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Multiplayer Connection Issues (PC)

Configuring a router for multiple clients

To configure multiple clients to play from behind the same router, you may need to change one of the clients to use a different clientport number.

  • Each machine must have a unique Steam account with different game licenses registered to the account.
  • Each machine must have a different clientport setting.
  • Each machine must have a unique Mac address.
  • The router must be up-to-date.
  • Your Firewall and router must have the required ports for Steam open.

The default clientport is 27005 and you can only have one game with that port active on the same lan.


Specifying a Clientport as a Launch Option

To specify a client port, please perform the following steps for each computer on the LAN

  • Go to Steam's My games menu
  • Right-click on the game you wish to play
  • Go to Properties
  • From the General tab, click on the Set launch options button
  • Add a different client port number on each machine between 27005 and 27032 in the following format:
    +clientport 270XX
    Note: Do not use 27020
  • Click OK

NOTE: This solution only works if you launch the game through the My games menu.

If you have already set other launch options, leave a space between the last character of your previous launch option and the + of your clientport setting.


Specifying a Clientport in the Userconfig.cfg

The benefit of this method is that the clientport will remain set whether you are launching the game from the My games menu or from a shortcut to the game.

  • Navigate to the folder that holds the config.cfg for your game
    Example: The config.cfg for Counter-strike: Source can be found here:
    ..\Steam\steamapps\<user name>\counter-strike source\cstrike\cfg
  • If you have a userconfig.cfg in that directory, open it. If you do not already have a userconfig.cfg:
    1. Right-click in the folder
    2. Go to: New > Text Document
    3. Rename the file userconfig.cfg
    4. Open the file with Notepad
  • Type into the document clientport 270XX where XX are the last two digits of the clientport number. Acceptable values include 05 - 19 and 21 - 32
  • Save your userconfig.cfg
  • Launch your game


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Disconnected by VAC: You cannot play on secure servers

What does this error mean?

This error is caused by third party software interfering with your game or Steam. To resolve the issue, you'll need to disable or remove the problem software from your machine.

What typically causes this error?

There are a number of common software conflicts that can cause this error. If you are running any of the following software, please disable it while playing:

  • CCleaner
  • Powershell
  • Sandboxie
  • Cheat Engine
  • IObit Start Menu 8
  • Process Hacker
  • DLL Injectors
  • Hypervisors
  • Steam Idlers

Restart your computer

If the error persists on all servers it may be resolved by exiting Steam and restarting your computer.

Repair the Steam Service

The error may also indicate a Steam service failure. Please try repairing the Steam service:

  1. Exit Steam.
  2. Click Start > Run (Windows Key + R).
  3. Type the following command:
    "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\bin\SteamService.exe" /repair
  4. Launch Steam and test the issue again.

Note: This command requires administrator privileges and may take a few minutes. If you have installed Steam to another path, please replace C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam with the correct path.

Restore boot settings to default

Kernel integrity checks, kernel debugging, and Data Execution Prevention (DEP) must be set to default to play on VAC secured servers.

If you receive the following error when entering these commands they are already set to default:

  • The value is protected by Secure Boot policy and cannot be modified or deleted.

To change boot settings to default please follow the steps below:

Note: If you are running Windows 8 you will need to press Windows Key + X and select Command Prompt (Admin).

  1. Exit Steam.
  2. Click the Start button, then All Programs, and Accessories.
  3. Right-click on Command Prompt and click Run as administrator....
  4. In the command prompt, type the following commands and press Enter after each command:
    • bcdedit /deletevalue nointegritychecks
    • bcdedit /deletevalue loadoptions
    • bcdedit /debug off
    • bcdedit /deletevalue nx
  5. Restart your computer.
  6. Launch Steam and test the issue again.

Repair system files

There may be corrupt system files that are causing this issue. The following instructions will run a critical system file check on your Windows installation, replacing any missing or damaged files:

Note: If you are running Windows 8 you will need to press Windows Key + X and select Command Prompt (Admin).

  1. Exit Steam.
  2. Click the Start button, All Programs, and Accessories.
  3. Right-click on Command Prompt and click Run as administrator....
  4. In the command prompt, type the following command and press Enter:
    • sfc /scannow
  5. Once the operation has completed please restart your computer, then launch Steam and test the issue again.
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Secure connection failed, No Steam logon, or A connection to the VAC servers could not be made

This issue stems from four main sources: connection issues, security software, background applications and third-party anti-cheat applications.

Connection Issues

  • Firewalls and Routers

    If your computer is behind a router with a firewall, you must open the ports that Steam uses to connect to the Internet. Most embedded firewalls require you to open ports manually (they do not automatically learn your used ports). Routers without firewalls rarely need to have ports opened for a game client, but usually do for game servers.

    If you can specify ports to open, please use the ports specified in the following article: Required Ports for Steam

    After making any changes to your router and firewall settings please EXIT STEAM AND RESTART before attempting to connect to a secure server.

  • Router Problems

    Routers can cause connectivity problems, especially Wireless routers. If you have a stand-alone router and you are having connection problems, you can always bypass the router and plug your computer directly into your modem to see if the router is the problem.

    If you determine that the router is the source of the issue, please follow the Using a Router with Steam guide.

    Dual WAN Routers are not compatible with Steam.

