Back when I first started hosting game servers, I used to host them from the command line in Linux.
When it was just me doing everything, this wasn't an issue.
However, once we started giving more users access to the server, things became a nightmare.
Having to train and create ssh accounts for people to simply restart the server or perform updates wasn't going to scale at all.
Not to mention how time-consuming it was. I would prefer to spend more time making the game server itself better, not having to manage everything around it.
Luckily today you can get a game server control panel with a nice web interface that makes managing your servers simple.
When it comes to setting up a game server control panel, Pterodactyl should be your first choice.
The only reason why you would try Ptero is if your server isn't supported on Linux.
It is by far the fastest user interface, with a huge selection of game server configs known as eggs, isolated docker containers, and more.
Pterodactyl also makes it easy to add more servers to your existing panel, so this means you can quickly scale and add more machines if you need.
There is also currently a big community around Pterodactyl too, so getting support is easy.
You can also add plugins and custom themes to enhance your experience, but it can be very difficult as it's not built in natively.
Supported Operating Systems: Linux
If you're looking to get a game server quickly running on Windows, then take a look at this software.
This has to be one of the easiest game hosting control panels I have used, and you can get it running on your machine in a matter of minutes.
Now yes, I know, it doesn't have a web interface, but it does give you Discord control, so your game admins can quickly restart the game server if something goes wrong.
As for file management, it just uses folders, so you can use FileZilla server to give people FTP access to change things.
Supported Operating Systems: Windows
If you're looking for a version of Pterodactyl with some more quality-of-life features out of the box, then WISP is your go-to choice.
Built on the foundations of Ptero, the team has done a great job at making an easy-to-use game panel with more features built directly into their software.
The installation is one command line, and then you're done, so setting up multiple machines or dedicated servers is a breeze.
The biggest downfall is although Ptero is open source, WISP is not, and they charge you a monthly fee for their services. This is expected as they are aimed mostly at people who run a dedicated server hosting business.
The software is still in its infancy stage, so there are bugs to be expected.
Price: starts at $5 per month
Supported Operating Systems: Linux
I really hate that I have to put TCAdmin here but if you want to run a server with multiple users on Windows, this is one of the only viable ways you can do it.
TCAdmin is super dated but has proven its reliability over the years it has been in service. There are also lots of scripts you can use for different games and the panel itself.
While it's proven, the interface is really dated and difficult to use. TCAdmin has really fallen behind the times but as I said, for Windows, there aren't really many options out there.
This control panel is mostly aimed at hosting companies and that's what most of the functionality is geared towards.
For example, TCAmin is what hosts such as Streamline-Servers use.
Price: starts at $7.95 per month
Supported Operating Systems: Windows, Linux
What I have written above should suit 99% of people. It's what I and thousands of others use for their game server companies and communities.
However, if for some reason they don't suit your needs, there are some other options on the market.
Here is my brief rundown on each software and why it didn't make the main list.
If you're just looking at hosting a single game server on another machine and it will only be you managing it, then you can't go past WindowsGSM. It offers the most basic functionality in an easy-to-use way, and you can give others access to do basic tasks such as shut down, restart, etc.
If you run multiple game servers with multiple developers, then Pterodactyl or WISP is where it's at. These control panels are the standard when it comes to game server management and should suit the needs of most users.
If you want to install Pterodactyl, then we have a quick guide you can use to get set up.