How to live stream on YouTube for beginners

Dip your toes in the streaming waters.

Image via YouTube

Tons of people are interested in getting into streaming these days. This is great because anyone with an internet connection can put their streams out and try and gain a following. Of course, first, you need to get a stream set up and ready to go. Here is a beginner’s guide to streaming on YouTube.

Enable live streaming

After you make a YouTube channel you want to stream to, you will initially be unable to stream. Click on Go Live on YouTube, and you will be taken to the criteria that need to be fixed to allow it. First, you will need to verify your phone number, enable live streaming, and wait 24 hours for YouTube to process the changes. If you want to stream from your phone, you will need at least 50 subscribers. You should be eligible to begin streaming the next day if all has been done.

PC streaming

If you want to stream games from a PC, we recommend OBS. It is free and relatively easy to understand after playing with it for a bit.

Set up a Scene

First, you need a Scene. This will be the general channel for what is being output to your stream. Name it something like “Console” or “Webcam only.” Something that describes what you will use it for. After you have some Scenes, go to Sources and press the plus button to add a Source. These are the elements of your stream that are shown during the stream. If you are playing a game on your PC, select Window Capture, and you can choose the window that will be input into that scene.

Screenshot by Gamepur

Go through naming and finding the Source and then resize it to be the proper size in your stream. If you want to put webcam footage over it, add another Source, choose Video Capture Device, and find your connected webcam. If you are doing gameplay through a console, you will need a capture device like an Elgato and select it here as a source.

When you have OBS putting up your footage, also be sure to add in an audio source. For any audio coming from a windowed game, select Audio Output Capture and choose your PC’s speakers or your headset. Whatever is outputting audio currently will be put in your stream.

If you have a mic to set up to talk to your watchers, choose Audio Input Capture and find your device.

After you have some audio sources in, don’t forget to pay attention to the Audio Mixer to ensure the audio is coming through and at the proper levels. If you ever want to hide a Source in your stream, click the eye icon so you don’t have to go back and add it again later.

Set up the stream

Now that you have your Scene and Sources ready, it’s time to begin setting up for the actual stream. In OBS, select File, Settings, and go to Stream. Since we are streaming to YouTube, choose YouTube – RTMP as a Service. You can now sign in and connect your account to OBS to stream to your channel. After doing that, a portion of OBS will now show your YouTube chat when you go live. If you do not connect your account, you will need to input your stream code which we will get from YouTube. We are almost set to go.

Screenshot by Gamepur

Pull up YouTube and sign in to your account in a web browser. In the top right, click on the Create button and Go Live. Now you are on the stream management page. The middle top will be your basic stream information (title, description, etc.), and below that is more crucial stream settings. On the left, you can swap between streaming from a software encoder (that is OBS for us), a webcam, or schedule a future stream.

Screenshot by Gamepur

First, we want to set your stream title and description. Scroll down to set your category of stream, thumbnail, and other important information.

Screenshot by Gamepur

After that is set, look at the Stream Settings. You will see a line filled in with hidden characters. This is your stream key. Make sure no one else ever gets access to this. If someone does, be sure to reset it here. Copy this entry and input it in OBS if you did not connect your YouTube account.

Below your stream key will be the URL to post on your social media accounts to promote your stream and the latency settings below that. You can change it to low or ultra-low if you have really good internet, but we recommend leaving this setting alone.

Begin the stream

Now with everything set up, you can hit Start Streaming in OBS. Just in case, keep your YouTube browser window open so you can check in on the stream’s health and how things are looking overall.

Keep in mind that you will find things that you mess up with while streaming and want to adjust. If you have to, take notes and play around with OBS to find the settings and Scenes you like best for your stream.

Finding an audience on YouTube is very tough. Don’t get discouraged if you are going for a while and no one pops in. Just remember always to be polite to your watchers. Welcome them to the stream and thank them for watching or subscribing. Tell them a little bit about yourself to give them a reason to interact with you. Just keep streaming your favorite content, and eventually, someone will take notice, and you may make a friend or two along the way.