Internet Upload Speed for Live Streaming

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Live streaming is taking over the world. From streaming games on Twitch to live cooking on YouTube, it is now possible to make a good living showing off what you love to others over the Internet.

But you don't need to make a career out of it. Streaming to even a small number of people can be a fun hobby and an excellent creative exercise. Setting up a stream isn't nearly as hard as you'd think: Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook all have in depth guides to help you stream on their platforms.

The real roadblock is your Internet. Specifically, your upload speed. Unlike the vast majority of Internet activities, download speed is not that important for live streaming. That's because live streaming requires a constant stream of data from your computer, phone, or tablet. Any interruption in that stream will cause your stream to stutter or even disconnect. Bandwidth matters, too. If you want your steam to look as nice as possible, you'll need a fast upload speed. You can check your upload speed using Optimum’s Speed Test.

So what upload speeds do the big streaming platforms recommend, and what can you do to meet those requirements? Let's take a look.

Best Internet Connections for Streaming

Not all Internet connections will work well for streaming. Fiber is generally your best bet, while something like DSL is probably too slow.

DSL

If you plan on live streaming, it's best not to have a DSL connection. While some can theoretically reach upload speeds of 8 Mbps (that’s 8,000 Kbps), that's an absolute best case scenario. Most DSL connections are too slow and not reliable enough to handle a consistent stream.

Cable

Cable Internet connections are solid live streaming options. You'll want to get a plan with an upload speed higher than what you need for streaming (say, 10 Mbps if you want 5 Mbps). Having extra bandwidth is never a bad idea. Your equipment also makes a difference. A good cable modem combined with a good WiFi 6 router can give very fast download speeds and low ping times.

Fiber

Fiber is the best option for live streaming. Fiber connections offer upload and download speeds of 1 gigabit and higher, more than enough bandwidth for any type of live streaming. If you have the option, get a fiber connection.

Upload Speed Requirements by Platform

Before getting into the upload speed requirements for the three major live streaming platforms, there are two important concepts to understand.

Bitrate

Bitrate is how upload speed is measured. Since an upload transfers data, it's measured in bits per second, typically kilobits per second (Kbps) or megabits per second (Mbps).

Frames-Per-Second

Frames-per-second (FPS) is a measure of frame rate, or how many images are displayed on screen per second. A faster frame rate results in video that is smooth and clear. Most streams are at least 30fps, anything lower looks choppy and slow.

Twitch

Launched in 2011 as the gaming spinoff of Justin.tv, Twitch is one of the biggest players in the streaming space. The platform was solely focused on video game streams when it started, and that's still its bread and butter. Twitch has also added successful non-gaming categories, such as creative (for art) and just chatting (for talk show or podcast style streams). Gaming is in Twitch's blood, but streaming video games is not a requirement.

Upload Speed for Streaming Twitch


Resolution + FPS*

Recommended Bitrate

1080p 60fps

6000 Kbps

1080p 30fps

4500 Kbps

720p 60fps

4500 Kbps

720p 30fps

3000 Kbps

*Source

YouTube

The world's biggest online video platform is a popular live streaming destination. Content runs the gamut from gaming to music, podcasts, cooking, and more. It's also the preferred platform of many v-tubers, people who stream with virtual avatars.

Upload Speed for YouTube Live Streaming


Resolution*

Recommended Bitrate

4K

20000 Kbps

1080p

5000 Kbps

720p

2500 Kbps

480p

1100 Kbps

360p

700 Kbps

*Source

Facebook

Facebook was relatively late to the live streaming game, only launching its platform in 2015. Facebook Gaming, a gaming-focused section of the platform, launched in 2018.

Facebook Live Streaming Upload Speed


Resolution + FPS*

Recommended Bitrate

1080p 60fps

4,500 - 9,000 Kbps

1080p 30fps

3,000 - 6,000 Kbps

720p 60fps

2,250 - 6,000 Kbps

720p 30fps

400 - 1,000 Kbps

480p 30fps

600 - 2,000 Kbps

360p

600 - 2,000 Kbps

*Source

How To Improve Upload Speed For Streaming

Improving your upload speed is very similar to improving your download speed. Many of the same strategies work.

Use an Ethernet Connection

Before trying anything else, make sure your computer is hardwired to your router via an Ethernet cable. Wireless connections are slower and less reliable than a wired connection. Unless you don't have a choice, use a wired connection to stream.

Move Your Router

If you have to use a wireless connection, make sure your router is as close to your computer as possible. Walls, floors, and other devices can block and weaken your WiFi signal, causing slow upload speeds.

Turn Off Updates and Background Programs

When you're streaming, be sure to only have essential programs running. Anything else can hog bandwidth and wreak havoc on your stream.

Upgrade Your Internet

Optimum’s fiber options are a great choice when looking to upgrade your Internet, especially when you want to live stream games on Twitch, cooking shows or anything else on YouTube, or if you want to stream something that you are doing on the Internet. A reliable Fiber connection can make that possible. Ensure that your Internet is reliable.

Now you've got all the knowledge you need to start live streaming. So get out there and make yourself famous.

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