How to install a mod manually through FTP

In some cases, you might want to install a mod manually. Some providers have issues with mods over a certain filesize and their installer is not fast enough to grab the files from Steam CMD before it stalls, resulting in a bad mod install where some issues arise, for example, engrams that can’t be learned and creatures that don’t spawn. In such cases, you should consider switching providers to a more reliable one.

Regardless, in this little guide, we’ll be taking a look at how to upload and install a mod manually instead. I will use WinSCP as a client, Nitrado as a provider, and Gaia as a mod.


You’ll need an FTP-client to upload the files. Read more about the FTP protocol here. Personally, I prefer FileZilla and WinSCP, both are easy to understand, powerful, and free, but in reality, any FTP client does the trick for this simple task. This guide will show how it’s done with WinSCP.

Some providers use FTP and some use SFTP. The only real difference is that SFTP is more secure. Any FTP client can connect and transfer files fine regardless of which protocol is used and your provider will tell you which you should use to connect to their service.

Step 1

Subscribe to the mod, let the Steam client download it. Launch ARK and let it install completely, wait until this text has disappeared. Remember to turn off your server until the whole process is complete!

Look into your Mods-folder if you have the folder and .mod-file with the corresponding ID. Learn how to find mod ID’s here.

Step 2

After you’ve installed your FTP-client, get the credentials from your provider. These credentials are usually found in the activation mail you got. Some providers also have the credentials in plain text in their control panel if you are logged in. If you can’t find your credentials, contact their support.

Enter the credentials in your FTP-client and connect.

Locate the Mods-folder, drag your local files to the remote location.

Step 3

Once fully uploaded, go back into your server’s control panel and add the mod ID to its command line. This is done differently on different providers. On some you have to do it on the startup command line, some providers have a separate GUI textbox for it. Consult your support if unsure.

Separate mod ID’s by a comma, like this,


Start the server and let it verify the install. your server should be up and running rather quickly as it doesn’t have to download the mod. You have now manually installed a mod on your server.

Quick note, if your service provider struggles to install mods over 1-1,5GB in file size, you will most likely have to repeat this process every time the mod is updated. There are better and worse server providers out there and you often get what you pay for. Nitrado is one of the best ones in our opinion, and they also host all official servers for ARK. Check them out below!