Are you getting the “Friends Network Unreachable“ error on Steam? This article explores the various ways in which you can fix this issue.
Steam is a digital distribution platform for video games that allows users to buy, sell, and play desktop games. Besides its cloud gaming capabilities, Steam also offers several community features. These include cloud saving, in-game voice chat, messaging, and much more.
Now here’s the problem. Whether you’re on Windows or Mac, your Steam friends list can sometimes be unreachable despite having a proper network connection. As such, it displays an error stating “Friends Network Unreachable”.
What’s more, this error may persist even after restarting the Steam app or refreshing your network connection. Not only is the issue irritating, but it could also result in a dreadful experience playing with your friends.
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the effective methods to fix the Friends Network Unreachable error. First, let’s address the million-dollar question.
Why Does Steam Show the ‘Friends Network Unreachable’ Error?
Identifying the exact reason for the Friends Network Unreachable problem is quite a bit challenging. However, there are two common factors that can trigger this error — corrupt cache files and a buggy beta mode.
With a corrupted cache, the temporary files that Steam stores on your system (also known as cached files) may become corrupted. As such, Steam displays errors when it needs to access these files to present your Steam friends’ list.
On the other hand, if you have opted in for the beta program, then the issue that you are facing could be due to bugs and issues in the beta version that is preventing you from viewing your friend list on Steam.
Nonetheless, we have compiled 8 methods in which you could fix this pesky error.
How to Fix the Friends Network Unreachable Error in Steam?
- Check Internet Connection and Restart PC
- Modify Steam Shortcut Properties
- Clear Cache and Cookies on Steam
- Opt Out of the Steam Beta Program
- Connect to Mobile Hotspot and Then Back to WiFi
- Clear the Steam Desktop Cache
- Flush Your DNS Cache
- Check Your Anti-virus
1. Check Internet Connection and Restart PC
Usually, the main culprit is an unstable internet connection or network issues with the router. To fix this error, make sure that you have a working internet connection by visiting a random webpage in your browser to check if the page loads fine. If it’s working fine, then consider restarting your router along with your PC.
2. Modify Steam Shortcut Properties
A quick fix for this issue is to modify the Steam shortcut by adding a couple of parameters to the shortcut’s properties in Windows. Here’s how it works:
1. Right-click on the Steam icon and select Properties.
2. Go to the Shortcut tab.
3. In the Target field, go to the end of the text and add a space followed by -nofriendsui, as shown below. Now click the OK button.
4. Launch the Steam app to check if you can access your friend list without getting any errors. If the error still exists, then repeat step 3, but this time add –nochatui and -no-browser to the end as shown below.
3. Clear Cache and Cookies on Steam
When you use Steam, it caches certain files and data on your computer so that it can load them much faster the next time you have to access them. Sometimes, these cached data can become corrupted and outdated, which can cause unexpected problems when using Steam, such as the issue that you are facing now.
One of the ways to fix this issue is to clear the Steam cache and cookies. Here’s how you can do it:
1. Open Steam. If prompted, log into your account.
2. From the menu bar, click Steam and select Settings.
3. Select Web Browser from the sidebar. Then click the DELETE WEB BROWSER CACHE and DELETE ALL BROWSER COOKIES buttons.
4. Once done, click OK and restart Steam. Now try accessing your friend list to see if it works.
4. Opt Out of the Steam Beta Program
As mentioned earlier, users that participate in the Steam beta program oftentimes experience the Friends Network Unreachable error. In this case, you have to opt-out of the beta program to fix the error.
1. Open Steam.
2. From the top menu bar, click Steam and select Settings.
3. Select Account from the sidebar and click Change under Beta participation.
4. Select NONE – Opt out of all beta programs, then click OK.
5. Click Ok in the Settings windows.
Now quit and re-launch Steam to check if the issue has been resolved.
5. Connect to Mobile Hotspot and Then Back to WiFi
A couple of Reddit users have reported that the issue was fixed when they connected to their mobile hotspot and then reconnected to their WiFi. Here’s how it works:
1. On your smartphone, switch on the hotspot feature. This allows your PC to use your mobile data. If you don’t have this feature, then you can connect your phone via USB to enable tethering.
2. Once turned on, search for the hotspot network on your computer’s WiFi list and connect to it.
3. After it’s connected, you should disconnect and re-connect to your original WiFi network which you were connected to before, such as your home network.
Now restart Steam and check if the friend list will load properly.
6. Clear the Steam Desktop Cache
At this point, you’ve deleted the Steam web browser cache and cookies. Now it’s time to take things a bit further — clear the Steam desktop app cache. In other words, you need to delete the AppData folder content for the Steam application.
1. Close the Steam app if it’s open.
2. Press the Windows + R keys to open the Run dialog window.
3. Now type %appdata% and hit Enter.
4. From the folder that opens, find the Steam folder and delete it entirely. To do so, right-click on the folder and select Delete.
This will clear all the cached files and data that Steam has stored. In this way, if there’s any corrupted cache, it will be cleared and Steam will store a new cache once you re-open it.
7. Flush Your DNS Cache
If you’re still facing issues, you can try to flush your DNS cache so that Steam will have to look up for the DNS on the server again. Here’s how:
1. Search for Command Prompt from the Windows search bar. Then right-click on it and choose Run as administrator.
2. Now type in the following command and press the Enter key:
- ipconfig /flushdns
3. Now re-open Steam to check if the friends’ list is displayed.
1. Open Terminal.
2. Type the following command and press Enter:
- sudo dscacheutil -flushcache;sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
If you’re on OS X 10.10.1, 10.10.2, or 10.10.3, then you must enter the following command instead:
- sudo discoveryutil udnsflushcaches;sudo discoveryutil mdnsflushcaches
3. Now re-open Steam to check if the friends’ list is displayed.
8. Check Your Anti-virus
If you have an anti-virus program installed, then it could be the reason that you’re having this issue. Your anti-virus might be blocking a connection from Steam that loads the friends’ list. Therefore, open your anti-virus software and check if it’s blocking any connections from Steam. If it is, then make sure to allow the connection and whitelist steam.
These are several ways in which you could fix the Steam Friends Network Unreachable error that you’ve been having. It’s quite challenging to find out what exactly is causing this issue, but by following the solutions above, you should be able to resolve the problem and connect with your friends again on Steam.