Steam Won’t Go Online: How to Fix on Windows

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If you can’t get online on Steam, you can’t play online, either. You can fix the problem using the steps in this guide.

Experiencing issues with Steam not going online? This is a frustrating experience for any avid gamer. This problem can disrupt your gaming experience—without a connection, you might be unable to load up your favorite games, let alone install any new ones.

However, there are ways to troubleshoot and fix this common issue on Windows. If Steam won’t go online, follow these steps to fix the problem.

How to Check if Steam is Down

Before diving into troubleshooting steps you might not necessarily need, you’ll need to check whether the problem isn’t due to Steam’s server status. There could be system-wide downtime or maintenance issues causing the inability to go online.

One way to check the server status is by visiting the Steam Status website. This unofficial website actively monitors Steam performance across all its platforms, from the store to the app.
Steam status page

If Steam’s services are working normally, they’ll appear as Normal under the Steam Services category. However, if Steam has issues, this will change. You can also keep yourself updated by following the Steam Status X (previously Twitter) account, which automatically posts updates when Steam has issues.

How to Test Your Internet Connection

If Steam isn’t down, then the next obvious cause of Steam not going online is a problem with your internet connection. We’ll assume you’ve already checked that you can load some common web pages—you’re reading this article, after all.

However, if you haven’t, make sure to load a web browser and try loading common sites like Google. You can also try using the ping command (e.g., ping from the command line.

Example ping command in Windows 11

If the website doesn’t load or takes too long, your internet connection may be slow or unstable. To fix your internet connection, you can try some of these steps.

  • Restart your router and modem by unplugging them from the power source for a few seconds and then plugging them back in.
  • Move your device closer to the router or use a wired connection instead of a wireless one.
  • Use a different DNS server, such as Google Public DNS or Cloudflare DNS, which may improve your connection speed and reliability.
  • Open ports for Steam in your router’s port settings.
  • Contact your internet service provider (ISP) and ask if there are any problems with their service or if they’re blocking your connection to Steam.

You can try more specific fixes once you’ve worked through this list.

How to Clear Your Download Cache

Steam stores some temporary files in a download cache as part of the process of installing or updating new games. If Steam won’t go online, however, it could point to a problem with your Steam setup. Clearing the cache might help to resolve this issue, especially if it started after a recent game download or update.

  1. Open Steam and click the Steam menu in the top-left corner of the window.
  2. Select Settings from the menu.
    Open Steam settings
  3. Click Downloads on the left panel.
  4. On the right, press the Clear Cache button next to the Clear Download Cache section.
    Clear download cache Windows 11
  5. You’ll be asked to confirm—click Confirm.
    Clear Steam download cache

Make sure to restart Steam and see if it can go online after you’ve cleared your cache files.

How to Check Your Windows Firewall Settings

Windows Firewall isn’t there to stop apps from working—unless they’re filled with malware. However, that doesn’t stop Windows Security (the built-in security solution in Windows 11 that includes the Windows Firewall) from occasionally blocking safe apps like Steam from connecting to the internet.

If Windows Firewall is blocking Steam, you won’t be able to connect. You’ll need to check your Windows Firewall settings to make sure that this isn’t the case.

To check if Windows Firewall is blocking Steam:

  1. Open the Start menu and search for Windows Security—select the top (Best Match) result.
    Open Windows Security
  2. In Windows Security, click Firewall & network protection.
  3. Click Allow an app through firewall.
    Open Windows firewall exceptions
  4. Next, click Change settings and find Steam in your list of apps.
  5. Check the boxes next to Steam to allow it through the firewall on both private and public networks.
    Enabling firewall exceptions for Steam
  6. Click OK to save the changes, and then restart your PC.
    Save Windows Firewall exceptions

Once your PC has restarted, check whether or not the problem has been resolved.

How to Add –tcp to Your Steam Shortcut

A more technical fix for the problem is configuring the Steam shortcut in your Start menu to use a custom parameter when it launches. This parameter configures Steam to use TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) instead of UDP (User Datagram Protocol) for network connections. This has been reported to help stabilize connections to Steam.

  1. If it’s running already, exit Steam and ensure it isn’t running in the background.
  2. Next, open the Start menu and locate the Steam app.
  3. Right-click the app and go to More > Open file location.
    Open Steam file location
  4. Right-click the Steam shortcut in File Explorer and go to Show more options > Properties.
    Open Steam properties
  5. In the Target field, add a space after the quotation mark and type: –tcp (without quotation marks). For example, …steam.exe” -tcp.
  6. Click OK to save the changes.
    Set Steam TCP settings
  7. Once you’ve applied the changes, double-click the shortcut to launch Steam with the -tcp setting applied.

Troubleshooting Steam Problems

Steam is a great platform for gaming, but if Steam doesn’t go online, you’ll need to try one of the steps we’ve outlined above if you want to start playing with your friends.

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