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Best Free Live-Streaming Websites To Find Your Audience

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Though live-streaming is still in its infancy, there are more and more people tuning in to live broadcasts daily. From entertainment shows, sports streaming, IRL streams, talk shows, and video games, there's everything for everyone.

And now, anyone can start their own live streams, too. Armed with a good mic and webcam, individuals worldwide are actively creating content to educate and entertain each other.

If you’re planning to join in the fun yourself, here are the top live-streaming websites you should definitely check out.

How Did Live Streaming Start?

Live streaming is broadcasting video and audio in real-time. Although its origins can be traced back to the 90s when websites used to stream live sports and important events, it wasn’t until the late 2000s that this form of entertainment started to take form finally.

Websites that allow people to stream any content they want have begun to gain popularity on the internet, such as YouTube and Twitch’s precursor, Justin.tv. Soon, it became apparent that live streaming’s largest audience would be gamers, which continued on until today.

Why Is Live Streaming So Popular?

Live streaming became popular because it’s a way for people to share content they’ve created while being able to interact with their audience in real time. For many, live-streaming feels more relatable and genuine than pre-recorded videos that have gone through numerous post-production processes and where people can’t comment on the event as it had already happened.

Throughout the 2010s, live streaming seemed to be a very niche form of entertainment, specifically targeted toward gamers. In 2017, it was announced that the live-streaming giant also had more viewers than both HBO and Netflix. Every day, new streamers and viewers are added to every platform, ensuring that you can find the content you want to see.

Yet, it wasn’t mainstream as other forms of social activities done on the virtual space. However, that all changed when people were forced to stay in their homes at the end of the decade.

During the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, Twitch’s view hours skyrocketed by more than 50%. Being unable to spend time with friends and the extra time at home prompted many people to watch live streams and interact with online communities.

To illustrate what we have seen, we have created this chart to show the growth through the first part of 2020 compared to the average month in 2019:

MonthHours WatchedAverage ViewersNumber of StreamsChannels Live
Average 2019 Month916,683,1651,255,8761,480,28849,423
January 20201,010,010,2311,359,03815,053,03852,875
February 2020981,752,1491,412,59313,455,71453,882
March 20201,218,370,0861,639,79817,302,44166,090
April 20201,792,309,1132,492,78017,814,91793,867

With incredible technology at our fingertips, many people have been able to grow successful channels through YouTube and other personal video sites. Live-streaming is potentially on a whole new level as the audience is given a chance to interact with their favorite content creators.

It was also in the 2010s when numerous live-streaming platforms besides YouTube and Twitch sprung up. However, while there are too many websites you’ve heard people talk about, which ones are worth your time to check?

On this list, we’ll be counting down the best live-streaming platforms:.

How We Selected the Best Free Live-Streaming Platforms

As previously mentioned, although live streaming is relatively new compared to other forms of entertainment, it has already been adopted by many. People practically live stream almost everything these days, from current events to live sports streams.

However, on this list, you won’t be able to find free sports streaming sites or websites where you can watch live streams from giant media outlets. Here, we will talk solely about online platforms where you can watch and start a live stream for free. Yes. We are referring to websites where you aren’t just limited to watching other people’s streams, but you can also do your thing.

While this list is mainly focused on live-streaming video games, you are sure to find other content in them as well. Live streaming websites are moving towards catering to one niche and the general public. If you’re looking for the best live sports streaming site, a free sports streaming site, or IRL live streams, for instance, there’s a good chance it’s in one or more of the platforms listed below.

Some of the platforms below are also now becoming one of the best free sports streaming sites where big leagues and even individuals can broadcast things such as sporting events and even major sports competitions.

As live streaming grows, so do these platform’s audiences and categories available.

Can You Stream to Multiple Platforms at the Same Time?

Depending on your content, it may be better to always stream to a specific audience on a specific platform. However, if your content has broad appeal, you may be able to find viewers on several different sites and funnel them into one specific community. 

Restream.io is the best platform for streaming to multiple platforms simultaneously. You can choose which sites you want to stream to from dozens of different options. Restream makes it seamless to reach all of your audiences simultaneously. 

