RJ Wattenhofer

Tech writing, 3D model building and game design.

February 23, 2024

How to Setup a GMOD Linux VPS Multiplayer Server

Garry's Mod dedicated server installation plus incorporating Steam addon collections

written by

garrys mod server setup large
garrys mod server setup small

Validated on: Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit

Date tested:
Last modified: January 01, 2016

This is a step-by-step tutorial on installing a Garry's Mod server on your Linux Virtual Private Server (VPS).

Tools needed:
1)File Transfer Protocol (FTP) software
recommended--- Filezilla
2)SSH client software
recommended--- PuTTY
3)Administration mod software
only choice--- ULX
4)Graphics software (optional)
recommended--- Paint.NET


putty interface 01 large putty interface 01 small

Begin by launching PuTTY. Enter the VPS ip address in the host name field. It will be in this format: Then enter port number in the port field - this will more than likely be the number twenty-two.

Make sure the SSH radio button is pressed and then click 'Open'. You will now have a black screen that simply shows 'login as:'. We want to login to your VPS root folder, so type in 'root' (case sensitive) and hit 'enter.' Now you will be asked for your server password. Please enter that now.

The few lines of code that follow are taken directly from the Linux section of the Garry's Mod Wiki dedicated server page. Enter each of the five lines in separately, hitting 'enter' after each entry. This will upload and install both the SteamCMD and the Garry's Mod server.

mkdir ~/Steam
cd ~/Steam
wget http://media.steampowered.com/client/steamcmd_linux.tar.gz
tar -xvzf steamcmd_linux.tar.gz
./steamcmd.sh +login anonymous +force_install_dir ../gmodds +app_update 4020 validate +quit

QUICK TIP: Copy each of the lines to your clipboard. To paste into PuTTY, simply right click with your mouse! yellow highlighter

putty interface 01 small

putty interface 01 largeIf the server has been successfully installed, you will see the words 'Success! App '4020' fully installed.'


Your Garry's Mod server is now functional and ready for players; however, if you are like most people you more than likely do not want your server sitting in the root folder of your VPS. We will now create a new directory that will be the permanent home of your server.

Launch putty once again and navigate to the directory where you would like to create the new directory. You can do this by entering the following command:

cd /home

This will take you to your home directory, presuming that you have a home directory. If you are a new owner of a VPS, I would suggest browsing through the server's file structure via Filezilla to familiarize yourself with the layout.

Now enter this command to create your server directory in the home directory:

mkdir gmodds

Let's move the GMOD server files into our new directory:

mv -v ~/gmodds/* /home/gmodds/

The server is now in the correct location and we are ready to customize it.


Garry's Mod has no built-in administrative rights, so we are going to take care of that right now (you'd like to be an admin, correct?). Click the following link to vist the ULX and ULib downloads page. Scroll down to the section titled 'The latest stable release version of ULX and ULib' and download 'ULX 3.62 Installer w/ ULib 2.52 (.exe)' (note: version numbers may be different). Drop the file into a new folder on your desktop and run it.

After it runs, you will see that it has unpacked a folder called 'addons'. Open this folder, go into the ulx folder and then double-click to open the text file titled 'ulx_motd'.

To view code you will need to expand your screen...



<body bgcolor=#dbdbdb>

<div style="text-align: center;">

<div style="width: 80%; margin: 0px auto; border: 10px solid #c9d6e4; background-color: #ededed; padding: 10px; font-size: 12px; font-family: Tahoma; margin-top: 30px; color: #818181; text-align: left;">

<div style="font-size: 30px; font-family: impact; width: 100%; margin-bottom: 5px;">My Server Name</div>


This Server uses the following mods:<br>

ULX, PropDefender, and VMFLoader.<br>



1. DON'T MESS WITH OTHER PLAYERS STUFF. If they want help, they'll ask!<br>

2. Don't spam.<br>

3. Have fun.<br>

<div style="width: 100%; text-align: center; margin: 10px; font-weight: bold;">- The Admins</div>





This is a basic HTML coded page that displays when players first enter your server. The six digit number and letter codes (#dbdbdb) are hexidecimal colors that can be customized. You can use my handy Hexidecimal Color Code Chart to assist you in selecting your preferred color scheme.

This is what it looks like in-game with the background color changed to #0026FF (blue):

ulx screenshot

Okay, go ahead and close the file if you are finished. We will now create our loading screen. This is the initial screen the pops up when players click to join your server and displays while addons and such are loading. You will want to use a graphics program such as Paint.NET to construct your 1200x600px artwork. Below is our loading screen:

garrys mod loading screen customized

For sure, it's going to take awhile to design a decent loading screen. For now, why don't you create a quick and simple image for testing purposes. You can always change it later. This image will need to be uploaded to a paid or free website hosting service so that you can grab the image link for the necessary server file.

Where we are so far: We have the server operational and in the right location on the VPS. The ULX and ULib files have been downloaded. The admin screen is complete, as is the loading screen. Time to go into the server.


Launch your FTP software. I suggest using Filezilla or WinSCP , as both are reliable, regularly updated and user-friendly. Here is your interface:

filezilla interface 01

Navigate to the 'addons' folder - here is the path on your VPS: gmodds > garrysmod > addons

Open the folder on your desktop via Filezilla to which you installed the ULX/ULib software. Drag the folders titled 'ulx' and 'ulib' to your server 'addons' folder. Your admin software will now be installed when we turn on the server.

