In the current age of the internet where the popularity of social media platforms is at an all-time high, video streaming remains the most consumed form of content globally. This has led to an exponential growth of video streaming platforms including YouTube, FaceBook, and most importantly Twitch. When it comes to gaming Twitch is miles ahead of its competitors. In this guide, I will guide you on how to perfect the technical aspects of your live streams to make it more appealing to the viewers. I will also tell you the ideal upload speed for Twitch streaming which you should aim to achieve.
While the most important thing for becoming a successful streamer is having good gaming skills, you also need to have good knowledge of video settings and internet speeds to keep running your streams smoothly.
Difference Between Upload and Download Speeds
In order to understand the difference between upload and download speeds, you need to comprehend the concept of Bitrate. Bitrate is actually the measure of the quantity of data moving in and out of your device at a time.
It is an important unit to identify the load of data for a certain task on the internet and the required internet speed for it. The bit is a very small unit of data so we usually talk in Millions of units, also known as Megabits. Hence, the commonly used unit for bitrate is Megabits per second or Mbps.
So far so good, but what is the difference between downloading and uploading speed?
- Downloading speed is the measure of how rapidly the data moves into your computer.
- Uploading speed, on the other hand, is the measure of how quickly the data moves out of your computer.
You might think that they both are the same but they are NOT. No matter what data provider you use, downloading speed is always greater than the upload speed.
For example, if the download speed is 20 Mbps then the upload speed would be somewhere close to 7-8 Mbps. It might work fine for a normal person but for streamers, the uploading rate is the one that is supposed to be of greater significance.
Recommended Upload Rate for Twitch
Different streaming platforms suggest different upload rates for live streaming. It is advised that your internet upload speed should be in compliance with the bitrate at which you are streaming. Twitch suggests its users have a minimum of 3 Mbps upload speed if they are streaming at 720p and 30 fps (frames per second). Other platforms such as Facebook have a different requirement for upload speed i.e 1.5 to 4 Mbps for going live.
It is important to note, however, that these are the minimum possible requirements and are only suitable if you have a very stable internet connection. In the real world, Internet speed dips and rises continuously so you need to have a 30% to 40% buffer just to be on the safe side. That means you should have an upload speed of nearly 5 Mbps to eliminate any sort of lagging in the videos.
The optimal uploading speed is even higher if you are streaming at a higher quality or greater frames per second. If you are streaming at 720p and 60 fps, you need a minimum of 4.5 Mbps upload rate as compared to the 3 Mbps needed for the 30 fps streaming.
Variables Affecting Upload Speed Requirements:
As I have already mentioned, there is no single answer to speed requirements for all sorts of streams. There are many different variables that decide what is the optimal internet speed you require to stream content.
Resolution of your live stream
The display Resolution of a picture or video is defined as the number of pixels contained in it. The higher the resolution, the more clear and detailed the picture or the video is. Twitch offers two different resolutions for streaming i.e. 720p and 1080p. It goes with saying that the higher resolution produces more bitrate and thus requires a stronger internet connection.
Type of content
The bitrate varies greatly for the different types of live-streaming content even if the resolution is the same. Video games are highly graphical and fast-paced as compared to IRL streaming or podcasts. That is why video game streaming has a much higher bitrate than any other type of live stream.
A popular strategy many content creators adopt nowadays is posting their content on multiple streaming platforms at once which is called Multistreaming. While it is a great way to maximize your audience and reach, it can take a heavy toll on your internet bandwidth. Therefore, you need to have a very good internet speed to carry out this task.
Bitrate for Different Qualities of Streaming on Twitch
Twitch has given an estimated bitrate for different qualities of streaming on its website.
- For 1080p 60fps, the bitrate is 6 Mbps and the ideal upload rate is 7.4 Mbps.
- For 1080p 30fps, the bitrate is 4.5 Mbps and the ideal upload rate is 6.2 Mbps.
- For 720p 60fps, the bitrate is 4.5 Mbps and the ideal upload rate is 6.2 Mbps.
- For 720p 30fps, the bitrate is 3 Mbps and the ideal upload rate is 5 Mbps.
How to Get the Ideal Upload Rate for Streaming?
Once you have figured out the optimal upload rate required for the type of content you are planning to stream, the next step is actually acquiring the right upload speed. There are several things that you do to achieve that.
Get a Premium Internet Package
First of all, look for the internet service provider that has the highest rating and best reviews. Secondly, most of the domestic internet packages have a higher discrepancy between download and upload speeds. The solution to that is opting for a premium business package that provides more stable and rapid internet. A good internet connection is a true lifeline when it comes to streaming and thus you should not hesitate to spend money on buying a good internet package.
Prefer a Wired Connection
The second step after selecting a good internet package is preferring a wired connection over Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi can never offer the speed and reliability that is achieved by an Ethernet connection.
Upgrade Your Software and Hardware Setup
Old drivers and modems severely suppress your internet speed causing the video to lag. A good streamer should always invest in a good software and hardware setup.
Clean Malware from your Device
Different viruses and malware can cripple your computer’s efficiency up to the extent that it drives you crazy. That is why it is imperative to clean your computer regularly to eliminate any potential malware.
Close Unnecessary Windows on your Device
Another thing that eats up your internet speed is the random background activity happening on your computer. Make sure that there is no other task happening on your computer while you are streaming.
Make sure only you are using your internet connection and there are no other people sharing your connection since this can reduce the speed considerably.
Before going live, remember to disconnect any other unnecessary devices connected to your router. Also, it goes without saying that you should set a password on your Wi-Fi to ensure no one else is leeching your internet speed.
How to Stream on a Low-Quality Internet Connection?
Unfortunately, if you are stuck with subpar internet there are still some ways to get the best out of your misery, and still upload an optimal video stream. Here are some of such ways:
Reduce the Resolution
Reducing the resolution and frames per second will significantly drop the bitrate required for you to go live.
Upload a Pre-Recorded Stream
If you are not willing to compromise on the quality of the stream then you can choose an alternate option i.e. recording the video beforehand and uploading it. There are several websites such as Restream that assist you in doing that.
Divide the Stream into Sections
If your internet is awfully slow it might not even support the uploading of pre-recorded streams. In that case, you will have to divide your stream into many different segments and upload them one by one.
With the high competition on the top streaming platforms such as Twitch, it is absolutely necessary for every streamer to upload their streams at high quality in order to stay ahead of the competition. However, it is not a piece of cake to achieve the upload speed that is required to run the live stream smoothly. There are different bitrates and data requirements for different types of content, resolutions, and frame rates of live streaming on Twitch. You can also achieve the internet speed required for your content by following the suggestions mentioned in this article.