Top Free Live Streaming Websites

  1. Twitch

    Twitch logo
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    Let’s start this list off with the most obvious candidate for this list. After all, when you hear the word live streaming, more often than not, this website sure comes to your mind immediately.

    Twitch was originally an offshoot of the early live-streaming platform, Justin.tv. It was designed specifically for gamers by Justin Kan and Emmett Shear and began to become popular after “Twitch Plays Pokemon” in 2014.

    While Twitch’s origins are in gaming, the platform has opened its doors to other kinds of content, including music, travel, cooking, and talk shows. While you don’t have to be a gamer to stream on Twitch, it is understood that Twitch’s primary audience is invested in video games. It remains the largest platform for live gaming content currently online. 

    It should be noted that as Twitch grows, the audience has been changing. Many new viewers join the platform to watch content unrelated to gaming daily. Even if you aren’t interested in gaming, it may be worth looking into how to stream on Twitch. 

  2. YouTube Live/YouTube Gaming

    YouTube logo
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    More than a billion hours of video content is watched daily on YouTube. Released in February 2005, YouTube has dominated the video-sharing industry for years. Many people search the site daily for information or entertainment, making it the second-largest search engine in the world (Google is first). In addition to videos released by individuals, people can watch the news, clips from their favorite television shows, and more. 

    YouTube’s live streaming platform is called YouTube Live. They also have a section called YouTube Gaming. Both are free to use for the streamer and the viewer as long as they have a verified account. To begin live streaming, you must activate the streaming feature in your settings. 

    YouTube Live is a very popular option for people who have already created YouTube channels. It is easy to grow a live following on a platform where you already have one. People live-stream their content on the platform through the use of webcams, mobile phones, or a device with an encoder. You can find live content on almost any subject that you can find on YouTube.

  3. Facebook Watch/Facebook Gaming

    Facebook Gaming Logo
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    Not to be outdone, Facebook entered the Live-streaming industry with Facebook Watch and Facebook Gaming. People can live-stream straight to their profiles, notifying all their friends and followers that they are broadcasting content. Like other streaming platforms, viewers can comment on the video and interact with the streamer and each other. 

    Many people also create Facebook pages where they can live-stream content or games. These pages can be branded specifically for a product or service, allowing anyone interested in it to follow the page for information. You can also advertise the page on Facebook to get more viewers.  

    It doesn’t take much to learn how to stream on Facebook Live. Many influencers frequently stream as they apply makeup in the morning or cook their favorite meal. If you are interested in trying out video content creation, Facebook is an easy place to start. It doesn’t have the monetization capabilities or quality of other platforms, but you can build up a following to move to another site in the future. 

  4. Instagram

    Instagram Logo
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    Since its launch, Instagram has been known as a visual social media platform. With images and videos being the expected medium on the platform, it makes sense that Instagram would join the live-streaming crowd. 

    When you go live on Instagram, your followers can view your content with the rest of the stories and interact with you through your chat. Like Facebook Live, Instagram Live is generally used to share a bit of your life’s story with your close friends and followers. Some influencers will use it to make “Going Live” posts about other platforms as well, such as, “Hey! Just letting you all know that I’ll be streaming Fortnite on Twitch in 10 minutes. Hope to see you there.” 

    Some benefits of using Instagram for your live streaming include:

    • Your followers will all be notified when you start streaming
    • You can use Instagram filters over the video
    • The ability to turn your comments on or off

    Note: Instagram currently has a 4-hour cap for all live-stream videos. While you can restart the stream after the first one ends, you should be aware of it while creating your content.

  5. TikTok Live

    TikTok Logo
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    Originally created for short music videos, TikTok is a platform where people share video clips of all kinds. Many home-created videos go viral when they are funny and unique or the user shows great talent. TikTok videos are also easy to share with other platforms, making it easy to please several audiences simultaneously.

    Many don’t realize that you can also use the TikTok app to go live like you would go live on Facebook. There are over 100 million users on TikTok, many in the young teen to young adult range.

    To go live on TikTok, you must be at least 16 years and have 1,000 followers.

  6. YouNow

    YouNow Logo
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    YouNow is a social media platform created specifically for live video content. As with any platform, there is a range in style, content, and professionalism, but it is relatively easy to find an audience and perhaps earn a little money. 

