Nowadays, pretty much every place where people hang out online has a video streaming option. It’s not just the video platforms like Twitch or YouTube being used to watch live video anymore. People also regularly see streaming videos on their Facebook feeds. But why not on your website?
How to set up live streaming video on a website
Setting up a live stream to your website isn’t too difficult, but it’s still complex. There are several steps you need to go through if you want to set up a live stream and embed it into your website.
A checklist will look something like this:
- Plan the content of your stream. Spontaneity usually isn’t your friend when it comes to live streaming. Embedding your stream doesn’t change anything – you still need to know what you’re streaming about beforehand.
- Set up your recording hardware. This means having figured out both video and audio sources to get the best possible audio and video quality. Pay special attention to audio — it’s easy to overlook, and viewers don’t like poor audio quality in videos.
- Set up the encoding options. The encoding software is where the magic happens – the place where your audio and video signals get encoded and sent to the video hosting platform. It’s important to understand encoders if you want to know how to set up a live stream.
- Check the status of your internet connection. Uploading requires speed and stability. You should prepare to maximize both before you start live streaming. An unstable internet connection can ruin your live stream, and you’ll need at least 5 Mbps for a decent stream.
- Prepare a website or platform that will host your stream. Facebook, YouTube, Twitch – any of these options are less expensive and demanding than hosting your own live stream video.
Piece of cake, huh? Sure, there are a few steps you need to take, but none of them are particularly difficult. Once you figure it out the first time, every other time will take you just a few minutes.
The idea — where it all begins
Video content doesn’t fall into existence just because someone can make it. Content creation is an investment of time and money, so it deserves a little planning. Even if all you want to do is live stream an event on your website, you have to think it through beforehand.
A good place to start is your motivation — what do you want to achieve by streaming video on a website? Is there a certain goal the video should fulfill? Different types of live video content are better suited for achieving different purposes.
For example, product demonstrations, launches, and how-to videos, coupled with time-limited coupon codes, are great for increasing sales. Q&A videos are good for boosting engagement, increasing your reach, and improving your brand recognition.
From there, you can move on to the things you’ll need for production, from both technical and technological angles. But always remember that, when thinking about how to set up a live stream, content ideas should always be on your mind. They are very important.
The recording hardware
There’s no reason to be worried about your ability to get your hands on some video recording gear. Most of us carry smartphones in our pockets, and that can be an easy entry into the world of streaming.
It’s not necessarily a good entry, though. It’s important that you focus on quality as much as you can. It’s hard to get quality streaming by using a smartphone.
Video recording hardware exists on a spectrum that has cheap webcams on one end and high-end professional cameras on the other. Anything in between will do, so GoPros, camcorders, and even DSLR cameras are good choices. Some people use drones to capture and stream video, so maybe consider that as an option.
Remember that the quality of the device has a huge impact on the quality of the video in the stream. Any option that's not built specifically for streaming will require a capture card if you want to use it for live streaming. Also, keep in mind that cameras have built-in microphones that might not do a good enough job. If audio is important, use an external microphone. You can still run it through your video recorder to avoid any syncing issues.
The encoding software
The recording hardware captures the content, but it’s the encoding software that packs it into a format suitable for streaming. You can also use encoding hardware and avoid having to use a computer, but encoding hardware can be prohibitively expensive. Streamers, vloggers, and video content creators tend to rely on software encoding.
Probably the best choice for a beginner is an open-source encoder. OBS Studio is among the most popular options, as is the Streamlabs OBS. These encoders are free and come with more than enough options to ensure a good video stream. If all you need to do is go online with your webcam, Restream Studio would be one of the best choices you can make. And if you really wanted to spend money, you could invest in paid encoding software.
The internet connection
The internet connection plays a crucial part in viewer experience. If you want your live streams to be smooth, make sure your connection is both fast and stable. And by “fast”, we mean a decent upload speed. Usually, something from 5 to 10 Mbps is enough to live stream in Full HD without any hiccups. However, if you want to stream pre-recorded video on your website, you don’t have to worry a lot about the bandwidth at your disposal.
You need an internet connection to transfer content from an encoder to a server. The amount of data you can transfer per second depends on the upload speed of an internet connection. Once the content reaches the server, the upload speed of your connection stops being important, and the viewers’ download speed starts determining the quality of the video. In both cases, faster is better.
The video hosting platform
The rule of thumb says that it’s a bad idea to host your own video content on your website’s server. Video content takes up a lot of space, making it an expensive endeavor for most hosting options. Plus, hosting one’s own video isn’t nearly as reliable as using hosting platforms.
When it comes to choosing the platform, you’ll find that options are everywhere. There are dedicated platforms you can stream to, video hosting platforms that offer streaming, and even social networks you can use to host the stream you’ll show on your website. The most popular options are:
- YouTube — the world’s biggest video hosting service offers the best quality streaming capabilities around.
- Twitch — the oldest streaming platform caters mostly to gamers but can be useful nonetheless.
- Facebook Live — the social network’s streaming service makes up with range what it lacks in video quality.
You’ll only need to pick one of these to be able to stream video on your website. However, if you’re looking to broaden your reach to the maximum extent, you’ll want to multistream — stream to more than one website at a time.
Read Next: The best video hosting sites 📍
How to stream to multiple websites at the same time
The ability to broadcast your videos to several websites simultaneously is one of the main reasons you should use Restream.io. As a multistreaming tool, it lets you:
- Stream to any of over 30 platforms it supports
- Add custom platforms, if the ones you use aren’t supported
- Multistream with no additional requirements in terms of resources
- Set everything up in an easy and straightforward process
- Add your own visuals with Restream Studio
You have something you want to stream. The video recording gear is ready, as is the encoder. There’s an internet connection available with plenty of upload bandwidth, and you’ve settled on which video platform you want to use. You’re about to do the last step — embed the video on your website.
Embedding isn’t usually a difficult process, as it consists of pasting the code onto a page on your website. The tricky part, however, is finding that embed code. Some websites make it more difficult than others — Facebook will have you jump through a hoop or two, while YouTube is easy to set up.
Let’s wrap it up!
There’s no reason a website has to be your hub for written content alone. Sure, it might be impractical to build your own video hosting service just to have video content on your website. But that’s what embedding is for — to help you show your website visitors content they’d otherwise have to see on third-party hosting platforms or websites.