If you are reading this, there is a good chance that you put a fair amount of time into playing Rust. Due to the way it is built, players of Rust have a pretty unique opportunity to be able to earn money from the game. There are lots of avenues you can take to try and earn some money. As you will have probably guessed, it is fairly hard to make a living from the game, except in very unique circumstances. Despite this, if you put a lot of time into the game, there is no reason not to try and earn some money whilst doing so. These ways to earn money are ranked in no particular order.
#1 – Start your own Rust Server
A popular Rust Server can be monetized very easily and can generate a fair amount of money per month if done correctly. Getting to this stage is hard, but doable. First of all, I would advise choosing what kind of server you want to start – Vanilla, Lightly/Heavily Modded, Aim Train/Minigames, or something else entirely. Vanilla or lightly modded is arguably the easiest, the others will require a bit more of an investment for plugins and maps. At first commit to just one region, more than one will cost more and isn’t worth it at the start. When the player count grows along with demand, then open a server on an alternate region or a second server on your main region. As a new server, probably the best place to host servers is IcedHost.com, where you can use code LONE for 15% off of your first 3 months. I know a lot of servers use them and it is very easy to set up.
At first, it will seem hard to grow your server, a lot of Rust players stick to the same set of servers. I would advise being as active as possible, ideally playing with your friends on the server. Try to have something unique in regards to your server, whether it’s plugins, maps, events, etc. Use these to try and entice players away from their usual servers. Advertisement also helps, through other discords or Reddit.
This is a fairly short whistle-stop tour of how to start a Rust Server and only really scratches the surface of what it takes to start a successful server. It is hard but is equally rewarding if it pays off. It requires a lot of trial and error, as well as effort. Playing on your own server which is making you money at the same time is an ideal scenario for any Rust player. Who knows, maybe some of you reading this will have your own server network in the future 😉.
Once your server has the player base, the next step is to monetize your server. The most common form of monetization is a VIP package, allowing users to skip the queue (if your server is blessed enough to have a queue on wipe days). Special Roles in discord and an in-game tag are also staples in any VIP package, along with additional benefits if you run a modded server, such as skinbox and extra resources. To find inspiration of what to include in your package I would suggest searching some of the top server’s VIP stores. Personally speaking, I think that including as much value for money as possible in your VIP packages does help a lot with sales, as well as including unique and cool features. One particular example that comes to mind is the server network Vital. They sell their own custom AK skins to use exclusively on their servers, which you can see in the image below. I think this is a really cool idea and a great way to make money from your regular players. Make sure to stay away from blatantly pay to win VIP packages as this alienates your non-paying users.
The final step in monetizing your Rust server is to find a site to handle your sales. The only site I have personal experience with and can recommend is Tebex. Chances are if you have ever bought VIP for a Rust Server, chances are you have used a Tebex store. You can view their full features over at their site here. The link will also give you a free 30 day trial to their service. They are a very cheap and easy service to get you started monetizing your Rust server. There are of course other sites you can use to monetize your server, although fees and usability are very different across the board. An important point that is worth mentioning is to make sure that you comply with all the terms and conditions of the services you are using. You can find what you can and can’t do in terms of your own servers here, directly from the mouth of Facepunch. Be sure to read the terms of Tebex, PayPal as well. It is also important that as you are now selling a product, you have your own terms and conditions that will protect you from harmful customers. These are a bit harder to do, however, there are online tools that can easily assist you.
