Lagos, Nigeria

FIX: Steam error joining multiplayer session (5 solutions)

don't use free VPN

If you’re using a free VPN while playing on Steam, it could be the reason why you’re experiencing an error when trying to join multiplayer sessions: your IP address changed.

But you can resolve this problem by turning off your free VPN before firing up Steam.


If you want to use a VPN to not only avoid Steam multiplayer issues but also improve your ping by connecting to VPN servers closer to the host, consider investing in a premium VPN service.

And we can’t think of a better option than Private Internet Access. It has VPN servers optimized for gaming.

You can even host game servers via VPN without having to configure router settings. That’s because PIA is one of the few VPNs with native support for port forwarding.

Alternatively, you can set up split tunneling mode, exclude Steam from the secure tunnel, and continue using the VPN in your other applications, such as web browser or torrenting client.

More about PIA:

  • WireGuard and OpenVPN
  • Private DNS servers
  • Dedicated IP addresses
  • 10 simultaneous connections
  • A zero-logging privacy policy
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • 30-day money-back guarantee (no free trial)
  • Pay with a credit card, PayPal, or crypto
Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access

Use a trustworthy VPN service like PIA to play Steam games without worrying about multiplayer connectivity issues.

manage security folder permissions in Windows 10
  1. Go to Documents > My Games folder
  2. Select any folders that resemble: packageddumps, moduserdat, logs, dumpgs
  3. Right-click each folder and select Properties
  4. Go to the Security tab and select your group of usernames
  5. Click the Edit button
  6. Select the first group or username and check the Deny box
  7. Repeat the previous step for other user groups
  8. Save changes
  9. Restart your Steam games

The instructions above prevent Steam from creating game cache files in those folders, in order to fix the error when you’re trying to join multiplayer sessions.


To recap, if you’re encountering a Steam error message when trying to join your online friends in a multiplayer session, make sure to repair .NET Framework, remove the Steam and game cache, as well as manage permissions for cache folders.

You should also disable any free VPN you’re using. Instead, we recommend opting for a premium VPN service like Private Internet Access (buy here).

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in May 2019 and was revamped and updated in December 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

This post was written by Elena Constantinescu and was first posted to WindowsReport

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