Dedicated game server hosting provides players with greater control of their playing environment enabling them to set their own rules and play their own way. All in all this is a great choice for the dedicated gamer, but unless the game is specifically single player you’ll need people to play with and against.
To create a large, diverse and reliable player base for your server takes time and requires, at least in part, a community focused approach. However, the point of this post is to instead focus on the small tweaks and changes which you can carry out to help you to accrue more random players from those surfing the server lists.
The name of your server can have a surprising impact on its overall popularity. Consider what would make players want to play on your server specifically, and then use the available space to highlight these features. It could be server settings such as map rotation (or lack of), game type (deathmatch, free-for-all or objective), a silly setting like zero gravity, for example, or perhaps a community style feature such as beginner only or competitive rules.
Adjust Server Settings
If you’re constantly in need of players then you’ll need to consider whether the particular settings you enjoy playing with are popular with other players. After all, you’ll never create a robust player base if the players aren’t there to begin with.
The most obvious answer is to tweak the rules to appeal to a larger audience. You don’t have to make wholesale changes right away but instead make small adjustments until you find the sweet spot between the available player base and the server settings you want to use.
A good way to set yourself apart from the tens, even hundreds, of other servers is by adding an element of specificity to your servers rule set or target player base. This can be an in game setting such as weapons quotas, a single 24/7 map rotation or perhaps use a language other than English if you happen to live in a non-English speaking country.
Like a business in search of customers, if you want more players to use your server then you should consider advertising. Keep it simple and try things like posting on forums or social media or alternatively create a steam group and add members. There’s lots of ways to go about it however the point to raise awareness.
Ultimately, it will take time to establish a strong player base for your server. Server popularity often seems to occur in an exponential-like fashion whereby people are much more likely to join a 15/16 server then they are a 1/16 so every person you can attract to your server, and crucially help them to enjoy their stay, will help you fill the available slots and help increase the reputation of your server.