Steam client Beta update brings long-awaited download speed limiter

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 24, 2013
Updated • Apr 24, 2013

If you are running Steam on one of your systems and have ever bought a game that was downloaded from Steam servers, you know that you can't really manipulate the download speed. While it sometimes makes sense to switch servers to speed up downloads that seemed to trickle in, you had no option to block Steam from using all of your download bandwidth at once. While you could use third party programs like NetBalancer to limit's Steam's bandwidth use during the download period, it was not the most comfortable option.

The newest Steam Beta update adds the much requested feature to the software program. Steam users can now limit the download bandwidth of Steam in the client. What this means is that Steam won't exceed the selected bandwidth - even if it could. This can be useful if part of the bandwidth is needed for other operations while games are being downloaded.

Let me show you how you can configure the new feature:

  • Note that the feature is currently only available in the beta version of the Steam client.  You need to join the beta right now to make use of it. Select Steam > Settings from the top menu and click on the Change button under Account > Beta participation. Join the Steam beta and restart the client to finalize the change. You can at any time leave the beta again.
  • To modify the download bandwidth select Steam > Settings.
  • Switch to the Downloads tab
  • Locate the "limit downloads to the following bandwidth" setting there and use the menu to select a preset bandwidth. This ranges from 128 Kbps as the bare minimum to 250 Mbps. To reset the limitation, select No limit.

steam limit download bandwidth

Steam will honor the new download limit for all downloads, be it new game downloads or updates. Note that there is no indicator of a download limit during downloads. Steam displays the current download rate but provides you with no information about the cap.

Still, adding download caps to Steam is a welcome step in the right direction that is certainly going to please many users of the service. I'd expect the feature to make its way in to the stable version of the client soon.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Bob said on April 24, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    I’m personally waiting for the “don’t stop download when launching a game” feature.

  2. Alex said on April 24, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Yeah, now waiting t for the “Shutdown after download” feature.

  3. mickey said on April 24, 2013 at 8:06 am

    *another rant*

    if i leave steam downloading overnight, i wake up to find my computer asleep and only 5% of game downloaded.

    we shouldn’t have to resort to third-party insomnia software to stop the pc sleeping!

    *another rant off*

    1. You are an idiot said on October 22, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      You need to do that on you’re own pc……

  4. dwarf_t0ssn said on April 24, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Oh, cool. I usually just pause downloads, but someone may find this useful.

    *somewhat topical rant*

    They really need to give an option for every game that allows you to select which corner/section of the screen the “_______ is online/playing ______” notification pops up in.

    Lower right of the screen is where the World of Tanks minimap is, and it sucks when people come online and block it! I could do without the steam overlay on this game, true, but then I can’t use the convenient steam web browser every now and then, or answer PMs.

    There is a way to edit files for steam’s layout manually to allow different corner popups, but every time I have done so steam overwrites them almost immediately…even if set to read only somehow.

    *rant off*

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.