World Server

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Recommended Reading

The article World Administration Guide is recommended before planning a world and/or running a world.



These installation instructions require that you have downloaded the latest Windows version of the Active Worlds Server Software from our web site at

Unless you have access to your own Active Worlds Universe, you must also have purchased an Active Worlds Server license from Activeworlds Inc. and have received a valid name and password for your world.

System Requirements

Hosting your own Active World requires either a PC running Windows (Win2k and later) or Linux. For maximum uptime and reliability, a server-oriented operating system (i.e. Windows 2003 x86/amd64 or Unix x86) is recommended, along with a dedicated 24-hour Internet connection.

It is possible to host a world on your PC at home, but in this case, your world will only be accessible while your PC is connected to the Internet. If you want your world to be accessible 24 hours a day, you must either keep your PC up and running and connected to the Internet 24 hours a day, or pay someone to host your world for you. Activeworlds Inc. can host your world for you for an additional fee. See our hosting page for hosting prices.

In order to host your own Active World, you must first download and install the Active Worlds Server on your computer.

It is possible to run more than one world at a time on the same computer. The number of worlds that can be run on a single computer is limited only by the available resources on that computer.

Note: The requirements listed below do not include the disk space and bandwidth required to host the objects for your world. The artwork for a given world can be on any web site on the World Wide Web; there is no requirement that they be hosted on the same machine that is running the Active Worlds Server. The amount of disk space and bandwidth required by the web server varies widely depending on how many objects your world has and how big the artwork files are.

Hardware Requirements

The Active Worlds Server has been designed to use as little RAM, CPU, and disk space as possible. On a typical PC running Windows 2000, 256 megabytes of RAM should be sufficient for running a single server. Under Windows or Linux, especially systems that are running other applications concurrently, we recommend a minimum of at least 256 megabytes of RAM.

Hosting a typical personal world should require less than 5 megabytes of disk space. Larger commercial worlds, in particular worlds which are open for public building, can require up to 20 megabytes of disk space, or even more if your world is especially large.

The Active Worlds Server requires very little CPU power to run. For example, an Active Worlds Server for a world with 100 users in it simultaneously would typically use less than 10% of the CPU of a 800Mhz Pentium. Thus, even an older P4 CPU is more than enough power to run a typical Active Worlds Server.

Bandwidth Requirements

The bandwidth required for each visitor to your world varies considerably. Usage is highest when a user enters your world for the first time, when their browser will use most of their available bandwidth for a brief period of time. This is due to the (usually) large amount of property information they need to receive on first entry in order to display the contents of your world. On subsequent visits, information transmitted to the user should drop significantly, because everything previously received is cached on their hard disk. You can estimate the amount of bandwidth you will need by assuming an average of about 150 bytes per seconds per user. The table below shows our suggestions for the maximum number of simultaneous users that can be supported on some common types of connections. These limits can be exceeded but visitors to your world(s) may experience reduced performance.

Connection Type Maximum Users
56K Modem 20
DSL or cable 100
T1 1000

Note: If you are hosting more than one world on your server, the above maximums will apply to the combined total of all users in all of your worlds. The maximum user count will be considerably less if you are serving the objects for your worlds over the same connection. It is not possible to reliably estimate here the additional amount of bandwidth required to serve objects, since as with any web site this is a function of how many different images and files a visitor to your world will need to download.

Network Requirements

The World Server requires unrestricted access to the Internet in order to function. Running behind a firewall, proxy server, or any other type of network configuration that blocks incoming connections may be configured to work but is NOT supported.

Windows Installation

The Windows version of the Active Worlds Server is shipped as a self-installing archive. Simply double-click on the .exe file and follow the instructions on your screen. The installer will prompt you for the world name and world password provided to you when you registered your world. It will also ask you for your citizen number so that you can be the caretaker for your world. If you don't know your citizen number, it is displayed in the Citizen Attributes dialog.

The install program creates a new Windows program group called "Active Worlds Server". To start the server, go to this group and select "world". Note that your PC must be connected to the Internet in order for the server to start.

Before starting the server, you should consider activating the automatic backup feature. You are strongly encouraged to make use of this feature, as accidents do happen and world data is occasionally lost due to file corruption, disk failure, etc. If the server database files are accidentally damaged or deleted and you do not have a backup, all of the building in your world will be lost and cannot be recovered! See the section on automatic backups for instructions on how to activate this feature.

Linux Installation

The Unix version of the Active Worlds Server is available for SunSparc computers running Solaris and x86 computers running Linux Red Hat 6.0 or later. Note that other versions of Linux may work but are not officially supported at this time.

