Steam is endeared because of its many promotions and sales. One could argue that its overtaken Half-Life as Valve’s crowning achievement. However, like any other service, Steam is subject to some hiccups.
One of the most frustrating is Steam’s store refusing to load. This guide will explore the most effective fixes for this issue.
What To Do When Your Steam Store is Not Loading?
Reboot Your Computer
When you encounter any problem, the first thing you need to do is restart your computer. This process will release any file conflicts, close remnant or ghost applications running in the background, and flush your memory.
Rebooting your computer is especially important if you’ve recently installed (or uninstalled) any device drivers or software.
We recommend that you completely shut your computer down, unplug it for a few minutes, and then start it up again. Once this is done, you can try opening the Steam Store from the Steam client.
Check Your Internet Connection
Steam’s store may not be loading if there’s an issue with internet connectivity. First, we need to ensure that you have a steady internet connection. There are a few ways to accomplish this:
- Using an Online Speed Test : The easiest way to test your internet connection and ensure that you’re online is with a speed test.
- Using Command Prompt : Another you can test your internet connection is by using ping function on your Command Prompt (or PowerShell).
Simply, open Windows Run Dialog (Win + R), type CMD into the text field and hit Enter. Now, run
If the ping request times out, you may not be connected to the internet, or a firewall blocks you. While you’re here, ensure that your ping isn’t too high. If it’s too high, you may have problems connecting to the Steam store from your client.
Reconfigure Your Firewall
Because Windows can often flash so many dialogs, notifications, and messages, it’s very easy to miss-click or miss something. After a Steam update, certain aspects of the client may require new firewall permissions.
If access isn’t granted, some of the Steam client’s features won’t connect to the internet. One of these components may be the Steam store. To remedy this, you’ll need to add an exception to the Windows firewall.
- Open a Windows Run dialog (Win + R)
- Type control firewall.cpl into the open text field
- Hit Enter
- Click on Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall
- Scroll down through the list of Allowed apps and features and ensure that both Steam and Steam Web Helper have access to your Private and Public network connections.
If any of the above Steam-related entries do not have ticks for the Private and Public category, you’ll need to add them. To accomplish this:
- Click on the Change settings button
- Tick the checkboxes under Private and Public for both Steam and the Steam Web Helper
- Click on the OK button
If one or both of these entries don’t appear under the apps and features list, you’ll need to add them.
- Click on the Allow another app… button
- Click on the Browse… button
- Find and locate the missing entry (Steam and/or Steam Web Helper) and select the executable
- Click on the Add button
- Ensure that both the Private and Public categories are ticked for the new entry
- Click on OK to close Windows Defender Firewall Settings
Note: By default, the Steam client’s executable is commonly found in either the C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steam.exe or C:\Program Files\Steam\steam.exe directory.
Steam’s web helper can be found in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\bin\cef\cef.win7x64\steamwebhelper.exe or C:\Program Files\Steam\bin\cef\cef.win7x64\steamwebhelper.exe directory, unless you’ve changed Steam’s default installation folder.
If the Allow another app… button is greyed out, you’ll first have to click on the Change settings button.
Steam’s client uses a built-in chromium web browser. The aptly named Steam web helper assists components such as these and the store connect to the internet. However, sometimes it may run into an error and stop responding.
Alternatively, there may be multiple web helpers running and interfering with each other. The best way to fix this is to terminate it using the Windows Task Manager.
- Open Windows Task Manager (Press the Ctrl+Shift+Esc buttons on your keyboard)
- Ensure that the Process tab is selected
- Sort Processes by name to make it easier to find the Steam Client WebHelper
- Scroll through the lists to find the Steam Client WebHelper process(es)
- Right-click on it and select End task
If there are multiple Steam Client WebHelpers, terminate them all. Steam may launch an error message reading FRIENDS NETWORK UNREACHABLE during this process. Ignore it until you’ve eliminated all the Steam WebHelper processes. Once that’s done, you can close the error dialog. This process will launch fresh new web helpers.
Run Flushconfig to Clear Download Cache
A congestion in your download cache may be interfering with the Steam client’s ability to connect to its servers or the internet. We can fix this by running a special Steam command. It will clear and refresh the cache.
- Open a run dialog
steam://flushconfiginto the Open dialog text field
- Hit Enter
- Click on the OK button
Once it’s done clearing the cache, it will restart the client. You’ll be required to sign back in to access the Steam store.
Run Steam in Big Picture Mode
Steam’s store may not be loading correctly because of your display. The user interface may malfunction because it’s having issues rendering certain elements. Essentially, this issue may be due to your resolution or display driver. To run Steam in Big Picture Mode:
- Run the Steam client
- Click on the Big Picture Mode near the top right corner (on the left of the minimize button)
Once you’ve launched Big Picture Mode, you can try accessing the Steam store from there.
If none of the previous solutions worked for you, you might be running an outdated version of Steam. In essence, the Steam store may not be loading because your version is incompatible. Valve may decide to rework the Steam client’s current web browsing features.
