TF2 – ‘Lost connection to server’ Solved

Even though I have exams coming up, I still manage to squeeze in the odd round or ten of Team Fortress 2. I blame Valve for releasing the medic achievements recently.

(7 to go! One of them is ‘Family Practice’, so I need some more Steam friends to deploy an ubercharge on, hint hint. Also, for all the spies out there: FYI I am a medic – please call for me sometime eh?)

Anyway, I had been playing for a while, but had developed a problem connecting to servers. The problem was that most of the time I would get into the game, take a few steps, then it would freeze. A second later I would get the red “Connection to server lost. Disconnect in 29…28… seconds”. Sometimes I would only get to “retrieving server info” or “sending client data”, and sometimes I could play for as long as 30 or more seconds before I got ghostbusted (yes, netrek jargon). I’m sure I even got a kill after being disconnected.

Trying to rejoin would give me a “This Steam ID is in use on the server”, while my friends saw many “BertieB(1) has connected”. And I saw a lot of “Disconnected from server. Reason:” … connection to server lost… this steam ID is already in use…

This is not unique problem. Fortunately the fix is fairly straightforward.

You need to open some ports on your router:

TCP 27030 – 27039
UDP 1200
UDP 27000 – 27015

For people with a BeBox (a Speedtouh 780 WL I think, so it should work for similar Speedtouches, like those with BT internet) you can simply log into the router (at http://192.168.1.254), go to Toolbox -> Game & Application Sharing -> Assign a game or application to a local network device -> Half-life 2. Easy!

This may not solve the problem for everyone, but it did for me and others. Good luck!

Update: Thanks to Jeroen, who pointed out the typo that has been there for about 3 years.

23 Replies to “TF2 – ‘Lost connection to server’ Solved”

  1. Being plagued by this horrid, horrid problem for months. Just can’t shake it. I’m limited to playing on about 2 or 3 TF2 servers I’ve found which work… after a few attempts.

    The address you gave takes me to my hub, which is a BT Home Hub, but as for my login details, I’ve not the slightest clue, and I don’t believe I was even given any. Just can’t figure it out, but then again with BTs customer support being the shambles that it is, I’m not sure I have the patience to queue for an hour to find out. :/

  2. Hi CoffeeSquid

    Yep, I know the feeling. It sucks.

    Is your BT Home Hub old or new? FOr older Home Hubs, the default username and password are ‘admin’ (without quotes). Newer Home Hubs have the username ‘admin’ and the password is the serial number of your Hub. Check the back or the bottom of it.

    Robert

  3. I’ve been playing fine on my new clans server for the last week, now I get this connection error, surely that can’t be a ports problem, everything is exactly the same as it was a week ago. Any ideas?

  4. Midnight:

    It would seem unlikely to be a ports error all of a sudden. Has anything changed? Either on your end or at the server? Also, who is your ISP?

    Robert

  5. Robert, I forgot to tell you last year how appreciateive I am of this post! I was getting so frustrated and about to give up. I had a newer hub and thanks to not only your post but your follow-ups, I was able to fix the error.
    Can’t wait to read more from you!!!

  6. @Network Device Guy

    Glad it helped! I actually had to re-set up my router recently (I tried to add a forward rule and it spawned infinite rules, making the unit – which is flaky at the best of times – crash into a sobbing heap on the floor), and where did I look for which ports to forward…?

    If you really want to read more, I’m now posting from Barcelona, where I intend to learn Spanish. It’s by far the scariest thing I’ve done!

  7. Robert,
    Would you reset the router after making changes to Gaming and Applications?
    Thank you for your Be Broadband-specific post, that was a pleasant surprise 😀
    Neil

  8. Hi Neil

    The changes snhould be applied immediately – no need to restart. I wrote about Be because it’s what I know, although like I say the changes should work across all SpeedTouches of the same or similar model. I think the BT Home Hub is similar, although I could be wrong. Certainly I’ve heard of BT users having problems.

    In general, forwarding the ports mentioned should fix the problem!

  9. Jeroen, you are absolutely right.

    What’s embarrassing is I noticed the typo when re-doing ports after my BeBox packed a mental. I could have sworn I updated it and left a comment to the fact. Guess I’m imagining things!

    For what it’s worth, I’m now using my BeBox purely as a glorified modem in bridge mode in front of a Linksys WRT54GL running the Tomato firmware. Stability is much improved.

    Cheers!

  10. I have the TCP and UD etc assigned for HL2, but my speedtouchy piece of sh.. assigns TF2 a different set of numbers. I cannot seem to give all my Steam protocols the same number. And this does not really keep me from losing connection with HL2 in any case. I am getting three basic symptoms. Sometimes I can log in, usually after several tries of getting hung up on sending client information, sometimes I then lose connection, and sometimes it says Steam validation problems. All three of these seem similar, but at different points in logging on. The games work sometimes for some servers, but even these experience all of the above at different times. Really pissing.

  11. This has been driving me mad – I only recently made the correlation between playing Team Fortress 2 and the old style BT Hub hub resetting.

    I’ve logged calls with BT, done resets – nothing.

    Finally – your post looks like the solution.

    I’ve made the change….here’s hoping for more uninterrupted gibbin’

  12. Hey Guys,

    Sorry to bump and old post ^^

    But for those who don’t know how to open up ports on their router, there is a website called portforward (google it) This is a very useful site and has help on forwarding your ports for all routers and all games,

    Check it out!

    Chris.

  13. Hey Chris, no need to apologise for the bump! This problem still affects loads of people in many Source games (eg Counter-Strike Source or Left4Dead[2]), so additional information is definitely helpful. Heck, I even still use this post when I need reminded of which ports it is!

    Richard – aggravating but fingers crossed this’ll work. There is a separate issue that I noticed with my model – playing games like Left4Dead or anything that retrieves a huge serverlist crashes the router (opening too many connections / overheating?). Unfortunately my solution was to use the router as a bridge and let a WRT54GL running Tomato handle the grown-up stuff like opening connections and routing.

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