Valheim is a popular survival co-op game, inspired by Viking stories. It’s still an “early access” game, but has gathered a lot of popularity and it’s already translated in 12 languages. The game features a huge open world and generates a lot of challenges for the players. It also features a dedicated server option.
Thanks to that, players can have a secure sever to play with their friends and keep all of their builds and progress. This is great as even the game developers recommend playing the games with 3 to 5 players in a team. The game as a whole supports 2 to 10 players.
Setting up a Valheim dedicated server is a bit of a process, but it’s worth it. You will get low latency and save time in the long run as you won’t have to set things up every time. Plus, the server will always be online and players won’t need the host to be present to play. So, let’s begin.
What do you need for a Valheim dedicated server
You can host a Valheim server on pretty much any PC you choose. It’s possible to simply use an old computer you have and keep it connected to the Internet. Still, it’s better to opt for a dedicated server. This way you get perfect bandwidth and latency and access to hardware which is more than capable of handling the game and the players.
Valheim uses a procedurally-generated world. This means it expands as you explore, similar to what Minecraft does. As you progress in the game, it will need more system resources, so if you plan on having a long-term server, you should prepare properly.
The good news is that Valheim isn’t a very resource-intense game. Sadly, there are no official system requirements, so it can be a bit of a hit-and-miss until you find the right specification. Fans online have shared some of their experiences.
From that it seems you will need a configuration with a minimum of a 2-core CPU. It’s probably better to go for a 4-core CPU if you plan on playing with more than 5 players and being ready for the future developments of the game. You can also opt for a cloud server and a CPU with virtualized cores.
You will have to invest more in RAM. As the game progresses, especially during long sessions with several players, it can consume a lot of memory. So opt for a server with 4GB RAM at the minimum and 8GB or more if you can afford it.
Next, storage. You won’t need that much – about 5GB for the game. Of course, when you take backups into account along with future game developments and the OS, you will need a bit more than that. Storage won’t be a problem as all dedicated servers for rent offer at least 250GB. As for the OS, you can use either Linux or Windows, but it’s expected that Windows will be a more popular choice.
These servers will be in an enterprise-grade data center, so bandwidth and latency won’t be an issue. Take note if the provider you’ve chosen has a limit on the traffic, though.
Players on Reddit share that they have been able to run Valheim on more modest systems, but they also use it for fewer players and occasional gaming. So, you really have to take into account your plans for the server, the number of players and the time they will spend playing.
How to set up a Valheim dedicated server
Right, now it is time to actually set up our Valheim server. You will have to access you dedicated server and install the Steam platform app. Login with your Steam username and password.
Open your Steam library and search for Valheim in the search bar. On the left column you will see the category Tools where you should also see the Valheim Dedicated Server app. Install it and follow any prompts you may get.
Next, go to the folder where the app was installed. It should be in
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Valheim Dedicated Server
Right click the file with the same start_headless_server and choose the Edit option. Depending on the version, you may have a slightly different text in the file. In general, you need to go to the last line where you will see something like this:
valheim_server -nographics -batchmode -name “My server” -port 2456 -world “Dedicated” -password “secret”
Obviously, you have to edit it a bit. You can change “My server” to the name of the server you actually want (keep the quotation marks).
The “Dedicated” is the name of the seed world you will use. Here you can add an existing world or simply generate a new one. Note: this name can’t be the same as the server. Again, keep the quote tags.
Next, the “password”. Same deal – change it with the actual password for the server.
If you want your Valheim dedicated server to be public, leave the numeral at 1 after Public. If you want to run a private server, change it to 0.
Save the file.
Now copy the file and create a backup copy which you can keep in a different folder. You will need that as when the game updates, it can wipe out the original file. This way it’s easy to restore the configuration.
The next step is to open up the ports. This can depend on the type of server and host you use. Some will have an entire command center for you to do that. If you use your personal machine at home, you will have to do it via the router configuration page.
The goal is to allow TCP/UDP ports 2456 to 2458 to be open and allowed via the firewall. The host port is 2456 as recommended by the game developers. Make sure these ports are open, so that players can connect to the server.
It’s now time to start the server! Simply double-click the start_headless_server file. A new CMD window will pop up with a bunch of text. You need to look for a line which simply states the date and time along with this glorious message: Game server connected.
Sometimes it may take a couple of minutes, so be patient. When you see that message, the server is up and running and awaiting players!
How to join a Valheim dedicated server
It’s time to start playing! Start the game as you normally would on the PC. Select your character and click the Join Game tab.
If you’ve left the “Public” value to 1, you will be able to see your server in the Community setting. Simply enter the name of the server and select the corresponding result. It may take an hour or so until the community list is updated.
If you don’t want to wait, or have set the Public value to 0, meaning the server is private, then you can connect to it via the second option. Simply click the Join IP button. Enter the IP and the port, for example: 192.168.1.1:2456.
Click “Connect” and you will get a prompt for the password. Enter it and you can start playing! Have fun!
You can bypass entering the server IP every time by adding the server to your Steam Favorites lists. This way you will be able to connect to the Valheim server with a couple of clicks.
Simply open your Steam app and click View > Servers >Favorites.
Click “Add a server” and type in the IP and port for the server as mentioned above. Click Add to favorites. This way you won’t have to remember the IP and port every time. You will have to remember the password, though, and you will have to enter it upon every connection attempt.
Costs to expect
Running a Valheim dedicated server can have a varying cost rate. If you use your own machine at home, you’re basically going to be paying for the Internet connection and the electricity.
If you decide to rent a cloud server or get a dedicated server, then prices can be anywhere from 15EUR or so per month for a suitable hardware configuration. Of course, you can get a much more powerful dedicated server for a bit more cash. For example, 40EUR per month. But if you’re also going to be playing with 5 friends, you can split the costs to basically just 8EUR per month. And you get the unlimited traffic, a gigabit connection, low latency and all of the bells and whistles of a dedicated server in a top-notch data center.
You may also wonder if such a configuration isn’t a bit too much for a game. Well, that all depends on the type of gamer you are. If you are serious about a properly running server without performance issues, then you will have to invest in a dedicated machine. If your intent is just the occasional, casual gathering with friends, you can get away with a personal machine at home. In this case though you have to be ready to accept the possible sluggish performance and potential connection issues.
Either way, running a Valheim server is a great way to have some fun with friends. Especially if you love survival games, quests, cool stories and adventures. Valheim is packed with all of this.
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