Steam remains the top choice among PC gamers. In addition to a vibrant online community, it has the best digital distribution channel, which is home to most games that you can think of. However, it can be quite slow in instances when you are trying to run a game. Have you ever gotten the feeling that your PC gaming is sluggish when you use Steam? You are not mistaken. Steam downloads are throttled sometimes, and this can lead to a frustrating user experience, especially when you are eager to start playing.
We are here to show you how to increase download speeds on Steam. In addition, you will learn how to make Steam even faster when you are playing a game.
How to Get Faster Download Speeds on Steam
Keep reading for tips on how to speed up Steam downloads and enhance gaming performance:
1. Close Every Other App
It does not matter what kind of PC you use for gaming. Whether it is a beastly behemoth from Alienware or a small $500 gaming PC, make sure to close down all irrelevant apps before you start gaming.
Non-essential software running in the background alongside Steam can be taking a toll on your hardware. Since apps utilize system resources when active, there will be limited power available to handle resource-demanding programs like online games. Also, they use data bandwidth, thereby limiting the amount that will be available for Steam to use. This will have a negative impact on download speeds, online gaming, and performance in general.
An irrelevant operation includes anything that you do not need for the gaming session. This includes installing software updates, running web browsers, and performing download activities. Even cloud sync apps like Google Drive and Dropbox should be closed. Do not leave any unnecessary apps running until you are done gaming.
You should also prevent the Steam client from executing any inconvenient downloads. To achieve this, you need to make changes to its settings:
- Go to your Steam app and open it. Select the Settings option.
- Under Settings, go to Downloads. Then locate Download Restrictions.
- Uncheck the box next to Allow downloads during gameplay. This will prevent Steam from executing downloads while you are playing a game.
- You can then set a schedule for when Steam can make downloads. To do this, use the Only auto-update games between option.
You can also end all non-essential processes that are running on Windows. This will free up additional resources:
- Go to your Taskbar and right-click on it. From the options, select Task Manager.
- Click More details to expand the view.
- Go through the Network column to check for anything that could be hogging data bandwidth.
- Go to each process, select it, and click End Task.
Whatever operating system you run, make sure that the process or software that you want to close is not vital. If you are uncertain, perform a web search to confirm that it plays no role in maintaining the system stability necessary for gaming. If it is not relevant, you can then go ahead and close it.
You should also close down unwanted programs hogging up your RAM or processor.
2. Make Use of Windows Game Mode
If you are a Windows 10 user, you can utilize the Game Mode to pause other activities on your computer before launching Steam. This will allow you to enjoy your gaming session while ensuring that any program not needed for game stability is paused. Here is how to activate Windows 10 Game Mode:
- Go to your keyboard and press the shortcut Windows + I. This will open the Settings window.
- Choose Gaming and then click on Game Mode.
- Click the switch next to Game Mode to toggle it on.
While Game Mode will not give you a huge difference as opposed to the other methods, it will deliver a useful boost on low-spec computers.
3. Make Sure Steam Is Set as a High-Priority App
Windows allows users to set some apps as a high priority. This gives them precedence over other processes and software. Windows will allocate more system resources to programs that have priority over other software. You can use this to give Steam a performance boost and even increase download speeds. This will also give your system a boost, as it now knows where to direct more data bandwidth and hardware power.
Here is how to achieve this:
- Go to your Taskbar and right-click on it. Then choose Task Manager from the options.
- In the new window, locate and open the Details tab. Then look for the SteamService.exe process.
- When you find the process, right-click on it and then choose Set Priority.
- Click on High.
That is all! You have now set Steam as a high-priority app.
4. Improve Your Steam Store Browser Speed
While browsing through the Steam Store, have you ever seen a new game that you like, only to discover that you could not play the video clips? Or have you just noticed that the entire client is inexplicably slow, making it difficult to switch between the store, community, and library mode?
These scenarios can be quite frustrating, to say the least. However, these issues are easily fixable.
Think of the Steam Store as a web browser. This means that it is prone to the same issues as your standard browsing apps. Therefore, you can reduce the lag by clearing the cache. This will improve the speed and overall performance of your Steam client:
- To begin with, go to your Steam app and open it.
- Browse to Steam. Then go to Settings and click on it to move to the next window.
- Look at the left-hand menu and locate the Web Browser option.
- Select the option Delete Web Browser Cache.
- Now click OK to confirm your changes.
There is also the option to delete cookies. However, doing so does not have any significant impact on the speed and performance of the Steam client.
5. Install Your Games on a Faster SSD or HDD
There are several system upgrades that you can carry out to improve your Steam experience. One of the major factors that can affect the performance and speed of Steam on your computer is the storage device, and it is what you should focus on at this juncture.
You can get rid of the lag by switching from your slower mechanical Hard Disk Drive (HDD) to a faster model (for example, from 5400rpm to 7200rpm). However, a much better option would be to switch to a Solid-State Drive (SSD). SSDs are built on similar technology to USB thumb drives. This makes them several times faster than HDDs.