Now navigate to gmodds > garrysmod > cfg and drag the file titled 'autoexec.cfg' over to your desktop. In addition, drag the 'server.cfg' file to your desktop. Minimize Your FTP window and open the 'autoexec.cfg' file. Paste in this code, replacing the sample image URL with your own:

sv_loadingurl "http://rjwattenhofer.com/reference/garrys-mod/loading-screen/"

This will run the loading screen when the server is started. Close that file and open the 'server.cfg' file.

log on
hostname "Wallaroo-Wattenhofer"
rcon_password ""
sv_password ""
sv_region 255
sv_lan 0
sv_logbans 0
sv_logecho 0
sv_logfile 1
sv_log_onefile 0
sv_noclipspeed 5
sv_noclipaccelerate 5
sbox_allownpcs 1
sbox_godmode 0
sbox_plpldamage 0
sbox_playergod 0
sbox_noclip 1
sbox_maxprops 150
sbox_maxragdolls 5
sbox_maxnpcs 10
sbox_maxballoons 10
sbox_maxeffects 50
sbox_maxdynamite 10
sbox_maxlamps 20
sbox_maxthrusters 30
sbox_maxwheels 20
sbox_maxhoverballs 20
sbox_maxvehicles 6
sbox_maxbuttons 20
sbox_maxsents 20
sbox_maxemitters 5
sbox_maxspawners 3
sbox_maxturrets 2
net_maxfilesize 30
sv_minrate 0
sv_maxrate 20000
decalfrequency 10

You may be suprised to find that your server configuration file is completely blank. No worries, simply copy and paste the above server information into your own file and adjust accordingly. The two primary items to look at are 'hostname' and 'sv_password'. You will need a name so people can find you and if you would like to host a private server for just yourself and friends you will want to password protect it.


Login to your Steam Account. Hover over the word 'Community' on the top menu and then click 'Workshop'. You should see Garry's Mod on the front page (due to popularity). Click the game image, which will then bring you to the Garry's Mod addons home page. On the third menu down (across from the search field) hover over 'Browse' and then click 'Collections'.

Click on the blue steam create collection button button located in the right column. This will open the following page, which you can now proceed to fill out:

steam create collection

After you have entered the required information, feel free to browse through the myriad of Garry's Mod addons and select those that best fit your new server's environment. The ones that you like can be added to your collection by clicking the handy button located beneath each addon's image slider.

Once your collection is ready, grab the collection ID and paste it into your notes for future reference. The ID is located in the address bar, as demonstrated in this image:

steam wallaroo addon collection

One issue that every server owner had encountered is collection addons missing from players' Steam accounts that join their VPS. You can encourage players to subscribe to specific Mods to enhance gameplay but you can't force them. Missing addons result in these players viewing numerous floating error images during gameplay - not cool.

A simple and foolproof way to combat this is to create a 'workshop.lua' file. Open up notepad and save it as workshop.lua. Visit steam and navigate to each of the addons you would like on the server, recordering their ID (see above) as you go along. Open your workshop file and enter each of the addon ID's in the following format:


steam api mobile steam apiThe final thing to do is acquire your Steam API/Authorization key. This will enable you to run your collection on your server. Visit the Steam API page to get your key. Record this number in your notes for future reference.

Go back to Filezilla. Drag the files you edited titled 'server.cfg' and 'autoexec.cfg' over to gmodds > garrysmod > cfg on the VPS. Refresher: The server file contains your server name and password. The autoexec file runs the loading screen. Drag the 'workshop.lua' file to gmodds > garrysmod > lua > autorun > server. All your files are now in place and you are ready to start the server.


Login to PuTTY once again. Navigate to the directory where you moved your Garry's Mod server, as in this example:

cd /home/gmodds

The start command we run will include your Steam API, your addons collection ID and some other standard information. Go ahead and paste a modified version of the below code into PuTTY:

./srcds_run -console -game garrysmod +maxplayers 4 -authkey 00000000000000000000000000000000 +host_workshop_collection 321536519 +map gm_bikini_atoll_1946

If you are interested in running a simple server with no bells & whistles, this is the code you want:

./srcds_run -game garrysmod +maxplayers 32 +map gm_construct

gmod start server command

The server is now running and ready for players. One last thing to do before having fun: we must set you up as a SuperAdmin. In PuTTY enter the following code and hit enter:

ulx rcon ulx adduser (your game name) superadmin

You are now a SuperAdmin. Leave PuTTY and launch Garry's Mod. Search in the Sandbox servers list for your server. Click on it, enter the password and you should see your loading screen. All of your collection addons should also be loading. This can take a few minutes initially, depending on the number and size of the addons.

Once you are in the server you should immediately see the ULX admin screen that you customized. Go ahead and close this. Hit 'y' to open the chat window and type in !menu. The admin menu will now be displayed. From here you can add other players, ban players and change maps.

Shut down PuTTY. You will now see that your server has shut down. To keep your server running indefinitely, you will need to add on more step in the server startup process. After logging into PuTTY, enter this:


This will keep the server operating. You can then proceed to finish starting the server. To reboot the VPS and stop all servers, type the following into putty at any time:

reboot -f


You can locate your Garry's Mod server by first launching the GMOD game application and then selecting 'Find Multiplayer Game'. You will be taken to a page with a list of server categories. Click on 'Sandbox' and then enter your server name in the search field above the list of active servers. If your server is not found then enter your server IP in this format: - this is certain to work.

gmod multiplayer server list


Updating involves one easy step: Login to the server through your CMD interface and enter this line of commands:

./Steam/steamcmd.sh +login anonymous +force_install_dir "~/home/gmodds" +app_update 4020 validate +quit

Make sure to switch out '/home/gmodds' to the actual pathway where the server is located.

Take care and enjoy your new GMOD server!

Wattenhofer GMOD map creations:
Bikini Atoll, 1946
Cylidrome Arena

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