How to Live Stream on Youtube

If you want to stream like a pro, check out this helpful guide to live streaming on YouTube!

In today’s fast-paced society, people want to be able to make immediate connections with the world around them. When it comes to online content creation, what format is more immediate than live streaming? Whether you want to interact with your favourite celebrity in a Q&A session, or drop in on a video game playthrough, live streams put you right in the thick of the action, in real time.

As the content platform with the largest audience in the world, YouTube has an extraordinary reach. YouTuber users can grow their channels and connect with their subscribers in a variety of ways, but none are more immediate than the platform’s live streaming function. With the click of a button you can broadcast yourself to your entire audience, or a selected portion of it, and bring them into your world. In this article we’ll take a look at how live streaming on YouTube works.  

How to Live Stream on Youtube
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Is YouTube live free?

Yes, YouTube Live is free to use. You don’t have to pay any sort of subscription fee to regularly stream on the platform.

How much does it cost to use YouTube live?

In the same way that you can set up a YouTube channel for free, there is no cost involved in using YouTube Live.

How does a YouTube live work?

All you need to use YouTube live is a YouTube channel, and a means to capture video and audio. Once you have enabled Live on your channel you are able to live stream instantly to your community and beyond with the click of a button.

How to Live Stream on Youtube

Do you need 1000 subscribers on YouTube to live stream?

To live stream on a mobile device, your channel will need to have at least 1,000 subscribers. However, if you have fewer than 1,000 subscribers you’ll still be able to live stream using your computer.

What is Youtube Studio

YouTube Studio is your YouTube channel’s HQ, providing you with all the functions and information you need to keep things running smoothly.  

With YouTube Studio, a whole host of processes have been centralized into one space, including the ability to upload and edit videos, manage live streams, view analytics data for your videos, read and respond to comments, and manage settings. You can also access the monetization section if you’re a part of the YouTube Partner Program, and download royalty free music to use in your videos.

To find more quality royalty free background music for your content, why not try out Music Cellar? Go on, it’s free!   

How to get to Youtube Creator Studio

To access YouTube Studio you can either go directly to or click on your profile picture on your YouTube channel from any page on the site. After clicking on your profile picture you’ll see the link for YouTube Studio in the dropdown menu below ‘Your channel’ and ‘Paid memberships’.

How to Live Stream on Youtube

How do I stream on YouTube live?

Before you start streaming on YouTube, you’ll need to verify your YouTube channel and make sure that you have no live streaming restrictions in the past 90 days. For a full list of restrictions on live streaming see here.

To verify your account you’ll need to have a phone to receive a 6-digit verification code via text, or an automated voice message. Once you’ve received your code, enter it into the empty box and click Submit.

Once you meet the above requirements, you can stream on YouTube live by clicking the Create button beside your profile picture, and then hitting Go live. From here, you can choose whether you want to stream directly from YouTube using a webcam or external camera, or through encoding software like OBS Studio or Streamlabs OBS. 

How to setup a youtube live stream

Here’s a basic overview of how to set up your first YouTube live stream:

First, enable YouTube Live on your channel at least 24 hours in advance of your stream, and make sure your account is verified. Next, connect your equipment and carry out a test to see if everything works correctly by starting a private stream in YouTube studio. If everything is OK, schedule a public or unlisted stream, write a description for it, and select a clear, high-contrast image to use as a thumbnail. 

You can promote your stream and make sure your channel’s subscribers are made aware of the event by creating a live channel page shelf to display upcoming live streams on your channel. 

How to Live Stream on Youtube

How do I enable YouTube live streaming settings?

To enable YouTube live streaming settings, you need to be live streaming using an encoder. An encoder is a piece of hardware or software that converts your video into a digital format to stream on YouTube. Although it’s a more complicated process, streaming with an encoder brings many benefits, including:

  • Sharing your screen or broadcasting your gameplay
  • Using external audio and video hardware
  • Managing a more advanced stream with multiple cameras and microphones.

You can find a guide to streaming with an encoder here

How do I change my YouTube live stream settings?

