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Adding Mods to your ARK: Survival Evolved Server

This guide will walk you through the steps of manually adding Steam Workshop mods to your ARK Dedicated server.

Subscribe to the Mods on Steam Workshop

Start your Steam client, and select ARK: Survival Evolved from your game library.

Click on the "Workshop" button near the top of the game page in the Steam UI.

A view of Steam's game page for ARK: Survival Evolved, highlighting the workshop button

Select the mods you want to use in your game, and subscribe to them.

Once subscribed, Steam will begin downloading the mod content.

You will see ARK in your game library listings is now "Validating" for a short while.

A view of Steam's control panel showing a game being

The mods are not actually installed correctly yet, Steam has only downloaded the files it needs to start installing them. To perform the actual installation, you will need to start Ark next on your PC.

Start ARK on Steam, and choose "Host/Local" as if starting a singleplayer game

The title screen of ARK: Survival Evolved

Once ARK is started, you will see messages in the lower right corner listing the progress of mods being installed.

This step of starting ARK is absolutely essential, and cannot be skipped.

Wait for each one of the subscribed mods to be fully installed. This may take some time.

ARK Survival Evolved host local screen showing mods being installed

When it's finished, the mods will show on the lower right side of this screen, like in the screenshot below.

A view of the control panel for single player games in ark

Activate the Mods

Select each mod you want to use, one at a time, and then click on the button with the two arrows on it, and then click the "Add Mod" button when it appears.

A view of the control panel for creating a single player game in ark, showing how to activate mods

This will enable each mod, and they will now appear on the upper right side of the screen, like in the screenshot below.

A view of the control panel for creating a single player game in ARK, showing enabled mods

Start a Single Player Game

Load into the game, wait about five minutes and then exit. This will make sure everything is downloaded and the files are made correctly to upload to your server.

Find the Installed Mods

On Steam, go to your game library and right click on ARK: Survival Evolved, and then click on "Properties" at the bottom of the popup menu.

In the window that appears, click on the "Local Files" tab along the side, and then click on "Browse".

Using the Steam interface to locate your ARK: Survival Evolved's local files

This opens a window showing the files for your ARK: Survival Evolved client in the Steam application.

ARK: Survival Evolved's local files on your PC

Click on and open the following folders:

  • Shootergame,

  • then Content,

  • then Mods.

And in that last folder are all your mods! Ta-dah!

The directory location of your ARK: Survival Evolved's mods

Inside, there are folders for each mod, labeled with the steam workshop ID for each mod.

There will also be matching numbered files that end in ".mod".

Both the folder for each mod and the matching ".mod" file must be uploaded to the server for the mods to work correctly.

Upload Files to Server

Upload to your server all the mod files copied from the previous step.

It's highly recommended that you "zip" all the files up before uploading them to your server. Files contained in a single zip file are also easier to move around on your server if you need to transfer them from one directory to another.

Zipping up the ARK mod folders with their .mod files

Copy them to the folder /ShooterGame/Content/Mods on the server.

You can use drag and drop in the file manager view of the control panel, or you can use an FTP program to do the uploading.

The mod directory in Nodepanel where you'll upload your mods

Be sure to unzip the zip file!

Enable Mods in Configuration Files on the Server

The next step is to tell the server to actually load and use the mods by adding the mod ID's to the configuration file that controls this.

That file is called GameUserSettings.ini, and it's located in /ShooterGame/Saved/Config/LinuxServer

Once you've gone to the LinuxServer folder, select the file GameUserSettings.ini by clicking the blue box to the left of the file name in the Nodecraft file manager view. Then click the "Edit" button at the top of the file manager window.

A view of where the GameUserSettings.ini file in Nodepanel File Manager

Once the File Manager is displaying the contents of GameUserSettings.ini, find the section labeled [ServerSettings] in purple text.

In that section, add the following line:


Adding the ActiveMods config line in GameUserSettings.ini file

Followed by all the steam workshop IDS of the mods to be enabled, separated by commas.

NOTE: Capitalization is very important in ARK settings, the line ActiveMods= must have an uppercase A in active, and M in mods or it will not be processed correctly by the game.

Adding all the mod id's for ARK

Once you are finished, Save the changes made to the configuration file, and then Restart the ARK server.

If everything has been done correctly, your ARK: Survival Evolved server now has mods!

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