How To Fix Steam Needs To Be Online To Update Error

When Steam has trouble detecting your internet and says ‘Steam needs to be online to update,’ it can be really annoying. It’s especially annoying when your internet connection is working fine but for some reason Steam cannot see it. This is a somewhat common error that occurs when using Steam on Windows 10.

If you have a valid internet connection, it can be quite a confusing error indeed. This problem is not, however, not exclusive to Windows. Mac users are getting the ‘Steam needs to be online to update’ error as well.

The first step in resolving this issue is to disable your proxy settings and any third party anti-virus or firewall software you may be using. Also, make sure to run Steam with administrator privileges. If that still does not work, you might have to refresh Steam’s system files or even run it in compatibility mode. If you are one of the very unlucky ones, you might even have to change your DNS settings or dive into the registry to solve the problem. 

The most common reason for Steam to say that it needs to be online to update is because it is being blocked by anti-virus or firewall software. If there is nothing wrong with your internet connection, yet you are constantly getting this error, then something is definitely wrong. In this article, we will go over the ten most effective methods of resolving this issue.

How To Fix Steam Needs To Be Online To Update Error

Method 1 : Disable Your Proxy Settings

The proxy settings on your computer are responsible for allowing network traffic to go in and out and send them through a proxy tunnel. If for some reason Steam is being redirected in the wrong direction, here’s how to fix it: 

Through Chrome

Step 1: Open the browser and click on Menu at the top right

Step 2: Click on Settings

Step 3: Input Proxy in the search bar

Step 4: Select open proxy settings

Step 5: Select LAN Settings in Connections

Step 6: Uncheck Use a proxy server from your LAN

Step 7: Save and exit

Step 8: Restart Steam

Through Network Settings

Step 1: Simultaneously press Win + R to open Run

Step 2: Type inetcpl.cpl

Step 3: Select Connections

Step 4: Click on LAN settings

Step 5: Uncheck Use a proxy server for your LAN

Step 6: Save changes and exit

Step 7: Restart Steam  

Method 2 : Disable Your Anti-virus And Firewall

It has been proven that Windows Firewall and Steam constantly conflict with each other.

Steam will download games and other updates in the background while you are still using Windows for other things. It does this so you don’t have to twiddle your thumbs while waiting for the download to finish when you want to use the Steam client for your game.

Not only that but Steam has the ability to alter your computer settings to give you the best gaming experience. Sometimes Windows firewall will mark some of the actions as malicious and may even block Steam.

It may also block Steams’ background processes, making it really hard to pinpoint what the actual conflict is. Disabling your firewall and anti-virus program can sometimes solve the error. Here’s how to do it: 

Step 1: Press the Win Key + S

Step 2: Enter Firewall

Step 3: Choose Windows Firewall

Step 4: Once it starts, click Turn Windows Firewall on or off

Step 5: Select Turn off Windows Firewall for private and public networks-Click OK-Additionally, temporarily uninstall your anti-virus program

Step 6: Try running Steam again

Method 3 : Give Steam Administrator Access

Another reason Steam may not be working is that you didn’t give it enough administrator access.

It requires complete access to give you the best gaming experience. It will change your configurations and use as much memory as it needs. However, Steam doesn’t have full access from the getgo. Here’s how to give it full access: 

Step 1: Locate C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam

Step 2: Look for a .exe file names Steam.exe

Step 3: Right-click and choose Properties

Step 4: Choose the Compatibility tab

Step 5: Check the box at the bottom that says Run this program as an administrator

Step 6: Save the changes and exit

Step 7: Next look for a .exe file called GameOverlayUI.exe-Right-click on Properties-Check the box at the bottom that says Run this program as an administrator-Save changes and exit

Step 8: Next, open your Steam directory

Step 9: Locate C:\Program Files\Steam

Step 10: Right-click on it and select Properties

Step 11: Select the Security tab

Step 12: Click on Advanced

Step 13: You should now see four rows of editable options. Click on each one and select Edit

Step 14: Check all the boxes that appear including Full control

Step 15: Do this for each row and exit after you have changed them

Step 16: Click the Steam.exe file to launch

Method 4 : Add -TCP Parameter

Generally Steam will use the User Datagram Protocol to transmit data. You can try to change it to TCP, which is the Transmission Control Protocol.

This is a more reliable way to transmit data than UDP, however, UDP is quicker. You can set it back to UDP once changed to TCP at any time if it doesn’t work. Here’s how to change it: 

Step 1: Locate C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam

Step 2: Locate the exe file 

Step 3: Right-click on it and select Create Shortcut

Step 4: Click on the shortcut you created and select Properties

Step 5: When the target dialogue box pops up, type -tcp at the end, it should look like “C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\Steam.exe” –tcp. There should be a space before -tcp.

