In this guide on how to create an ARK server, all points are discussed: install mods and plugins, change the map, change the cycle day/night, customize the level of players and monsters, here are some of the topics covered.

Whether you are a beginner or an expert, offer an ever more original game experience to your players. ARK supports the modding, allowing you to change any behavior in the game. You can choose to download and install mods from the community (like TotalConversion) or create your own mod!

How to create an ARK server

First of all, be aware that you can launch an ARK server on Linux or Windows. The game is not the most optimized in the world, and the server version does not make miracles. To launch your own server, you will need significant power.

Before you start, ask yourself what your needs are. If you want to make a private ARK server to play with some friends, the power will be less critical than if you're going to make a public server to create a community, for example. And the purchase price of your server will also be higher, as mentioned above, the game is hefty in CPU and RAM resources.

Also, to create a server that will be accessible from the Internet, you will need a lot of bandwidth.

Our ARK Server Hosting services allow you to ignore these many constraints, allowing you to focus on creating content for your players! If you are not convinced yet, you can try it for free.

  1. Go to the dedicated page: ARK Hosting.
  2. Get your server.
  3. The ARK server will be ready in few seconds.

Setting up your server is quite fast. ;)

How to Configure an ARK server

Let's go to the configuration of our ARK server. The difficult part! 

In this tutorial, we will deal with the most essentials points to start with your ARK server. We'll start with the general configuration of your server and add administrator rights to be able to execute all commands. Then we'll see how to use a custom a map on your server.

General Configuration (GameUserSettings.ini)

Let's start with the general configuration of the ARK server. The first thing you need to know, it is done by editing the file ark/ShooterGame/Save/Config/LinuxServer/GameUserSettings.ini and ark/ShooterGame/Save/Config/LinuxServer/Game.ini.

In these files, you can change many settings, such as server name, welcome message, max player number, add a login password to the server, change the administrator password (RCON), enable hardcode mode, change the day/night cycle, set up chat and more!

The format used in files is INI (like all configuration files in the game). The content must look like this: 


Message=Welcome on your ARK server by, happy dinos hunting !!!

[SessionSettings] - ARK Survival Server


If your server is hosted at mTxServ, you can edit server options directly from the management panel interface. On a newly installed server, you should see the Server Configuration Wizard appear. Wait until the installation is complete, run the wizard, and follow the instructions.

Are you finished with the wizard? To change settings benefits, go to Configuration  on the management panel. In this module, two tabs are available, General Configuration and Advanced Configure. Feel free to browse the different options ;)

Don't forget to restart your ARK server to run the new settings after changing the configuration. 

Here is a list of all the configuration settings you can edit in the files Game.ini and GameUserSettings.ini:

How to become administrator

An in-game command system is available to manage your ARK server. To use administrator commands, you must have the necessary rights.

To become an administrator on your ARK server, go to the server files. You can use WebFTP in your management panel (click on Files & FTP).

Create (if necessary) the file ark/ShooterGame/Saved/AllowedCheaterSteamIDs.txt and add in the list of Steam64 to which you want to grant administrator rights (one per line).

Changes will be taken applied when the server restarts. To find out about our complete ARK administration management tutorial: How to add an administrator on an ARK server.


Here is the list of available commands in play. Adding the prefix cheat at the beginning of the command is required for a dedicated server (for local use enter the command directly).

To see the list of commands, go here.

Game.ini File

1 - Start these three command lines first (recommended for proper operation of the file)

2 - Change Engrams Assignment Conditions

A complete list of Engrams is available at the bottom of the tutorial.

Here is the complete command line:



The difference between these two command lines is that for the first, you use the index number of the Engram. For the second, you use the name of the Engram. I advise you to use the second command (the name of the engram) only because it has already happened that the developers change the index number after an update.

