10 Easy Ways to Make Steam Download Faster

Getting your hands on that new Steam game you've been dying to play is always a thrill, whether it's a hot new release or one of the many free download games offline. The excitement is real as you click 'Purchase' and get ready to dive into a new adventure. But then...the download starts. And it's painfully slow.

We've all been there, watching the progress bar crawl at a snail's pace. But don't worry, you don't have to just accept this digital delay. We've got some easy tips to help speed up your Steam downloads!

Table of Contents

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1. Check Your Internet Connection

Your internet connection is the primary factor that determines your download speeds, so it's crucial to ensure it's functioning optimally. Here are some steps you can take to check and improve your internet connection:

  • Test Your Speed: Use an online speed test tool, like Ookla's Speedtest.net or Fast.com, to determine your current download and upload speeds. This will give you an idea of whether your internet connection is fast enough for downloading games on Steam. For instance, larger game files such as immersive RPGs or detailed simulator games might take longer to download compared to smaller files like casual puzzle games or hidden object games.
  • Wired vs Wireless: If possible, use a wired Ethernet connection instead of Wi-Fi for gaming and downloads. Wired connections are generally more stable and faster than wireless ones because they're not susceptible to interference from other devices.
  • Router Positioning: If you must use Wi-Fi, consider the position of your router. It should be placed in a central location without any physical obstructions for the best signal strength.
  • Limit Bandwidth Usage: Avoid simultaneous bandwidth-intensive activities like video streaming or large file downloads to prevent slowing down game downloads.
  • Upgrade Your Internet Plan: If after all these checks and adjustments, you still find that downloads are slower than expected based on what your Internet Service Provider (ISP) promises in their plan, it might be time to consider upgrading to a higher-speed plan with more bandwidth if available and feasible.

Remember that every situation is unique; what works best will depend on factors such as ISP quality, hardware specifications, location relative to servers among others.

2. Change Your Download Region

Steam automatically assigns you to a certain download region based on your location. However, if many users are downloading from the same server simultaneously, it could slow down your download speed.

To change this setting:

  • Open Steam and click on 'Settings'.
  • Select 'Downloads' and find 'Download Region'.
  • Choose a different region that is geographically close to you.
  • Restart Steam for changes to take effect.

3. Clear Download Cache

Your system accumulates cache over time which can eventually hamper performance including download speeds on platforms like Steam.

To clear your download cache:

  • Go into 'Settings' > 'Downloads' > 'Clear Download Cache'.
  • You'll need to log back into Steam after doing so as it will sign you out.

4. Adjust Bandwidth Limit

Steam allows users to limit their bandwidth usage but sometimes this setting might be lower than what your actual internet speed is capable of handling.

To adjust this setting:

  • Go into 'Settings' > 'Downloads' > ‘Limit bandwidth’.
  • Set it according to what matches with your internet plan or choose "No limit".

5. Disable Auto-Updating Games

By default, all games in steam are set up for auto-updates which could potentially use up bandwidth while downloading another game leading slower overall downloads speed.

Here's how you disable auto-updates:

  • Right-click on any installed game in library
  • Click "Properties" then "Updates"
  • Under Automatic updates select “Only update this game when I launch it”.

6. Avoid Running Games While Downloading

Running a game while downloading another can slow down your download speed, as both activities require substantial computer resources. MMO games, despite their immersive experiences, need constant communication with the game server which can interfere with downloads.

To speed up Steam downloads, consider pausing or closing other running games during the process. This frees up resources for faster downloading. Once done, you can dive back into playing online or browser games!

However, our free online games are less demanding on your system and can provide entertainment while you wait for your downloads!

7. Use SSD Storage

Your choice of storage greatly impacts download speeds, especially for installing and playing laptop games. Traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) with moving parts can slow down data reading and writing, particularly noticeable when downloading large game files.

In contrast, Solid State Drives (SSDs) lack moving parts and utilize integrated circuit assemblies for persistent data storage. This technology enables SSDs to access data much faster than HDDs.

