Download speeds may vary from site to site, or from app to app. Steam, in particular, often has problems in this regard.
Sometimes, the issue is with overloaded Steam servers, not with your internet connection. On the other hand, your device or network might be to blame. Read on for an extensive list of reasons and solutions for this problem.
The First Thing You Should Do
If you notice that Steam download is sluggish, here is the first thing you should do. Always compare the download speed on Steam with some other site or app. For example, you can launch Uplay, Blizzard Battlenet, Origin, Epic Games Launcher, etc. and observe your download speed on those platforms.
Additionally, you can test your download speed on an official, high-speed site such as NVIDIA’s driver download page. Try downloading a driver for your graphics card and see if your download speed is still slow. If it is, then the problem is on your end.
There are plenty of solutions for this scenario, and plenty of reasons why your internet download speed is slower than usual. Keep in mind that sometimes Steam’s servers can get overburdened since they can only take in so many user requests at a time.
The Basic Fixes
These should be your go-to slow internet fixes:
- Switch to the cable connection. Wi-Fi usually has slower download speeds and is less reliable than an Ethernet connection.
- End all other processes on your computer. If you have dozens of apps or websites running on your computer, and you start downloading something on Steam, it makes sense that the download will be sluggish. Open your Task Manager and end all tasks that take up too much RAM.
- Disable your antivirus and your firewall. These two can drain too many resources and slow down everything on your computer, including Steam downloads.
- Troubleshoot your internet connection. Make sure that you are connected to the right network, and try to resolve the issues with the troubleshooter. On Windows, right-click the Network icon in your system tray and select Troubleshoot Problems. The troubleshooter will automatically scan for potential problems.
Sometimes the reason for slow download can reside with Steam, and in some scenarios, you can fix it. As mentioned before, you can’t resolve server-side issues on Steam. Those take time and resources, as well as access to Valve’s computers and networks.
The first thing you should do is try and restart Steam. Sign out of your account, log back in, and see if the download is still slow. If it is, try clearing the Steam download cache. Here is how:
- Launch Steam.
- Open the Steam dropdown menu in the top-left corner of your screen.
- Select Settings.
- Click on Downloads.
- Select the Clear Download Cache option and confirm.
- After that, you need to log back into Steam because it will log you out.
While you are at it, you can check your Steam download region. Make sure to pick the area closest to your current location. It will connect you to the most optimal Steam server, and hopefully improve your download speed. Here are the steps:
- Launch Steam.
- Go to Downloads once again.
- Click on the dropdown menu below Download Region and select the server for your town or area.
Tips from Valve
Valve recommends that you delete Steam entirely from your computer and install it again. Visit the official Steam page and click on Install Steam. Once the setup is complete, you can log in with your credentials, just like before.
A clean install is equal to updating the Steam client to the latest version. Sometimes these updates mess up a lot of things, including the download speed. Valve also warns its users to be careful with third-party apps, such as antivirus, firewall, VPN, security, and other software.
Torrenting may also cause very slow Steam downloads. Programs that limit the traffic on your computer, such as IP blockers, also don’t play well with Steam. Download management programs are also bad for Steam, as well as any programs that claim to speed up your connection.
Finally, you should check your startup programs. There might be many processes running on your computer in the background, hogging your resources and internet speed. Give those a look – type Startup Apps in the Windows start menu and disable anything that seems troublesome. Do not touch anything that has a System in its name, though.
Don’t Stress It
Sometimes, there is simply nothing you can do to speed up Steam downloads. If none of the advice we gave you works, there is probably no fixing this issue. All that you can do is let it go. Play something else if you can while allowing Steam to run in the background.
The game will eventually download when the servers become more responsive, i.e., when the traffic slows down. Feel free to leave a comment below in the comments section.