IRL streaming: Complete guide

IRL streaming has become incredibly popular these days. If you want to stream your hobbies, travel adventures of everyday life, learn what you need to get started.
IRL streaming: Everything you need to know

Some people manage to earn thousands of dollars a month simply by live streaming their everyday lives or hosting online reality shows. This genre of online broadcasting is called IRL (In Real Life) streaming, and it’s incredibly popular.

This guide dives into IRL streaming so you can learn what it is, how to set up an IRL stream and who the most popular IRL streamers are.

What is IRL streaming?

IRL streaming is broadcasting any activity that is not video gaming or business-related. It includes everything from live streaming your talents or niche hobbies to vlogging your travel adventures and everyday life.

 On IRL streams, you can find people reading books to their audiences, demonstrating new cooking recipes or simply conversing with their viewers. Usually, IRL streams are more pared-down than gaming streams, as the style of production tends to be more simplistic.

IRL streaming platforms

Most major streaming platforms have a community of IRL streamers, but these types of streams are most popular on Twitch, Instagram Live, TikTok LIVE, Facebook and YouTube.


Twitch has a live stream category just for IRL streams. They introduced it several years ago so IRL streamers wouldn’t have to compete with gamers. It’s become so popular that there are now multiple categories that fall under the IRL umbrella:

  • Just Chatting (the most popular category on Twitch)
  • Music
  • Art
  • Food & Drinks
  • Podcasts & Talk Shows
  • ASMR
  • Politics
  • Animals, Aquariums, and Zoos

As you can see, IRL streaming can encompass a wide range of topics on Twitch. Read more about how to go live on Twitch in our full guide.

A popular IRL streamer on Twitch is Maya (full name: Maya Higa). She founded an animal sanctuary and streams about wildlife conservation.

Instagram Live

Instagram Live is the perfect place for IRL streams about health, beauty, fitness, art and crafts. You can also find streams about cooking and food. Instagram is a good platform to stream on if you already have a community. Read our ultimate guide to live streaming on Instagram for more ideas and step-by-step instructions on how to go live.


The most popular IRL streams on TikTok day-in-the-life vlogs and shopping hauls. Viewers love to get sneak peeks into their favorite creators’ lives on TikTok. If you want to stream on TikTok, read our guide for more inspiration.

Facebook Live

Like Twitch, Facebook Live has a wide variety of IRL streams. You can stream anything from talk shows to silly food challenges. Love vlogs are also popular on Facebook. Get more ideas from our guide to streaming on Facebook.

YouTube Live

IRL streams centered on travel and culture are the most popular on YouTube. Live cooking shows, craft workshops and podcasts also draw audiences. Learn more about live YouTube live streaming in our full guide.

What do you need for an IRL streaming setup?

IRL streaming doesn’t differ from usual streaming when it comes to the equipment. Depending on your specific niche, like art or a traveling vlog, you might need extra accessories. In general, however, you need a device to stream from, software to stream with and a stable internet connection.

The three most popular types of IRL streaming are:

  1. Mobile streaming
  2. IRL streaming with a backpack
  3. Laptop streaming with software

Let’s get into more detail about the essential streaming setup for popular IRL stream types.

1. IRL mobile streaming

If you want to stream outside like many IRL streamers, you need a smartphone or GoPro camera. You can use your smartphone as an internet hotspot and connect your GoPro to it, so you can stream on the go. Another option is investing in a mobile router, as they tend to have more reliable internet connections.

You should also get a lavalier microphone, or lav mic. They’re small and discreet and clip on to your clothing — many of them connect directly to your smartphone as well. Check out our list of the best lav mics to find the right one for you.

2. IRL streaming backpack

To have the best setup for streaming on the street, consider buying an IRL backpack with cellular modems, battery packs, encoder and camera lenses. It’s basically a live streaming studio you can carry on your back.

Having an encoder, modem and other gear for your IRL stream gives you options — you can create custom scenes and overlays. You can make your IRL stream higher quality while still being on the move. If you invest in an IRL streaming backpack, it will come with all the necessary gear.

3. IRL streaming using a laptop 

If you are planning to stream at home, a computer is the best option. It allows you to have more control over your stream. For high-quality content, you need a good webcam (1080p and 60 fps). If you don’t want to use a lav mic, you can get a streaming microphone instead. Although IRL streams tend to be less flashy than gaming streams, viewers still value high video and audio quality.