When you download a game on Steam, it's not just transferred over the internet; it also needs to be written onto your storage device. With an SSD, this process occurs much more rapidly due to faster read/write speeds. Additionally, SSDs are more resilient and reliable than HDDs because they lack mechanical components, reducing the risk of physical damage that could corrupt your game files.

If possible, opt for installing Steam and its associated games on an SSD instead of an HDD. This not only accelerates downloads by facilitating faster file writing but also enhances load times when starting up games or loading saved games and new levels within them.

8. Update Network Drivers

Outdated network drivers may reduce efficiency and speed of data transmission between computer and router leading slower downloads

Here’s how you update them:

  • Type “Device Manager” in Windows search bar
  • Find “Network adapters” dropdown menu
  • Right-click each adapter then click “Update driver”

9. Optimize Your DNS Server

Your DNS server might be affecting download speeds. Using a faster DNS server like Google's Public DNS could improve speed.

To change your DNS:

  • Open 'Control Panel' > 'Network and Internet' > 'Network and Sharing Center'.
  • Click on your connection, then click on 'Properties'.
  • Double-click on 'Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)'.
  • Select ‘Use the following DNS server addresses’ and enter Google's Public DNS addresses: 8.8.8.8 for the preferred, and 8.8.4.4 for the alternate.

10. Add Steam as an Exception in Your Firewall/Antivirus

Firewalls and antivirus software are crucial for system security. However, they can sometimes interfere with Steam downloads if they view the platform as a potential threat. Instead of disabling these protective measures entirely, you can add Steam as an exception in their settings.

Here's how you do it:

  • For Windows Defender Firewall:
    1. Type "Firewall" in the Windows search bar and select "Windows Defender Firewall."
    2. On the left side of the window, click on "Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall."
    3. Click on "Change settings" and then "Allow another app..."
    4. Browse your files to find the Steam application (usually located in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam) and add it to the list.
    5. Make sure both private and public boxes are checked for Steam.
  • For Antivirus Software: The process varies depending on which antivirus software you use but generally involves going into its settings or control panel, finding a section that lists blocked/allowed applications or has a setting related to exceptions/exclusions, then adding Steam to that list.

Remember that every antivirus software is different so it's recommended to look up specific instructions for your particular software if needed.

This way, you ensure that your system remains secure while preventing these programs from interfering with your Steam downloads thus potentially improving download speeds without compromising system security.

In conclusion, there's nothing quite like the exhilaration of immersing yourself in the captivating world of Windows 11 games. However, the anticipation can be dampened by sluggish download speeds. Fear not! We have you covered with effective strategies to enhance your gaming experience and indulge in free PC games downloads.

To recap: ensure your settings within Steam are optimized for speed by adjusting download restrictions and regions; make sure no other applications or devices are hogging your bandwidth; consider upgrading your internet plan if it's not meeting your gaming needs; use wired connections over Wi-Fi when possible; schedule downloads during off-peak hours to avoid network congestion; avoid running games while downloading others to free up system resources; use SSD storage for faster data writing and reading speeds.

Remember that these steps aren't just about getting into your games faster - they're about improving the overall gaming experience. Faster downloads mean less waiting and more playing. They mean being able to jump on new releases or updates quicker. They also mean less frustration and more enjoyment from what is, after all, meant to be fun.

However, it's important to note that every user's situation will be different - factors such as location, computer specifications, and ISP performance can all influence download speed. Therefore you may need to try out different combinations of these tips or seek additional solutions specific to your circumstances.

Finally yet importantly, always keep in mind that technology is constantly evolving. New advancements in hardware performance or network technologies could further enhance download speeds in the future. So stay informed about the latest developments in this field.

By taking control of how you manage downloads on Steam with these simple steps we've discussed today, you'll be well on your way towards a smoother, faster gaming experience. Happy gaming!

Published 09 October 2023
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