Hosting your own Counter-Strike server lets you control almost every detail of the gameplay. From the player count to the game modes that are being played or even what mods are installed onto the server.
The best part about choosing Game Panel VPS is that all of the Counter-Strike additions (ex.: CSGO, Source, Counter-Strike 1.6, etc.) use the exact same setup, meaning that you can use this article to host any kind of Counter-Strike server!
Choosing the right VPS server
The main thing to have in mind is your plan RAM resources. Counter-Strike is not very demanding in terms of RAM. In principle, each 100MB of RAM can serve one player. In this case, if you purchase a plan with 2GB of RAM, it could serve up to 20 players with classic game modes like Public, Competitive, Gungame, etc.
However, if you plan on hosting your server with mods and plugins, we'd advise choosing a plan with 3GB or even 4GB of RAM to make sure that your server will perform at its peak performance at all times.
Generating Game Server Login Tokens
Since 2019, Valve requires you to generate authentication token in order for your server to be public. Otherwise, it remains in LAN (Local Area Network) mode, meaning that no one can connect to that server. No need to worry though, it's super easy to generate this token, however, you need to make sure that your steam account meets the requirements:
Your Steam account must not be community banned or locked
Your Steam account must not be limited
Your Steam account must have a qualifying registered phone
Your Steam account must own the game for which you are creating a game server account
Your Steam account may create 1000 game server accounts
If all of these requirements are met, you'll need to head to Steam Game Server Account Management Console. There, you'll see two fields that look like this:
In the top field, you just need to insert the ID of the game you want to create a token for. On the second field, name your token so you could distinguish what it was created for, I've called mine CSGO TEST.
Here's a list of IDs for Counter-Strike:
Counter-Strike 1.6 app ID = 10
Counter-Strike: Condition Zero app ID = 80
Counter-Strike: Source app ID = 240
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive app ID = 730
This is how it's supposed to look once you generate the token:
Installing Counter-Strike server on Game Panel
The Game Panel is the main console you'll be using while creating, managing, modifying, or doing any changes to the Counter-Strike server itself. The Game Panel is easy to use and often updated to make the use of it even easier.
Once you log in to the Game Panel, you'll have no instances. In this case, simply click on Create Instance and choose Counter-Strike from the dropdown list, here you can choose what Counter-Strike server you'd like to host. This time I'm choosing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. If you did everything correctly, the instance creation pop-up should look like this:
This will create an instance or a container where your server files and configurations will be stored.
Now, click on the instance and choose the Manage option on the right side menu:
By doing this, you've opened a page where your Counter-Strike server will be located and managed. At this point, you just need to follow these simple steps:
Head to Configuration > Source Server Settings. There, you'll be able to change the name of your server, map, add server password, enable or disable VAC Anticheat, change game modes. Simply change the options according to your liking. The important thing you need to do here is, paste your generated GSLT token:
After you've done your initial server configuration, head back to the status page or console and click start. At first, it will give you an error as shown below. This is normal as server files are not yet installed, but right after showing this error, Game Panel will start downloading the required files automatically. You can see the progress in the console:
Kindly note that the Counter-Strike server download might take up to 15 minutes to complete.
Once the download is completed, you'll see this message in the console:
Success! App '740' fully installed.
Now click Start once again, and it will start your first Counter-Strike Server! These messages below (can be seen in the console) means that your server is up and running, and you can now connect to it:
Now you can open Counter-Strike, open the console, and insert connect 18.104.22.168:28015 (instead of this IP and port, you should insert your own server IP and port). This will connect you to your Counter-Strike server.
You can also use the community server browser to add your server as favorites so it would be easier to connect each time.