Step 6: Apply the changes

Step 7: Launch Steam using the shortcut

Method 5 : Utilize Ipconfig

The internet protocol configuration, or Ipconfig, is an application in your computer then displays all IP/TCP configurations. You can change various settings such as DHCP and DNS using Ipconfig.

We will use the Ipconfig command to force a refresh of the DHCP IP address of the host computer to obtain another IP address. Here’s how it’s done: 

Step 1: Simultaneously press the Win + R button to launch Run

Step 2: Type cmd in the box that pops up

Step 3: Once command prompt opens, type ipconfig /release and hit enter ( this forces a release of your DHCP lease)

Step 4: Type Ipconfig /renew and hit enter (this requests a new IP address)

Step 5: Type ipconfig /flushdns and hit enter (This clears the DNS cache)-Restart your computer-Press Win + R to run

Step 6: Type services.msc in the box

Step 7: Locate the DNS Client service and double click to open Properties

Step 8: Stop the start the service again

Step 9: Use Administrator priveledges to run Steam

Method 6 : Refresh Steam Files

When you refresh the Steam files, you save your downloaded games and your user data will be preserved. Therefor, refreshing the files simply deletes the configuration files and forces the client to install them again.

If there were any corrupt or bad files, they will be replaced with working ones. Check out how to refresh your Steam files below: 

Step 1: Find C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam

Step 2: Locate the following files and folders:

Userdata, Steam.exe, and Steamapps

Step 3: Userdata contains the data for your gameplay. Don’t delete it. Steamapps has the game giving you the issue and you only need to delete that folder. So, if all of the games are giving you an issue, skip deleting the Steamapps folder and proceed to the next steps. 

Step 4: Delete the other files and folders except for the ones mentioned above-Restart your computer-Run Steam as an administrator

Method 7 : Run In Compatibility Mode

Sometimes the ‘Steam Needs to be Online to Update’ error can be resolved if you run Steam in compatibility mode. Here’s how to do that: 

Step 1: Right-click on Steam and choose Properties

Step 2: Go to Compatibility

Step 3: Choose to Run the program in compatibility mode for the Windows version you are running

Step 4: You can also choose to Run as administrator

Step 5: Restart Steam

Method 8 : Edit The Registry

Changing a few registry values may help resolve the “Steam needs to be online to update” error. Do this by performing the following tasks: 

Step 1: Hit the Win + R buttons

Step 2: Type regedit in the box and click ok

Step 3: Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Valve\Steam

Step 4: Click on Offline DWORD and set the value data to 0

Step 5: Close the editor and restart the computer

Method 9 : Copy Files From Another Computer

Some users that are getting the ‘Steam Needs to be Online to Update’ error have been able to resolve it by copying the files from another computer seemed to solve the problem. This is how to do it: 

Step 1: Copy the files from Steam’s install directory except for the Steamapps folder to a flash drive

Step 2: Connect the flash drive to your computer

Step 3: Paste the files to your Steam installation directory

Step 4: Click Yes to overwrite the files

Step 5: Run Steam.exe 

Method 10 : Use Google’s DNS

Your DNS setting could be the root of the issue if all else has failed. You can switch your DNS settings to Google’s DNS. This will fix other problems you may be experiencing, not just the ‘Steam Needs to be Online to Update’ problem. So, its good to do this one even if one of the other solutions resolved your Steam problem. Here is how you do it: 

Step 1: Press Win + S

Step 2: Type Network and Sharing

Step 3: Choose the Network and Sharing Center option

Step 4: Select Change adapter settings

Step 5: Right-click on your network adapter

Step 6: Choose Properties

Step 7: Choose Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)

Step 8: Select Properties

Step 9: Click on Advanced

Step 10: Take note of your current DNS addresses if you have any

Step 11: Click Add

Step 12: Enter and

Step 13: Save changes and restart the connection

Step 14: Try Steam again

What Causes The “Steam Needs To Be Online To Update” Error?

The main issue seems to be that you have a connection to a legitimate network and other internet apps are functional, but Steam still isn’t working. This means that there is a problem with your internet or internet settings. 

-Disable your proxy settings
-Disable anti-virus and firewall
-Give Steam administrator access
-Add -tcp parameter
-Utilize Ipconfig
-Refresh Steam files
-Run in compatibility mode
-Edit the registry
-Copy files from another computer
-Use Google’s DNS
-Disable Steam from auto startup


The ‘Steam needs to be online to update’ can be a real show stopper when you are trying to play your favorite games. It can be really frustrating when you know your internet connection is working but for some reason, Steam is not able to use it.

In most cases, you can just disable your anti-virus or firewall software or just add an exception for Steam to it. There are other cases, however, where you have to do more, such as running Steam with administrator privileges. Other solutions for more serious cases involve using the Steam installer to repair its system files. Using Google’s DNS is a good idea in general, as it fixes other problems as well. 

We hope this article helped you get Steam able to detect your internet connection again. Thanks for reading!