Dedicated Linux server
Note: This was adapted and revised from a guide written by Raizo, the original of which can be found here: https://iraizo.github.io/tf2-classic-linux-server-tutorial/
- A Linux server running Ubuntu Server* on an x86_64 CPU. You cannot easily run SRCDS on any other architecture besides an x86_64 CPU. Box64/Box86 may work for ARM processors (e.g. Raspberry Pis) but that's complex, and not covered here.
- A SFTP/SSH client (PuTTY, Termius, FileZilla, MobaXterm)
- At least 16GB of free storage
- A minimum of a 10Mbps upload speed if you intend on hosting a server over the Internet. No need to worry for LAN servers.
This guide was written for and tested on Ubuntu Server 22.04 LTS, however any Debian-based distro should work similarly and fine using this guide.
Reading this article
This article has been written according to standard Linux terminal documentation syntax, meaning the following:
A command prefixed by
# (a hashtag) is meant to be run as root. In this article, we're assuming that you're using a VPS and logged in as the root account to start with.
A command prefixed by
$ (a dollar sign) is meant to be run as a regular user without root permissions.
Some commands are listed in-line with the rest of a paragraph and lack this symbol, in which case you should run the command as whichever account you're currently logged in with.
Creating a steam user for SteamCMD and Source SDK Base 2013 Dedicated Server
Pick a directory to install your server into. Industry standard is usually in
/home may be easier for you. If you want to use a directory in
/home, omit the
-d option as useradd will create a directory in
/home with the user’s username, ours being
steam. We’ll pick
Create a user with that home directory and give it a strong password:
# useradd -m -d /opt/tf2classic -s /usr/bin/bash steam # passwd steam
-m creates a home directory for it,
-d /opt/tf2classic specifies where our home directory will be, and
-s /usr/bin/bash sets the shell to bash.
Installing Source SDK Base 2013 DS, SteamCMD, and dependencies
The SteamCMD package is in the multiverse repos. TF2Classic and SteamCMD require i386 (32-bit) libraries to function. You also need 7-Zip to extract TF2Classic.
# add-apt-repository multiverse # dpkg --add-architecture i386 # apt update
Install SteamCMD, and miscellaneous packages that we'll be using.
# apt install steamcmd unzip aria2 tilde lib32z1 libncurses5:i386 libbz2-1.0:i386 lib32gcc-s1 lib32stdc++6 libtinfo5:i386 libcurl3-gnutls:i386 libsdl2-2.0-0:i386 libcurl4-gnutls-dev libcurl4-gnutls-dev:i386
Login to the steam user you created:
# su - steam
steamcmd and let it update. When it’s finished updating and displays a prompt, login anonymously by typing and running:
We will set a directory to install Source SDK Base 2013 DS to.
force_install_dir /opt/tf2classic/server in SteamCMD to choose the directory for the server to install into. This path can be anything, just make sure you have access to it.
app_update 244310 validate in SteamCMD to install Source SDK Base 2013 DS.
Give it a few, and when it’s finished we can run
Downloading TF2 Classic
The fastest way to download TF2Classic is to use TF2CDownloader.
$ wget https://github.com/tf2classic/TF2CDownloader/releases/latest/download/TF2CDownloaderLinux $ chmod +x ./TF2CDownloaderLinux $ ./TF2CDownloaderLinux
And follow the prompts.
You'll need to move the extracted directory into your SDK 2013 MP folder:
mv tf2classic /opt/tf2classic/server/
Generate your server config(s) on cfg.tf.
Make sure the server type is set to “Internet and LAN” if you want players outside your LAN to be able to join (you may need to port forward if you’re on consumer broadband or open ports on your firewall).
Upload the generated ZIP file to your server using SFTP, unzip the folder using:
And merge the
cfg folder with
Creating the server script
Change into the server directory with:
$ cd /opt/tf2classic/server/
Create a script to run the server with one simple command. Use any text editor of your choice to create runserver.sh where srcds_run is located. For the sake of those unfamiliar with terminal text editing, we'll be using Tilde. Run:
$ tilde runserver.sh
Fill it with this line (you may be able to paste using Ctrl-Shift-V):
./srcds_run -console -game tf2classic +map pl_upward +maxplayers 24
Feel free to change the map and maxplayers. There are more arguments, but we’ll keep it basic.
Save the file by clicking "File" -> "Exit", and confirming to save your changes. You can also press Ctrl-Q to accomplish this with your keyboard alone, if mouse inputs aren't passed through.
Now, make the script executable with:
$ chmod +x runserver.sh
Valve changed some shared object file names in the SDK and the objects we’re given have not adapted to the new names. Since these are simply renames, we can symlink them. Your server will not start without doing this.
Enter the bin directory by typing, exactly:
$ cd bin
Run the following commands to create the symlinks in the bin folder:
$ ln -s datacache_srv.so datacache.so $ ln -s dedicated_srv.so dedicated.so $ ln -s engine_srv.so engine.so $ ln -s materialsystem_srv.so materialsystem.so $ ln -s replay_srv.so replay.so $ ln -s scenefilecache_srv.so scenefilecache.so $ ln -s shaderapiempty_srv.so shaderapiempty.so $ ln -s studiorender_srv.so studiorender.so $ ln -s vphysics_srv.so vphysics.so $ ln -s soundemittersystem_srv.so soundemittersystem.so
If you've manually installed TF2 Classic instead of using the automatic installer, make sure to symlink these files too, inside TF2 Classic's bin folder:
$ cd ../tf2classic/bin $ rm server_srv.so $ ln -s server.so server_srv.so
Running the server
Finally, all you need to do to start the server is run
If you want it to run even after closing the terminal window, run
nohup ./runserver.sh & followed by
More advanced users will likely want to run it using GNU Screen, or using a systemd service, which will be documented here eventually.