Logging out on an Ark: Survival Evolved Server can be a dangerous matter, and it is entirely possible to find that you were killed while you were logged out. But how and why does this happen? And how can you make yourself as safe as possible before logging out? Here are the answers you need!
At this time, logging out does not actually remove you from the game. Your body remains in game and appears to be sleeping. That is a serious matter, and it is not a defect. It is an intended game mechanic.
Part of the reason behind it is to prevent people from cheating and farming loot. Part of it is that it adds to the challenge of the game. You shouldn't actually have an issue with hunger or thirst while you are logged out, but that doesn't mean it can't happen.
At the time of this writing, there are bugs that are causing unexplained sudden deaths while players are logged out, deaths that by all rights should not have happened. This is a known issue and is being worked on.
If you don't have a base or a house, safely logging out is only an illusion. There are things you can do to make it safer, but not truly safe.
You need to find a location in which you don't see any hostile dinos. This is most often near the shore of the ocean. Rivers often have crocs in them that can come up on land and kill you.
Your best bet is just off the beach of the ocean. Crocs don't seem to live in the ocean, which makes good sense, and the sharks won't come up on land (though at this time there is a bug and you can often see them swimming through the air!).
The trick is to make sure that you have looked around a bit and made sure you don't see a bunch of Dillos or Raptors running around. Also being off in the brush makes your sleeping body harder to be spotted by other players.
A base itself is only a bit safer than logging out with nothing. For true safety (still not 100%), you need to be in a house. That includes a full roof, walls, and a door. Preferably a locked door.
If you are inside a base with a wall, but not inside a closed structure as described above, you may still fall victim to flying dinos and possibly the weather conditions.
Learn an engram for the first wooden storage box and build one. Do this regardless of whether you have a base, a house, or neither. Until it is absolutely certain that the random bug deaths have been fixed, you don't want to lose all of your gear if there is a problem.
So even if you have a safe structure to log out in, take every item out of your inventory and put it all in a box. Make more that one if you need to. That way if something does go wrong, your stuff is still safe. This includes all equipped items, and items in quick slots. This means every item you have.
The special founder skin for the saddle and the hat you can leave in your inventory. But all items you find or make in game other than that need to go in a box in order to be sure to find them next time. Locking your house and storage box is also a good idea. Remember this is the internet. Stealing, killing, and all that good stuff happen far more often than honest play on most public servers.