Trying to survive in the zombie apocalypse of Project Zomboid can be a lonely experience, but it doesn’t have to be. As the game continues to evolve over time, developer The Indie Stone continues to tinker and improve its multiplayer functionality. In its current state, it’s the most stable it has ever been, so if you were waiting for a chance to return to the game and invite a couple friends over to join, now is the best time to do so. This guide explains how Project Zomboid multiplayer works so you can play with friends in build 41 without hassle.
How to Join Servers – Project Zomboid Multiplayer
You can play Project Zomboid by yourself, but if you’re keen on playing with friends or joining a server, you can do this at any time from the main menu. Choose the Join option and a new window will open. Here, you can see two tabs: Favorites and Internet. Click the latter and the server list will slowly showcase all the ones that are available at the moment (it may take a couple seconds, mind you!).
Servers are on the left side of the window. Each has a name, description, and basic information:
- Whitelist: This can be turned on or off. It indicates if this is a private server protected by account usernames and passwords approved by the host. You can filter to show whitelist servers at the bottom of the window, next to “show empty servers.”
- Ping: By default, the game will search for servers that are close to your location, but it’s possible to find servers from other regions, which you will immediately notice by higher pings.
- Players: The number of players — up to 126 folks can be in the same server simultaneously, so it can vary greatly.
- Version: Most servers will be up to date with the latest patch, but you can filter to show servers running different versions on the bottom of the window.
Keep in mind you can only connect to Steam servers when using the Steam client. If you want to join a LAN or WAN server, you will need to insert the server’s public IP on the right column.
Speaking of which, after you have selected a server, you can add it to favorites using the right column. Bear in mind that you need to input an account username and password to join servers or add them as favorites every time. Both can be anything, since it’s just to secure that nobody else uses your username (unless you’re joining a specific whitelisted server). If the server has a general password, type it in the Server Password field, which is right below Port.
How to Host a Server – Project Zomboid
You’re also free to host your own server from the main menu. This will open a very straightforward window where you can select the server’s name and the RAM you want to allocate to it. If you’d like to tweak it further, click Manage Settings next to Server Name.
While doing so for the first time, go ahead and choose Create New Settings. Here’s where you can name your server files which will be created in the route displayed on screen.
By default, the Project Zomboid server file path on Windows should be C:\Users\[your PC username here]\Zomboid\Server.
After naming the server and the files as a result, you can access the general settings. There is a lot to tweak here, but all in all, it depends on how much you want to tailor the experience.
The first dropdown under INI is mostly about server settings, while Sandbox is the same menu that you can find on singleplayer, which tackles settings about the game specifically.
A couple options that are worth looking into:
- Details: You can name your server here, as well as include a description and password if you don’t want it to be public. This is great to create a private session to play with friends without worrying about random players. If you need to tweak your port, you can do so as well.
- Steam Workshop: If you want to enable certain Steam Workshop mods that you have installed, they will appear here. Just go ahead and click the dropdown in Add an installed Workshop item to the list. Anyone who joins the server will have to download them if they don’t have them yet. The Mods tab allows you to do the same but with mods outside Steam Workshop.
- Players: You can set the number of max players, which is 16 by default. There are other options as well, such as how frequently players will need to sleep, but they’re not mandatory.
- PVP: As the name implies, you can toggle PVP in Project Zomboid on and off here. You can also enable the Safety System so each player can opt in and out individually, preventing folks from getting attacked by hostile players.
- Chat: This allows you to enable or disable both global and local chat, as well as include a welcome message for everyone, or announce the death of a player.
- Discord: Here you can enable Discord integration, but you will first need to create a Discord bot for a channel in the server you want to use. Primarily, this serves to share in-game messages with a channel of choice and vice versa.
Once you’re happy with your settings, go ahead and start the server. Depending on your Windows firewall settings, you may need to grant access to the Zulu Platform x64 Architecture. If you see this in your task manager, that’s where it comes from.
Before Playing Project Zomboid Multiplayer, A Few Words of Advice
If you want a couple general tips when you join a server, you can press Enter to chat. I recommend reading the chat at least once in case the host pinned a message — they may include a link to a Discord server or any relevant information (one server said “online 24/7 unless there’s a power cut lol” which is incredibly on brand with the game.)
Since multiplayer uses Steam as a client, you can invite people from your friends list by heading to the pause menu and choosing Invite Friends. The Players option, which is right above it, lets you see everyone in the server. Note that your Steam name and profile pic are visible to others. This menu also allows you to either mute or voice mute a specific user.
You May Also Like:
- Project Zomboid Hotwire Guide – How to Hotwire Cars
- Project Zomboid Electrical Guide – Electrical Leveling Tips and How to Operate Generators
- Project Zomboid Siphon Guide – How to Siphon Gas & Find Empty Cans
If you want to hide your in-game account username while playing, so it only shows your character name instead, you can do this by going to settings and then multiplayer. However, this won’t hide it from others.
Also, you can open up the Emote menu by holding Q, which ranges from quick messages to a few animations. Lastly, while redundant, note that you can’t pause your game in multiplayer. If you were wondering why the option to do so was missing from the right top corner of your screen, that’s why.