A complete guide to troubleshooting the “friends network unreachable” Steam error

Steam features a standard friend system; users can search for, add, and chat with each other. However, that’s pretty hard to achieve when the friend system is inaccessible. Steam can produce the “friends network unreachable” error for numerous reasons; hence, we have many solutions to discuss today.

Your Steam friends list can appear unreachable for several reason. However, they’re most commonly the result of network/connection issues. Fortunately, I’ve identified various solutions to tackle most causes. Please refer to our topic list below, where you will find each one.

Steam network errors can occur for many reasons, so a solution that works for someone else may not work for you. That’s why I’ll be discussing up to six individual solutions— I want you to have the best chance of resolving this issue.

How do you clear Steam’s app cache

Steam’s app cache folder is responsible for storing non-essential, temporary, or (in some cases) redundant files. If an app’s cache begins to fill, you can run into some issues. These issues stem from inconsistencies between the app’s data and the cached information. If an app is updated, previously cached data can become outdated. Clearing the cached data prompts your device to download the new data— this is why clearing your desktop’s and web browser’s cache can help resolve so many problems.

Step 1 — Open Steam’s file location

First, enter the Windows search function: hit the “Windows” key and begin typing. You should enter the search term “Steam.” Provided you have installed Steam, Windows should identify it as the “Best match.” Toward the right of the search panel, you will see several results. Select “Open file location.”

Step 2 — Access your Steam folder

If you immediately access your Steam folder, proceed to the next step. Otherwise, right-click the shortcut labeled “Steam.” You will notice a new menu appear; find and click “Open file location” in the menu.

Step 3 — Delete the “appcache” folder

Finally, all we need to do is identify and delete Steam’s app cache folder. Fortunately, that is not a challenging task in the slightest. Atop the list, you will find a folder named “appcache.” Right-click the folder, scroll through its menu, and select “Delete.” Alternatively, click the folder, hold the “Shift” key and tap the “Delete” key.

How do you clear the Steam web-browser cache

Clearing Steam’s cached app data is helpful. In the same way, so is clearing its cached web browser data. The process is relatively easy, much like the previous one. However, this will usually solve fewer problems than clearing Steam’s “appcache” folder.

Step 1 — Open the Steam settings window

When you click the “Steam” link in the top left corner of Steam, a menu appears. We need to use the menu to access the settings menu by selecting “Settings.”

Step 2 — Delete the web-browser data

On the left, find and select “Web Browser.” The right side of the panel will display new content. Click the new button labeled “DELETE WEB BROWSER DATA.” Steam may meet you with a confirmation box— this is normal. Once you have done this, select “OK” at the bottom of the window.

Where do you opt-out of Steam betas

Steam betas are experimental updates released for public testing. Using Steam betas is excellent if you’re looking for a chance to see new features, game updates, or fixes in advance. Unfortunately, Steam betas also expose you to new bugs in advance; however, Valve partially intends for this to occur. Although betas allow developers to receive community feedback on their changes, they are primarily used to identify and resolve issues before officially releasing an update. In short, betas are a powerful tool that allows developers to catch errors they might otherwise miss— thus, we experience fewer issues during official releases.

Step 1 — Open Steam

Steam stores any Steam betas we’re a part of (or have the potential to be) within its client, so we’ll need to open the Steam client to manage our Steam betas. First, tap the “Windows” key, type “Steam,” and hit the “Enter” key.

Step 2 — Open the settings window

In the top right, you should spot a link titled “Steam.” Click the link to reveal an options menu. Then, via the menu, select “Settings.”

Step 3 — Open the settings window

The settings window features an “Account” tab, where you can alter your personal information. However, this tab is also where we can opt-in or out of Steam betas. Under “Beta participation,” click “CHANGE.” After doing so, you will find Steam has produced an additional window. The window features a dropdown menu— open it. Ensure you select “NONE – Opt out of all beta programs” and select “OK.”

Step 4 — Restart Steam

Due to your actions, Steam will request you restart the client— if you would like to do so (which you should), click “RESTART STEAM.”

Step 5 — Let the standard build of Steam reinstall

If your internet connection isn’t ideal, you will find Steam a while to “update.” Without knowing your network’s capabilities, it’s hard to say how long this will take; however, I wouldn’t expect it to take longer than two minutes.

How to update your network adapters

Your computer depends on drivers; drivers allow your computer’s hardware (physical components) to communicate with its software (digital files and programs). If your drivers are outdated, corrupted, or otherwise faulty, you may run into any sum of issues. Drivers don’t need to be updated every day, though that does not permit you to neglect to update them.

Step 1 — Open the Windows Device Manager

To access the device manager, press the “Windows” key, type “Device Manager,” and then tap the “Enter” key.

Step 2 — Update your network adapter’s drivers

When you open the device manager, you may be somewhat intimidated. Try not to mind all of the dropdowns— just look for the one labeled “Network adapters” and open it. You might have far more or fewer than me, though the difference doesn’t matter. Work your way through the list by selecting a driver and clicking the update button in your toolbar. I recommend performing an automatic check via the internet when prompted.

How to change your DNS

Using an unreliable DNS server is not the best idea, despite how frequently people use them. If you believe your DNS may be at fault, consider switching to a reliable DNS provider like Google. In doing so, you can expect fewer DNS-related issues. Similarly, it’ll be much easier to find out if they occur.

Step 1 — Open Network & Internet settings

Your taskbar features a button resembling a WiFi icon. Right-click the button when you find it, and an options menu will appear. Via the options menu, select “Open Network & Internet settings.”

Step 2 — Open Network & Internet settings

At the bottom of the open settings window, there is a category titled “Advanced network settings.” Under the category, you will find an option to “Change adapter options.” Click it.

Step 3 — Access your WiFi adapter’s properties

Our current window contains our computer’s network adapters. Right-click your active “WiFi” or (if you’re using it) “Ethernet” adapter and select “Properties.” Please be aware that you require administrative privileges to perform this action.

Step 4 — Access your WiFi adapter’s properties

The window’s main box contains each function the connection uses. First, find and click the connection listed as “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4).” Then, under the connection list, select “Properties.”

Step 5 — Input a new DNS server

The “General” tab features two sets of toggles. Please ensure the second set’s second toggle is enabled. Then, enter the following “Preferred DNS server:” You can optionally enter the following “Alternative DNS server:” Lastly, click “OK.”

Where can I check to see if Steam is down

If you’re experiencing connectivity issues, you know your connection is good, and you’ve tried every other solution, it’s safe to assume that you’re not the problem— Steam is. Unfortunately, from time to time, digital services such as Amazon, Discord, Steam, and countless others experience “downtime.” While downtime can be inconvenient for us users, it does serve a purpose. Downtime often occurs when the service’s provider intends to enforce maintenance— this keeps things running smoothly in the long run.

Unofficial Steam Status

Although Steam does not support Steam Status as an official tool, many Steam users stand by the site as a reliable aid in deducing when Steam is experiencing downtime. Furthermore, Steam Status is in no way prohibited, so you don’t need to worry about violating Steam’s terms of service. Finally, if you don’t want to use the site directly, you can interact with Steam Status via their public Twitter account.

Blog post debrief

If you’re dealing with the “friends network unreachable” Steam error, you’ll be ecstatic to hear there are several solutions. Try clearing Steam’s desktop app and browser cache, opting out of Steam betas, updating your network adapters, or changing your DNS. Alternatively, you can check if Steam is experiencing downtime/service outages.

This post’s recommended game is: Super Auto Pets (free on Steam, the App Store, and Play Store)

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