Steam VAC Ban: What it is and how to unban it

by Mike

The Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) implemented on Steam is software designed to detect and ban cheaters in various games. A VAC ban is usually irrevocable

In these cases, a Steam VAC Ban is imminent

VAC Bans on Steam are designed to block cheaters in multiplayer games so that they don’t negatively impact the gaming experience of other users. In many cases, VAC bans are distributed when cheat software is detected on users’ computers.

  • VAC bans are distributed when the programme detects running cheat software on your PC while you are playing on a server with VAC protection. It is irrelevant whether you were playing on the PC at the time or another person was using the account or PC.
  • Exclusion from VAC means that you are no longer able to play on servers with VAC protection of the game from which you were banned. If the game is Counter-Strike: Source, Day of Defeat: Source, Team Fortress 2 or Half-Life 2: Deathmatch, you will be banned from all of these games in addition to one of them. The same is true for Source Gold games like Counterstrike: Condition Zero.
  • Valve, the company behind Steam, has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to imposing and lifting VAC bans. This means that you, as the affected party, cannot challenge the ban imposed and bans are generally not retroactively lifted.
  • In profiles of users who have received a VAC ban, the ban will be noted for all other Steam users to see. This notice cannot be removed through privacy settings and will only be made invisible after 7 years without further VAC violations.
  • If you have been banned from a game’s VAC servers, it is still possible to play on unsecured servers if the game in question provides them. As a rule, in modern games that use VAC protection, all official servers are protected. In some cases, there are games that allow you to create and host your own servers, which again depends on the owner of the server in question.

These are the restrictions you face with a VAC ban on Steam

In addition to the aforementioned exclusion from a game’s VAC servers, the ban also has other consequences and restrictions for the Steam account.

  • As a banned cheater, you will be denied the ability to upload content to the Community Hub of the game from which you were banned. This includes artwork or guides.
  • Also, you will be denied the ability to rate content on Steam Workshop that pertains to the game you have been banned from. Regardless of the game, you will also no longer be able to rate content from free-to-play games.
  • If you have been VAC banned in a game such as Rust, which uses the anti-cheat software for its own servers, you will no longer be able to give the game away to other accounts. Conversely, this also applies to users who have not received a VAC ban themselves, but have given the game as a gift to someone who has been VAC-banned as a result. In this case, you will also be denied the right to give the game away in the future.
  • If you have received a ban, you can no longer return the game in question on Steam.

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