Learning how to live stream on Twitch, Facebook, Mixer, or YouTube is easier than ever! This tutorial is going to get you up and running fast, covering the basics. While we won’t be setting up a new animated overlay or installing the best donation alerts you can find, we’ll make sure you can start your first stream with confidence.

How do I start streaming?

To start, you need to first join a streaming platform. And if you’ve come this far, you might have heard of Twitch.tv. Twitch is a platform from where anybody can broadcast or view streams; from video-games, chat shows, or even live music performances, there’s a lot of variety to choose from and to delve into, both as a viewer and creator of content.

Twitch isn’t the only platform out there, but we feel it’s the best place to start.

While originally it was intended for gamers, it’s evolved into a platform that showcases IRL streamers, chess players, sports, and so much more.

Set up your Twitch.tv Account

  1. Head over to Twitch.tv and click the Sign Up button in the upper right hand corner
  2. In the new window, fill out this information and continue
  3. Enter in your 6-digit code that was sent to the email address you provided and hit Submit, you can also click the Verify button in the email as well
  4. Twitch will want to figure you out a little, feel free to choose some interests: this can be an array of categories or games, or streamers you know of already

Please Note that choosing streamers on this window will have you automatically follow them upon completing your three choices, if they are one of those choices.


How to use OBS Studio with Twitch

Now that you’ve got your Twitch account, you need to know how you’ll send your stream to your channel on that account. To do so, let’s take a trip to OBSProject.com, where you can download a program called OBS Studio.

OBS Studio is a free and open source software for both video recording and live streaming, the latter being the one we’re interested in. There’s plenty of other streaming software to choose from, like Streamlabs OBS, XSplit, and OBS.Live. However, we recommend that you get started with OBS Studio.

You’ll use OBS Studio to connect your streaming information with your new Twitch account.

While it might feel a bit intimidating at first, OBS Studio is really easy to use if you take a bit of time to learn the layout of the program.

OBS Studio is free to use and can be used at a beginner or professional level.

Connecting OBS Studio to your Twitch account

  1. Download and install OBS Studio
  2. Click the Settings button towards the bottom right of OBS Studio
  3. Click Connect Account (recommended)
  4. Log into your Twitch account and enter in your 6-digit code
  5. Check Enable Bandwidth Test Mode > Apply > OK.
  6. You’ll see two floating windows left and right of your OBS Studio, don’t worry about those for now

From here, you’ll need to run the Auto-Configuartion Wizard in order to get the best recommended settings for your PC and internet connection. We wrote an entire article about getting the best bitrate for your stream, which takes a deeper dive into finding any bottlenecks with your system or internet bandwidth.

The easiest way to get started is using the option found in Tools > Auto-Configuration Wizard.

Be sure that Optimize for streaming, recording is secondary is selected. From here you can use the recommended settings, but if you have a lower-end machine you should first try a resolution of 720p with a frame rate of 30fps.

When Auto-Configuration Wizard has finished testing, it will have determined the estimated ideal settings for your computer, hit Apply Settings, we can always adjust these settings at a later time.


Adding audio to OBS Studio

In OBS Studio, click the Settings button again, but this time we’re going to head to the audio tab. In here, you will see a few sections, the one we want to focus on is the Devices section. For Desktop Audio select Default. Ideally this should be your Default Playback audio.

Obs Studio Audio

Using the default option generally means anything you hear will come through your default audio listening device to your stream. So if you have your stream on another monitor to check out your chat, or just how you look, make sure to mute it, or else you’ll be rebroadcasting your stream audio in an annoying loop. This also means game sounds, music, or anything else playing your PC will be broadcast as well.

In later guides we’ll go into how to separate sounds and control the mix of your audio, but for now, don’t worry about it.

Next, we need to set up your Microphone. Go to Mic/Auxiliary Audio, and select Default again. It is best to make doubly sure that both your Playback and Recording defaults are set to working devices. Hit Apply and hit OK.

Using Default simply means to use whatever audio input is set to your default mic. You could select a specific device, for instance if your default is a webcam mic, but you have a nice desktop mic, you can select the specific device here.

Just for now, click the top of each of these windows (Stream Information & Chat) and position them over OBS until you see a blue box behind them, let go and they will click into place within OBS Studio. You can move these around to anywhere in OBS Studio, or have them floating, it’s all personal preference.


Adding sources to OBS Studio scenes

Let’s add some video content! Below the main preview window, we have a Scene, and in the Scene is currently, well, nothing! A scene is a collection of sources, and sources can be anything like your webcam, images, videos, and much more. Let’s click the + button within the sources window. Go to Add and in this sub-menu select Game Capture, name it whatever you want, but for simplicity right now, I would leave it as it is.

I wouldn’t change any settings here, but just to note, once you launch a game, and presumably it’s in fullscreen, this source will capture it and display it in your preview window.

Click the padlock beside the Game Capture source, which will is makes sure you don’t accidentally click and move the source out of focus or slightly off screen. This is useful for most sources once you have gotten everything exactly where you want it.

If you don’t see anything in your preview, then you will need to open up a game, and have it running, or else it won’t be captured.

Alternatively, if you’re not looking to stream a game, and you want to stream what’s showing on your computer, then you can add a Display capture. Adding the source is the same, you’ll just select this different type. This will capture anything shown on your monitor that you select. As a newer streamer, we generally don’t recommend this, as you’ll want to build up your awareness of what’s going on during a stream, and you don’t accidentally leak a password or a private email.

Finally, if you have a webcam, follow the same procedure, again, only instead of selecting a Game Capture source, select a Video Capture Device source. At the top, you will see a drop down menu to select a device, click this and select your webcam.

It’s worth noting that, if your webcam has audio activated on it, check the Audio Mixer window, and click the speaker on your webcams meter. This will effectively mute the audio coming from your webcam, and the only way people will hear you is from your microphone audio transmitting. 

To resize your webcam, you can click on the source, and drag the bounding red box down to scale it in the preview window, then you can click and drag it to where you’d like, lock it into place, and that’s it!

It’s time to go live!

And with that, you’re ready to stream! You can click Start streaming and get right into things. If you have a second monitor, you can open up your Twitch channel, or use the Twitch creator’s dashboard to see if things are working properly.

Since this will be your first stream, just have fun, and see if you like streaming in general. If you do, then we’d like to invite you back to our site or to subscribe to us on YouTube so that you can learn everything you need to know to become a content creator.