Steam measures its downloads in multiples of “bytes” per second instead of “bits” per second. A network provider mostly uses bits per second as a measure to advertise their internet connection. A byte is a group of 8 bits.
If you feel your Steam download speed is slow, you should first compare your Steam download speed with your network download on the same scale. For example, if you are getting 768KB/s (kilobytes per second) on your Steam client, this means your network speed is 6144Kb/s (kilobits per second). In other words, 6 megabits per second. Many people get confused and treat both measures as the same. We have listed a number of conversations so you can understand much better.
ISP internet speed Max Steam Download Speed
3 megabits/second 384 KB/s
15 megabits/second 1.9MB/s
20 megabits/second 2.5 MB/s
50 megabits/second 6.25 MB/s.
However, if you feel that there is a discrepancy in the speed and your Steam client isn’t downloading at the speed it should, you can follow the steps listed below. It is advised that you start from the top solution and work your way down.
Solution 1: Disconnecting all other connected devices from your network
If you are using a Wi-Fi router for internet connection and there are other devices/people connected to it, you will not obtain maximum speed for your download. There is a common misconception that people get more speed if they connect earlier. The speed depends on a number of different factors:
- Distance from your access point: The PC’s/devices which are more near to the access point will get a better signal and better latency as compared to the ones further away. If you have your computer far away from the access point, it is advised that you move closer to it.
- Protocol: All packets are graded by routers themselves on the grounds of protocol. Suppose you are watching a video while your friend is doing a video call. By default, his packets will get more priority as VoIP is a more demanding protocol as compared to HTTP. It requires less ping and greater bandwidth. This is predefined in most of the routers. What you can do is ask the people who use your Wi-Fi to avoid these activities.
- Torrents: If a torrent is running on your network, there is no way you will get a proper connection because it sucks your bandwidth.
- Geographical factors: The further away you are from the host server, the less good connection there will be. Try changing your Download Region mentioned in one of the solutions below.
Solution 2: Changing your download location
One of the basic fixes includes changing the download region.
The Steam content system is divided into different regions. The client automatically detects your region through your network and sets it as default. Sometimes, servers in a specific region may be overloaded or may be going through a hardware failure. Therefore changing the download region may solve your download speed issue.
- Open Steam and click ‘Settings’ on the drop down menu in the upper left corner of the window.
- Select ‘Downloads’ and navigate to ‘Download Region’.
- Select other regions other than your own and restart Steam.
Solution 3: Clearing your Download Cache
Clearing your Steam download cache can fix problems if some downloaded file is corrupted. This process won’t affect your current games. You would only have to re-login. Don’t use this solution if you don’t have your correct login credentials at hand.
- Open your Steam client and navigate to Settings. This is located in the top left menu.
- Locate Downloads in the Settings panel.
- Click Clear Download Cache. Click OK to confirm your choice and after a while, Steam will ask for your login credentials.
- After logging in again, Steam will hopefully reach the optimal speed.
Solution 4: Checking your antivirus
Most anti-viruses scan the files that you download to ensure that no malware is downloaded. They not only make your PC slower, they also affect your download speed significantly. It is advised to list steam in the exceptions list so the antivirus can ignore Steam and its actions.
We have listed on how to add Steam as an exception in this article. We have also detailed on how to add exceptions in most commonly used antivirus. Please scroll down to Solution 6 and follow all the steps necessary.
Now we will discuss on how to add an exception if you are running Windows Defender.
- Click Windows button and in the search bar type “Windows defender”. Among all the options, there will be an application named “Windows Defender Security Center”. Open it.
- Upon opening, you will find a list of options available in the new window. Select the option “Virus and threat protection”.
- Upon entering the menu, navigate to Virus and Threat Protection Settings. Windows may prompt you to allow the administrator access to use this feature. If so, press Yes.
- After entering the required menu, you should search the window which says “Add or remove exclusions”. Click it and you will be navigated to a menu where you can add exclusions. You can exclude folders, extensions, and even files. In this case, we will exclude the whole Steam folder which is located in the directory you downloaded it.
- Click on the option which says “Exclude a folder” and navigate to your Steam directory. The default location for your steam folder should be “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam”. Once you reach the location select the folder and save changes.
- Restart your computer and run Steam with administrative privileges. Hopefully, your speed issue will be resolved.
Solution 5: Changing the download limit
Another reason why Steam may be experiencing fluctuations in download can be because of no limit to the bandwidth. This gets worse if you also have an unstable connection; resulting in extremely slow download speeds in Steam. Follow the steps listed below.
- Open your Steam client using the option “Run as administrator”.
- On the top left corner, you spot a button named Steam. Click it and from the drop-down box, select Settings.
- Once you have opened Settings, navigate to the Downloads Here you will find a drop down window which allows you to limit your bandwidth. Choose decently and resume your download.
Solution 6: Refreshing Steam
If these methods don’t work and you are absolutely sure that your internet connection is working good; then it means there is some problem with your Steam. Follow the steps listed below and upon completion, Steam will download some additional files and it will be ready to go.
- The default location for your steam folder should be “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam”.
Press ⊞ Win + R button. This should pop-up the Run application.
In the dialogue box write “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam”.
Or if you installed Steam in another directory, you can browse to that directory and you can proceed with steps mentioned below.
- Locate the following folders:
- Delete all the other files/folders/applications except the ones mentioned above and restart Steam.
- Now Steam will download all the missing files and folders and launch when it’s ready. It is advised that you restart your computer before launching Steam again with the “Run as administrator option”.