Setup a TeamSpeak 3 Server on Linux (Ubuntu / Debian)

TeamSpeak 3 is a heavily used solution (if not the most used one) to do low latency voice chat while gaming. For e.g. if you use Skype, the delay and the traffic between the talking people will be much higher, besides the Skype client being way more bloated than TeamSpeak. Besides TeamSpeak 3 there are other gaming based low latency solutions like Discord (which uses central servers without the possibility to setup your own instance) and Mumble.

However, this tutorial is about how to setup a TeamSpeak 3 server on your Linux box. Thanks to the TeamSpeak 3 developers, this process is rather easy and you should have a running TeamSpeak 3 server within minutes. So, let’s start.

Install requirements

The TeamSpeak 3 Server doesn’t really need any extra libraries in order to work. With a new Debian 9 setup for e.g. it start without any additional libraries. However to download and extract the server software we need some additional software, in this case a download manger (wget) and the utility to extract the compromised server software (bzip2). With the following command you will install this needed utilities. In this case we use Debian / Ubuntus package manager APT:

user@server:~$ sudo apt-get update
user@server:~$ sudo apt-get install wget bzip2

Now that all the needed utilities are on board, let’s move forward and install the server software itself.

Download and install the TeamSpeak 3 Server

TeamSpeak 3 is a proprietary software solution. Due to this fact you will not be able to install it from the repositories of your Linux distribution. So this means you have to download it from the developers homepage onto your server. You can download the latest TeamSpeak 3 Server software here. As of writing this tutorial the latest and greatest TeamSpeak 3 Server version was 3.0.13.8. Whenever you go through this tutorial, your version number may be a newer one. The following command downloads version 3.0.13.8 to your server:

user@server:~$ wget http://dl.4players.de/ts/releases/3.0.13.8/teamspeak3-server_linux_amd64-3.0.13.8.tar.bz2

After the download is finished (which can take some time depending on your network speed), we can extract the downloaded server software. The following command is doing this:

user@server:~$ tar xfvj teamspeak3-server_linux_amd64-3.0.13.8.tar.bz2

Now it’s time to start the server for the first time.

Starting the TeamSpeak 3 Server

Now, that we’ve downloaded and extracted the server software, we will be able to start the server software. To do so, we have to change into the TeamSpeak Server directory (which has been automatically created with extracting the server software) and issue the command to start the server:

user@server:~$ cd teamspeak3-server_linux_amd64
user@server:~/teamspeak3-server_linux_amd64$ ./ts3server_startscript.sh start

The first start takes some time, approximate 1-3 minutes. After the first start is finished, you will get an output like this:

------------------------------------------------------------------
 I M P O R T A N T 
------------------------------------------------------------------
 Server Query Admin Account created 
 loginname= "serveradmin", password= "BVV2YUIJ"
------------------------------------------------------------------


------------------------------------------------------------------
 I M P O R T A N T 
------------------------------------------------------------------
 ServerAdmin privilege key created, please use it to gain 
 serveradmin rights for your virtualserver. please
 also check the doc/privilegekey_guide.txt for details.

token=zvCYfUTRlcYl12dviAMuGKR7e+nQYKSE0bD9O4CI
------------------------------------------------------------------

Important: You should write down the server query admin account on a piece of paper, or you save these informations in a password database. This account is needed in emergency cases, like lost TeamSpeak user data or hacking attempts.

In this case we only need the privilege key for now. Store the line, starting with token= in a text file. We need this token later on.

To finally ensure if you’re server is running correctly, you can issue the following command:

user@server:~/teamspeak3-server_linux_amd64$ ./ts3server_startscript.sh status
Server is running

If the output Server is running is welcoming you, it’s time to connect to your new server.

Connect to your server and give yourself admin rights

At this point I assume, that you’ve already installed the TeamSpeak 3 client onto your computer. If you didn’t, you should download it here. If you’re a Linux user, you have to download the TeamSpeak 3 client through the link. You will not find the TeamSpeak 3 client in the distribution repositories due to the same reason as you will not find the TeamSpeak 3 server software.

To connect to your server, start the TeamSpeak 3 client and click on Connections –> Connect or use the hotkey CTRL+S. In the upcoming dialog, enter the IP address or name of your server and pick a nickname which you want to use on that server and hit the Connect button.

Connection dialog

The server recognizes that the server was initially setup and pops up another dialog where it asks for a so called Privilege Key. This Privilege Key is the generated token we’ve saved a few steps before in a text file. Open the text file (if not already) and copy everything after token= and insert this key into the dialog box like this:

TeamSpeak privilege key

After you’ve used the privilege key you can delete the text file. A privilege key is for onetime use only. However, you should now see a new symbol besides your nickname which states that you’re an Administrator. From now on, you should be able to create channels, server groups, edit the servers name and so on.

Indicator that you’re an Admin (click to enlarge)

After this step your TeamSpeak 3 server is completely and fully setup. You can now close the SSH connection to your server and start to share your servers address with your friends and start talking 🙂

Useful tips

While the TeamSpeak 3 software is mainly rock solid, you should take care that your server is always up to date. To update the TeamSpeak 3 server software go to their official homepage, download the newest version (like you did before in this tutorial with wget) and extract it. The files will be overwritten besides the database files. This ensures that you don’t have to start all over again when you do an update. However, you have to stop the TeamSpeak 3 server before you update it. You can do this easily like this:

user@server:~$ cd teamspeak3-server_linux_amd64
user@server:~/teamspeak3-server_linux_amd64$ ./ts3server_startscript.sh stop

After you’ve extracted the updated server files you can start the server again:

user@server:~/teamspeak3-server_linux_amd64$ ./ts3server_startscript.sh start

Please be also aware that you should use a firewall or package filter solution like IPTables. A server with the latest security patches is good, but a firewall solution will always increases the security these days.

Final words

In times where almost everything goes more and more centralized (Discord, WhatsApp, …) I feel that a solution like TeamSpeak 3 is really needed. I know there are other solutions like Mumble which has the additional benefit of being Open Source, however, we can’t have enough decentralized solutions if you ask me 😉

I hope this tutorial is helpful for you. If you have any questions or if you just want to leave a feedback, use the comment section below.

 

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