Alternatively, they may change the ports, IP addresses, or other resources required to connect to the Steam store from the client. You can update Steam by:
- Run and log into the Steam client (make sure that it’s not in Big Picture Mode)
- Click on the Steam menu item from the top left corner and select Check for Steam Client Updates.
Steam will launch its self-updater. Ensure that your Firewall isn’t blocking the Steam Web Helper, or the self-updater will freeze.
If you’re having issues with the self-updater, you can try manually updating Steam by downloading the Steam installer. Before you run the installation, ensure that Steam is completely closed.
Verify The Compatibility Modes
The Steam client may be unintentionally running in compatibility mode. This setting may be interfering with the Steam store. To check if Steam is running in a compatibility mode, do the following:
- Run Windows file explorer
- Navigate to where the Steam client is located on your PC (usually
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam)
- Right-click on Steam.exe
- Select Properties from the context menu
- Click on the Compatibility tab
- In the Compatibility mode section, make sure the checkbox labeled Run this program compatibility mode for: is unchecked.
- Click on OK
Note: Additionally, you can click on the Change settings for all users button and ensure that all compatibility options are off. As a bonus, you can check the Run this program as an administrator option. This option will allow you to run the Steam client as an admin and may solve your Steam Store loading issues.
Disable CEF Sandbox
As we briefly mentioned earlier, Steam uses the Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF) for its web browsing elements. It uses a sandbox to manage processes. Often this sandbox may interfere with some of Steam’s features – such as the store.
We can remedy this by turning the CEF sandbox off. To do this, you’ll be required to edit Steam’s launch arguments/options. Usually, an application will create a desktop shortcut upon installation. If you don’t’ have a desktop shortcut, you’ll have to create one.
To create a desktop shortcut for Steam, do the following:
- Open the Windows file explorer
- Navigate to Steam’s directory (
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam)
- Right-click on steam.exe
- Hover your mouse over the Send to option
- Select Desktop (create shortcut)
Once you’ve successfully created the desktop shortcut, we can then edit the launch arguments to turn off the sandbox feature:
- Right-click on the Steam shortcut on your desktop
- Click on Properties
- Click on the Shortcut tab
- Add the following flag in the target field: -no-cef-sandbox
The target should look like this:
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\Steam.exe"-no-cef-sandbox (If you haven’t added any flags of your own)
- Click on OK
Note: You may receive a message informing you that you need Administrator privileges to make this change.
Click on OK to confirm the changes. After you’ve applied the above changes to Steam’s shortcut properties, you can run Steam. Ensure that you run Steam from the shortcut for the changes to take hold.
Clear HTML Cache
Applications (mostly browsers and other applications that access the internet) usually store a cache of frequently requested resources on a local folder. This process allows them to load faster.
After an update, the cache may no longer be technically compatible with the current version of the application. This fact may cause issues with loading. Alternatively, the cache may be corrupted, and the Steam store freezes while loading it.
You can remedy this by clearing Steam’s HTML cache. To do this effectively, you’ll need to be able to view hidden files and folders from your PC.
- Close Steam
- Run Windows File Explorer
- Click on the View tab
- Check the option labeled Hidden Items
- Open a Windows Run dialog (Win + R)
- Type in
%localappdata%\steam\htmlcacheinto the text field and hit Enter
- Selecting everything (CTRL + A) and Delete.
Once you’ve cleared the HTML cache, you may run Steam to see if this has fixed the Steam store loading issue.
Note: This can also be done using the Web Browser setting in the Steam client (Steam>Settings>Web Browser). However, the above method is the most effective because it doesn’t leave any residual or locked files.
Visit the Steam Store’s Web Browser Version
If you’re struggling to load the Steam Store from the client, a good temporary fix is to use your web browser to access it. The Steam store may not work from the client because of a buggy update either from Windows or Steam.
Sometimes, all you need to do is wait for the issue to resolve itself. In the meantime, you can run your browser and visit the official Steam Store website.
Check The Status of Steam’s Servers
Sometimes, the problem may not be on your end. Steam’s servers may be down for a short maintenance period or because of an issue.
You can use Steamstat.us, an unofficial but extremely reliable online hub for Steam statistics and statuses. They also have a Twitter page that notifies followers of any outages or issues regarding Steam’s community.
Alternatively, you can visit the official Steam stats page. However, it’s probably the least informative and most inaccessible option. Since both these options can be somewhat confusing, a good alternative is IsSteamDown.com. It will flash a single message to tell you if Steam’s network is down or not.
Steam Store Not Loading: Other Fixes Worth Trying
If the above solutions don’t work for you, you can try accessing the Steam store from a VPN. This fix will allow you to access other Steam servers and bypass any blocks erroneously set by your ISP. You can also try completely uninstalling the Steam client and installing it once again.
If you’re running a Beta version of the Steam client, opting out may solve Steam store loading issues. Finally, if you’ve tried everything in this guide and nothing seems to fix the problem, you should log an error with Steam support.
Nevertheless, we hope that at least one of these solutions worked for you. If you have any queries or comments, please leave them down below. As always, thank you for reading.