How to Fix Slow Download Speed ​​on Steam for Windows

Do games take several hours to download on Steam due to slow download speed? Although you can’t do much if the internet is slow, you can make some changes in Steam and Windows settings to speed up the download process if you think it should be faster.

As such, here are some ways to get faster download speed on Steam for Windows.

1. Check Internet Problems

Before blaming the Steam client, make sure your internet connection isn’t slow and Steam isn’t taking longer than usual to download your games. Testing your connection speed is the best way to confirm this. You can test your connection on any speed test website.

If your download speed is slower than usual, check out our article on how to increase your internet speed. If this helps restore your internet speed, try downloading games from Steam again. If nothing seems to work, contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

If your internet is working well and everything is downloading at a good speed except for Steam games, it’s time to dive deeper into your system.

2. Make Sure Steam Has Adequate Bandwidth

To start, you need to allocate as much bandwidth as possible to the Steam application. You can do this by temporarily closing other downloads running in parallel, closing resource-intensive browsers, verifying that you are not streaming any content, and closing all applications that use the Internet.

You can use Task Manager (CTRL + Shift + Esc) to identify which processes are consuming the most network resources. Look in the Network column and close all non-essential applications that consume a lot of data.

Also, make sure that Efficiency mode is not enabled for Steam, which makes it a lower priority process. For more information on how to confirm this and turn off Efficiency Mode, see our Efficiency Mode article.

3. Disable Windows Metered Login

Windows offers a metered connection option allowing users to limit their own bandwidth usage. While this saves data if you’re under a data cap, it can limit how apps use available bandwidth. As such, a metered connection can slow down your downloads on Steam.

To make sure it’s not enabled, follow these steps:

  1. Right click on Windows Begin button and go to Settings.
  2. In the left sidebar, select Network & Internet.
  3. Click on Wireless.
  4. Click on your Wi-Fi connection.
  5. Disable the toggle next to Metered connection.

4. Disable your VPN

The encryption and protocol of your VPN and your distance from the server can significantly affect your internet speed. Therefore, if you access the Steam client with your VPN enabled, your game may take a long time to download. So, it might be worth disabling the VPN and seeing if that helps.

5. Make sure Steam isn’t throttling its own bandwidth

Steam allows users to throttle its bandwidth to give other apps more room to use the internet. Although it is convenient, you should disable this limit if you want to speed up the download.

Follow the steps below to remove bandwidth limit from Steam:

  1. Launch Steam.
  2. In the upper left corner, click the Steam tab and select Settings.
  3. In the left sidebar, select Downloads.
  4. In the right pane, uncheck the box to Limit bandwidth to.

6. Clear Download Cache in Steam

Like many apps, Steam keeps temporary download data in a download cache. If it’s clogged, it can affect Steam’s performance, prevent the app from working properly, and slow down your downloads. So clearing it might speed up your downloads again.

However, be careful; if you have downloaded mods, this step will erase them. As such, you might want to skip this if you’ve recently downloaded any mods.

To clear the Steam download cache, follow the steps below:

  1. Launch Steam.
  2. In the upper left corner, click the Steam tab and select Settings.
  3. In the left sidebar, select Downloads.
  4. In the right pane, click Clear download cache.
  5. Once the process is complete, relaunch the app.

7. Change Download Server Location

The speed of Steam downloads is greatly affected by the location of the server you get them from. By default, Steam connects you to the nearest server to give you a better connection, but if it’s heavy with traffic, it might not offer the best speed.

Using a global traffic map on the Steam download statistics site, you can see which servers are closest, have less traffic, and offer good download speeds. Once you’ve chosen a server, follow the steps below to change regions in Steam:

  1. Launch Steam.
  2. In the upper left corner, click the Steam tab and select Settings.
  3. In the left sidebar, select Downloads.
  4. In the Download region drop-down list, select your preferred region.

While other servers may provide better download speed, you can also wait for the load on the nearest server to decrease and download the game later. However, if changing the region does not improve the download speed at all, proceed to the next step.

8. Disable download limitation

The Steam app throttles downloads if you’ve set it to do so while streaming, allowing you to stream at the best speed. This means you’ll get good performance at the expense of slow download speeds. If your downloads are getting too slow, that could explain the problem.

To disable download throttling, follow the steps below:

  1. Launch Steam.
  2. In the upper left corner, click the Steam tab and select Settings.
  3. In the left sidebar, select Downloads.
  4. Uncheck the box to Limit downloads while streaming.

Check if disabling the throttling will help speed up Steam downloads. Otherwise, disable your antivirus and Windows Defender as a last resort.

9. Disable your antivirus and Windows Defender

Disabling your antivirus and Windows Defender can also help improve your internet speed. Our article on how to optimize Steam download speed on Windows can guide you on how to do it.

Download Games Faster on Steam

By implementing the fixes mentioned in the article, you should be able to speed up your Steam downloads. If none of them seem to work, the problem may be with your computer and your network. As such, it’s a good idea to make sure your network is performing as well as it should.

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