    Like TikTok, the main audience for YouNow tends to be teenagers and young adults. They typically enjoy watching memes, dancing, singing, and other performances on the platform. If you want to stream on the go, you can use the mobile app to broadcast to your fans. 

  7. DLive

    Dlive logo
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    DLive is a live-streaming platform that is built on blockchain technology. It became well-known when the YouTube sensation, PewDiePie, announced he would be streaming from the platform. It is built around streaming video games. 

    DLive’s UI is set up very similarly to Twitch, making it easy for people who have used Twitch to watch live games to find what they are looking for easily. Streamers can also earn through subscriptions and tips. While there are far fewer users than other streaming platforms, there is also less competition. 

  8. Trovo

    Trovo logo
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    Owned by Tencent, a giant in the video game industry, Trovo is a live-streaming platform that works similarly to Twitch. It’s an alternative for those who are looking for other live-streaming platforms focusing on gaming outside of Twitch and YouTube. Because it’s not as densely populated yet as the other mainstream platforms, the competition is also less fierce.

    Like Twitch, Trovo divides its live streams into categories: gaming, IRL, and music. They also have a tiered paid subscription feature where fans can subscribe to their favorite streamer’s “spaces” (their version of channels) and get extra perks in return. Members can buy elixirs which can be used to “cast spells,” sending an emote on the space’s live chat. Each emote has an equivalent of elixirs that streamers can exchange for real-world money.

    Trovo also offers Ace, which gives you additional perks, such as extra emotes and badges that you can use everywhere on the platform.

  9. Steam

    Steam broadcast logo
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    Steam is best known as a digital storefront for video games you can play on PC. But anyone who has spent time navigating the platform knows it’s not just a video game distribution service. There’s an active community on Steam, one of which centers around live broadcasts.

    Although anyone can broadcast on Steam as long as they have an account, starting a live stream doesn’t look as straightforward as the others. There seems to be no obvious button to press to start a live stream immediately. You must go to the Steam Menu > Settings > Broadcasting to do so. Configure your settings accordingly, and then click the Not Broadcasting button at the very top of the window. Of course, you need to play a video game for the broadcast to start. If you’re already in-game, press Shift + Tab and then go to Settings > Not Broadcasting. Wait until the broadcast window loads, and then you can see that the status is now changed to “Broadcasting”.

    Steam Broadcasting isn’t as polished and feature-rich as Twitch or YouTube at the moment, yet it’s a great way to share your game streams with the community or Steam friends. You also won’t need to install broadcasting software because Steam will handle everything for you. And best of all? It’s free.

  10. Bigo

    Bigo logo
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    Bigo is a live-streaming app that allows users to broadcast anything. Gaming is also one of their biggest categories, and there are thousands of users live-streaming games round the clock. Many video game streamers on Bigo broadcast from their mobile devices. Recently, you can also live stream directly on your PC through their software, Bigo LIVE Streamer.

    To be honest, finding gaming streams on Bigo isn’t as convenient as on other platforms listed here. This is because Bigo is open wide to all categories of live streams, and while there’s a specific tab for all gaming-related broadcasts, the content isn’t streamlined. You may have to watch countless videos before finding something you want to watch.

Conclusion 

Live-streaming has grown in popularity as more and more people are tuning in to learn something new or be entertained by others. It isn’t only limited to media outlets, sports channels, and live sports streaming sites anymore like it used to be. Now, anyone can start a stream anytime and anywhere they want.

Check out the websites above to find any live stream you prefer to watch. Whether you’re looking strictly for video game streams or other broadcasts in various niches, you will find them there. Plus, you can also stream on these platforms yourself for free.

While these are our ten picks, there are several other sites where you can find your unique audience. But if you aren’t sure where to go, it’s always a good idea to check out the platforms above when you have the time. Who knows, you might find your ideal place to stream.

About the Author

Chris

Chris is a digital marketer with a strong background in small business and influencer branding. He applies his knowledge of content and promotional strategies to design actionable advice for new and intermediate streamers. When he’s not busy crunching analytics, he can be found in the salt pits of League of Legends.

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