Home COVID-19 Steam is Managing Its Bandwidth During COVID-19 Pandemic

Steam is Managing Its Bandwidth During COVID-19 Pandemic

Steam makes some changes to auto-updating to spread out peak load.


Steam is making some more changes to auto-updating in an effort to remove some stress that having more people forced to stay home is placing on the internet. Steam has been breaking its own concurrent user record during this unique situation we all find ourselves in at the moment. They have done so several times already and likely will continue to do so until the situation with COVID-19 improves.

We know a lot of you (like us here at Valve) are stuck at home right now trying to work or attend school remotely. Or maybe you’re just playing a bunch of great games on Steam. Whatever the case may be, we know that with so many people at home trying to get things done at the same time, it can put a stress on your home’s internet bandwidth.

With that in mind, we thought it was a good time to remind everyone of some of the features the Steam client offers relating to downloads, so that you can manage your home bandwidth and help everyone in your house handle this unique situation we all find ourselves in.

–Steam blog post: Mon, March 30, 2020

For games that Steam users haven’t played recently, Steam has already been scheduling updates for the next off-peak local time period. Starting this week Steam will now spread those updates over several days. Only games we have played in the last 3 days will update immediately. If you choose to play a game from your library it will update immediately as always. Steam also said “We’re also looking into additional solutions to help on our side.”

Options You Can Control


Steam suggested in their blog post that we take advantage of existing features such as throttling and scheduling. In the Steam download settings you can schedule updates for off peak times and set a download limit. Below is a list of options from Steam that can help you manage your downloads and updates.

  • Schedule auto-update windows! This will ensure that Steam doesn’t start updating a game while you’re in the middle of your work day.
  • If you don’t play a game in your library often, you can keep it installed but choose to no longer download automatic updates.
  • You can self-throttle your own connection to Steam. This might ease the load on your network connection, and may help ease bandwidth loads if network traffic in your area needs to be reduced.
  • Take advantage of Library Folders settings, so you can move infrequently-played games from an SSD to a storage HDD. This is usually better for you (and your bandwidth) rather than uninstalling the game and needing to re-download it later.

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Charles Leverehttps://www.riverbankwebdesign.ca/
Charles Levere is the editor-in-chief (dork-in-chief) of Urban Dork. When he is not writing, or tinkering with hardware, he is most likely playing one of his favorite video games. He also loves being near the water, kayaking, water skiing or anything that gets him on the water and in the sun.

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