Ports are communication endpoints for an application. A port will either listen to or transmit network traffic on specific ports.

There are port standards set by IANA for common protocols such as HTTP (port 80), SSH (port 22), SMTP (port 25), etc. Game servers tend to use standard ports depending on the game engine. For example source engine games by default use port 27015 as the port it listens on.


  • Port listening is what a service like a game server does in order to receive packets from incoming connections: by listening to a port, the program waits for incoming packets on a given port.

  • Port opening happens on a firewall, it consists of allowing traffic to a port.

  • Port redirection is part of NAT and happens on a router or firewall. It consists of forwarding incoming traffic on a given port to a specific local IP.

  • Network Address Translation (NAT) is a method of remapping an IP address into another by modifying network address information.

Game Server Ports

Game Servers typically have ports for the following functions.

Game port: The port that players connect to. Query port: Used by software to gather information from the server such as server name, map, and number of players. Rcon port: Some game servers have remote console port allowing remote administration of a game server. Web port: used for game servers that have web interface.

Depending upon which game server is being used, you can set game server ports within your start parameters or game server config file.

LinuxGSM allows you to see the ports your game server is using with the ./gameserver details command.

Useful port diagnostic command:
ss -tuplwn | grep RustDedicated

Game         28015  udp       1
Query        28017  udp       1
RCON         28016  tcp       1
App          28082  tcp       1

Changing Default Ports

Default ports are set in either the start parameters or game config.

You can use ./gameserver details to find out where to edit port settings

# Ports
# =====================================
# Change ports by editing the parameters in:
# /home/lgsm/qlserver/serverfiles/baseq3/ql-server.cfg

To alter them you will need to edit the file using nano.

Example: for source games, you need to alter the following:

# Start Variables

Which ports can be used?

You can use any port as long as it is not already in use and it is up to you to set up port allocation. It is recommended that ports are close together and sequential i.e. 27015, 27016, 27017 to save confusion. Some server's ports by default are not sequential, however, there is nothing stopping you from changing this. For example for source engine game servers; you could set port 27015, source TV port 27016, client port 27018. The next game server instance could simply follow on from this.

If you're running multiple game servers, make sure you're using different ports on all of your game servers to avoid a port conflict.

Multiple IP addresses

Should a server have multiple dedicated IP addresses allocated, it is possible for game servers to have the same ports but bound to different IP addresses. Admins will need to set the specific IP address in the LinuxGSM config or game config.

Port Allocation Scheme

Each type of server has a default set of ports. This is fine to use if only one server is being set up. However, if multiple servers are being used a port scheme needs to be considered. There is no requirement to stick to specific ports but it is recommended they are in a logical order.

Source Default Ports


You can allocate ports incrementally, one after the other. With each server following on from the last.


This scheme is the simplest option to avoid confusion when managing ports. Plus this is the most efficient scheme for reducing unused ports.

Standard Port Increment

This method increments each type of port keeping the scheme closer to the default. It is not as efficient but keeps ports more "standard".


Then increment those ports by 1 for every new server. 25 servers are using 75 ports. After making 25 servers, if you need more it is a good idea to add +100 to this 27000 range.


Separate IP Addresses

You can get new IP addresses for your dedicated server, and assign each server a new IP. This scheme is quite inefficient.

Track your ports

If you are running several game servers it is a good idea to create a spreadsheet of the ports you have used. Allowing you to keep track of what you have already used.

Diagnosing server accessibility

Check ports are bound

Ensure the game server ports are bound and listening before anything else. You can check if your server is actually listening by using ./gameserver details if a port is bound and listening then the LISTEN column will not be zero.

Depending on the game server not all ports will listen. However, a good rule is that the game and query ports will typically listen.

Useful port diagnostic command:
ss -tuplwn | grep RustDedicated

Game         28015  udp       0
Query        28017  udp       0
RCON         28016  tcp       0
App          28082  tcp       0

Running the ss command will bring up any ports that are listening. If not, the game server has not started or not correctly binding to its allocated ports.

  • Check that ports are not already in use by another application.

  • Check that you are trying to listen to an actual interface IP.

  • Check that the server does not crash upon start by checking console logs or try starting the server with ./gameserver debug

Check the Firewall

Firewalls are a regular source of connectivity issues. When diagnosing connection issues temporarily disabling a firewall will help identify if it is the source of the problem.

Check Port Forwarding (Local Networks)

Ensure that the router correctly redirects incoming traffic to the correct ports and local IP displayed with ./gameserver details with the correct protocol (TCP and/or UDP).

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