Half-Life Dedicated Server

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Screenshot of HLDS running Counter-Strike in Linux.

Half-Life Dedicated Server (HLDS) is the software that powers many of the older Steam games.


A GoldSrc or Source engine based multiplayer game can be hosted in three different ways:

  1. Inside the Windows game client, using the "New Game" button (a "listen server", see game servers)
  2. Using the Steam-based dedicated server (only on Windows)
  3. Using a standalone dedicated server

Most high-performance servers use the latter case. The Windows build of the standalone dedicated server can optionally be run with a graphical front-end, but graphical is the default mode when running in Steam. Most often commercial game server hosts choose the Linux build as it is regarded as a more flexible server operating system with higher performance.



Most online Counter-Strike servers are dedicated servers running HLDS, as opposed to "listen servers". HLDS-servers can be remotely controlled using RCON. HLDS servers can host additional custom content for games, which can be downloaded to players, when they join the server. This made it possible to make custom maps (such as fy or fight yard) available, that were not shipped with the original Counter-Strike release.

HLDS is the only server available for hosting Counter-Strike and other Half-Life derived games.

Using Metamod, the server can load and unload dynamic library modules (.so on Linux, .dll on Windows).[1] The modules can provide statistics (StatsMe) or ease server administration (AMX Mod X).[2]


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