Steam Sign-Up: How It Works

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

What to Know

  • Steam is a digital game storefront and a social platform that lets you see what your friends are playing.
  • To sign up, select Login > Join Steam on the homepage and enter your information.
  • Steam is free to use, but you typically pay for games.

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 cooperative and competitive multiplayer games. Signing up for a Steam account is free, and there are no ongoing costs to use the service.

How to Sign Up for Steam

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

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

  1. Go to and select Login.

    The Steam homepage with the Login button highlighted
  2. Select Join Steam.

    The Join Steam button
  3. On the next screen, enter your email address, and re-enter it to confirm. Then, select your country of residence, and respond to the robot check or enter the captcha code in the Enter the characters above box.

    The Create Your Account screen on Steam
  4. Click the links to review the Steam Subscriber Agreement and Valve Privacy Policy, and then check the box to acknowledge you've read and agree to them.

    The user agreement links and checkbox on Steam's Create Your Account page
  5. Select Continue.

    Leave this page open. If you access your email with a 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.

    The Continue button
  6. When the Verify Your Email dialog box appears, Valve sends you a confirmation email.

    The Steam sign up verification page
  7. Look for an email from Steam titled New Steam Account Email Verification.

  8. Open the email, and select Verify My Email Address.

    The confirmation email from Steam
  9. Close the email verification page and return to the Steam signup page that you left open earlier.

    The "Email Verified" page for Steam
  10. In the Steam Account Name box, enter a Steam account name. Steam checks to ensure the name you choose is available.

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

    The Steam Account Name and password page
  11. In the Choose Password box, enter a password, then re-enter it to confirm.

  12. Select Done.

How to Set Up Your Steam Profile

After you sign up for a Steam account, set up your profile. When you set up your profile, your friends can find you on the service. One of the best things about Steam is that you can play games online with your friends.

Here's how to set up your Steam profile:

  1. Go to, and sign in if you aren't signed in.

  2. Select your username.

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

    Steam with the Profile command highlighted
  4. Select Setup Steam Profile.

    Steam with the Setup Steam Profile button highlighted
  5. Enter a profile name.

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

    The Profile Name field in a Steam profile
  6. Enter a real name.

    You don't have to use your 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 friends to find you by searching Steam for your real name.

    The Real Name field in a Steam profile
  7. Enter a custom URL to help people find your profile more easily. They can go to[custom URL]. This step is optional.

    The Custom URL field on a Steam profile
  8. Choose your country if you want your country of origin to appear on your profile.

    The Country field in a Steam profile
  9. Type a Summary if you want to. This information appears on your profile to tell visitors a bit about you. You can include links.

    The Summary box in a Steam profile
  10. Click the box next to Hide Community Awards on my profile if you don't want Steam to show the recognition you've received from other users.

    The Profile Preferences section
  11. Select Save to save your profile.

    The Save button
  12. Scroll back up and click Avatar.

    The Avatar item in a Steam profile
  13. Select Upload your avatar, or select one of the avatars provided by Steam.

    The "Upload your Avatar" button
  14. Select an image from your hard drive and resize or crop it using the handles. The previews change as you make adjustments.

    Click Save to upload your avatar.

    The Save button
  15. Once your profile is live, select Edit Profile to change any of the information you provided during creation. As you buy and play games, you unlock more profile customization options, a larger friends lists, and other features.

    A Steam profile with the Edit Profile button highlighted

What Is the Steam Community?

In addition to a storefront where you can buy games and a desktop app that allows you to download and organize your games, Steam also has many 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 a storefront where you can buy games, and a community aspect, including Steam Chat.

In addition to the app, you can access most Steam features through a web browser. You can buy games at, access the community features (including Steam Chat) at, or go directly to chat through

Setting up your profile is important when you have a new account because 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 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.

  • How do I refund a game on Steam?

    You can refund a game on Steam if you're within two weeks of buying it and you've spent fewer than two hours playing. You can request a refund at Steam's help page,

  • How do I redeem a Steam code?

    If you're using the Steam client (an app you download to your computer), go to Games > Activate a Product on Steam, and then enter the code to activate it. On the web, use Steam's activation page.

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