Escape from Tarkov is a difficult game that has many players asking the question, how to get an empty server in 2021. If you can get a server without any players in it, the only thing you have to worry about is enemy SCAVs. This helps with doing money runs and simply having a much safer time.
Our guide covers how to get an empty server and if you’re trying to avoid it as well. Not everyone wants to play with only AI bots, so we’re here to help those people too. Continue reading below for some tips and tricks.
How to Get an Empty Server in Escape from Tarkov
The main trick for getting empty servers without any PMCs has to do with your region. By default, your region is set to automatic server selection where it tries to put you in the lowest ping area. This focuses on getting you into a raid with the least amount of lag possible so you have a fun time.
With that said, it doesn’t seem to prioritize putting you in a raid with other players. This is where plenty of people take advantage of the server selection to pick quieter regions. The main issue you may run into while doing this is hitting the ping limit and getting kicked from a raid. Developer Battlestate Games has lowered the limit previously to likely combat this exploit.
For those wondering what the max ping limit is in Escape from Tarkov, the community manager confirmed it’s 165. It’s possible this has changed since they posted it on Reddit in mid-2020. This is why it’s important to not pick regions where your ping spikes above 165. Or else you may get booted from a raid and miss out on loot.
What most people do is pick a timezone when people aren’t likely playing. Whether that’s an odd time of night or the middle of a workday. Also, you can see the average matching times and try to pick longer ones. Longer times mean fewer people are around to fill servers. But I wouldn’t rely on this factor for empty servers.
How to Change Your Server/Region
Now let’s get into how to actually change your server in Escape from Tarkov to take advantage of this trick. Make sure you don’t currently have the game open, since you’ll need to do it from the launcher. Don’t worry, this doesn’t require anything complex like editing files. And you can easily change it back the same way.
Once you have the Escape from Tarkov/Battlestate Games Launcher open, make sure to log in first. Then, look for a button labeled “Change Server (Auto)” near the bottom right. This is above your game edition, region, and client type. Clicking this button opens up a new window where you can see every Escape from Tarkov server and region.
All you need to do now is click a server in the list that you want to play on. You can click multiple servers here and then click the Apply button to save them. Previous versions of the game let you pick regions above the ping limit, but this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. So you’re stuck picking servers below the 165 ping limit.
If you want to sort every server by ping to see how far you can get away with, click Ping at the top. This will either sort it from highest to lowest or vice versa. Keep in mind, your internet will play a role in how your overall pings are. But as someone from the United States, I don’t expect to be playing on Russian servers any time soon.
When trying to get an empty server in 2021, you’ll want to only pick one or two servers at most. Unless you’re having unbearable matching times and can’t find a game at all. By giving the game fewer servers to pick from, it will have a more difficult time filling your session with players. If you’re getting stuck in empty servers, you can do the opposite and pick several servers for a better chance.
How to See How Many People are in a Server
Every Escape from Tarkov map has a specific number of players that can be on it. For example, Interchange has the most at 10 to 14. This means the server tries to prioritize a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 14. But as we all know, empty servers exist and the minimum isn’t always met. Even though it can be a little difficult to tell with rats and quiet players.
Regardless, while there isn’t a specific way to see how many people are in a server, there’s one thing you can do. Before entering a map as a PMC or SCAV, you can click the Next button several times to see the lobby. It’s important to do this instead of pressing Ready as that will put you into matchmaking.
The lobby shows players that aren’t in queue yet and may be trying to group up with others. This is also the area for how to play with friends. While the lobby clearly doesn’t show everyone matchmaking, it does give a decent idea of what’s popular. You can see the difference immediately when picking a time phase at night versus one during the day.
That’s all there is to my Escape from Tarkov guide on how to get an empty server in 2021. If you have any other questions for me, feel free to comment below the article. Be sure to visit our guide hub for more useful tips and tricks like map guides too. Or take a look at one of the many guides below instead.
Jeff is a journalist that loves to write, stream, and make content about video games. He’s a sucker for RPGs, survival games, roguelikes, and more.