What’s the easiest way to install OpenSim?

Quick answer

Long answer

First, are you really sure you want to run your own OpenSim server? It’s similar in complexity to running your own Web server — you will need to make sure that the right ports are open and property routed, and that the computer running OpenSim is up, available, and connected to the Internet whenever it’s needed. You will also be responsibility for security, backups, user registration, and regular upgrades. With hosting starting at around $20 a region a month, you might consider having it professionally hosted, instead.

Second, you need to decide whether you want to run your OpenSim world as a standalone or as part of a larger grid. (Most hosting companies will give you the option to run in either configuration.)

Part of a grid

When your region or regions are part of a larger grid, it makes it easier for other users of that grid to get to your location. They can walk, fly, or teleport over. You will also participate in the grid’s search listings, event directory, and currency system, if available.

If the grid is hypergrid-enabled, and your individual region is on the hypergrid, you will also be able to teleport to other grids and standalones from your region.

You will also benefit from having access to the grid’s registration screens and invetory storage, reducing the burden on your computer.

However, some grids may place restrictions on the kinds of content or activity you are able to have on your region, and anyone registered on the grid will be able to visit your region, unless you put additional access controls  on your land.

Finally, some grid may require that you run a specific version of OpenSim, and regions not running that version will be dropped from the grid. This may create inconvenience for your or your users, if the new version is not fully compatible with the old, or has not yet been sufficiently tested to be stable.

The list of the biggest grids is here.

Check with individual grids for connection instructions, some grids may even have tools available to make the process go faster. For example, OSGrid has an automated Region Launcher.

You should also be aware that some grids do not allow self-hosted regions to connect. ReactionGrid, for example, requires that you host your regions with them (prices start at $25 a month per region).

Standalone

A standalone region or grid is one that is not attached to any other existing grid.

The benefit is that you can control who can access the grid, by allowing only registered users to log in. Alternatively, you can also allow anyone to teleport in and visit by enabling the hypergrid.

You are also in full control of the content and activity on your own grid and can impose grid-wide branding and design elements.

Finally, you are in full control of all downtimes and upgrades.

The easiest way to set up a standalone is to use the Diva Distro. It comes pre-configured to run four connected regions as one region, and is hypergrid-enabled.