Fix: Why Is Steam Downloading So Slow?

Having issues with your download speed on Steam? Why is Steam downloading so slow? Here is a simple guide on how to fix this common issue.

Focusing the majority of your collection of games on Steam has numerous advantages. These include automatic updates, easy installation of downloadable content, and the ability to earn in-game rewards.

Steam makes it easier than ever for users to download, install and organize games on their computers.

Steam Download Manager section in Windows client
Steam’s “Download Manager” section in the Windows client.

Although Steam is known to have some of the fastest and most reliable servers in the world, even they can sometimes be overwhelmed by the enormous demand from users.

This is why the question “Why Is Steam Downloading So Slow?” is frequently asked on forums. You can find all about it in the guide below.

Table of ContentsShow

Reasons For A Slow Steam Download

The reason for this problem can vary greatly, from an issue with your internet connection to Steam’s servers being temporarily unavailable.

Steam slow download
Steam slow download.

Before exploring the solutions to this issue in more detail, check for the following things to hopefully save yourself from wasting any time and effort.

  • Problems with your internet connection. Use speedtest.net to check.
  • Something else using your bandwidth during a Steam download.
  • An active VPN is set to a country far away, impacting your download speed.
  • Steam’s servers are experiencing very high traffic (check steamstat.us). 
  • Poor PC performance is hindering or even preventing your Steam download.

If you’re unsure how your internet connection should perform, and you need to convert Megabits to Megabytes to ensure you’re enjoying the right speeds, we recommend using this converter.

If none of these issues apply to you, you might be experiencing a bug, or the problem could be something else on Steam’s end.

Here are some of the most reliable solutions you can use in an attempt to overcome slow downloads on Steam.

Fix 1: Change Your Preferred Download Region On Steam

Steam allows you to change your download region, based on personal preference. The client automatically picks the server it thinks will provide you with the strongest connection, but it can sometimes select a server that is affected by issues.

To check your current download region and change it if necessary, follow the steps below.

  1. Open the Steam client on your PC and sign in to your account.
  2. In the top-left corner, click Steam and then Settings on the menu that appears.
    How To Find My Steam ID
  3. On the panel that opens, select Downloads on the left side.
  4. Change your download region to something different, ideally one that is still relatively close to you.
    Modifying Download Region Settings On Steam
  5. Resume your download or start a new one. See if the problem is solved.

If the issue was with your download server, your problem should now be resolved. If this doesn’t help, read the following section for another method.

Fix 2: Clear Your Download Cache

Clearing your Steam download cache is simple. It has helped many users and is listed as a proven fix in the largest Steam Community Forum Thread. The thread addresses anything related to download issues on the platform.

Here’s what you need to do to clear your download cache.

  1. Open the Steam client on your PC and sign in to your account.
  2. In the top-left corner, click on Steam and then on Settings.
    How To Find My Steam ID
  3. Select Downloads in the menu on the left side.
  4. In the following section, click Clear Download Cache, as shown in the image below.
    Steam Clear Download Cache

There’s also a quick YouTube video showing how to do this step-by-step. You can watch it here.

Steam states within the app that clearing your download cache might resolve some issues related to downloading content from their servers.

After doing this, resume your download or start a new one to see whether or not the problem is fixed.

Fix 3: Restart Your Network Adapter

This solution is one of the oldest on the internet but it remains one of the most reliable. Turning your network adapter off and on again shouldn’t take more than five minutes.

Switch off the power button on your router and wait a couple of minutes. Turn your router back on and, when the connection restores, try resuming your download.

Fix 4: Check Your Steam Download Settings For Any Limitations

People who share a network connection often limit their download speeds so their streaming or downloading doesn’t impact anyone else’s internet use.

For example, if you have a maximum bandwidth of 12 MB/s and Steam is downloading at that speed, other people using the same network won’t even be able to do light browsing without suffering through long loading times.

On the other hand, you might want to stream something on Netflix or Prime Video while downloading on Steam. You won’t be able to do this properly unless you set a bandwidth limit to prevent Steam from using as much download speed as possible.

To check if you have these settings enabled, perhaps caused by someone else using the PC before you, follow the steps below.

  1. Open the Steam client on your PC and sign in to your account.
  2. In the top-left corner, click Steam and then Settings.
    How To Find My Steam ID
  3. Click Downloads in the menu that appears on the left side.
  4. Here, you can set a specific download limit based on your preferences or disable the feature if you want Steam to use the maximal potential of your network connection.
    Setting Steam download limit

The image above is an example of how your settings should look if you don’t want to limit your bandwidth. You can also untick the “Throttle downloads while streaming” option.

Solutions If Your Download Is Completely Blocked

There’s a big difference between Steam downloading slowly and your download being completely blocked or prevented.

If your internet connection is working properly but your Steam download appears completely blocked and won’t even start, try the following solutions.

  • Run Steam with Administrator Privileges.
  • Add Steam as an exception in your firewall settings.
  • Temporarily disable your anti-virus software until the game has finished downloading.
  • Disable any other computer programs that might be interfering with Steam.

Your problem should now be gone. If it isn’t, this guide provides more in-depth fixes that might help you. Most of those fixes require some more in-depth computer knowledge and aren’t for beginner users.

Conclusion

It’s frustrating having to wait a long time for a download on Steam to complete, especially if it’s a new game that you’re excited to play for the first time. Unfortunately, problems happen, but there are usually several solutions for them.

Something to keep in mind is that Steam might display 0 MB/s download speed even when nothing is wrong. This is because your system is unpacking downloaded files before continuing the download.

Content downloaded from Steam is compressed for smaller download sizes. Your PC unpacks it during the download process.

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Bojan Veselinovikj
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Bojan Veselinovikj

Bojan is a video-game developer and a tech enthusiast. Combining these two passions allow him to keep you informed on everything that's new in this fast-paced digital world.