How to Fix “Steam Needs to Be Online to Update”

For those of us who enjoy playing games on our PC, this is a common problem that we face. The Steam client will show an error message stating “Steam needs to be online to update”.

This can be frustrating because it won’t let you play the game until the issue has been solved.

In this article, I’ll go over some simple steps to fix Steam’s need for being online error and get back into your favourite game as quickly as possible!

Why “Steam Needs To Be Online..” Error Occurs?

It’s easy to think that the Steam servers aren’t working and automatically assume they’re offline.

Well, there’s a lot more at play here. Thanks to changes in their update system, Valve has created a second instance of their server specifically for this purpose.

So instead of you updating your game with your actual account, you are now updating your game data with an “offline” version of Steam which is stored on your computer.

The way it works is that every now and then Valve will send you a message telling you that updates are available but until then even though Steam isn’t open it still needs to be online so these messages can get through.

This problem occurs because Valve hasn’t sent out any update notifications yet so it still thinks you aren’t online.

Solve “Steam Needs To Be Online To Update” Error

We need to put an end to this “Steam needs online” issue by tricking Steam into thinking you’re offline.

Before we start, there are two things to keep in mind:

1. A fast and stable Internet connection: If your Internet isn’t very stable then it may cause problems when updating or changing your DNS settings.

It’s best if you can connect directly to your modem/router with an Ethernet cable instead of using WiFi (if possible).

2. Steam Must Be Closed: This is a big one and must not be forgotten because it could seriously screw everything up!

You need to make sure Steam is closed before beginning these steps so it has no effect on any other games you have open at the time.

Step 1: Remove Steam & Game From ‘Offline Mode’

You’ve probably already noticed this but I’ll mention it anyway. You can’t update or play your game if Steam is still open so you need to close that first.

To do that just click the X button on Steam’s taskbar icon.

If you’re running Windows 8, then there will be no visible icon for steam which means the taskbar has been hidden!

Don’t worry about it though because it’s easy to get back.

Just hit your Windows key (the one between Ctrl and Alt) or click the windows button in the bottom left corner of your screen which should bring up a menu with an option saying “Desktop”.

Click on this desktop option and you should now have a visible taskbar to interact with.

Once the Steam client has been closed, you should see a notification telling you that it’s currently in Offline Mode and needs to be restarted for any changes to take effect.

If this notification doesn’t appear – don’t worry about it because as long as you closed Steam then everything is fine.

Now just move on to step two!

Step 2: Change Your DNS Settings

Before we start, open up your Control Panel by pressing the Windows key or clicking on the windows button at the bottom left of your screen (if using Windows 8).

Next, click on Network And Internet > Network And Sharing Centre.

If using Windows 8, do not use the “Network” option that pops up in the Control Panel window because it won’t work!

Now you should see a list of options to the left. Select “Change Adapter Settings”.

Right-click on your active internet connection (normally Local Area Connection or Wireless Network Connection) and select Properties from the menu.

If using Windows 8, this option may be hidden so you’ll have to click on “show more” at the bottom right corner of the pop up which will show all available connections.

You should now see a new window with several tabs across the top – click on ‘Internet Protocol Version 4’ (TCP/IPv4).

This is where we will be changing our DNS settings.

To do this just select “Use The Following DNS Server Addresses” and replace what’s already there with the following:

Preferred DNS Server: Alternate DNS Server:

It should look something like this:

Now click ‘Ok’ and finally ‘Close’.

You’re all finished! Once you’ve restarted your computer or reconnected to the Internet then everything will be working as it should again 🙂

Step 3: Update Your Steam & Game Files

To update your game files you need to launch Steam (don’t worry, we already closed it earlier) and go through the normal process of updating/downloading your games (this may require an internet connection).

When having to choose a location for where to install and store your games, I recommend selecting your ‘My Documents folder as it’s the safest option and normally gives no issues.

Just keep in mind that if you chose to install your game files anywhere other than My Documents then you will have to change the file location of your savegames for this fix to work properly.

Hopefully, everything is working now!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will this fix stop Steam from trying to update games automatically?

No, it will not prevent Steam from attempting to download and auto-update any of your games.
But it will stop the annoying “Steam needs to be online to update” message which is what we’re trying to fix! 🙂

I tried everything but nothing has changed! What’s wrong??

This error can be caused by several things: corrupt game files, incorrect DNS settings or a corrupted Steam client (especially if using Windows 8).
So firstly make sure all your internet connection details are correct and that you’ve closed out of Steam before following these steps again starting with step 1 as listed above 🙂

If I have to update my Steam client, will I need to do this fixing method all over again?

No! After updating your client everything should work normally without any additional effort on your part 🙂

What if none of this works for me?

Unfortunately if none of these methods works then it means there is a problem with the Steam software itself and the developers would need to fix that issue themselves which takes time.


That’s all there is to it. Go on and tell your friends that you’ve fixed “Steam needs to be online to update” without losing your saved games or spending cash! 🙂 Enjoy.

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