Once you’ve started a live steam on YouTube using an encoder, you can adjust the settings of the stream either in-house or externally.

If you’re using encoding software like OBS Studio or Streamlabs OBS, you can adjust stream settings in the software itself. There is normally plenty to customize in these external programs, so make sure to brush up on the best settings for your chosen software.

If you want to keep things in-house, access the stream settings page on YouTube and click Edit. Here you’ll find a range of stream settings to tinker with, plus the option of tweaking metadata for your stream. 

How to Live Stream on Youtube

How to enable live stream on youtube

Enabling live stream on YouTube is easier than you might think. If you have a verified YouTube channel (for a guide on how to verify your YouTube channel see here) that isn’t in breach of any of YouTube Live’s streaming restrictions, you can enable live streaming by clicking on your profile picture in the top right corner of the interface and clicking Create in the dropdown menu. 

Next, hit Go live to enable your first live stream.

What is a stream key youtube

A stream key is similar to a password for your YouTube stream, that tells the encoder you’re using where to send your feed and let YouTube accept it. Stream keys are created in YouTube, and then entered into your encoder.

How to get youtube stream key

To create a stream key on YouTube, click on your profile photo in the top right corner and select YouTube Studio from the options shown on the dropdown menu. Next, click into the Live Streaming tab, and scroll down to the Encoder Setup section. Here, you’ll see your stream key listed under Stream Name/Key, and you can copy and paste this into your encoding software.

How to Live Stream on Youtube

How do I find my YouTube stream key?

Your YouTube stream key is located in the Encoder Setup section of the Live Streaming tab in Creator Studio. As well as the stream key, you’ll also find your Server URL, which you can use to tell your encoder where to send your stream feed.

Does YouTube stream key stay the same?

The stream key for a YouTube live stream will change for each new stream that you set up. However, you can reuse the same stream key by creating a custom stream key. To do this follow these steps:

  • After creating a live stream event, click on Stream Settings
  • Select the down arrow and hit Create new stream key
  • Enter your preferred settings and click Create.

Your custom stream key will now show up in the stream key list, and you can use this each time you set up a new stream.

How to Live Stream on Youtube

Should I stream in 1080p or 720p?

YouTube is generous when it comes to its streaming resolution options. This is helped by the fact that the platform supports the highest maximum bitrate limit when compared to its competition (51,000 kbps). 

Whether you stream in 720p, 1080p or higher is ultimately up to you, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind. If you choose to stream in higher resolutions, you’ll need good upload speed, and it will be more demanding on your viewer’s bandwidth. Lower resolutions will have the opposite effect, and will also allow you to carry out other tasks while streaming, like gaming, even if you don’t have a high end computer.

A lot of streamers use 720p resolution on YouTube, as it is a nice trade off between quality and low bitrate requirements.

How to live stream on youtube

Live streaming on YouTube is incredibly easy, once you know how. The platform is set up to allow instant streaming, with a Go live button that will prompt you to select whether you want to live stream directly on YouTube using a webcam or camera, or streaming software like OBS.

How to go live on youtube

Here’s a step by step breakdown on how to go live on YouTube:

  • Sign into your account on YouTube
  • Click the Create button in the top right hand corner (the camera icon)
  • Select Go live
  • Choose whether you want to start a stream Right Now or at a Later Date
How to Live Stream on Youtube
  • Select whether you want to stream using a webcam or external camera or using encoding software
  • Enter a title and description for your stream
  • Save your stream and take a thumbnail photo
  • Hit Go live

How to live stream on youtube with obs

Streaming on YouTube with OBS requires you to have a verified YouTube account. Once you’ve verified your account, click the Create button in the top right corner of the YouTube interface, and then hit Go Live.

You’ll then be taken to the settings page for your stream, where you have the choice of adjusting a variety of parameters for your stream. To stream with OBS, you’re going to need your stream key, so click the Copy button beside it to copy it to your clipboard.

