Tips and tricks to boost download speeds

When you’ve purchased a shiny new game on Steam you’re no doubt in a hurry to get that game downloaded and installed so you can get to the actual fun of playing.

Sometimes though you might find that Steam just isn’t downloading fast enough. This could be down to Steam’s servers but it could also be something simple causing a download slowdown. There are numerous things you can do fix this though, so we’re here to help you with simple tips and tricks worth trying.

Steam Download Settings

Check Steam’s download settings

The first logical thing to do if you have issues with Steam download speeds is to check Steam’s download settings. Some simple settings in here might be holding you back, but with a few quick changes, you can increase your download speeds and reduce your misery.

In order to do this follow these steps:

  1. Open Steam
  2. Click on the Steam menu on the top left
  3. Under settings look for “Downloads” and click that
  4. Be sure to untick “Limit bandwidth” if it is ticked
  5. Also, untick “only auto update games between” if you want unrestricted downloads all-day

You may also choose to allow downloads during gameplay and unticking “throttle downloads while streaming” if you not using Steam Remote Play. Tweaking these settings may help improve your Steam download speeds but there are other ones to check too.

steam download servers

Change download servers

Under the same Steam download settings menu you’ll also find that Steam has automatically selected your download region.

Steam is a cloud-based service that will automatically select your download area but this might not be the best one, trying some of the others might help improve speed.

  1. Open Steam Downloads settings
  2. Under “Download Region” click the drop-down menu
  3. Look for and select nearby download regions
  4. If there are several try different local ones to see if any help alleviate your slow download speeds

Another thing to keep in mind here is that Steam will not download at your maximum broadband speed.

Your Steam download speed can be influenced by many things including the download region, but also other apps you have running, all the things connected to your home network and more.

If you have a VPN service and are running that while downloading games you might find that the wrong download region has been automatically selected because of this.

If you’ve tried the other settings and they aren’t helping your slow Steam download speeds, you could try temporarily disabling your VPN in order to see if local downloads are more successful.

clear Steam Downloads

Clear Steam’s download cache

Steam has a built-in cache to help with downloads. Although this tool can help with the download process sometimes it can also cause problems, so if you’re suffering from slow Steam downloads then it might be worth trying to clear this cache.

To clear your Steam cache do this:

  1. Open Steam and navigate to settings via the Steam menu
  2. Click on downloads
  3. Under all the various settings click the button marked “clear download cache”
  4. A pop-up will appear that you’ll need to agree to
  5. You’ll then be logged out of Steam and need to log in again

This should flush the Steam cache and may help.

Steam download issues

Close other apps

Aside from Steam itself having causing issues with downloads it might well be that there are other things throttling your speeds. This includes other things on your network but also apps on your gaming PC.

To check this we’d recommend opening Task Manager.

  1. Press CTRL+SHIFT+ESC on your keyboard and open Task Manager and see what apps are running
  2. In Task Manager you’ll see a column marked network. If you click on that column it’ll filter by the apps using the most bandwidth.
  3. You can then close anything else that might be draining bandwidth and slowing your downloads.

Logically closing other game apps like Epic Games launcher, Ubisoft Connect, Origin and more will stop those apps from downloading and free up some speed.

quit other apps

Head over to your taskbar and click on the upward arrow next to the clock, look for these kinds of other apps and right-click then click to close them.

Why is my download speed so slow?

Of course, it might not just be your Steam download speeds that are problematic. It could be that your download speed in general is slow.

This can be down to all sorts of things, including the quality of your router and the strength of the signal, other people using up bandwidth in the home or other apps on your own machine chewing through data.

There are some things to try:

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