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.

Keeping your entire collection of games on Steam has many advantages. Automatic updates, downloadable content, and the ability to earn in-game rewards are just some, to name a few.

Needless to say, Steam makes it easy for users to download, install and organize games on their computers.

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

Although Steam is known to have some of the best servers in the world, the immense demand for service from the community is sometimes overwhelming.

This is why we often see the question “Why Is Steam Downloading So Slow?” being asked on forums. Well, you can find all about it in the guide below.

Reasons For A Slow Steam Download

The reason behind this problem can be anything from your internet connection to an outage at Steam’s server headquarters.

Steam slow download.

Before we get into the solutions, check the following things to hopefully save yourself some time before we dive into a deep diagnosis.

  • Problems with your internet connection. Use speedtest.net to do a check.
  • You’re using your bandwidth for something else at the moment of download.
  • An active VPN set to a country far away from you impacting your download speed.
  • Steam’s servers are temporarily under heavy load (check steamstat.us). 
  • Poor PC performance can throttle or completely stop your Steam download.

So, if you’re unsure how your internet connection should perform, and you want to convert Megabits to Megabytes to ensure you’re getting the right speeds, we’d recommend using this converter.

If none of these things are the case, there’s probably a bug you’re experiencing, or the problem is on Steam’s end.

Here are some of the already well-known solutions you can use to overcome this problematic scenario.

Fix 1: Change Your Preferred Download Region On Steam

Steam allows you to change your download region based on your personal preference. The client automatically picks the server it thinks is the most optimal for you, but it can sometimes make a mistake.

To check which download region you have selected and change it if needed, follow the steps below.

  1. Open the Steam client on your PC and sign in to your account.
  2. In the top-right corner, click on Steam and then on Settings from the menu that shows up.
  3. Once the panel opens, select Downloads from the left side.
  4. Change your download region to a different server, preferably one that’s closest to you.
  5. Resume your download or start a new one. See if the problem is solved.

If you had a distant download server selected, your problem should now be gone. If this doesn’t help, check the following section for a different method.

Fix 2: Clear Your Download Cache

Clearing your Steam download cache is quite simple. It has helped many users, and it is listed as a proven method in the largest Steam Community Forum Thread. The thread covers anything related to download issues on this 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.
  3. Select Downloads from the menu on the left side.
  4. In the following section, click on Clear Download Cache, just like the image below suggests.

There’s also a quick YouTube video showing how to do this step-by-step, and you can see it here.

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

Upon doing this, resume your download or start a new one to see if the problem is fixed.

Fix 3: Restart Your Network Adapter

This solution is probably as old as the internet itself but still works to this day. Turning your network adapter off and then back on takes less than five minutes.

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

Fix 4: Check Your Steam Download Settings For Any Limitations

People who share the same network connection usually limit their download speeds so that others don’t have a poor experience browsing or downloading.

For example, if you have a maximum bandwidth of 12 MB/s and Steam is downloading with the same speed, other users on your network won’t even be able to do light browsing without experiencing horrendous load times.  No good, right?

Or, as another example, say you want to download and watch Netflix. Of course, you won’t be able to unless you set a bandwidth limit so that Steam doesn’t use the full potential of your connection.

To see if you have such settings enabled, or perhaps someone else using the PC before you set it up, 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.
  3. Click Downloads from the menu that shows up on the left side.
  4. Here, you can set a different download limit based on your preferences or disable the feature if you want Steam to use the maximal potential of your network.

The image above is an example of how this setting should look if you prefer to keep it disabled. You can also “untick” the “Throttle downloads while streaming” option.

Solutions If Your Download Is Completely Blocked

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

Unfortunately, not many people, especially new users, know the difference between these two.

If you think your download is completely blocked and won’t even start, yet your internet connection is proving solid on all tests, 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 finishes downloading.
  • Disable computer programs that might be interfering with your Steam download.

Your problem should be gone by now. If it isn’t, this guide has more in-depth fixes that might help you. Keep in mind that most of those fixes require a bit of computer knowledge and are not for beginner users.

Conclusion

It’s frustrating to wait for ages for a download on Steam to complete, especially if it’s a new game you’re so excited to try. But, problems do happen, and almost all the time, there are solutions for them.

One thing to keep in mind is the fact that Steam might show 0 MB/s download speed even when nothing’s wrong. The reason behind this is your system unpacking downloaded files before resuming the download.

Content downloaded from Steam is compressed for lower download sizes. Your PC does the unpacking during the same download process.

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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.