Software & Apps

Why Is My Steam Download So Slow?

Steam Download Slow

With the recent release of hit games such as Elden Ring, you undoubtedly want fast download speeds. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for Steam to transfer files slower than usual. Naturally, you might wonder why your steam download is so slow and how to fix it.

Quick Answer

Slow downloads on Steam are generally due to problems within the Steam download cache. However, a weak internet connection or running too many programs might cause it as well. In rarer situations, the quality of your computer hardware and installed drivers may also stagnate file transfers.

Below, we explain the most likely culprits behind your laggy downloads. And what you can do to speed them up.

Steam Download Cache

If you suddenly experience slow Steam downloads, start by checking your Steam download cache

In simple terms, the cache is where Steam holds downloads and updates before they get copied onto your computer. When a file located there gets lost during transfer or corrupted, it may affect your download speed.

Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to clear your Steam cache and potentially quicken your downloads. 

Below are the steps on how to do it:

  1. Open up the Steam application on your computer.
  2. Click on “Steam” in the top left corner. 
  3. From the dropdown menu, select “Settings.” 
  4. In the “Settings” menu, choose the “Downloads” tab.
  5. At the bottom of the window, click on “CLEAR DOWNLOAD CACHE” and then “OK” to confirm. Steam will log you out once you do.
  6. Log back into Steam and check if your downloading goes faster.

Steam Download Region

Your Steam account defaults to a download region based on your location. However, the option it automatically selects isn’t always correct

As a result, it’s a good idea to double-check that yours is set to the right area. 

Furthermore, regional servers may have occasional issues that cause slower downloads. So you might want to switch to a different one when that happens, albeit temporarily.

These are the steps for changing your Steam download region:

  1. Open up the Steam application on your computer.
  2. Click on “Steam” in the top left corner. 
  3. From the dropdown menu, select “Settings”
  4. In the “Settings” menu, choose the “Downloads” tab.
  5. Select the “Download Region” dropdown and change your region.
  6. When the confirmation pop-up window appears, click on “Restart Steam”.
  7. Log back into Steam and assess your download speed again.

Internet Connectivity 

Another reason your Steam download is so slow might be your internet quality.

Steam relies on a strong connection for downloads. After all, games might require 100GB of space. And just one corrupted or missing file might leave them unplayable.

So if your internet signal is weak or bandwidth lacking, that may negatively impact download speed. This issue is common for Steam users who rely on Wi-Fi.

There’s not much you can do in the Steam app to resolve this issue. However, you should try switching to a wired connection if you aren’t already on one. After all, an ethernet cable is almost always superior to Wi-Fi.

Additionally, consider resetting your modem or calling your provider for an internet speed upgrade.

Applications and Background Processes 

Are you streaming a TV show while you wait for your Steam download? Or playing a different game to help pass the time?

If so, you might be inadvertently hampering your file transfers. Because the more programs you run at once, the fewer resources your computer has for downloading from Steam.

As a result, try closing any nonessential applications running during the download. After a short delay, you may notice the file transfer speed increase.

To close some background and startup processes, you’ll need to use your PC’s task manager. Here’s how to do that on Windows:

  1. Hold down Ctrl+Alt+Delete at the same time.
  2. Select “Task Manager”.
  3. In the task manager menu, choose an application you want to close.
  4. After selection, click “End Task” in the bottom right corner of the window.

To help you, here’s a list of the programs most likely to cause issues on Steam.

Other Issues That Cause Slow Steam Downloads

Above, we covered the most likely reasons why your Steam download is so slow. However, there are rarer problems that might be occurring as well.

Here are some other possible culprits behind your slow Steam downloads:

  • VPN – Your VPN and proxy servers can significantly hamper how fast your PC transfers files off of Steam.  
  • Hardware – Older computers or those with faulty components may struggle to download large files.
  • Drivers – The Steam application may experience issues due to your drivers. Make sure to utilize the right ones and that they’re up to date.
  • Steam server issues – Occasionally, Steam itself will have server problems. Try using a website such as Downdetector to see if anyone else is having trouble connecting.

Conclusion

Numerous issues may cause your Steam downloads to slow down. For the best results, carefully check your download settings as outlined above and use the strongest internet connection possible.

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