You also need to choose IRL streaming software. There are a lot of options, but one of the easiest to set up for IRL streaming is Restream Studio. It’s packed with features that allow you to produce engaging live streams, including multistreaming on Twitch, YouTube, Facebook and other top platforms simultaneously.

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With Restream Studio, you can invite guests directly to your stream, share your screen, upload and play videos, stream in Full HD, interact with chat, add your own logo and branding, display captions, and much more! If you’re used to streaming software like OBS Studio, you can still multistream to your favorite channels by integrating Restream with OBS.

The final, crucial piece of your live streaming puzzle is a stable internet connection. Unfortunately, jittery and choppy IRL live streams are quite common, often due to unreliable WiFi hotspots on the street. And don’t forget that your upload speed matters as well! An insufficient upload speed means your live stream won’t even start.

How to monetize IRL streams

Now that you are ready to start your IRL streaming career, you might want some tips on how to monetize your streams. But we have to warn you: there’s no quick way to start making money as an IRL streamer due to the existing competition. Keeping this fact in mind, here are three proven ways to earn money via IRL streaming.

1. Donations

The most common income source for every IRL streamer (especially the beginner) is a donation from viewers. Your audience expresses their appreciation by tipping you.

You can use tools like DonationAlerts and similar services or simply add your PayPal and Patreon in your bio. Often, donations determine whether streaming becomes a job or remains a hobby.

2. Subscriptions

Viewer subscriptions can be a good indicator of your success in addition to being a great source of income. On Twitch, YouTube and most other platforms, you can encourage your viewers to subscribe to your channel for a monthly fee.

Partnering with streaming platforms can grant you lots of benefits, including additional money from subscriptions and a higher quality of support. Keep in mind that you must meet certain thresholds to be eligible for subscriptions. You’ll have to stream consistently to attract more followers and subscribers.

3. Brand endorsements

When your channel becomes big enough, companies may be interested in working with you. Influencer marketing is extremely popular, so even some smaller channels have a decent chance to get noticed.

You can become a brand ambassador and advertise the products on your live streams. Top streamers can earn thousands of dollars a month thanks to partnership deals with brands. Just be sure to only endorse products you actually like or use — viewers can always tell if you’re being fake.

4. Ad revenue

Twitch, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok have affiliate or partner programs that allow you to roll ads during your live streams. You earn money based on the number of views the ad has. It’s usually counted per 1,000 views, also known as the Cost Per Mille (CPM) rate.

You must be eligible to join your platform’s affiliate or partner program before you can show ads. On Twitch you need at least 50 followers, YouTube requires 1,000 subscribers and TikTok recommends 10,000 followers. 

5. Merchandise

Some IRL streamers make money by selling hats, t-shirts, mugs, stickers, pins or other merchandise with their logos on them. There are many services available that let you create, sell and ship your own merchandise. StreamElements and Streamlabs specialize in streamer merch and both services let you create a virtual store.

The good thing about selling merch is that you don’t need to meet platform requirements to start selling, since you typically use a third-party service for merch. You will have to ensure that you have a community that’s interested in buying your products.


What is the best camera for IRL streaming?

Action cameras tend to be best for on-the-go IRL streaming. The GoPro and Sony Action Cameras are good choices. For IRL streaming at home, the Logitech StreamCam or C922 Pro perform well.

Is an IRL backpack streaming setup expensive?

IRL backpacks vary widely in price, from $200 to $3,000. You can buy a backpack that already contains all the gear you need, but it will likely be more expensive. If you build your own IRL streaming backpack, you can pick the equipment that goes in it yourself and you might be able to save some money.

Who are the top IRL streamers?

The most popular IRL streamers are Maya Higa, Amouranth, Andy Milonakis, AustinShow and Hitch. They all stream about a wide range of topics, from wildlife conservation to game shows. 

Let’s wrap up

Many IRL streamers have made a name for themselves and earn money while doing what they love. If they succeed, so can you! You don’t need to invest a lot of money in your IRL streaming career to get started. You just need an idea, a device to stream from and a stable internet connection. You can use Restream Studio to broadcast your IRL streams to multiple platforms at the same time, broadening your reach.

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