How To Setup A CS:GO Dedicated Server [Windows]

CS:GO LogoHave a large community of CS:GO players ready to play on a server with you? Maybe you have a spare Windows based machine kicking around that could host a CS:GO session for you and your friends on the same network?

Then this guide will show you how to create a simple CS:GO dedicated server that can host a multiplayer session in just a few steps.

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Before We Begin

Before we get started with the technical instructions on how to set up a Counter Strike server lets look at what you need:

  • A Windows based computer or server with at least Windows Server 10 or newer running on it
  • At least 18GB of free HDD space and ideally an SSD rather disk-based for speed
  • A CPU capable of handling the fast nature of CS:GO
  • At least 7GB of RAM for the server to use, with more left over for operating system processes (at least another 1GB on top)
  • A Steam account that owns Counter Strike: Global Offensive
  • A router that you can open ports on (if you are running a local machine that people outside of your network can connect to)

With all of these things ticked off we can start actually setting up your own CS:GO server.

How to setup a CS:GO server on Windows

So how do you actually setup a CS:GO server on your local machine or Remote Desktop connected server?

Lets explore the steps below as I try to break it down to be as simple as possible.

1. Download and extract SteamCMD into a unique folder

The first step is super easy, you need to create a folder for your CS:GO server to reside in. I usually put my server folders onto my desktop with an easy to recognize name like “CSGOServer1” but you could put it at the root of a hard drive maybe.

SteamCMD Example

Now with your unique folder for your server open, download SteamCMD and extract the contents inside it.

SteamCMD is a tool provided by Valve to download and maintain the server files for multiple games on Steam.

2. Execute the steamcmd.exe file

From the zip file that was just unzipped in step 1, look for the steamcmd.exe file and run it by double clicking on it.

Once initiated the steamcmd.exe file will launch its own window and begin updating itself, you can watch as it reports what it is doing line by line.

Once SteamCMD is finished updating itself it will ask you for a command, essentially what it should do next. This is where you tell it to fetch the latest CS:GO server files and download them into the same folder.

Type (or copy) the following command line instructions into the window:

force_install_dir "C:\CSGOserverFromStep1"
login anonymous
app_update 740 validate

Be sure to change the first line to reflect the folder you created in step 1 to ensure the server files are saved into the right place.

3. Get an Auth token to validate your server

This step is required if you intend on allowing players to join your server who are not in your local network (IP addresses that don’t start with 192.168).

Requirements For Steam Auth

You need to get an Auth token from this official tool provided by Steam so that they can track the CS:GO servers that are being used.

Make a note of this token code and save it somewhere safe as you will need it int he next step.

4. Test launch your server

The files you have downloaded for your server don’t have an easy way to launch currently, you need to create a script that can do that for you.

Luckily its pretty easy, all you need is a simple text editing program like Notepad and the following code.

Notepad Example

Create a new text document with Notepad and save it as start.bat with the following contents inside it:

srcds -game csgo -console -usercon +game_type 0 +game_mode 1 +mapgroup mg_active +map de_dust2 +sv_setsteamaccount YOURAUTHTOKENGOESHERE

Make sure you change the YOURAUTHTOKENGOESHERE text to be your actual Auth token you got in the previous step.

Now when you double click the new file your server should launch inside a new black window.

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5. Connect to your new server

If all has gone to plan then you should be now ready to connect in CS:GO to your new server.

Start off by finding your external IP address, this can be done by Google’ing for a website that displays it to you.

Whats my IP Address Search

Now, open your Steam library and in the menu at the top look for a menu called View and then the Servers option.

Click Add Server to add the IP address of your new server onto your favourites list.

When you now launch your CS:GO game and go to the server list you can skip across to favourites and instantly see your new server available to join.