For many computer users, gaming is one of the many joys of life. This is why Steam is a popular app among gamers. However, many users have reached out to complain about the app having slow download speeds. If you are also having this problem and would like to know how to increase your download speed on Steam, this guide is for you.
It is crucial to keep in mind that network issues do not have a universal or straightforward fix. Connection problems are caused by a variety of factors. Therefore, as a rule, you should troubleshoot them in a comprehensive manner. Try one solution after the other until you find a fix that works. This way, you can narrow down the issue and ensure it does not repeat itself.
Why Is Your Steam Download Speed Slow?
Your Steam download speed can suddenly become slow for a number of reasons. Sometimes, it can happen due to a combination of two or more factors, which leads to a reduction in your network output. Learning the likely contributors to this occurrence will give you a better understanding of how to prevent it.
1. Slow Internet Connection
The first thing you need to check is the internet speed of the provider that you are subscribed to. If the connection is slow or throttled due to your plan, the only thing you can do is switch to a faster one. To enjoy seamless online gaming, you need to have download speeds of at least 10Mbps. While there are times when you can play on Steam with slower speeds, it is recommended that you have a connection speed of up to 10Mbps. In this case, more is better, and getting a faster device is necessary, especially when you have more than one device using the internet connection when you are playing.
If you suspect that you are not getting the download speed you subscribed for, you can confirm this by troubleshooting your network. To do this, you should conduct a speed test by checking your internet connection speed at different hours of the day. This will give you an idea of the average speed you are using.
If you discover that the average download speed is lower than what you paid for, then you need to contact your ISP for a fix. It is essential to do this first because it helps you to check whether the problem is from your computer or not. If your internet connection is slower than you expected in such a case, then your computer is not to blame.
2. Steam Server Issue
If your internet speed is up to par and yet your Steam download speed is frustratingly slow, then the issue is most likely from the Steam server. Perhaps you are connected to a faulty server, and you need to correct this.
To confirm that your network is not to blame, check to see how your download speed performs outside Steam. If you find that your internet speed is fine when you are using other apps, then the problem is most likely linked to the Steam server. It could also be caused by a specific issue associated with the game you are trying to update or download. To check the status of the Steam server you are connected to, you should make a quick stop at its official website.
3. Non-Working Download Server/Region
If you find that the Steam server or region you are connected to is not working correctly, hope is not lost. You have an option that allows you to switch to a different server. You can use this solution if the selected server (the one nearest to your location) is undergoing maintenance. Also, go through the region list, choose a different download location, and check to see if this resolves the issue.
4. Low Bandwidth
If your local network is connected to many devices simultaneously while you are playing a game, this can severely reduce the download speed. Therefore, if you have different computers, smartphones, or even consoles using your connection at the same time, you will experience issues with low bandwidth.
In this particular scenario, you can make Steam downloads faster by disconnecting all the other connected devices temporarily. Leave only your gaming computer connected, and then run a speed test to see if this has fixed the problem.
5. Malware on Your Computer
Malware infecting your Windows 10 computer can have a lot of adverse effects. One of them is the sudden degradation of your computer’s download speed. Ensure that your antivirus and all other software programs on your system are up to date. In addition, you should set your antivirus to run periodic security scans.
If you don’t have an antivirus program installed on your computer, you should download one and have it activated. Run a scan to see if there is malware on your device.
How to Optimize Steam’s Download Speeds in Windows 10
There are several methods to increase download speeds on Steam. Check out these troubleshooting steps to find the one that will work for you.
1. Deactivate Automatic Downloads on Your PC and Other Devices
Before attempting other solutions, the first step is to check if your computer is performing any background download tasks without your authorization. Windows 10 comes with some activities automated by default; these tasks can be using your network and slowing down your Steam download speed.
For example, your computer might be trying to update Windows and other software in the background without your knowledge. When there are other tasks sharing network bandwidth on your PC, Steam might not have the needed speed to perform properly. You should always ensure that you temporarily pause any updates when playing games online to avoid low performance.
Here is how to do this:
- Press the Win + R shortcut to open the Run box. Type services.msc into the box and press the ENTER key to execute the command.
- In the new window, scroll through the list of services until you locate ‘Windows Update service.’ Click on it.
- From there, choose the General tab and select ‘Startup Type.’ Set it to ‘Disabled’ and then click OK to save your changes.
- Restart your device.
Note: Keep in mind that automatic security updates include security patches and stability improvements that help to protect your system. Therefore, remember to have this feature turned back on when you are not gaming. To do this, simply follow the steps described above, go to ‘Startup Type’, and set the feature’s startup type back to ‘Automatic.’
If temporarily pausing or turning off background downloads does not work, move to the next solution described below.
2. Restrict Background Software
If you have other applications running in the background, this can affect your Steam’s download speed, especially if these apps are also using your internet connection. These are some of the programs that usually run in the background:
- security tools and antivirus programs;
- cloud storage tools, such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Dropbox, among others;
- torrent applications; and
- GPU applications, such as NVIDIA GeForce Experience.
If you have any of these programs installed on your Windows 10 computer, try closing them to see if that helps. To do this, go to the Task Manager by pressing the CTRL+ALT+DEL shortcut.
3. Power Cycle Your Modem or Router
Our devices need a reboot from time to time. This helps them maintain optimal function. Simply rebooting your modem or router might be all you need to restore your connection speed. To do this, unplug your router or modem from the power outlet, and wait for 30 to 60 seconds. Plug it back and turn it on to see if this helps to resolve the problem.
