What are the best DayZ servers to join in 2023? We’ve scoured the internet looking for the top DayZ servers and server clusters to cater to all experiences. Whether you’re looking for some intense PvP, a relaxed PvE sandbox, a modded server that offers something totally fresh, or even a place to roleplay like DayZ Underground, where a creative community has really lived out years’ worth of stories, creating authentic in-universe lore. We’ll also talk about what awaits you on the official servers.
Dean Hall, perhaps the leading figure in the survival game sandbox revolution of the early 2010s, first created the zombie game as a mod within ARMA 2, and then joined Bohemia Interactive to work on a standalone release. While Hall has since moved on, Bohemia has continued to update the game, and it has come a long way from its first form as a zombie-survival sim. Dozens of additional systems have almost turned it into a life sim, and endless mod-ability means that if you can’t do something in the vanilla release, you can probably do it on a modded server somewhere. But all this flexibility has produced a varied range of online experiences, and navigating that landscape can be confusing. That’s where we come in. Read on for our list of some of the best and most populated official and community servers, and a breakdown of exactly what they offer to the discerning DayZ player.
Here is our list of the best DayZ servers to join in 2023:
Community servers vary in their levels of support and oversight, but will generally curate their populations more determinedly. Official servers don’t run mods and as such are the obvious place to go if you want the true vanilla experience, but DayZ is a famously challenging game, and frankly many players prefer a little softening of the survival aspects. Again, it’s worth considering a community server that offers this if you’re new to survival games and want to ease in.
Spaggie runs several servers with a less-is-more philosophy which they discuss in depth on their informative website. They claim not to care about populations or server rankings, but “just want people to have a good place to play.” A range of experiences are on offer but modding tends to be minimal: Spaggie offers quality vanilla servers, and Spaggies Namalsk Hardcore offers a bare-bones and brutal survival experience on DayZ’s fan-favorite cold-weather map.
Active admins enforce server rules which keep the experience fair and positive, but generally do not regulate legitimate in-game behavior – e.g. there are no edicts regarding killing on sight (KoS) or suchlike. It isn’t hard to find anecdotal evidence of some toxicity in the community Discord, so be warned of that, but the servers themselves are recommended for players who know what they’re doing and want a reliable place to play near-vanilla with minimal interference.
Aftermath is a popular server cluster that aims to offer “the ultimate DayZ experience”, which means an expanded but not fundamentally altered one.
The mods used are all about adding new content and gameplay possibilities: you’ll find over one hundred guns and attachments that are exclusive to the server, as well as a custom base-building mod that makes it easy to build your personal redoubt (and a chainsaw to cut into other players’ when raiding).
Sometimes called ‘vanilla plus’, these kinds of setups are very popular in the player base, so we’ve got a few such recommendations for you to check out. Aftermath runs games across all the most popular maps – including Namalsk, Chernarus, Livonia, Deer Isle, and Pripyat – most of which have had a little editing to add new areas.
Aftermath servers are typically well populated; the cluster as a whole claims over 2,500 unique daily players. Join them if you’re after an expanded but still familiar DayZ experience, with plenty of possibilities in both PvP and PvE.
The preferred hangout of TopeREC, one of the biggest DayZ YouTubers going, KarmaKrew servers are favored by content creators for their speed, stability, active admins, and light-touch modding, which dials up the action of vanilla DayZ. The most radical changes are a first-person perspective and the choice to opt out of base building – some (not all) KK servers disable this.
KarmaKrew rotate maps on their servers regularly to cover all the core locales, including Namalsk, Chernarus, Livonia, and Esseker, and populations are reliable thanks to all that streamer promotion. Check it out if you want a reliable vanilla+ experience with a slight nudge toward PvP.
XDC servers are another favored option for the many DayZ players who are looking for vanilla or vanilla+. XDC runs a number of servers that offer this, with enhanced base building and raiding, more weapons and vehicles including helicopters and boats, and hardcore survival on Namalsk if you want to test your skills.
The group’s governing goal is “to provide a DayZ experience that is as unrestricted as possible.” You can build bases as big as you want and “pretty much” anything goes except cheating when it comes to raiding. Robust support and fair but strictly enforced rules ensure minimal disruption.
Kryptic’s servers are among the most popular PvP server offerings in DayZ. They run mods that optimize the competitive side of the game, showering the world in loot and high-tier guns to minimize the gathering and crafting aspects, and adding kill feeds and leaderboards to see how you stack up.