Once you have downloaded the Active Worlds Server and transferred the file to your Unix host, please follow these simple instructions:

  • Install the server software

Create a new directory to store the server files, and place the server file there. For this example, assume the name of the file is "awssun43.tar.gz":

mkdir ~/awserver mv awssun43.tar.gz ~/awserver cd ~/awserver 
  • Unpack the file:
gunzip awssun43.tar.gz tar xvf awssun43.tar 

The tar file unpacks into the following:

atdump atload convert ejdump ejload elevdump elevload propdump propload world worldsdump worldsload example.ini license.txt readme.txt 

  • Modify the world.ini file

After unpacking the .tar file, you need to add an administration password to the world.ini file before starting the server. To do this, first copy the example file "example.ini" file to the file "world.ini":

cp example.ini world.ini 
  • Then edit world.ini using any text editor such as vi. At the top of the file, you will see a section like this:

Choose an administration password for your server and enter it after the password=. The password can be anything, but as with any password it should be long and hard to guess. For example, if you chose the password "hobart119$xxa", your world.ini would look like this:


  • Specify a backup directory (optional)

The Active Worlds Server has the ability to maintain an automated backup of itself at all times. You are strongly encouraged to make use of this feature, as accidents do happen and world data is occasionally lost due to file corruption, disk failure, etc. If the server database files are accidentally damaged or deleted and you do not have a backup, all of the building in your worlds will be lost and cannot be recovered! To activate the automatic backup feature, simply specify the name of a backup directory in the .ini file like this (the directory name shown here is just an example):

[backup] dir=/etc/backups/myworld 

Now you can save the world.ini file and exit the text editor.

  • Start the server

Start the server by typing:


The process will run in the background automatically. If you return to the command prompt with no messages, this means the process has started successfully.




Running Multiple Servers

It is possible to run more than one Active Worlds Server on the same physical machine. However, with one exception, this is normally not necessary since a single server can host any number of worlds in a single process.

The exception is if you need to run multiple worlds in different universes on the same machine. In this case you will need to run more than one Active Worlds server, since each server can only host worlds in a single universe at a time. See multiple universes for details.

Changing the port

If you still want to run more than one server on a single machine, you will need to assign alternate port numbers for each world server. By default, the Active Worlds Server runs on port 7777. The procedure for assigning alternate port numbers is the same for both Windows and Unix.

First, decide on a port numbering scheme that is easy to remember and follow. We recommend beginning at port 7001 and then assigning a new port number incrementally for each additional server you are hosting. So for example your first server would run on port 7001, your second server would run on port 7002, your third on 7003, etc.

Then go to the installation directory of each world server and edit the file world.ini. Add the entry "port=xxxx" under the [server] section, where "xxxx" is the port number you wish to assign. The result should look something like this:


Then simply start the world server as you normally would (or restart it if it was already running).

Naming multiple servers

Under Windows, if you run more than one server on the same machine, you will wind up with more than one icon in the system tray, one for each server. In order to tell them apart, you can assign a name to each server from the world.ini file:


The server will display this name in the tooltip pop-up when you move the mouse over the system tray icon.

Under Unix, there is no system tray icon so this setting has no effect. If you are running more than one server under Unix, a useful trick you can use to tell servers apart is to simply invoke each server with a unique name specified on the command line. This argument will be ignored by the world server, but it can be grep'd for in the system process list later. For example:

[linux]$ world server1
[linux]$ ps ax | grep server1
25691 ? S 0:00 world server1

Hosting Worlds in Other Universes

If you are running a world in a universe other than the default Active Worlds Universe, you will need to modify the world.ini file to contain the location information of your universe server so that the world server can find it on startup. This process is also described in the installation instructions for the Active Worlds UniServer.

To specify a different universe, add a new section to the world.ini file called "[universe]", and under that add a new entry "host=" to specify the domain name or IP address of the universe server. For example:


You can also specify an optional "port=" entry here if your universe is not running on the default port 5670:


Note that, as with any changes to the world.ini file, if your world server is running when you make these changes, you must shut it down and restart it for the changes to take effect.


Most administration tasks (adding/removing worlds, etc.) can be accomplished most easily though the world server administration tool.


Using the Admin tool

If the world server is up and running, the simplest method for creating or loading backups is to use the world server administration tool.

Creating backups

3.4 & earlier

4.1 & later

Loading bacukps

3.4 & earlier

4.1 & later