4. Pick a Closer Server and Modify the Bandwidth Limit
If the solutions described above have not resolved the issue, then it is time to try making a few changes to the Steam app itself:
- Launch the Steam application.
- Go to the upper left side of the screen and click on ‘Steam.’
- From there, select Settings, and then choose Downloads.
- Now, check your download region and switch to a nearer server.
- Click on the ‘Download Restrictions’ section. From there, go to ‘Limit bandwidth to’ and set the option to ‘No Limit.’
- At this point, ensure that you uncheck the box next to ‘Allow download during gameplay.’ This last step is vital to ensure no other app is sharing the bandwidth while you are gaming. This solution allocates all available bandwidth to Steam.
Move to the next solution if the problem persists.
5. Restart Your Steam App
Sometimes, all you need to fix this issue is to restart the Steam app. Ensure you close the Steam program before re-attempting your download.
6. Change the Steam Client Bootstrapper Priority to ‘Realtime’
Another solution is to set the Bootstrapper priority to ‘Realtime’. Here is how to do this:
- Launch the Steam application to confirm that it is running. Then go to your computer’s Task Manager by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL.
- Go to the Processes tab and click on the drop-down arrow located next to ‘Steam Client Bootstrapper.’
- Now, right-click on ‘Steam Client Bootstrapper’ and choose the ‘Go to details’ option.
- The next step is to right-click on Steam.exe and choose ‘Set priority.’ Now, select ‘Realtime’.
- Choose ‘Change Priority’ and repeat the same steps for SteamService.exe to change its priority as well.
7. Disable Your Antivirus or Firewall
Your security software or firewall may interfere with the performance of gaming clients. Disable your antivirus tool and firewall, and then launch Steam to see if this fixes the issue. If this resolves the download speed problem, remember to turn them back on each time you are done playing to keep your system safe.
8. Activate QoS
Quality of Service (QoS) is a feature that comes preinstalled on some routers, allowing them to prioritize game packets. This reduces network lag in games and improves download speeds. Check to see if your router has this capability; if it does, read the manual to learn how to enable QoS. You can also use Google to learn how to activate it on your router. This is because the method varies based on the model or make of your router device.
If you got your router from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), contact their support team to learn how to enable QoS.
9. Use a Wired Connection
Sometimes, slow Steam download speeds could be caused by your wireless connection. If you are connected to the internet through a Wi-Fi connection, try connecting your router directly by using an Ethernet cable. If this fixes the issue, then there is something in your environment causing interference with your wireless connection. Try to identify the problem. In the meantime, use the Ethernet cable to enjoy your game.
10. Upgrade to a Faster Internet Connection
As we have already pointed out at the beginning of this guide, you want to have a download speed of at least 10Mbps for seamless gameplay. If you have multiple devices sharing your internet connection while using Steam, we recommend getting a faster internet plan or device. This ensures that there is enough bandwidth to go around.
This solution is also helpful if you notice your download speed is low even when you disconnect other devices from the network.
How to Send or Transfer Large Game Files
As a gamer, you may find sending and receiving game files and folders online a real challenge. Not only is it impossible to send these large files through social media platforms, but many file transfer platforms also impose unrealistic upload size limits. While claiming to allow you to send and receive large files, these platforms limit the upload size to just a few gigabytes. In addition, they also require that you pay a monthly a yearly subscription fee before you can use their services. This can be frustrating, especially if you will not use the subscription every day; it will end up being a waste of money.
In addition, these platforms place a limit on upload speeds, which makes it difficult to transfer files quickly, even when you have a strong internet connection. This is why you need a transfer tool that does not limit your upload and download speeds. You also need an app that allows you to send and receive large files and folders of ANY size without paying subscription fees or registering for complicated plans.
Enter FileWhopper! This is a cloud-based platform for transferring large files and folders of absolutely ANY size, with no limits. Once you select the folder or file you would like to transfer, the app gives you a one-time price, with no complicated payment requirements or schedules. Even if you want to send game files greater than 900TB, you can do this easily and at a high speed.
FileWhopper takes security seriously. It encrypts your data during the transfer process to make sure hackers cannot intercept it. You also receive a password that you can share with the recipient(s) to give them access to your data. This ensures that only those whom you provide with the password can download and use the uploaded file or folder.
The app allows you to send any data type in its original format. You can send games, music, movies, and other file types without compressing them or altering their quality. Another great feature that makes this app popular among users is its ability to support simultaneous uploads and downloads. This allows your recipient to start downloading the file or folder you are sending while you are still uploading it; as soon as you initiate the transfer, they can start the download process from their end. This is a great time saver, as they don’t have to wait until the upload process is complete before they can view or download the data.
FileWhopper automatically installs a tiny app on your computer before it starts the transfer process. This application ensures that the upload process continues from wherever it stops, even if your internet goes off or your battery runs out. You do not have to worry about starting all over as this tool resumes precisely from where it left off whenever your internet connection or power is restored. This is a great time saver!
If time, security, and efficiency are important to you, then FileWhopper is a must-have.
The solutions described in this guide will help you resolve your Steam download speed problems. Feel free to share it with your friends.
If you have questions, suggestions, or other methods that helped you fix this issue, kindly share them in the comments section below.