Steam Sign Up: How It Works

Get your game on with this popular digital storefront and community portal

A person using a laptop to sign up for Steam.

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Steam is a digital storefront for games that works with Windows, MacOS, and Linux. It's also a community portal where you can connect with friends to see what they're playing, share screenshots and videos, and play both cooperative and competitive multiplayer games. Signing up for a Steam account is totally free, and there are no ongoing costs to use the service.

What Is the Steam Community?

In addition to a storefront where you can buy games, and a desktop app that allows you to easily download and organize your games, Steam also has a lot of community features.

When you sign up for Steam, you get access to game forums, guides, reviews, the Steam Workshop where you can check out mods and new game assets, and Steam Chat.

How Does Steam Work?

Steam has a desktop application that works on Windows, MacOS, and Linux. The application includes both the storefront, where you can buy games, and the community aspect, including Steam Chat.

In addition to the app, you can also access most Steam features through a web browser. You can buy games using steampowered.com, and you can access the community features, including Steam Chat, through steamcommunity.com.

How to Sign Up For Steam

Signing up for Steam is free, and you can complete the entire process using a web browser. All you need is a modern web browser, like Firefox, Edge, or Chrome, and a working email address.

If you don't have your own email address, or you don't want to use your main email to sign up for steam, check out our list of free email service providers.

Here's how to sign up for a Steam account:

  1. Navigate to steampowered.com.

    A screenshot of the Steam website.
  2. Click Login.

    A screenshot of the Steam sign in and account creation page.
  3. Click Join.

    A screenshot of the Steam account creation page.
  4. Enter your email address, and then enter it again below to confirm.

  5. Select your country of residence.

  6. Enter the captcha code in the field where it says Enter the characters above.

    If you can't read the letters in the captcha, click Refresh for a new set.

  7. Scroll down to the STEAM SUBSCRIBER AGREEMENT section.

    A screenshot of the Steam Subscriber Agreement.
  8. Read the subscriber agreement, and check the box where it says I agree AND am 13 years of age or older.

  9. Click Continue.

    A screenshot of the Steam sign up verification page.

    Leave this page open. If you access your email with your web browser, do it in a new tab. After you confirm your email address, you will return to this page to complete the signup process.

  10. When the Verify Your Email popup appears, that means Valve has sent you a confirmation email.

    A screenshot of a Steam new account email verification.
  11. Look for an email from Valve titled New Steam Account Email Verification.

  12. Open the email, and click Create My Account.

    A screenshot of the Steam email verification screen.
  13. Close the email verification page, and return to the Steam signup page that you left open earlier.

    A screenshot of the final Steam account creation step.
  14. Choose a Steam account name, and enter it into the Create a Steam account name field.

    You can change the username that other Steam users see at any time, if you decide that you don't like the name you chose during this step. Changing your Steam name is free, and you can do it as often as you like.

  15. Enter a password into the Choose a password field, and then enter it again in the field below that to confirm.

  16. Click Complete Sign-up.

How to Set Up Your Steam Profile

Once you've successfully signed up for a Steam account, you need to set up your profile. Setting up your profile makes it so that your friends can find you on the service, and one of the best things about Steam is that it helps facilitate playing games online with your friends.

Here's how to set up your Steam profile:

  1. Navigate to steamcommunity.com, and sign in if you aren't already signed in.

    A screenshot of the Steam community site.
  2. Place your mouse cursor over your user name.

    A screenshot of the account drop down menu on the Steam community site.
  3. When the drop down menu appears, click Profile.

    A screenshot of the Steam Community welcome page.
  4. Click Setup Steam Profile.

    A screenshot of the Steam profile setup page.
  5. Enter a profile name.

    The profile name is the name that other steam users will see when you interact with them. You can change this name at any time.

  6. Enter a real name.

    You do not have to use your actual legal name. If you are concerned about security or privacy, leave this field blank or use a fake name. This field is useful if you want your real life friends to be able to find you by searching Steam for your real name.

  7. Choose your country if you want your country of origin to appear on your profile.

  8. Enter a custom URL.

    This custom URL is where your profile will live, which makes it easier for you and others to view your profile in the future. You don't have to set a custom URL if you don't want to.

  9. Click Browse to upload your own avatar image, or select one from the avatars provided by Steam.

    A screenshot of the Steam profile creation page.
  10. Click Link with Facebook if you want to be able to easily find your Facebook friends on Steam.

  11. Enter your profile or bio information in the Summary field, if there's anything you want people on Steam to know about you.

  12. Click Select Group if you joined Steam to play with friends or a community that has a Steam Group, or ignore that section if you're totally new to Steam.

  13. Click Save Changes.

    A screenshot of a Steam profile.
  14. Once your profile is live, you can click Edit Profile to change any of the information you provided during creation. As you buy and play games, over time, you will unlock more profile customization options, bigger friends lists, and other features.

Setting up your profile is important when you have a new account, because brand new accounts can't send friend requests. With your profile in place, your friends will have an easier time finding you. If you want to be able to send friend requests, and access other Steam Community features like group chat and the Steam Market, all account limitations are removed after you make a purchase in the Steam store or add money to your Steam Wallet.