Steam is the largest video game platform in the world and has a lot of features to offer but it is not flawless.
Just like many other examples of computer software, this gaming platform can eventually greet you with an unexpected error.
It might happen right when you’re so eager and ready to spend a few hours playing video games. This can be frustrating, but there’s no room for panic.
One of the famous errors that users experience on Steam is the “Could not connect to Steam Network” message, and in this short guide, you’ll find everything you need to fix this.
Fix 1: Check Your Internet Connection
Although this sounds obvious, it’s sometimes the reason why you cannot connect to the Steam Network. Beginner PC users don’t always notice these things, so their connection may already be out before they load up Steam in the first place.
It’s just useful to get this out of the way before moving on to the next fixes. You shouldn’t waste your time re-installing the client or doing anything else if the issue is in your internet connection.
Fix 2: Run Steam Client As An Administrator
This is the second solution on the list because it’s also very easy to do, and a lot of users said that it helped them solve their problems.
Simply right-click your Steam shortcut and left click “Run as Administrator”, then try logging into your account. Hopefully, it will work for you as it worked for other users, and here’s how to do it:
Fix 3: Change UDP To TCP In Your Steam Executable File
Another well-known fix for the “Could not connect to Steam Network” error is changing the way your computer communicates with the Steam network from the UDP protocol to TCP. Here’s how you can do this:
Find the directory where Steam is located on your computer. Right-click the Steam shortcut and select “Properties”.
After getting into the Properties section, you should navigate to the “Shortcut” tab as shown in the screenshot below. This will sometimes be automatically chosen for you.
In the “Target” section, add “-tcp” at the end of what’s already written in the field. Don’t forget to click “Apply” before clicking “OK”.
Remember to do all this while your Steam app is not running. After you completed the procedure, simply start Steam again and log into your account. The problem should now be fixed.
For The Curious Individuals
Most of you probably want to know what changes when you switch from UDP to TCP, so here’s the explanation. Skip this if you just want to solve the problem and you’re not interested in the “techy” part.
By typing in the “-tcp” suffix, you are forcing Steam to use only TCP Packets for the connection. There are two “main” types of packets when it comes to sending data over the net. UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). Steam uses UDP until you tell it otherwise.
So, what are the main differences between these two?
TCP makes sure that after the connection is established, the built-in systems will check for errors and ensure data will be successfully transferred. But, although it’s more reliable, it’s slower and results in larger bandwidth and network use.
UDP on the other hand doesn’t use the “handshake” method, so transferring data happens, either way, regardless if the other end receives it or not.
Fix 4: Make Sure Your Network Drivers Are Up To Date
Having outdated drivers for any component in your PC is a potential issue and possibly wasted performance. To get the most out of your hardware, it’s always recommended to make sure all of your drivers are up to date.
Steam users reported that updating your network drivers sometimes fixes the “Could not connect to Steam Network” issue, so we’ll explain how to do it step by step.
Manually updating your drivers is recommended, but not necessary. If you are not very tech-savvy to do it on your own, or you simply don’t want to bother with it, you can use driver updating software instead.
Should you decide to use the manual-update route, you can do it like this:
Open up the search box on your taskbar in Windows and type in “Device Manager” just as shown in the screenshot below. Click on the first result that comes up.
After you get into the Device Manager section, left-click on the “Network Adapters” tab. The menu will automatically drop down and you will be able to select the adapter for which you wish to update the driver.
Right-click on it and then select “Update driver”. It should look like the screenshot below.
Fix 5: Completely Uninstall The Steam Client And Re-install It Again
Sometimes it’s the simple things that help the most. However, before you re-install your Steam app completely, you must back up your games. Steam is not a size-heavy app on its own, but re-downloading all of your games can be more than one terabyte of traffic if you have a lot of games.
Fortunately, reinstalling Steam is pretty easy.
Simply uninstall it from the control panel and re-download it again from the official website.
If you already have the installation file you can use that as well. It doesn’t make a lot of difference since the app automatically downloads the latest version and updates itself on launch.
Coming back home excited to play your favorite game, just to be greeted with the popular “Could not connect to Steam Network” error is a pretty frustrating experience. However, you shouldn’t feel discouraged as this is a common issue known amongst the Steam user community.
In the content above you can find five solutions proven to be of great use, and all of them are fairly simple to do even for people who are not tech enthusiasts or power PC users.
Last but not least, it’s worth noting that the Steam network can sometimes be down for both regular and unexpected maintenance, so if none of the fixes above solve your problem, the issue may be on Steam’s end.
The regular Steam maintenance is on Tuesdays.