YouTube’s live streaming support has gotten much better and is now a solid competitor to Twitch. If you’re an aspiring content creator with an audience on YouTube, you might want to live stream on a platform where you’re already established instead of splitting your viewer base.

Step One: Install OBS

OBS is a streaming and recording program that’s popular with live streams. It captures your game’s output and then streams it to YouTube or Twitch. OBS is pretty simple to set up but comes with a lot of advanced settings you can configure.

Generally, you’ll get a decent performance hit running recording software at the same time as your game. If you have a low-end system, you might not be able to stream effectively, though you can adjust the settings and quality of the recorder to match your needs.

Step Two: Grab Your Steam Key and Set Up OBS

Right-click your avatar in the top right corner of the YouTube’s settings and then select “Creator Studio.” You’ll find your stream key in the  “Live Streaming” section under “Encoder Setup.”

Open up OBS, and have it start the auto-configuration wizard. Once it gets to the “Stream Information” pane, change from Twitch to YouTube and then paste in the stream key from YouTube’s settings.

This stream key must be kept secret, as anyone with it can live stream on your channel. If your key does manage to get out, you can reset it from the YouTube dashboard.

Step Three: Set Up Your Stream Info

You’ll have to set up your stream info separately for every live stream. YouTube works a bit differently than Twitch when it comes to streaming. On Twitch, you just select the game you’re playing and set a stream title. On YouTube, live streams are the same as videos and need thumbnails, titles, descriptions, and all the metadata that goes into a regular video. You also have the option of making the live stream public, unlisted, or private, for testing out stream settings before going live.

Under “Stream Options” you can enable or disable DVR, make the stream archive after you’re done, and choose your latency settings. You can also add a delay here if you have a problem with stream sniping.

Under “Advanced Settings” you can configure the chat options, including turning on slow mode and preventing non-members from chatting (YouTube’s form of Twitch subs).

From there, you can hit “Start Streaming” in OBS, and you should see that you’ve gone live in the YouTube dashboard.

If you’ve got monetization enabled on your YouTube account, you can enable ads on the stream and allow people to donate in chat. If you’ve got a second monitor, it’s a good idea to pop that dashboard over to it so you can monitor the stream and read chat at the same time.

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Anthony Heddings is the resident cloud engineer for LifeSavvy Media, a technical writer, programmer, and an expert at Amazon's AWS platform. He's written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and CloudSavvy IT that have been read millions of times.
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