Whether you choose to upgrade to a faster HDD or make a switch to the much better SSD, a faster storage device will improve your Steam client’s performance. You can easily migrate data to it, but there are two things to consider.
The first is to ensure that your new device is formatted and optimized for use. The second is to ensure that the new storage is large enough to contain your existing Steam library. Therefore, it is necessary to check its capacity.
If you have met the above requirements and you are ready to begin data migration to the new storage device, turn on your PC and then do the following:
- Load your Steam app and open Steam.
- From there, go to Settings and navigate to the left-hand menu.
- From this menu, choose the Downloads tab.
- Go to Steam Library Folders andclick on it.
- Browse through the options and locate Add Library Folder. Click on this option.
- A drop-down menu will appear. Choose a new drive letter from there and then create a new folder.
- Confirm the default name to accept it and then click on OK.
- Next, click on Select.
These steps will migrate the existing games in your Steam library to the new storage device.
6. Prevent Steam From Throttling Your Download Speeds
Thousands of users are utilizing Steam’s servers simultaneously. As a result, Steam tries to reduce the impact of this high demand by using route management. This technique is called “throttling.” Its function is to prioritize certain types of data.
If you notice that your download data is at 250Kb/s because of a connection restriction, you can increase this speed by tweaking Steam’s settings:
- Go to Steam,open it, and then click on the Settings option.
- Locate Downloads and click on it to open it.
- Open Download Restrictions and then browse through to find Limit bandwidth.
- A drop-down menu will appear under Limit bandwidth. Select the maximum download limit available.
- If your ISP allows for speeds faster than the maximum speed, then choose No limit.
- Confirm your changes by clicking OK.
Note: Restart Steam to effect the new changes.
7. Switch to a New Steam Server
The Steam server that you are currently using might be the reason why you are facing slow downloads. The thing is, there is a huge amount of data passing through Steam servers. Therefore, it comes as no surprise when Steam downloads become slow. However, it could also be that you are using an overloaded or the wrong server. In such cases, you need to switch to a better, less crowded server.
Here is how to check if the problem is your current server and switch to a better one:
- Open your Steam app and go to the Settings window.
- Browse through and locate Downloads. Click on it.
- Go to Download Region. Under it, confirm that the nearest server is the selected one.
- At this point, click OK to confirm your selection.
- Restart Steam to activate the change.
Note: The server list is updated regularly; new servers are added and some old ones are scrapped. Therefore, you must regularly check that your chosen server has not been changed to a slower one.
8. Speed Up Steam by Changing Your ISP
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can throttle your traffic speed. This means it can make Steam and other providers slow. The aim of this is to prioritize certain activities, such as social networking and online shopping, over high-bandwidth activities, such as online gaming, video streaming, and downloading.
Yes, in some cases, the problem is not Steam but your ISP. You can take a look at this live graph showing Steam’s bandwidth usage over the past 48 hours. You can use this list as a guide to choosing a faster ISP. The graph shows data in different regions. It even shows which ISP provides its users with the biggest bandwidth.
A new ISP might still throttle your data. However, if it has a higher speed limit and the bandwidth for such a speed is available, then your Steam client should not be affected by throttling.
9. Use a VPN to Get Faster Steam Downloads
Another way to improve speed on Steam is to use a VPN. The reason behind this is simple: While ISPs throttle data, managing encrypted traffic is an entirely different ball game. If you are experiencing slow download speeds on Steam, then using a VPN to establish a connection is a smart move. This will not only improve performance but will also increase the speed of online gaming. It will even give you access to game servers you would not normally reach from your current location.
Note: While using a VPN, be sure to choose a Steam server in the same location as your VPN. It makes no sense to use a VPN connected to a server in Canada if your Steam server is in Texas.
Transfer Large Files and Folders to Your Friends at High Speeds
While enjoying games on Steam, you might want to send some game files to your friends in a different location. We have all found that one game that we want to share with our friends. However, the problem is that they might be in a city far from yours. In such cases, you want a file transfer service that allows you to send large files over the internet at high speeds while maintaining their original quality.
FileWhopper is a cloud-based file transfer platform that allows you to transfer really large files and folders at high upload and download speeds. There are absolutely no size limits on this platform: you can transfer files and folders of any size. One of the best features of this platform is that you do not need to pay a monthly subscription fee. You only pay for the data size that you want to send or upload. No extra fees or subscriptions are required, unlike when using other file transfer services. The tool also gives you access to cutting-edge encryption technology to make sure your files and folders are protected during transfer.
Enjoy your favorite games and share them with your friends with this unique tool, no matter their location.
By implementing the techniques described in this article, you will seriously boost your Steam download speeds. You no longer have to suffer from lags, slow speeds, and performance issues.
In addition, you can share any games with your friends by using FileWhopper – a file transfer service designed for speed and efficiency.