Dedicated Server

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Hosting a Project Zomboid dedicated server can be done in Windows or Linux.

Downloading the Server Files

Through Steam

  1. Navigate to your Steam library and filter for tools
  2. Locate 'Project Zomboid Dedicated Server' and download/install it

Note: Do not launch the server via Steam. If accidentally done, verify the integrity of the files.

Through SteamCMD

SteamCMD is the command line version of Steam. The Valve Developer wiki has instructions on how to download and configure SteamCMD.

Windows

Once you have downloaded and extracted SteamCMD to the folder of your choosing, run it by executing steamcmd.exe from a command line.

You can now set up the installation directory where the dedicated server files will be stored.

The following is an example of setting the download directory to its own separate folder on the C: drive. You can choose wherever you would like to store the server files.

force_install_dir C:\PZServer

For Linux users, the server will install to /home/<MYOURUSERNAME>/.steam/steam/steamapps/common/Project Zomboid Dedicated Server/ unless specified otherwise.

Once you have set the install directory to your preference, login anonymously to Steam:

login anonymous

Next, download the Project Zomboid dedicated server files:

app_update 380870 validate

Once you see the message "Success! App '380870' fully installed", close SteamCMD:

quit

Linux

For Debian and Ubuntu, first install steamcmd

dpkg --add-architecture i386
apt-get update
apt-get install steamcmd

Don't run the server as root. Add an user such as pzuser

adduser pzuser

We will install Zomboid Server in /opt/pzserver

mkdir /opt/pzserver
chown pzuser:pzuser /opt/pzserver

Log in as pzuser

su - pzuser

Create the configuration file that will manage steamcmd

cat >$HOME/update_zomboid.txt <<'EOL'
// update_zomboid.txt
//
@ShutdownOnFailedCommand 1 //set to 0 if updating multiple servers at once
@NoPromptForPassword 1
force_install_dir /opt/pzserver/
//for servers which don't need a login
login anonymous 
app_update 380870 validate
quit
EOL

Now install Project Zomboid Server. You will use this same command every time you want to update the server to the latest version.

steamcmd +runscript $HOME/update_zomboid.txt

Forwarding Required Ports

Project Zomboid dedicated servers require the following open ports to successfully connect to clients:

8766 UDP
16261 UDP

Additional Ports for Non-Steam Server

In addition to the aforementioned ports required, TCP ports will have to be opened for each player slot on the server. E.g. if a server with 10 slots is desired, it would be necessary to open the following ports:

8766 UDP
16261 UDP
16262 - 16272 TCP

Note: It is possible these extra ports are no longer necessary as of game version 41.65.

Running the Server

Windows

Navigate to the download folder you specified (C:\pzserver if you followed the above steps) and locate the three StartServer batch files.

The default download directory if you used Steam to install the server is C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Project Zomboid Dedicated Server


StartServer32 starts the Steam compatible 32-bit dedicated server.
StartServer64 starts the Steam compatible 64-bit dedicated server.
StartServer64_nosteam starts the non-Steam 64-bit dedicated server.

Run the batch file that corresponds with your operating system. For most use cases this will be 64-bit unless you are intentionally running 32-bit or running the non-Steam version.

Important note: By default the StartServer64 batch file specifies 16GB of starting memory for the server. You must edit the StartServer64 file and change the -Xms and -Xmx files to the values you want to use for server memory, or the server will fail to start with memory errors.

An example with 6GB used for the amount of memory (note the -Xms and -Xmx values):

".\jre64\bin\java.exe" -Djava.awt.headless=true -Dzomboid.steam=1 -Dzomboid.znetlog=1 -XX:+UseZGC -XX:-CreateCoredumpOnCrash -XX:-OmitStackTraceInFastThrow -Xms6g -Xmx6g -Djava.library.path=natives/;natives/win64/;. -cp %PZ_CLASSPATH% zombie.network.GameServer -statistic 0

For reference, this is equivalent to the "Server Memory" option when using "Host" from the main menu to host a local multiplayer server.