#2 – Plugin/Map Development
The beauty of Rust Map/Monument making is that it requires almost no coding knowledge and is completely free to get involved with. The map-making community is incredibly friendly and there are plenty of resources to help you get started. First and foremost you’ll need to download Rust Edit, a completely free tool which can be found at this link: https://www.rustedit.io/resources/categories/releases.4/
As you get started, I would recommend both Lone and Ted Pommes starter guides to Rust Edit. These video guides give a really great introduction to the Rust Edit program and are a must-watch for anyone wanting to get into map making. As always practice is the best way to get better at map making. Also make sure to join the Rust Map Making Discord: https://discord.gg/CwTrTSC , which contains a load of useful material to help you learn map making and will connect you with other map makers. The best advice I can give in terms of map-making is to start small and keep practicing. Start by making things that you like . As you hone your skills and make better products, we would love for you to apply as a vendor at Lone Design, where if approved, you will be able to sell your maps and prefabs on our site. If you have a creative mindset and a passion for Rust map-making is perfect for you – you can earn some money and improve your design skills. Mapmaking is becoming a lot more widely recognized, with Facepunch recently running a competition for Map Makers, where the winners had their map hosted on an official Facepunch server.
Plugin Development is much harder than Map creation, however, it is a lot more financially rewarding. Learning to code Rust plugins is not an easy feat, and you should have some knowledge of coding prior to attempting to make a Rust plugin. Plugin developers are in short supply, and if you become proficient in coding them you can earn a very respectable amount. This skill is also very transferable and will improve your coding ability in other areas. To get started, you’ll need to go to uMod as this is where you can download the primary modding framework for Rust. From then on its up to you to decide what you want to create, and how you want to create it. Plugins, like maps, can also be sold on Lone Design if you pass the vendor application.
Overall, these two avenues are perfect for anyone at any skill level – as long as you have a passion for creativity and an eye for detail you can easily succeed in either of the fields. It takes time to get there, however its very rewarding once you make a plugin or map that is used by other members of the Rust community.
#3 – Social Media
In recent months, the introduction of ‘shorts’ to YouTube has kickstarted the YouTube career of many Rust players. For a lot of people, becoming a famous YouTuber would be a dream. I’m not here to tell you the magical secret to becoming one (not that I know this secret anyway), however, I think uploading shorts to YouTube has great potential, and it’s very easy to do. Just download GeForce Experience or any similar recording software. Don’t necessarily go out to create content, instead play the game naturally with your friends and clip any funny moments. These natural moments tend to be the funniest. Once you have some funny clips, upload them into shorts, and hope that the algorithm blesses you. As you start to get viewers, it’s up to you to transition into a ‘proper’ content creator, making longer-length videos. Even if you don’t want to pivot into longer videos, if your shorts get a good amount of views, you can still secure sponsorships on your videos – it’s all about the reach you have, or perhaps you can direct people to your Twitch account, using your views on the shorts to boos your twitch viewership numbers. Another good idea would be to cross-post your YouTube shorts to TikTok, where the reach is potentially even bigger due to the sheer scale of the platform. Shorts are a relatively ‘low effort’ way to break into the YouTube scene and can secure you sponsorships if they are funny/informative/cool enough to garner a lot of views. Maybe you will manage to get the coveted Raid: Shadow Legends sponsorship money.
#4 – Misc.
These avenues of revenue are a lot smaller than the others mentioned, however, they are certainly viable.
If you are skilled in photoshop, you could try your hand at making skins for Rust. The barrier for entry is very high, as skins that make it onto the Rust shop are of incredibly high standards. If you are already proficient in Photoshop I think that it is worth attempting to make some Rust skins, although be aware that they will earn you no money unless you manage to get them in-game, or you are commissioned to make one for a content creator. If anything, making some skins would bolster your design portfolio. A better idea would perhaps create Rust-themed graphics – profile pictures, thumbnails, banners, etc which you can then sell via your own discord server.
Partaking in Rust tournaments also can be a nice payday for those of you that are good enough to win. Various server networks host weekly tournaments with cash or skin prizes. Getting involved in these is an ‘easy’ way to monetize your time playing Rust (if you are good enough).
As Rust players, we are blessed by the unique nature of the game where being creative can give you a lot of opportunities. There are plenty of ways to make money in the Rust community, through creating content, code, graphics. Hopefully, some of these ideas give you all some motivation to further your bag chasing in the Rust community.
If you’re interested in joining our Discord and chatting with others and the team feel free! Additionally if you’re interested in joining the team in some way shoot us a application and include experience or work you’ve made at our vendor application form!