The complexities of running a Factorio server.
The game developers are still very active, and new versions of the game are being released about once a month, so updating your server will be a regular occurance. Factorio is also a hugely popular game for modding; there are thousands of mods available on the Official Factorio Mod Portal. In this article, we will run through how to setup a Factorio server on a Linux VPS, and compare to setting up a Factorio server on a managed service like ServerFlex.
Option 1: Setting up on a Linux VPS. (Harder)
Setting up a VPS can be tricky, but if you have some technical skills this is a great and inexpensive option for Factorio server hosting. For this example we will be using an Ubuntu 20.04 VPS running on DigitalOcean, however the process will be very similar with other Linux distributions.
To get started we need to download the Factorio server software onto the VPS. The link to the latest version can be found here: https://www.factorio.com/download. We are looking for the server software link ("this link" in the image). Right click the link and copy it to your clipboard.
Next we need to head over to our VPS and SSH in. Run the following commands to download the server software archive to the correct folder, and extract the contents of the archive.
tar -xvf linux64
Next we must add a new user to the system to run the Factorio server. This is not required, but it is highly recommended for server security.
chown -R factorio:factorio /opt/factorio;
Factorio requires a save file to start the server, if you have an existing world you can upload it to your server now. This can be done by using an FTP client (such as FileZilla) and connecting using SFTP using the same credentials as your SSH connection.
If you would like to generate a new save file run the following:
./bin/x64/factorio --create saves/my-save.zip --map-gen-settings my-map-gen-settings.json --map-settings my-map-settings.json
And then start the server using:
./bin/x64/factorio --start-server-load-latest --server-settings ./data/server-settings.json
Depending on your hosting provider you might have to open ports on your server's fiewall, but for most providers like DigitalOcean you should be able to connect to the Factorio server using the VPS IP address.
What about updating my server?
When new versions of Factorio come out you will need to update the software by downloading the new version from the link provided about, and re-installing the binary on the VPS. As you update your server it is very important not to override any of your settings files; make sure to save a copy of the save.zip and other JSON settings files before you change the software. You are not able to downgrade a save archive after you have updated your server.
Option 2: Use a Factorio server hosting provider. (Simpler)
Using a server hosting provider removed the complexities of hosting and managing the server yourself. ServerFlex provides the best Factorio server hosting on the market. That's not marketing BS. ServerFlex offers an unrivalled feature-set including a 1-Click mod installer, automatic updates, Stable and Experimental servers, and data centres around the globe and much more.
Try before you buy, by setting up a free trial Factorio server on ServerFlex.
Unlike hosting on a VPS, you do not need to install the server software yourself, or deal with any technical aspects of the server - everything is handled for you and the control of your server is done by an easy-to-use control panel.
To get started follow this link: https://serverflex.io/product/servers/new. We always recommend starting with an entry level plan such as Wood or Stone. You can easily upgrade your server later on if you need more resources (RAM, CPU, Storage).
Follow the on-screen instructions and setup your server, no technical knowledge required!
How to I update my Factorio server?
When a new version of Factorio is released you will receive and email for your server and a notification bar will appear across the top of the screen letting you know an update is available. All you need to do is click "Update" and the newer server software will be installed on your server. Simple!
How do I install mods on my server?
ServerFlex comes with a 1-Click mod installer for Factorio which allows you to install any mod from mods.factorio.com with just a click. Check out our tutorial video for this feature below:
What about backups?
Backups are automatically handled for your Factorio server. Backups are taken twice a day for your server and can easily be restored by navigating to the "Backups" tab on the server control panel.
Not sure how to proceed, or do you need help getting your Factorio server setup? Join our Discord community (https://discord.gg/V6sfc82nge) to talk to our technical team directly.