Launching a server will open a command console window that begins executing the server on your machine. On the first run, it will prompt you to set a password for the admin account it will create. After the server finishes setting up with default game settings, a message will output indicating success or failure.


A message indicating the server started successfully.

Linux

Navigate to your installation folder (default: /home/YOURUSERNAME/.steam/steam/steamapps/common/Project Zomboid Dedicated Server) and start the start-server.sh file. The following example uses the default folder:

cd ~/.steam/steam/steamapps/common/Project\ Zomboid\ Dedicated\ Server\/

Then start the start-server.sh

bash start-server.sh

However, if you followed the instructions in this page to install Project Zomboid Server via steamcmd in Linux, you just need to execute the following command:

/opt/pzserver/start-server.sh

Optionally, you can change the name of the server, this will change which .ini file is used and it will create a new save folder by this new server name:

bash start-server.sh -servername SERVERNAME
Mp lin terminal.png

Launching a server will open a command console window that begins executing the server on your machine. On the first run, it will prompt you to set a password for the admin account it will create. After the server finishes setting up with default game settings, a message will output indicating success or failure.

A message indicating the server started successfully.

System.d

A better option is to configure the server to run under system.d.

First, configure the system.d unit

cat >/usr/lib/systemd/system/zomboid.service <<'EOL'
[Unit]
Description=Project Zomboid Server
After=network.target

[Service]
PrivateTmp=true
Type=simple
User=pzserver
WorkingDirectory=/opt/pzserver/
ExecStart=/opt/pzserver/start-server.sh

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target
EOL

Once you have done that, you have the following commands available:

# start a server
systemctl start zomboid.service

# stop a server
systemctl stop zomboid.service

# restart a server
systemctl restart zomboid.service

The logs are now managed by journalctl. To access to the logs of the server, execute the following command:

journalctl -u zomboid.service -f

Connecting to the Server

The add server panel.
  1. Launch Project Zomboid
  2. Click the Join menu option
  3. Click the Favorites tab
  4. Add your public IPv4 address
  5. Enter port (default: 16261)
  6. Input your account details (anything desired)
  7. Click Save, select the added server and join


Note I: Hosting a non-Steam dedicated server requires players connect through the non-Steam version of the game client. For Steam game owners, this can be achieved by adding '-nosteam' to the launch options of Project Zomboid under its properties menu.

Note II: If hosting a server for LAN or VPN clients, the local IPv4 address or VPN defined address needs to be used.

Note III: As of game version 41.65, players who host and play on the same machine can solely use the public IPv4 address to connect to their server. If connection issues are encountered, consider adding your local IPv4 address to the Local IP field on the server screen. This address can be determined by clicking Start on the desktop, typing cmd, hitting enter, typing ipconfig in the opened command prompt and hitting enter.

Administrating the Server

There are a myriad of tools available for server administrators to customize and manage their servers.

Configuring the Server Game Settings

Windows

Server Data Save Locations

By default the server will look for game settings and world data named servertest inside C:\Users\YourUsername\Zomboid. If this data does not exist, the server will generate it automatically using default game settings. Use the following table for reference.

Filename File Location Description
servertest.ini C:\Users\YourUsername\Zomboid\Server This file contains the server configuration settings. Editable with notepad.
servertest_SandboxVars.lua C:\Users\YourUsername\Zomboid\Server This file contains the server sandbox configuration settings. Editable with notepad.
servertest_spawnpoints.lua C:\Users\YourUsername\Zomboid\Server This file contains the spawnpoints available in your server. Setting custom spawn points is possible. Editable with notepad.
servertest_spawnregions.lua C:\Users\YourUsername\Zomboid\Server This file contains the regions available for spawning (i.e. Muldraugh, Rosewood, etc). Editable with notepad.
n/a C:\Users\YourUsername\Zomboid\Saves\Multiplayer\servertest This folder contains the generated/saved world data of the server.
Customizing Settings

Customizing server settings can be accomplished in two ways.

