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Setting Client Rates

What are the best client rates for my internet connection?


Client rate settings are useful in troubleshooting lag and poor multiplayer performance. Please see the Troubleshooting Lag topic for further recommendations.

Steam Download Speed

If you notice connection problems during Steam downloads, or want to limit how much bandwidth steam can use, go to the Limit downloads to the following bandwidth drop-down menu in the Download tab in your Steam client's settings pane. You can find it in Steam's File > Settings menu.

Note that the rates listed here are in kilobytes and megabytes a second, while most Internet connections are rated in bits per second.


Game Server Browser Ping Rate

If you have connection problems when you open the Steam server browser, try turning the Game server browser: max pings / minute setting to the minimum, then re-test the issue. If that resolves the problem you are seeing, try testing at higher rates until you find the highest rate that doesn't cause a problem.


In-game Rate

Most connections work well with the default rate, cl_updaterate, and cl_cmdrate settings. Most servers prevent changing your in-game rate settings.

Default Settings vary between games, but the following is a safe baseline for most broadband connections:

  • rate 30000
  • cl_updaterate 20
  • cl_cmdrate 30


Test Script

You may try this test rate settings script to see what different settings do, but the default settings are the best for most internet connection types.


Download this rate.cfg file and put it in your game folder, then add the line exec rate.cfg to your userconfig.cfg file:



Download rate.cfg

56K modems are usually best set to a rate between 3500 to 5000 - you may need to edit some of the rate settings to find the best range for performance.

Once you have loaded the rate.cfg test script you can execute the following commands in the developer's console to determine which rate offers the best performance:

  • rates - see all the current settings
  • dslow - only useful for minimal testing, probably not playable
  • vslow
  • slow
  • norm - default settings
  • fast
  • vfast
  • lfast - LAN and high-speed connections only

You may also use the F2 key to cycle around to all the settings.


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