A game server browser is a program or website typically used by clients to browse and select game servers for use in playing online multiplayer games. These can be part of a game itself, though they are often provided by third-party companies that allow players to more quickly and easily find game servers. The information displayed in such browsers can vary, though they typically indicate the general location of a server, the game being played, and the number of players on the server. A game server browser can also be used to track information about a server, including who is on it and how many people are typically on it at certain times of day.
The primary users of a game server browser are people who wish to play multiplayer computer games online with other people. These games are often hosted on dedicated servers, to which players can connect as clients and then play together. While some games provide servers for players to connect to, many players rent their own servers and play together. The use of a game server browser can make it easier for players to find servers and more quickly find other people with whom to play.
A game server browser usually consists of either a website that tracks server activity or a separate utility or program that tracks the same information. The information displayed by this browser can vary somewhat among programs or browsers, though some data is fairly standard. Most browsers display the general location of a server, usually the country, allowing potential users to anticipate issues that may arise from connecting to a server that is at a long geographical distance from the player. A game server browser also usually displays the current and maximum number of players allowed, the game played, and whether the server is open to new players.
If a particular group or clan of players is associated with a particular server, then that is also typically displayed through a game server browser. More detailed information can include the average and current lag times experienced by players, as well as the Internet protocol (IP) port or address for the server. Some browsers even display the number of players who have used a server at different times of day, allowing a new player to consider what times other players are commonly active. A game server browser may also track all of this information over time and use it to rank the servers available, allowing new players to more quickly find the fastest and most reliable servers.