Playing Valheim with friends is the premier way to enjoy the viking survival game. To do that, you’ll need to either create servers in the game so other players can join you, or join them in their servers. Valheim’s menus can be a bit confusing to navigate, though, especially if you don’t really know much about local hosting or dedicated servers. And even joining games can be a little wonky, requiring you to use Steam’s menus to find servers using IP addresses.
Check out the guide below for everything you need to know to set up your own servers or join someone else’s in Valheim. It’s also worth noting that if you’re looking for new co-op viking friends, you can check the Community server list and join in with other people you don’t know–although you should do so at your own risk, since you never know if your new friends might turn out to be griefers. It’s also good practice to check for Discord servers to go with your Valheim servers so you can talk to other players.
Joining A Server
The Join feature for Valheim can be a bit janky. We had trouble finding the servers created by our friends by going through the game client. You should be able to join a friend’s Valheim server from the main menu by using either the server name or the IP address. If the server is set up correctly, it should appear on the Community Server list by name; use the “Filter” text box to search for it. You’ll need the password to gain entry. If that doesn’t work, use the “IP” button to search for the server by its IP number and enter the password.
If neither of those options work, however, there is another way around using Steam. Quit Valheim and go to the Steam window you use to launch the game. Look up the menu at the top of the window and select “View.” Go down the list to “Servers” and click it to pull open a new window.
On the servers window, go to the “Favorites” tab and click the button to “Add a Server” in the bottom-right corner. That’ll bring up another menu window where you can enter the IP address of the server you want to join. Do that and enter the password when prompted. Steam will automatically launch Valheim and allow you to choose your character; you’ll have to enter the password again to get into the server, but you should load in no problem from there.
That should add the server to your “Favorites” list, so it’ll appear in the Servers window from now on. You can enter it again the same way, from the View menu. Just double-click on the server you want and enter the password to jump into the game.
Creating A Local Game
This is a relatively simple option for players who want to hang out in small groups and don’t intend to play alone. Creating
Start the game and choose a character. When you hit Start, you’ll have the option to create a random world, to make a custom one based on a specific seed, or to join a game created by someone else. If you create your own world, you can start a server that other players can join by clicking the “Start Server” radial button. That’ll allow other players to log in with you–just set a password and a name for your server and you’re all set. Other people you provide with that information should be able to find your server and join you while you’re playing.
Making a local server uses the computer you’re playing Valheim on to host everyone else who’s playing with you, which comes with some drawbacks. First, you’re limited somewhat in the number of people you can host. Valheim game worlds can support up to 10 players at a time, but it’s likely your computer will struggle the more players you get in, so try to keep your groups closer to four or five.
Also note that since a local server uses your computer to host the game, it’s unavailable when you’re not playing. If you log out of Valheim while others are playing on your local server, they’ll also be logged out of the game, and they’ll have to wait for you to log back in to play on your server again. With that in mind, it’s best to use a local server when you’re going to play reliably with the same small group at predictable times.
Creating A Dedicated Server
You can also create a dedicated Valheim server that won’t require you to be logged into the game in order to play. You’ll either need a computer that can stay online to allow your group to log into it, or consider paying a service to rent a server that you can use for the game.
Before you do anything else, you’ll need to set up Port Forwarding on your internet router to make sure that other players can access the server from the internet. Check the website for your internet service provider and router for more information on how to do that. Make a note of which port number you use for this step, because you’ll need that info later. By default, Valheim’s servers use ports 2456-2458.
To start a dedicated Valheim server, you’ll need to download a tool from Steam that came with the game when you bought it. Find it by clicking the drop-down menu on the left side of your Steam interface, labeled “Games,” and select “Tools.” Searching “Valheim” will bring up the Valheim Dedicated Server tool, which you’ll need to download.
From there, the steps for setting up a server are pretty straightforward, although you’ll need to do some quick text editing to get up and running.
1. On the Valheim Dedicated Server page on Steam, click the gear icon for Settings in the top-right corner. Go to “Manage,” then “Browse Local Files.” You can also get this same menu by right-clicking Valheim Dedicated Server under Tools.
2. In the local files window, look for “start_headless_server.bat”. You’ll need to edit that file using a text editor like Notepad, but first, make a copy of the file to serve as a backup should anything go wrong.
3. Right-click start_headless_server.bat and choose “Edit” to open it in Notepad. Go down to the last line of the file, which starts with “valheim_server”. You’ll need to make a few changes to this line to set up the parameters for your server
4. Find ‘-name “My server”‘ in the line and change “My server” to the name you want to give the server. It can be anything, but it’s good to choose something your friends will recognize. Your name should stay inside the quotation marks–so if you were to name your server GameSpot, the entry would look like this: -name “GameSpot”
5. Find ‘-port 2456’ in the line and change the number to the number of the port you used for port forwarding on your router.
6. Find ‘world “Dedicated”‘ in the line and give your game world a name in the place of “Dedicated”. If you’ve already created a Valheim world (which you can do from the start menu when you launch the game), you can use that world–just put its name inside the quotation marks. Otherwise, a new game world with the name you use here will be created instead.
7. Find ‘-password “Secret”‘ in the line and set your server’s password. Whatever you put in the quotation marks will be the server’s password, and it’ll be case-sensitive. You’ll need to give this password to anybody else you want to be able to access the server, so it’s a good idea to write it down for quick reference.
8. Find ‘savedir [PATH]’ in the line. By default, Valheim saves your game Worlds and various permissions files in a specific folder in the AppData folder inside your Windows username folder. If you want to make the game save those files somewhere else, you can specify the file path.
9. Save “start_headless_server.bat” and run the file to launch your dedicated server. You’ll know it’s ready to go for other players to connect to it when you see the message “Game server connected” in the server program window. If the server program triggers a pop-up from Windows Firewall, make sure to allow it full permissions by checking all the boxes so that other players can connect to your server.
10. Allow other players to join your server by adding it to the Community server list from the Valheim menu when you launch the game–players should be able to find your server by the name you gave it. You can also grab the server’s IP address once it’s up and running and give that to friends so they can search for the server that way. As mentioned in the Join section above, if Valheim’s server list and IP address search function are acting up, use the Steam “Server” page (under the View menu in Steam) to search for the server that way. Make sure to give friends the password to the server or they won’t be able to join.
That’s it! If you need more information, you can find the “Valheim Dedicated Server Manual” PDF in the Valheim Dedicated Server local files, where you found start_headless_server.bat.
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