Picture this. You’ve spent weeks preparing for your first-ever live stream on Twitch. You’ve picked the perfect game, found the perfect stream settings, and even practiced your commentary.
When you start your stream, you realize that your upload speed is much too slow. The stream starts lagging and buffering, and all of your hard work goes to waste. How frustrating!
Thankfully, a hiccup like this is easy to avoid by doing a bit of research beforehand. This article will teach you everything you need to know about finding the right upload speed for streaming so that your stream runs smoothly from start to finish.
Let’s jump in!
What’s the best upload speed for streaming?
We’d love to make things short and sweet by giving a definitive answer to this question, but it’s not quite that simple. The best upload speed for streaming depends on a variety of factors, including the type of content you’re broadcasting, the platform you’re using, and your audience’s internet speeds.
Generally speaking, however, you’ll need an upload speed between 672 Kbps and 61.5 Mbps to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted streaming experience for your viewers. If your upload speed is below this range, they may experience buffering or choppy playback.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the specifics so that you can determine the best upload speed for your particular needs.
Understanding download and upload speeds
If you haven’t encountered these terms before, we may have jumped the gun by getting straight into the best upload speeds for streaming. Let’s start with a quick overview of download and upload speeds so everyone is on the same page.
Download speed tells you how quickly data is transferred from the internet to your device. You’ve likely encountered this term when downloading files, such as movies or music.
Upload speed, on the other hand, is the rate of data transfer from your device to the internet. This term is less common than download speed, but it’s one of the most important factors when streaming content.
If your upload speed is too slow, your viewers may experience buffering or choppy playback while watching your stream. This can be very frustrating for them and may cause them to abandon your stream altogether.
That’s why it’s important to make sure your upload speed is up to par before launching your next live stream. So, what’s the best upload speed for streaming? Let’s take a look.
What are the upload speed requirements for different video platforms?
As mentioned earlier, answering the overarching question of which upload speed is best cannot be generalized for all platforms. This is due to the varying encoding rates and resolutions of each platform.
Instead, your best course of action is to find out the specifications of the platform you are intending to stream on, and use that as your benchmark.
That said, here are the optimal upload speeds for some of the more popular video streaming platforms:
This is a video streaming platform predominantly used for gaming purposes; however, users have the ability to live stream any type of content. The recommended upload speed for Twitch is 3 Mbps at a minimum.
There are other recommended speeds for Twitch depending on your video resolution. If you are streaming 720 p (or 60 fps), you’ll need 4.5 Mbps. The same goes for 1080 p (30 fps). If you are streaming 1080 p (60 fps), you will need at least 6 Mbps.
If you know how to stream on Twitch (or are willing to learn), it’s one of the best streaming platforms to use thanks to the wide range of resolutions it supports.
Many video streamers consider Facebook Live to be one of the best live streaming platforms, as the setup process is relatively simple, and it has a massive user base. For this, you’ll need an upload speed of 4 Mbps minimum.
Of course, YouTube is another incredibly popular streaming platform that is used by millions of people all around the world. The recommended upload speed for YouTube depends on your resolution; because YouTube is designed to support video content in all formats, it offers a wider range of resolutions and encoding rates.
- 240p – 0.3 Mbps
- 480p – 0.4 Mbps
- 20p (60 fps) – 2.2 Mbps
- 1080p (60 fps) – 3 Mbps
- 1440p (60 fps) – 9 Mbps
- 4K/2160p (30 fps) – 13 Mbps
- 4K/2160p (60 fps) – 20 Mbps
As you can see, the upload speeds required for different platforms vary greatly. However, if you are unsure about what your platform’s requirements are, it is always best to err on the side of caution and choose a speed that is higher than the bare minimum.
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Variables that affect upload speed requirements
At this point in the article, you may be wondering – why all these different requirements? Why can’t you just use the same upload speed for all live streaming platforms?
The answer is that there are a few different variables that affect the upload speed needed for your live stream. These include:
- The resolution of your stream, which is determined by the number of pixels your stream has
- The bitrate of your stream, or how much data is being transferred per second
- The pace of your streamed content
All of these factors will determine how much bandwidth you need for your live stream. Let’s explore them in more detail.
Live stream resolution
As seen in the previous section, there are a range of resolution options offered by different platforms. But what is your ‘resolution’ and how does it affect your upload speed?
Your resolution is simply the number of pixels in your live stream. The higher the resolution, the more pixels there are, and therefore the more data that needs to be transferred per second. This means that you will need a faster upload speed for a high-resolution stream than for a low-resolution stream.
For example, if you are streaming in 720 p HD (1280×720), your resolution is 1280 pixels wide and 720 pixels high. This means that you will need a faster upload speed than if you were streaming in 360 p (640×360), which has a resolution of just 640 pixels wide.
Bitrate of your stream
Another key factor that affects your upload speed is the bitrate of your stream, which is essentially the amount of data that is being transferred per second.
The bitrate of your stream will be determined by the resolution and quality of your stream. For example, if you are streaming in 720 p HD at a bitrate of 6 Mbps, you will be transferring 6 megabits of data per second. If you are streaming in 360 p at a bitrate of 2 Mbps, you will be transferring 2 megabits of data per second.
As you can see, the higher the resolution and quality of your stream, the higher the bitrate. This is because more data is needed to transmit high-quality video content.
Pace of your streamed content
If you are someone who streams action-heavy or fast-paced content, such as video games or live sports, you will need a higher upload speed than someone who streams slower-paced content, like talking heads or tutorials.
This is because action-heavy and fast-paced content require more data to be transferred in order to keep up with the pace of the video. If your upload speed is not fast enough, you may experience buffering or lag in your stream.
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So, what is the right upload speed for you – and how can you go about getting it?