  • Internet Connectivity Issues

    Check the stability and reliability of your Internet connection. An unstable connection can cause Steam to download improperly and connections to game servers time out.

    There are many online tools that help you to check for problems with your connection, here are two of the most popular ones:

    If you suspect that you are having a problem related to your Internet Connection, please contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Security Software

  • Security, Firewall, and Anti-Virus Software

    If you're using Internet security, firewall or anti-virus software, make sure they are set to recognize Steam.exe and all instances of HL.exe and HL2.exe as trusted programs. Please consult your security program manuals for instructions.

    Problems Directly After a Steam Update

    If you have a connection problem immediately after a Steam update, it is most likely being caused by a firewall.

    The best solution is to go to the firewall permissions and remove all references to Steam.exe, HL.exe and HL2.exe and let them be relearned again. Just because there are existing permissions does NOT mean they are correct permissions. Every time the Steam client is updated, your firewall permissions need to be reset.

    Multiple Firewalls

    Never run more than one firewall program at a time while using Steam. They can conflict with each other and cause many different connection problems. Examples of running multiple firewalls include:

    • Running the Windows firewall with your router's firewall simultaneously
    • Running the Windows firewall with Zone Alarm, Tiny Personal Firewall or some other third-party firewall application
    • Running the Windows firewall with your motherboard's built-in firewall (mainly an issue with nForce motherboards)

    After making any changes to your firewall, anti-virus or security software settings please EXIT STEAM AND RESTART before attempting to connect to a secure server. Once you have restarted you should be able to connect to VAC servers.

  • Peer Guardian

    Peer Guardian is not compatible with Steam. Please disable Peer Guardian before launching Steam to avoid connection issues.

Background Applications

  • P2P, FTP and Web Server Applications

    Do not run Peer-to-Peer (P2P) programs like BitTorrent, Kazaa, eMule, LimeWire or Exeem in the background. These programs can consume large portions of your bandwidth. The same is true for FTP and Webserver applications such as Apache, MySQL servers and Microsoft's IIS services.

    After exiting your Peer to Peer software please EXIT STEAM AND RESTART before attempting to connect to a secure server. Once you have restarted you should be able to connect to VAC servers.

  • Viruses, spyware and malware, netlimiting, anonymous IP masking programs

    Connection problems can also arise if your system is infected with a virus or spyware. We strongly recommend running virus checks while you are not using Steam if you suspect there is a virus or trojan on your system. For more information, please follow the Spyware, Malware, Adware, and Viruses Interfering with Steam topic.

    Programs like Cybersitter, Netlimiter, X-Fire and Stegnos Anonymous Internet can also interfere with normal Steam operations. Please disable these programs before launching Steam.

Third-party Anti-Cheat Applications

Using third-party anti-cheat applications, both server and client-side, is not necessary and may result in the errors outlined above. Do not use third-party anti-cheat applications while playing on a VAC secured server.


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Server Verification Failed

This error message indicates that the game server which you are attempting to connect to is unable to contact the Steam Authentication Servers.

Please observe the following process to determine whether the error is a result of a Steam outage, issues with the game server connecting to the Steam Authentication Servers, or an issue with your internect connection.

  1. Try joining several different game servers - if you are able to connect to a different game server, there is an issue with the game server which reported the Server Verification Failed error
  2. If you are not able to connect to any game servers, check the Steam Status page - if the Steam Players and Game Servers graph shows a very sharp decline in players, there may be a temporary Steam outage
  3. If there does not appear to be an outage, check your connection to the Steam Authentication Servers through the Steam client:
    1. Ensure that you are set as Online, Away, or Busy (not Offline) in the Steam Friends list (Friends > View Friends List...)
    2. In the friends list, ensure that you do not see a message indicating that you have lost your connection to the Steam Friends network.
  4. If Steam reports that you have lost your connection to the Steam Friends network, please exit and restart Steam. If you are still unable to connect upon logging back in and you have confirmed that there is not an outage, please see the Troubleshooting Network Connectivity topic to troubleshoot your connection problems.
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Unpredictable Server Browser behavior



This will delete all servers in your favorites and in your history.


Please exit Steam and rename the following files in your Steam and Steam\config\ directory:

  • ClientRegistry.blob
  • serverbrowser.vdf

By default, the files may be found at C:\Program Files\Steam\ (the location on your machine will vary if you specified a different installation folder, or if you have moved your Steam installation).

Steam will re-create these files for you the next time you run but it is a good idea to keep the old versions on hand.


Steam Rates

It is very important that you make sure your Steam rate is set properly. If, when opening the browser or pressing the refresh button, servers appear very slowly, then your rate may be set incorrectly. Please see the Setting Client Rates article for instructions on setting the proper rates.


Router Problem

Some routers may have firmware that experiences packet loss with high traffic, such as when a large number of servers are responding during a server browser refresh.  A symptom of this is starting a server refresh and always getting the same (or a similar) number of servers before the refresh stops completely, rather than simply pausing.  These routers will also typically go offline for a minute or so when this problem occurs.  The only solutions for this are to update your router's firmware or replace the router. Please see Troubleshooting Network Connectivity, step 1: "Test Your Router" to determine if this is your issue.



If you are in a CyberCafe and there are a lot of players refreshing their browsers, this may cause problems in the CyberCafe network.  Reducing the Steam rate for all the workstations will help this problem.

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