Admins are active, technical performance is a strong point – as you’d hope from a PvP server – and server populations are usually pretty good, so you won’t have to look far for a good fight. If you don’t mind a marked shift away from DayZ’s PvE and survival systems towards hectic deathmatch PvP, you’ll find a home here.
If you’re looking for a PvE server, you should check Archon out. It runs a suite of mods designed to optimize for this side of DayZ, adding new and unique vehicles including helicopters and boats, expanding the base building, and even adding new systems such as trading, law, and missions.
There’s no PvP on the server at all; instead, you’ll fire your guns alongside other players as you work together to take on the zombies. Perhaps relatedly, the server has developed a reputation for a friendly and welcoming community – some achievement in a game known for its hardcore player base – and its technical support is top-notch, boasting “high-spec dedicated servers” with “a lightning-fast 1Gb/s connection”. If you want PvE, look no further.
DayZ is a deep and demanding game, and the learning curve is steep. Thank goodness, therefore, for servers like Noobs Only – one of the best DayZ servers for beginners. Killing players and raiding bases are both banned, so you don’t have to worry about any such rude interruptions while you’re trying to learn the game, and an active admin team works assiduously to build a welcoming, friendly community that’s happy to teach newcomers the game.
Regular events will give you new goals to follow in lieu of any PvP, player populations are usually decent, and a suite of mods further enhances the server for user-friendliness. Better yet, their Discord has channels dedicated to answering beginners’ questions.
The trend of role-playing, or RP, has only spread since its explosion in GTA Online a few years back. It’s increasingly popular in DayZ, and DayZ Underground is one of the OG roleplay servers.
Its focus is on “organic roleplay”, with no forced interactions and the freedom to create your own stories, in an “enhanced vanilla” environment that deepens the survival aspects of DayZ while remaining true to its spirit. The server runs mods to optimize for that purpose, adding an immersive first-person perspective, exclusive new content, rebalanced base destruction, and much more.
Players create a character with their own story, identity, and agenda, and roleplay it authentically. Having been running for quite a while, you’ll find a welcoming and creative community that has written a rich history of stories within the server together, giving rise to group-based politics and factions with their own identities. It’s DayZ, but with deeper survival and fascinating in-universe storytelling.
DayZ shares a lot with the iconic shooter series S.T.A.L.K.E.R., such as a gritty post-Soviet setting and a focus on survival against not only the environment but hordes of mutants (or zombies). As you might guess from its name, StalkerZ embraces these commonalities; it’s explicitly set within the STALKER fiction, so if you just can’t wait for the STALKER 2 release date, this is the place to get your fix.
Like DayZ Underground it’s a leading server in the RP trend, but is set within a universe with a strong established lore, so check it out if you prefer a little more direction or if you’re just itching to get back to The Zone. Everyone is welcome to join this Stalker server, but if you haven’t played a Stalker game, the server website suggests you study its handy lore primer so you can roleplay more effectively.
A heavily modded server cluster, Rearmed is constantly pushing the limits of DayZ’s customizability, adding new content and systems on the regular. Its basic experience is inspired by Escape from Tarkov and is hugely popular, with Rearmed servers topping various most-populated lists on any given day, so you can be sure of a game.
Besides a Tarkov-like extraction shooter, you’ll also find all-new land vehicles, boats, and helicopters; custom game systems like dynamic keycards and locks; plenty of custom and edited maps; and regular economy rebalances and quality-of-life updates. Definitely check this one out if you enjoy Tarkov or want to dive into DayZ’s amazing potential for new custom content.
How to find and join a DayZ server
Here’s how to join a DayZ server:
- Open the DayZ launcher
- Click the ‘Community’ tab
- Type to search for the server you want
- Click to join
From the official DayZ launcher, click the ‘community’ tab to browse all community, or non-official, servers. From there, you can type into the launcher to filter the server list depending on what you’re looking for; most of the servers in this list can be found and joined simply by typing the server name.
Certain terms have become accepted nomenclature in the community, so you can try typing ‘vanilla’ or ‘no mods’ if you’re looking for vanilla servers; PvE or PvP; solo; roleplay or RP; deathmatch; and so on depending on the experience you’re after.
And there you have it, a list of the best DayZ servers to keep you entertained for hours on end. If you want to play on advanced servers, you’re going to need our DayZ base building guide to help bring you up to speed with the rest of the player base. Want to try something completely different? Here’s a list of the best multiplayer games to get you started.