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Does it cost money to start a FiveM server?

The short answer is yes, you do need a license if you want to run a FiveM server. But don‘t worry – servers with up to 32 slots are free, so you won‘t have to pay anything to get started. For larger servers, monthly fees apply. I‘ll explain more below!

What is FiveM and why do you need a license?

For those new to FiveM, it‘s an incredible multiplayer mod that lets you set up your own customized servers for Grand Theft Auto V on PC. You can create different game modes, add mods and scripts, and have complete control over the experience. It unlocks the true potential of GTA Online gameplay.

Now FiveM is free to download and play on. But to actually host your own server, you need a license from the FiveM developers. Here‘s why:

  • It prevents abuse like hacking or modded money drops that could ruin the gameplay.
  • Keeps things fair so people don‘t try to profit off FiveM without contributing.
  • Funds further development and maintenance of FiveM.

The good news is free licenses are available that support up to 32 player slots. For larger servers, paid licenses are required starting at $15/month.

I‘ll cover the details on licensing later. First, let‘s look at…

How FiveM works and what you can do

FiveM utilizes Rockstar‘s super powerful GTA V engine and assets, but avoids the restrictive multiplayer gameplay. Instead, it enables community-created experiences like:

  • Roleplaying (RP) – My personal favorite! Create a character and interact with other players in a simulated world. Work jobs, buy property, live a virtual life.
  • Racing/Drifting – Set up custom tracks and vehicles for competitive, high-speed racing with other players.
  • Deathmatches – Face off in team battles with modded guns and abilities.
  • Minigames – From zombie survival to parkour maps, the possibilities are endless.

Server owners have complete control to mod vehicles, weapons, scripts, maps, and mechanics to create a unique experience. You can make the game insanely realistic or absurdly goofy.

Over 100,000 players enjoy FiveM at peak times, so there‘s definitely demand. Running a popular server takes commitment, but can be very rewarding.

Now let‘s get into the details on…

FiveM server licensing and costs

As mentioned before, all FiveM servers require a license issued from FiveM.net. The good news is servers with up to 32 slots are completely free. This is enough for small community servers or testing things out.

For larger public servers, paid licenses are required:

  • 33-64 slots: $15 per month
  • 65-128 slots: $50 per month

So hosting a private server for you and friends won‘t cost anything. But if you want to scale up and allow more players, licensing fees apply. Make sure to factor this into your operating costs.

Here‘s how to get a free FiveM server license:

  1. Create an account on FiveM.net
  2. Click "Server Management" and apply for a license.
  3. Set up your server and start testing!

The paid licenses also provide priority support and server listing benefits. We‘ll cover making your server public later.

Now let‘s look at…

FiveM server requirements (hardware & specs)

To host a smooth FiveM server, you‘ll need a reasonably powerful Windows PC or server. The minimum requirements are:

  • CPU: Quad-core Intel or AMD, 3 GHz+
  • RAM: 8GB+
  • Storage: 70GB free space
  • OS: Windows Server 2016 or newer
  • GPU: DirectX 11 capable

However, for the best performance with lots of mods and players, I suggest these improved specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 6700K or better
  • RAM: 16GB+
  • Storage: SSD or NVMe drives
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 1070 or RX Vega 56

The more CPU cores, RAM, and fast storage you can get, the better – especially as you scale up in players. Making sure you have sufficient hardware is key before promoting your server publicly.

Now let‘s look at…

Making your FiveM server public

Once you have your server tested and running smoothly, you can open it up so anyone can join. Here‘s how:

  1. In your FiveM Panel, go to Server Management and click "Edit Server Profile".
  2. Under Visibility, check the "Listed Publicly" option.
  3. Fill out your server name, description, tags, social links etc.
  4. Click Save Changes.

Your server will now appear in the public FiveM server browser for thousands to see!

To attract players initially:

  • Share your server info on FiveM forums and Discord.
  • Create trailers showing off your coolest features.
  • Promote it in your gaming communities.
  • Consider running promotions like free in-game cash or items for new members.

With persistence and good word of mouth, you‘ll steadily gain players over time.

Admin tips for running a successful FiveM server

Managing a popular FiveM server takes dedication. Here are some tips:

  • Recruit trustworthy admins – Find mature, responsible players to help moderate chat, enforce rules, and assist new members. Pay them in server perks.
  • Use chat/permission mods – Tools like vMenu let you monitor chat, whitelist users, and restrict malicious mods. Essential for public servers.
  • Backup files regularly – Server crashes or corruption can happen. Always keep a recent backup ready to restore.
  • Watch CPU usage – Constantly optimize and tune your server configs to handle more players without lag.
  • Ban wisely – Set fair rules and ban troublemakers swiftly to maintain order. But avoid ban happy admins who could alienate good players.
  • Listen to feedback – Keep an open mind towards suggestions and complaints from your community.
  • Reward loyal players with exclusive perks, abilities, and gear. But don‘t play favorites either.
  • Stay involved – The more engaged and active you are with your community, the more popular and fun your server will be.

The most successful servers strike a balance between quality roleplay, performance, and an engaged admin team. Set this foundation, and your community will thrive for years to come!

I hope this guide gives you a great starting point for hosting your own FiveM server. Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help fellow gaming enthusiasts.