Hosting your own Planet server



A. Conditions to open a Planet server

In which cases can you host your own planet server?

1. you want a private planet to build alone.

In this case, install the planet server on your PC but do not open the firewall ports so that your planet is not publicly accessible on the internet. You can build there alone, even without an internet connection. You can bring your constructions later via your inventory on the public planets.

2. you want to create a public planet.

2.1 You will not have any control

It is important to know that managing a public planet server does not bring any privilege in the game. There is no administrator mode. You perform this service for free and at your own expense. Your planet will be part of the network of planets and it is not possible for you to control or to decide who can come and build on your server in particular. Having your own planet will not protect you from having annoying neighbors next to your property.

2.2 first form a group of friends, not after

We would like to caution you that it is very possible that your server will not have any visitors, even if you build a beautiful scenery yourself. If you are alone, please do not start your own planet. Don't expect to attract people to your land by having your own planet, it will be the other way around: you will have even less people than if you stay on one of the other planets which already has its regulars. What you have to do is first to create a group of friends who have been building for several weeks on the other planet servers and who agree to follow you for a common project.

2.3 Online 24/7 for several months

We expect public planets to stay online 24 hours a day, for a long duration (several months). If you are unable to provide this, do not create a public planet.

No one will come and build on your server if your statistics indicate that your server is not online 24 hours a day and reliable for a long time. If a server has too many problems and people avoid building on it, we reserve the right to remove it from the list.

You can host a planet server on your PC at home provided you have a fixed IP address (or a dynDNS) and a good internet connection. It is however preferable to rent a dedicated server in order to have a fast network at 100 Mb/s.

2.4 backups

The management of the server brings a chore, that of regularly (every day or at least every week) taking a backup of the database, so that in case of failure of your machine you can start again from a new installation and your last backup, to avoid the losses of creations and angry users. If you don't have the computer knowledge to guarantee reliability at this level, please don't start your own public planet.

B. The Planet server software

The Planet server software runs on Windows. It supports a maximum of 1000 connected users and needs about 20 GB of hard disk space to store the users' 3D creations.

At the first startup, the software creates a large planet with 90% of oceans and 10% of empty building lands composed of islands of random position and size. While it is daytime on one side of the planet it is night on the other side. It takes 20 minutes to fly around it.

The users connect to the server on the one hand via the port UDP 13000 with the planet software, and on the other hand via the port TCP 80 with a navigator to reach the group, the help manual, the message forum, and the mini-chat.

C. How to install a planet server

You need either a Windows PC running 24 hours a day with a fixed IP connection (or accessible via dynDNS), or a dedicated Windows server.

To get the server software, take a copy of planet.exe (which is normally on your hard disk if you have installed the planet software), and simply rename planet.exe into planet_server.exe

Create a folder on the hard disk of your server, put planet_server.exe in it and start it.

If your server is running on the PC where you are chatting, connect with planet://127.0.0.1/#my_planet and browse the group with http://127.0.0.1

Open the ports UDP 13000 and TCP 80 so that your server is accessible publicly on the Internet. Give your IP to a friend so that he can connect with the planet software via a link planet://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx or via an internet browser by giving a link http://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx

Database

The server will create a database "planet_server_database.db" which contains the whole 3D world and the groups. The database file is always locked since it is actively updated. It is not possible to take a copy, this is normal.

Every night at 5am, the server creates a file "planet_server_database.db.BACKUP" which is a copy of the database. The previous copy is renamed in "planet_server_database.db.OLD-BACKUP". So you have at any time 3 files:

planet_server_database.db            : the active (blocked) database
planet_server_database.db.BACKUP     : the copy of the previous day
planet_server_database.db.OLD-BACKUP : the copy from 2 days ago

It is your responsibility to regularly take a copy of the backup files. After a reinstallation, simply rename the most recent backup file to "planet_server_database.db" so that it becomes the active database again.

It is possible, via a planet_server.ini file, to specify a folder where the server stores the backup files:

  # planet_server.ini

  [settings]
  backup_folder = e:/backup/

Defragmentation

It is possible that at the start of the server you cannot connect to it immediately. If you see a file "planet_server_database.db.DFRG" it means that the server is defragmenting the database. You have then to wait between 5 and 15 minutes.

Double Start

If you start planet_server.exe while it is already running, the second planet_server.exe will not start.

Rules of caution

We remind you here that in case of a problem on a production server, the 1st rule is to never delete anything. The 2nd rule is to keep a clean environment. Normally you should only have a planet on your C: disk with the exe, the database and the 2 backup files. The other files are temporary.

What to do in case of error

If the server stops with an error window, you can try to restart it. The error is recorded in a CRASH-REPORT.TXT file that you should send to marcsamu@hotmail.com for server correction.

Windows Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 (64bits)

If you are a computer expert able to configure a machine with DOS commands, we give you the tip to rent a Windows Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 (64bits). Beware that this server has no graphical interface, so there is no Windows Explorer to copy files comfortably with the mouse, everything is done with DOS commands typed on the keyboard. This is a minimal version of Windows that Microsoft offers for free (without a license). Servers rented with this distribution are therefore very cheap (around 20€ per month).

You can connect to your server using the Windows Remote Desktop.

To share a folder on your PC, use the MS-DOS command :

  net use z: \\TSCLIENT\C

To start task manager, type :

  taskmgr.exe

To open UDP port 13000 and TCP port 80, open a DOS box with administrator privilege and type :

  netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name="UDP Port 13000" dir=in action=allow protocol=UDP localport=13000
  netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name="TCP Port 80" dir=in action=allow protocol=TCP localport=80