Can’t connect to game server in Dota 2? Here’s how to fix that

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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dota 2 cant connect to game server

Can’t connect to the game server in Dota 2? This can be a big problem and prevent you completely from playing Dota 2. However, there might be a way to fix this problem, and today we’re going to show you how to do it.

The latest Dota 2 update brings a series of unexpected issues that limit the gaming experience for players. One of the most severe issues prevents players from connecting to matches. Usually, there is no error message accompanying this issue, and players are forced back into the main menu.

Dota 2 unable to establish connection to server? Fix it with these solutions

  1. Check your firewall, antivirus, and change the game launch options
  2. Check your Internet connection

Here’s how one player describes this annoying situation:

Since patch 7.00 I’m not able to connect to any MM games or lobby games anymore.
I never had any big troubles or problems with Dota2 (mostly some UI/graphic glitches, but that’s it).[…]
I tried to host lobby games, filled with bots, but I’m always forced back into the main menu.
When I was trying to connect to the Matchmaking servers, I can accept the queue and get into the loading screen.
During Loading screen I’m only getting the message of “Establishing connection” on the right side of the screen, but it wont load into the game.
Is there any chance to fix this on my own?

Fortunately, one resourceful gamer found a solution for this problem. We’ll list its troubleshooting steps below.

Solution 1 – Check your firewall, antivirus, and change the game launch options

bitdefender dota 2 can't connect

First of all, make sure your firewall is not blocking Dota 2. Try temporarily disabling your firewall and connecting to Matchmaking or Lobby. In addition, add Dota 2 to your firewall’s exception list and install the latest Windows, Dota 2 and GPU updates on your computer. Don’t forget to disable any unnecessary background apps and run a full system scan for malware, as well.

  1. Launch Dota.
  2. Run console (enable it in Advanced game options).
  3. Type net_force_steamdatagram 1 and hit Enter.
  4. Try to watch any game via your game client to see if you are able to connect.
  5. If this works, then you should be able to play as well.

You might also want to check your antivirus. Sometimes antivirus can block certain features, and cause problems with online games. If your antivirus is the problem, perhaps you should consider switching to a different antivirus. There are many great antivirus tools on the market, but if you’re looking for a reliable antivirus that won’t interfere with your gaming sessions, you should definitely try out Bitdefender.

Solution 2 – Check your Internet connection

network connection dota 2 connection issues

If you can’t connect to a game server in Dota 2, there’s a chance that you have issues with your Internet connection. If your connection isn’t stable, it’s possible that this is causing the issue. To fix the problem, check your connection and make sure that it’s stable enough.

In addition to checking the Internet connection, it’s also advised to check your ping. If your ping is too high, the server might be slow to respond, and that will cause this and many other problems.

As always, if you’ve come across other solutions, you can help the community by listing the troubleshooting steps in the comment section below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2017 and has been since revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


Editor's Note: This article was originally published in January 2017 and was revamped and updated in March 2019 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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