Commands details:

  • OverrideNamedEngramEntries - informs the system that you will modify an engram.
  • EngramClassName - here you will indicate the name of the engram to modify.
  • EngramHidden=false - this command is optional, if you specify "true" the engram will not be visible to players.
  • EngramPointsCost=15 - this command is optional. You will choose the number of points needed to learn the engram.
  • EngramLevelRequirement=30 - this command is optional. You will set the level required for the character to learn the engram.
  • RemoveEngramPreReq=false - This command is optional. Here you will activate or disable the requirement to learn a pre-required engram allowing to unblock the plan (e.g., learn how to make straw before switching to wood, etc...). You cannot change a precondition (choose a different engram from the initial engram).
You don't have to put the entire command line to work, hence the four optional commands.

For example, if you want to hide the engram of the Stegosaurus saddle you have to put this:

If you're going to change the level required by the character to learn the engram (here level 10 instead of the initial 30):


3 - Following the update 231 which at the remaining level of the detained dinos, you can add the following lines so that you can cancel this reset to recover the original configuration:


How to adjust the day duration of a server

Time cycle management, one of the most difficult values to set on a server, yet the method is almost the same as to adjust the difficulty. Basically, a full day (day/night) lasts 24 minutes on your server. This value is the number of 1. I know that sounds weird, but please, keep that in mind.

Adjusting the day duration:

  1. Edit the file /shootergame/saved/config/LinuxServer/GameUserSetting.ini from your ARK server.
  2. Add the following lines after [ServerSettings] if you have not already done so:

    DayCycleSpeedScale - This is the cycle of a full day, therefore DAY+NIGHT. Set on 1 as above, the day lasts 24 minutes.
    NightTimeSpeedScale - Night time speed.
    DayTimeSpeedScale - Day time speed.
As you can see above, the duration of the night is equal to the duration of the day. It's not a good thing. Would you imagine living with 12 hours of the night and 12 hours of day?

We'll see now how to extend the day from 24 minutes to 60 minutes. It is a reverse cross-multiplication that must be done: 

(a / b) * c
  • a = 1
  • b = The length of your day in minutes
  • c = 24
For example, here is the operation to be performed in our case:

(1 / 60)*24 = 0.400000
Enter this value in DayCycleSpeedScale  and your day will last one hour.

But now in 1h of play, the time of night and day is always the same except that they are based on 1h. You will, therefore, have 30 minutes at night and 30 minutes by day.

To change that we will use the same process once again.

Night Duration

(a / b) * c
  • a = 1
  • b = The length of the day required (In our case, we will say 20 minutes).
  • c = Half a day in minutes (30 minutes in this case since we’ve said one day per 1 hour).

(1 / 20)*30 = 1.50000

Specify this value in NightTimeSpeedScale.

Day Duration

(a / b) * c
  • a = 1
  • b = The length of the required day period (In our case, we will say 40 minutes since we already have 20 minutes per night per 1 hour).
  • c = Half day in minutes (30 minutes in this case since we’ve said one day in 1 hour.

(1 / 40)*30 = 0.750000

Specify this value in DayTimeSpeedScale.

Here you go, the setting for a day of 1 hour with 40 minutes day and 20 minutes night should give you this:


How enable the Spectator Mode

A viewer mode is available on your ARK server. If you have administrator rights on your server:

  1. To enable viewer mode, enter cheat enablespectator.
  2. To disable viewer mode, enter cheat stopspectating.
If you also want to allow players to use spectator mode, they can enter the password with requestspectator password:
  1. Open the following file: /shootergame/saved/config/LinuxServer/GameUserSetting.ini.
  2. In the section [ServerSettings] is the parameter SpectatorPassword.
    Add a password and save the file:

  3. Restart the server.

Going Further

List of engrams names (class name)

We have seen previously with the Game.ini file some examples of command lines to hide engrams from the player list.

For these commands to work correctly, you need to enter the exact name of each, which is often different from the one it carries in our in-game lists.

Here is the complete list of engrams names registered by game developers: