Download speeds can be a real pain when it comes to gaming, even more so if you’ve just spent a good chunk of your wages purchasing the latest triple-A title. No one wants to wait double-figure hours for a game to download, especially if you’re paying for above-average internet speeds.
Despite the quality of your internet being one of the main reasons why your downloads can be slow, there are also a whole host of other reasons why your latest game download is taking what feels like an eternity.
For that reason, the following article will be a closer look at how to solve Steam’s slow downloading problem. We will look at both Steam and non-Steam ways of increasing internet speed, along with some handy tricks that will offer a small boost for everyday use as well.
So, with that in mind, let’s dive straight into it!
Remove Steam Download Bandwidth Limits
If your game downloads and updates are running particularly slowly, one factor that might be slowing you down is Steam’s download bandwidth. If you’ve set yourself a bandwidth restriction, Steam will only have access to a small percentage of your internet speed. Removing this will almost certainly increase your game's downloading speed. Here's how to change it:
- Start off by opening up Steam
- Once open, click the ‘Steam’ button from the top navigation bar, and select ‘Settings’ from the drop-down menu
- Inside settings, locate and select the ‘Downloads’ tab from the available options
- Under ‘Download restrictions’ click on the ‘Limit bandwidth to’ drop-down menu and make sure it’s set to no limit
- Confirm the action by clicking OK and restart Steam for good measure
Clear Download Cache
Clearing your Steam cache can resolve a whole bunch of bugs and issues that you might be having - one of which is a slow downloading speed. Just as your internet browser can benefit from clearing its cache, the same can be said for Steam and the download speeds you receive. Here’s the method:
- Start by opening Steam
- Click on the ‘Steam’ tab from the top navigation bar
- From the drop-down menu, select the ‘Settings’ tab
- Inside, select the ‘Downloads’ tab from the list of available options
- Inside downloads, click the ‘Clear Download Cache’, found near the bottom of the tab
- When prompted to continue, simply click OK and allow Steam to remove all temporary files found in the cache
- Once completed, Steam will restart. Simply log back in and check your download speeds
Alter Steam Server Download Region
Like any good online service, Steam has a ton of servers scattered all over the globe to ensure that no matter where you are, Steam can provide you with the highest levels of download quality.
Whilst this is great for people across the globe, and mostly beneficial if not set to a relevant region, it can act negatively on your download speeds.
If you are experiencing slower than usual download speeds, we recommend trialing some of the available download regions that are close to your location. This has been known to increase download speeds in the past and is always worth a go. Here’s how to change it:
- Start by opening up Steam
- Once open, select the ‘Steam’ tab from the navigation bar at the top of the home page
- From the drop-down menu, select the ‘Settings’ tab from the available options
- Inside settings, find and select the ‘Downloads’ tab
- Once inside, under ‘Download Region’, click the drop-down menu and select a different server that is still near to your current location
- Once you’ve chosen a new server, simply click ‘OK’ at the bottom of the page and restart your download
Quit Internet-Sapping Applications
If truth be told, slow download speeds within Steam are rarely caused by Steam itself. Usually, it’s caused by outside factors that are taking valuable bandwidth away from Steam. If this is the case, you should really look for any background applications that are using the internet in large chunks. So, it could be anything from a Windows update, Torrent clients, other game platforms, Netflix, or just streaming music.
Either way, these can dramatically slow down your Steam download speed. Simply close down these applications while Steam updates, then resume them once they’re finished.
For wireless users, a sure way to increase internet speed is to simply go hard wired into your internet router. Whilst a wireless connection is great for several reasons, they aren’t the most efficient way of connecting to the internet - especially if you’re looking for the fastest possible speeds. Wireless connections have to fight with other connections for internet bandwidth and also battle physical factors (like walls) when providing a connection to your device.
So, that being said, you should absolutely try to go wired if you’re struggling for download speeds. Simply plugging an ethernet into your PC that attaches to the router could double (if not more) the speed you are receiving.
Turn Off VPN
Finally, one of the simplest ways to stop download speeds running slowly on Steam is to turn off any VPN service you might have running in the background. Whilst a VPN doesn’t necessarily take anything away from your PC in terms of internet speed, it does add another hurdle to the long list of action steps your internet has to take when download from Steam. Turn your VPN off and you might get a subtle boost in internet speeds.
Like any good games platform, Steam comes with a bunch of annoying bugs and issues that can water down the enjoyment factor of your gaming experience. For that reason, we’ve created a bunch of ‘how-to’ pages on the most common bug fixes. Below, we have listed some that may be of interest.
- How to install DLC on Steam
- How to add friends on Steam
- Steam not opening?
- How to disable Steam updates
- How to move Steam games to another drive
- Steam Already Running Error
So, there you have it, our full guide on how to stop download speeds running slowly on Steam. We hope this guide has aided in your quest for better speeds, with most of the methods we’ve recommended having a high success rate.
If you’re still experiencing annoying Steam download speeds, why not drop us a comment in the section below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Better still, why not head on over to our Community Hub where you can discuss everything Steam related with like-minded individuals.