Issue: How to fix Steam error code 21 in Windows?
I can't use Steam properly because of the error code -21; it's mainly whenever I try to open any store page on Steam. The message says, “Error Code: -21 Failed to load web page (unknown error).” Also, it doesn't happen all the time, but often enough to be frustrating. Any idea on how to resolve this?
Steam, a leading digital distribution platform, has become the go-to source for video game enthusiasts around the world. Offering a vast collection of games, software, and interactive content, it serves millions of users on a daily basis. As the cornerstone of the gaming community, Steam is revered for its efficiency and user-friendly interface. Yet, like all software, it is not immune to glitches and errors. For a subset of its vast user base, unexpected issues occasionally arise, and one such problem is the Steam error code 21.
The complete message that often appears on the screen is: “Error Code: -21 Failed to load web page (unknown error).” This message isn't limited to a singular function within the Steam platform or when accessing web content via the browser.
Similarly to “Could not connect to the Steam network,” users may encounter Steam error code 21 when attempting to browse the store for games, engage in online discussions, or even when trying to access a game's primary interface. The frustration is palpable, as these are fundamental aspects of the Steam experience.
At its core, the manifestation of the error code is typically linked to network or connection issues. For instance, your computer might be struggling to establish a stable connection to Steam's servers. External software, like firewalls or antivirus applications, could inadvertently block Steam, making the platform believe there's an error in loading the content. Additionally, temporary server-side issues on Steam's end, or even a corrupted local Steam file, could be potential culprits behind Steam error code 21.
Below you will find numerous specific step-by-step solutions, such as checking your network connection, reviewing any firewall or antivirus settings, or even delving into the state of your local Steam files as starting points for addressing the problem. Remember, the vast online community of Steam users often shares insights and solutions to common problems, so turning to online forums might yield some valuable guidance.
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Fix 1. Run Network Troubleshooter
Windows Network Troubleshooter is a built-in tool that can identify and automatically correct certain network-related issues. If Steam error code 21 is a result of connection problems, the troubleshooter can be invaluable in pinpointing the root of the problem.
- Right-click on Start and pick Settings.
- Go to Network & Internet section.
- On the right side, find the Advanced network settings section.
- Click Network troubleshooter and wait.
- Apply the recommendations and see if that resolves the Steam issue.
Fix 2. Disable security or similar software
Security software such as antivirus or firewall applications can sometimes flag and block specific functions or connections associated with Steam. By mistakenly recognizing Steam activities as threats, they can trigger the error. Temporarily disabling these software applications can often rectify such conflicts. However, keep in mind that you're reducing your computer's defenses momentarily, so ensure you enable them again after testing.
Fix 3. Change download region
Steam has multiple servers spread across various regions. Sometimes, the server allocated to your region might be overloaded or experience issues. By switching to a different server region, you could bypass this challenge.
- Open Steam and click on Steam in the top left corner.
- Navigate to Settings.
- Click on Downloads.
- Under Download Region, select a different location from the dropdown menu.
- Click OK and restart Steam.
Fix 4. Clear download and web cache on Steam
Over time, accumulated cache on Steam can cause disruptions. Clearing both the download and web cache can refresh the platform and potentially eliminate any issues.
- Open the Steam app.
- Go to Steam > Settings.
- Select the Downloads section on the left.
- Scroll down to the Clear Download cache section.
- Click Clear Cache.
- Next, go to the In Game section on the left.
- Under Delete web browser data, click on Delete.
Fix 5. Use Google's DNS
Your DNS (Domain Name System) translates domain names into IP addresses. Sometimes, the default DNS servers provided by ISPs (Internet Service Providers) may not work efficiently with Steam. Switching to a more reliable DNS, like Google's, can improve connectivity.
- Right-click on Start and select Settings.
- Go to Network and Internet section.
- Click on Change adapter options.
- Right-click on your internet connection and pick Properties.
- Click Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) once and go to Properties
- Select Use the following DNS server addresses option and set your DNS to Google's:
Preferred DNS server: 126.96.36.199
Alternate DNS server: 188.8.131.52
- Click OK.
Fix 6. Update network drivers
Outdated or corrupted network drivers can interfere with Steam's connectivity. For a quick resolution with your drivers, we recommend using DriverFix automatic software. Otherwise, proceed with these manual steps:
- Right-click on Start and pick Device Manager.
- Expand the Network adapters section.
- Right-click on your network adapter and select Update driver.
- Choose Search automatically drivers and follow on-screen instructions.
- Once done, restart your system to implement these changes.
Fix 7. Restart your modem/router
A simple restart of your modem or router can often resolve connectivity issues.
- Turn off your modem/router by unplugging it from the power source.
- Wait for about 60 seconds.
- Plug it back in and wait for it to fully restart.
Fix 8. Reinstall Steam
Reinstalling the platform ensures you have a fresh set of files.
- Open Control Panel.
- Navigate to Programs > Uninstall a program.
- Find Steam on the list.
- Right-click it and select Uninstall, then follow the prompts.
- Reboot your computer and reinstall the app.
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