  1. Through the game client
  2. Editing the relevant files in notepad

To customize settings using the game client, launch Project Zomboid and select the Host menu option followed by the Manage Settings menu option.

If the server was successfully run at least once:

  1. Select servertest from the the list of saved server settings
  2. Click Edit Settings
  3. Edit desired settings and save

If the server was not run at least once:

  1. Click Create New Settings
  2. Name these settings servertest
  3. Edit desired settings and save

The next time the server successfully starts it will use the defined servertest.ini and lua files. The settings can be verified by using the admin command showoptions or opening servertest.ini, servertest_SandboxVars.lua, servertest_spawnpoints.lua, and servertest_spawnregions.lua in notepad.


Added Steam Workshop-subscribed mods to the server will be downloaded automatically on connecting client machines.


Note: Changes can be saved to servertest.ini while the server is running. After servertest.ini is saved, use admin command reloadoptions to make the changes live.

Customizing Server Name

You may customize your server's name to something other than servertest in order to either have worlds you can quickly read and identify, or to be able to switch to a new world without having to move a bunch of files on both server and client side to preserve that world.

First and foremost, be aware that player map data is stored locally client side under your IP address and port. If you don't want map information bleedover, you may need to change the port in your server settings. If you are trying to save an existing server, you have two choices ahead of you. 1) never use port 16261 for any other PZ servers, or 2) have anyone who has previously joined look for a file named something like 123.45.0.12_16261_a589371111b0ccerf81acc30e918f8c9 [server ip address _ server port _ something] located at C:\Users\%your username%\Zomboid\Saves and have them put it somewhere safe or edit the folder name.


Next, Make a copy of whichever one you use to launch servertest normally by selecting it, right clicking, select copy, right click somewhere in empty space, paste. Rename the new file (or don't)

Server folder.png

Open the file in some text editor (such as notepad) and insert -servername YOURSERVERNAME behind -cp %PZ_CLASSPATH% zombie.network.GameServer

Example with server name of "pizza":
@setlocal enableextensions
@cd /d "%~dp0"
SET PZ_CLASSPATH=java/istack-commons-runtime.jar;java/jassimp.jar;java/javacord-2.0.17-shaded.jar;java/javax.activation-api.jar;java/jaxb-api.jar;java/jaxb-runtime.jar;java/lwjgl.jar;java/lwjgl-natives-windows.jar;java/lwjgl-glfw.jar;java/lwjgl-glfw-natives-windows.jar;java/lwjgl-jemalloc.jar;java/lwjgl-jemalloc-natives-windows.jar;java/lwjgl-opengl.jar;java/lwjgl-opengl-natives-windows.jar;java/lwjgl_util.jar;java/sqlite-jdbc-3.27.2.1.jar;java/trove-3.0.3.jar;java/uncommons-maths-1.2.3.jar;java/
".\jre64\bin\java.exe" -Djava.awt.headless=true -Dzomboid.steam=1 -Dzomboid.znetlog=1 -XX:+UseZGC -XX:-CreateCoredumpOnCrash -XX:-OmitStackTraceInFastThrow -Xms4g -Xmx4g -Djava.library.path=natives/;natives/win64/;. -cp %PZ_CLASSPATH% zombie.network.GameServer -servername pizza -statistic 0
PAUSE

Just running this will create a world with all the requisite files with the default settings which you can edit later. If you've already created a server with a name you want to use with all the settings set the way you want, use the same name as the file at C:\Users\%your username%\Zomboid\db

Linux

Under construction.

