Steam Sign Up: How It Works

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

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 store.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. Press Login.

    A screenshot of the Steam homepage with the Login button highlighted
  3. Press Join Steam.

    A screenshot of the Steam login screen with the Join Steam button highlighted
  4. Enter your email address, and enter it again below to confirm.

    A screenshot of the Create an Account screen on Steam with the email address fields highlighted
  5. Select your country of residence.

    A screenshot of the Create an Account screen on Steam with the country of residence field highlighted
  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.

    A screenshot of the Create an Account screen on Steam with the Captcha highlighted
  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.

    A screenshot of the Create an Account screen on Steam with the age and TOS agreement box highlighted
  9. Press Continue.

    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.

    A screenshot of the Create an Account screen on Steam with the Continue button highlighted
  10. When the Verify Your Email popup appears, that means Valve has sent you a confirmation email.

    A screenshot of the Steam sign up verification page.
  11. Look for an email from Valve titled New Steam Account Email Verification.

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

    A screenshot of the verification email from Steam with the Create My Account button highlighted
  13. Close the email verification page, and return to the Steam signup page that you left open earlier.

  14. Choose a Steam account name, and enter it into the Create a Steam account name field. Steam will check to ensure the name you choose is available.

    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.

    A screenshot of the Steam account creation page with the account name field highlighted
  15. Enter a password into the Choose a password field, and then enter it again in the field below that to confirm.

    A screenshot of the account creation screen on Steam with the password entry and verification fields highlighted
  16. Press Complete Sign-up.

    A screenshot of the Steam sign-up page with the Complete Sign-up button highlighted

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.

  2. Place your mouse cursor over your user name.

    A screenshot of Steam with a username highlighted
  3. When the drop down menu appears, select Profile.

    A screenshot of Steam with the Profile command highlighted
  4. Press Setup Steam Profile.

    A screenshot of Steam with the Setup Steam Profile button highlighted
  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.

    A screenshot of the Steam profile setup page with the Profile Name field highlighted
  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.

    A screenshot of the Steam Profile Setup page with the Real Name field highlighted
  7. Choose your country if you want your country of origin to appear on your profile.

    A screenshot of the Steam Profile Setup screen with the Country field highlighted
  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.

    A screenshot of the Steam Profile Setup page with the Custom URL field highlighted
  9. Press Browse to upload your own avatar image, or select one from the avatars provided by Steam.

    A screenshot of the Steam Profile page with the Browse and Upload options highlighted
  10. Select Link with Facebook, if you want to be able to easily find your Facebook friends on Steam.

    A screenshot of the Steam profile page with the Link with Facebook button highlighted
  11. Enter your profile or bio information in the Summary field, if there's anything you want people on Steam to know about you.

    A screenshot of Steam's Profile page with the Summary heading highlighted
  12. Select 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.

    A screenshot of the Steam Profile setup page with the Select Group button highlighted
  13. Press Save Changes.

    A screenshot of the Steam Profile page with the Save Changes button highlighted
  14. Once your profile is live, you can select 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.

    A screenshot of a Steam profile with the Edit Profile button highlighted

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.