Open up OBS, and head into the Settings tab. Click into the Stream section, and select YouTube from the Service dropdown menu. Keep your Server set to Primary YouTube ingest server, and paste your YouTube stream key into the Stream Key box. Click OK, and then Start Streaming (in the top left corner of the screen).

When you return to YouTube Studio, you’ll see that OBS is connected and you’re now live!

How to live stream on youtube from phone

To live stream on mobile, your YouTube channel will need to have at least 1,000 subscribers. 

If you meet these requirements, here’s how to create a mobile live stream.

On your phone, open the YouTube app. Tap the Create button, and then hit Go live.

Note: Enabling your first mobile live stream may take up to 24 hours. Once enabled, you can live stream instantly.

How to go live on youtube app

Going live on the YouTube app is as simple as opening up the app, pressing the Create button, and then tapping Go Live. Once you’ve finished your stream, tap Finish, and an archive of the stream will be created on your YouTube channel.

How to Live Stream on Youtube

How to live stream on youtube mobile

Live streaming on YouTube mobile requires the YouTube app, which comes preinstalled on the majority of phones these days. If you don’t have it installed for some reason, download it for free from the App Store or Play Store.

Once you have the YouTube app, open it up and press the Create button, then hit Go live. You can stream your phone’s screen by tapping Create Channel and then Share screen.

How to schedule a live stream on youtube

You can create a live stream event on YouTube mobile in the same way that you would on a computer. Open up the app, press the Create button and tap Go live. Then, schedule a live stream for later in the More options section. Here, you can also set options for live chat, age restriction, monetisation and more.

To start a scheduled mobile live stream, tap Calendar after selecting Create on the app. Here, you can select your scheduled live stream and start streaming by then pressing Go live.

How to Live Stream on Youtube

Can I live stream on YouTube privately?

You can live stream on YouTube privately whether you’re using a webcam or external camera, or encoding software like OBS Studio.

To set up a private stream using a webcam or external camera, follow these steps:

  • Click the Create button beside your profile picture, and hit Go live
  • Select Webcam
  • In the Webcam stream info box, set your stream to private
  • Make sure your camera and audio settings are set up correctly, and then click Next
How to Live Stream on Youtube
  • Take a picture for your thumbnail, and then click Edit in your Stream preview
  • Double check that Visibility for your stream is set to Private
  • Open the Visibility dropdown menu and click Share Privately
  • Input the email addresses of anyone you want to share the stream with and check the Notify via email box
  • Click Save, and then Go Live.

Setting up a private stream using encoding software is the same process, except instead of hitting Go live in YouTube Studio, you’ll need to copy and paste your stream key into your encoding software and start the live stream from there. 

How long can you live stream YouTube?

There are no restrictions on the length of your steam on YouTube. However, YouTube is able to automatically archive live streams up to 12 hours long, meaning that if your stream exceeds 12 hours it may not be captured at all.

How to Live Stream on Youtube

How long are YouTube live streams available?

If you decide to leave an archived live stream on your channel as a video, it will be available for as long as you want it to stay there. 

You can remove a past live stream, or any video, from your channel by signing into YouTube Studio and entering the Content section on the left-hand menu. From here, point to the video that you’d like to delete, click More and then select Delete forever.

How to record youtube live stream

Any live stream carried out on YouTube that is under 12 hours long will be automatically archived, but you might like to also record a local archive as a backup.

To do this, you can use YouTube screen recording software to record your desktop screen and capture your entire live stream. Or, if you’re streaming using an encoder, you can set the software to automatically record your streams. In OBS, this is as simple as going into the Settings menu and clicking into the General tab. Here, in the Output section, you can check the box that says Automatically record when streaming.

How to Live Stream on Youtube

The full scope of what you can do once you start live streaming on YouTube is exciting – there’s a whole world out there for you to connect with! Or, if a global audience isn’t really your thing, you can carry out smaller streams on an invite only basis. 

Whatever way you choose to stream on YouTube, we hope that this guide has shown you how easy it can be to get started. All you need is a computer or mobile device, and a means of capturing video and audio. Once you have those things, the rest is up to you!

November 11, 2021
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