Admin Commands

The following commands can be executed either on the server console window or in-game (preceded by a forward slash when used in-game) provided the user has admin status. Some things are case sensitive (ex: Base.Axe works, but not base.axe)

Command Description
addalltowhitelist Add all the current users who are connected with a password to the whitelist, so their account is protected.
additem Give an item to a player. If no username is given then you will receive item. Count is optional. Use: /additem \"username\" \"module.item\" count, ex : additem rj Base.Axe 1
adduser Use this command to add a new user to a whitelisted server. Use: /adduser \"username\" \"pwd\" ex: adduser rj 12345
addusertowhitelist Add a user connected with a password to the whitelist, so their account is protected. Use: /addusertowhitelist \"username\" ex: addusertowhitelist rj
addvehicle Spawn a vehicle. Use: /addvehicle \"script\" \"user or x,y,z\", ex: addvehicle Base.VanAmbulance rj
addxp Give experience points to a player. Use: /addxp \"playername\" perkname=xp, ex: addxp rj Woodwork=2
alarm Sound a building alarm at the Admin's position. (Must be in a room.)
banid Ban a SteamID. Use: banid SteamID
banuser Ban a user. Add a -ip to also ban the IP. Add a -r \"reason\" to specify a reason for the ban. Use: /banuser \"username\" -ip -r \"reason\". For example: banuser rj -ip -r spawn kill
changeoption Change a server option. Use: /changeoption optionName \"newValue\" ex: changeoption SleepAllowed true
chopper Place a helicopter event on a random player
createhorde Spawn a horde near a player. Use : /createhorde count \"username\", ex: createhorde 150 rj, username is optional except from the server console.
createhorde2 Unknown (ERROR: Missing translation "UI_ServerOptionDesc_CreateHorde2")
godmode Make a player invincible. No username set will toggle self-invincibility. Use: /godmode \"username\" -value, ex godmode rj -true (could be -false)
gunshot Place gunshot sounds on a random player
help Outputs a list and description of admin commands
invisible Make a player invisible to zombies. No username provided will toggle invisibility on yourself. Use: /invisible \"username\" -value, ex: invisible rj -true (could be -false).
kickuser Kick a user. Add a -r \"reason\" to specify a reason for the kick. Use: /kickuser \"username\" -r \"reason\"
noclip Makes a player pass through walls and structures. Toggles with no value. Use: /noclip \"username\" -value, ex: noclip rj -true (could be -false)
players List all connected players
quit Save and shut down the server
releasesafehouse Release a safehouse you own. Use: /safehouse release
reloadlua Reload a Lua script. Use: /reloadlua \"filename\"
reloadoptions Reload server options (servertest.ini) and send to the clients. Useful for implementing game setting changes while players are connected.
removeuserfromwhitelist Remove a user from the whitelist. Use: /removeuserfromwhitelist \"username\"
removezombies Command name self-explanatory, but have not tested. (ERROR: Missing translation "UI_ServerOptionDesc_RemoveZombies")
replay Record and play replay for moving player. Use: /replay \"playername\" -record\-play\-stop \filename.\ Example: /replay user1 -record test.bin
save Saves the current game world
sendpulse Toggle sending server performance info to this client. Use: /sendpulse
servermsg Broadcast a message to all connected players. Use: /servermsg \"text\"
setaccesslevel Set access level of a player. Current levels: admin, moderator, overseer, gm, observer. E.g. setaccesslevel userName admin / Note: To remove any access level, use "none" in place of admin.
showoptions Show the list of current server options and values.
startrain Start rain on the server
stoprain Stop rain on the server
teleport Teleport to a player. Use: /teleport \"playername\" or /teleport \"player1\" \"player2\", ex /teleport \"rj\" or /teleport \"rj\" \"toUser\"
teleportto Teleport to coordinates. Use: /teleportto x,y,z, ex /teleportto 100098,189980,0
unbanid Unban a SteamID. Use: /unbanid SteamID
unbanuser Unban a player. Use : /unbanuser \"username\"
voiceban Block voice from user \"username\". Use : /voiceban \"username\" -value, ex /voiceban \"rj\" -true (could be -false)

External links