Getting the best upload speed for your stream
Now that you understand what upload speed you need for your live stream, how can you put that into practice? There are a few things you need to do in order to make sure your upload speed is up to par.
1. Check your internet service package. Most providers offer a variety of packages with different download and upload speeds. You will want to be on the highest tier possible in order to get the best upload speed for your stream.
2. Check your internet connection. You can do a speed test on sites like Speedtest or Fast.com to check your download and upload speeds. If you are not getting the speeds you need, you may need to call your provider and ask for a higher tier package or for a better internet connection.
3. Check your equipment. Make sure you have the latest and greatest in streaming technology. This may include using a fast computer, a good quality webcam, and a reliable internet connection.
4. Use a wired connection if possible. A wired connection will always give you better upload speeds than a wireless connection. If you can, try to connect your computer directly to the router with an Ethernet cable.
5. Use a quality webcam. A good quality webcam will often produce better results than a cheap one. Make sure you are using one that is capable of streaming in high resolution.
6. Close any other programs that may be using the internet. If you have other programs open that are using the internet, they may be slowing down your upload speed and affecting your stream. Close any unnecessary programs before starting your stream.
7. Make sure your computer is in good condition. If your computer is running slow or is full of viruses, it will likely affect your stream. Make sure you have a good quality computer that can handle streaming video without any problems.
8. Test your upload speed before your stream. Once you have done all of the steps above, test your upload speed to make sure you are getting the speeds you need. This can be done with a speed test on a site like Speedtest or Fast.com.
If your speeds are not what you expected, and you’re wondering how to increase upload speed, try some of the tips above to improve them.
Once you can confidently check off all of the items on this list, you can be sure that your upload speed is ready for streaming. Remember to always test your speed before your stream to make sure you are getting the best results.
How to live stream if your upload speed is too slow?
It happens to the best of us – we sign up to a brand-new internet plan that promises lightning-fast speeds, only to realize that when we try to use them for something as demanding as streaming, they’re not quite up to the mark. So, what do you do if your upload speed is too slow for live streaming?
If this happens on a day that you’re due to post a live stream, you may not have time to wait for an internet plan upgrade – but there are still a few things you can do to mitigate the issue:
- Use a lower quality stream. This will require less upload bandwidth, and may still look good enough for your purposes.
- Try to pre-record your stream. This is a great option if you know that your upload speed is going to be an issue – just make sure you have enough storage space to store your recording!
- Split the stream into segments. If you have a particularly slow upload speed, you may need to break your stream up into smaller chunks and broadcast them over time. This will require more work on your part, but it can be done!
If none of these solutions are feasible for you, or if your upload speed is still too slow after trying them, your only other option may be to find a different live streaming platform. Some platforms are more forgiving when it comes to upload speeds, so it may be worth considering alternatives if your current platform isn’t working for you.
What’s the best type of internet for live streaming?
The Internet isn’t just made available through Wi-Fi, even though that is how most people connect to it. There are different types of internet connections that can be used for live streaming; however, the consensus is that a wired connection is the best way to go. This is because fiber optic cables transmit data much faster than traditional copper telephone wires.
It’s important to note that there’s a difference between cable-wired and fiber-wired connections. Cable wired connections are typically much faster than fiber, but the drawback is that they can be very inconsistent and are often shared with other users in the neighborhood.
Fiber connections, on the other hand, are much more reliable and have symmetrical upload and download speeds. This means that your live stream won’t buffer or lag no matter how many people are watching it at the same time.
Regardless of which wired connection you have, it’s important to make sure that your internet service provider (ISP) is delivering the speeds they promise. You can test your upload speed at Speedtest.net to see if you’re getting the speeds you’re paying for. If not, you may want to consider switching providers.
When it comes to streaming, you need to have a reliable and fast internet connection – or your viewers will be left with a buffering screen, which is frustrating for everyone. That’s why it’s important to consider your upload speed when choosing a live streaming service.
Once you’ve got your upload speed up to scratch, don’t forget to pimp your stream even further with Lightstream’s layering features and 3rd-party integrations. Your stream has never looked so good! Try us out for free here.
Hopefully, we’ve managed to provide some useful information on how to determine your upload speed and what to do if it’s not quite at par. If you’re still having trouble, don’t hesitate to reach out to the streaming service’s customer support for more help, or chat to us here at Lightstream.
How can I improve my internet speed for Twitch?
There are a few things you can do to improve your internet speed for Twitch streaming. First, check to see if you’re getting the correct speeds from your internet service provider. If not, reach out and ask for help.
Additionally, close any programs or browsers that aren’t being used in order to free up bandwidth, and make sure your computer is up to date with the latest software and drivers.
What is the minimum upload speed for streaming Twitch videos?
The minimum internet speed for streaming Twitch is 3 Mbps, but the highest resolution (1080 p, 60 fps) requires 6 Mbps.
How can I test my upload speed?
There are a few ways to test your upload speed. You can use an online tool such as Speedtest.net, or if you’re on a Mac you can use the Network Utility app. Additionally, many streaming services will provide information on what speeds are required for different resolutions and bitrates.
Is 25 Mbps upload speed sufficient for streaming?
That depends on what you’re streaming. For lower resolutions such as 480 p or 720 p, a 25 Mbps upload speed should be sufficient. However, for higher resolutions or faster frame rates (eg 1080 p at 60 fps), you’ll need a faster upload speed.
Is 50 Mbps upload speed good for live streaming?
For the majority of live streaming resolutions, a 50 Mbps upload speed is more than enough. However, if you’re looking to stream at 4K resolution or above, you’ll need a faster connection.
Is 10 Mbps upload speed sufficient for streaming?
For resolutions lower than 720 p, 10 Mbps is usually enough. However, for higher resolutions or faster frame rates, you’ll need a faster upload speed.