring and running the server

Navigate to the folder you just installed your server in. There should be a bunch of files and folders, including a directory with the name of the game you have just installed, e.g. hl2mp for HL2: Deathmatch. The configuration files are located in the <game>/cfg/ e.g. hl2mp/cfg/ directory.

Edit the main configuration file: <game>/cfg/server.cfg. Change the hostname line (this is the name people will see in the server browser) and other options to your liking.

Open a terminal where you have installed the server and start the server:

./srcds_run (or ./srcds.exe on Windows) -game <game> +map <map> +maxplayers X -autoupdate

On Windows:

./srcds.exe -game <game> +map <map> +maxplayers X -autoupdate

For example:

./srcds_run -game hl2mp +map dm_lockdown +maxplayers 8 -autoupdate

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