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How to Stream on Twitch

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My name is Lachlan and I go by Eljayem_ on Twitch. I started streaming on Twitch in the first week of March 2020. A year later, I averaged 230+ viewers and had been a partner on the platform for several months. I achieved these milestones by researching the industry, networking, taking advice from my friends and community, and continually setting goals to keep myself driven.

In this post, I will cover the technical aspects of how to stream on Twitch. My primary focus will be to cover the essentials of how to set up your accounts and streaming software.

How to Start Streaming on Twitch in 2021

This comprehensive guide will tell you everything you need to know about Twitch streaming, from setting up your account to going live for the first time. Whether you plan to be playing games or hanging out with your community in the Just Chatting category, there are several steps you need to take before you can start broadcasting your first stream.

1. Set Up a Twitch Account

The first thing you need to do is set up a completely free Twitch account. You can also change your Twitch username if you have a current account but a different streamer name. 

To set up a Twitch account, complete the following steps:

  1. Step 1

    Visit the official website and click the “Sign Up” button in the upper-right-hand corner of the screen. 

  2. Step 2

    Create a Twitch name and a password. Fill in the required personal information to sign up, then verify your email address through the account you provided to finish the process.

  3. Step 3

    Let your real-life friends know about your new account and that you plan to start steaming to the Twitch app soon. Add them as friends on the platform. 

    Spend some time on the Twitch app to learn how it works. Find entertaining streamers and write down any cool features about their streams that you enjoy. You can use these as inspiration as you start broadcasting to your own channel. 

Know Twitch’s Community Guidelines 

It is a good idea to be well versed in Twitch’s community guidelines from the very start so that you don’t accidentally break any rules. Twitch can be very strict on broadcasters, especially when they are still starting out and growing. 

You should also enable the two-factor authentication on your account to prevent it from being hacked by anyone in the future. This will send a six-digit code to your mobile phone to enter into the streaming app after you have logged out. You won’t usually need it unless you re-sign in on a mobile device or tablet. 

2. Set Up Streamlabs OBS

Streamlabs OBS (also known as SLOBS) is one of the best streaming software. We recommend it due to its ease of use and versatility. You can set it to capture gameplay in a matter of minutes so that you can start streaming with ease. If you don’t want to use SLOBS, there are other third-party services available and you can even live stream from Twitch Studio.

Here is how you can set up Streamlabs OBS:

  1. Step 1

    Visit the Streamlabs website and download the free software. 

  2. Step 2

    Install Streamlabs OBS onto your computer. Sync the program with your Twitch account.

  3. Step 3

    If you already have SLOBS installed, but not synced with Twitch, click on the Settings icon (a cog) at the lower left-hand side of the screen, then select “Stream.” 

    Signing in through Twitch on Streamlabs should automatically set you up to stream. However, in the event that it doesn’t work, here is how you can input your Twitch stream key.

  4. Step 4

    Locate your stream key by visiting the Dashboard on Twitch. Click on your avatar and choose the Creator Dashboard button on the drop-down menu. At the bottom of the screen, click the link that states “Find your personal stream key here.”

  5. Step 5

    Copy your stream key by clicking the purple “Copy” button next to the stream key. 

  6. Step 6

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    Go into your SLOBS settings by clicking the cog button at the lower-left-hand side of the screen. Choose the “Stream” tab, then click on the “Stream to custom ingest” button. 

  7. Step 7

    Paste your stream key in the provided box on the new screen. 

    While you can technically start streaming now, there are a few things you should do to make your channel more appealing to other Twitch accounts. 

Why I Initially Used Streamlabs OBS

Not only is SLOBS easy to set up, there are few features why I believe it is the best choice when learning how to stream on Twitch:

  • Streamlabs also has one of the best cloudbots for streamers. It comes already integrated, making it easy to set up commands right from the start and moderate spectators’ comments.
  • You can set up widgets to help with viewer interaction. 
  • Many streamers use Streamlabs OBS, so you can always find help if you need it. Streamlabs also has excellent support. 
  • The program is always being updated, with new features added periodically. You can also upgrade to Streamlabs Prime to unlock premium features to take your stream to the next level. 

3. Set up Your Twitch Scenes

In addition to your game or other content, you should set up scenes for you to show while you are starting your stream, ending your stream, or chatting with your viewers. You can either edit the basic one that Streamlabs has pre-installed, or you can upload your own (Recommendations below).

You can edit your SLOBS base scenes by selecting each individual source in the source boxes. Each source will have unique features that you can edit. You can also upload additional sources to these scenes to make them more unique. 

You can have multiple different scenes that you can switch to depending on what you are currently streaming. In the future, you will want an Elgato Stream Deck to help streamline this process, but for now, you can switch from scene to scene within Streamlabs.

You can also set up transitions that will happen between each scene change.

4. Upload Graphics

Using graphics on your stream is very important for your stream branding overall. They show your viewers that you are serious about putting in the effort to give them a quality stream. When dealing with sponsors in the future, you want your branding and professionalism to be on point to get the best deals.  

Look to create continuity on your channel and across your social media platforms. While you can start out basic at first, remember to continually build on your graphics to give your viewers the quality they expect. 

When it comes to graphics for your channel, you will need to have the following: 

  • Overlays – the best Twitch overlays will allow you to show data on your screen while you stream. They will add detail around your camera, make each scene interesting, and potentially showcase future sponsors or products. 
  • Logo/Avatar/Profile Picture – when you are first starting, use a photo of yourself as your profile picture. As you create your brand over time, you’ll be able to find a logo that suits your personal style and community.
  • Panels – Twitch panels help separate the information in your Twitch bio and solidify your branding. You can create ones in various different sizes or keep them all uniform. 
  • Emotes and Badges – while you won’t be able to use emotes or badges on your channel until you reach Affiliate status, it is a good idea to think about what you want and plan for the future. Having a couple emotes ready for when you meet the Affiliate milestone means that you can deliver emotes to your community much faster. 

Best Graphics Services for Your Streaming Setup

Here are four great places where you can find graphics for your Twitch channel:

  • OWN3D – OWN3D has a large collection of discounted graphics packages that are perfect for new streamers. These packages will give you all the graphics you need to live stream to Twitch. They even have an emote generator.
  • Nerd or Die – Nerd or Die has a broad range of graphics that are appealing to a spectrum of streamers. They also have a free Twitch panels generator to get you started. 
  • Placeit – With an affordable monthly subscription, you will have full access to customizable graphics for your channel as well as your socials. 
  • Fiverr – Fiverr is an online freelance marketplace where you can find designers who can create custom work for you. You can search through the portfolios to find graphics that you love and commission them individually. 

Add Your Twitch Bio and Panels

While you are adding your Twitch panels to your channel, write a Twitch bio for yourself, as well as channel rules, chat commands, and fun facts. Later on, when you are an affiliate, you should add information for your subscribers. Here’s how to add Twitch panels and stream bio:

  1. Step 1

    Log onto the Twitch app and click on your avatar in the top right-hand side of the screen and pick “Channel” from the drop-down menu. 

  2. Step 2

    Select the “About” option, then click the “Edit Panels” toggle at the bottom of the screen. 

  3. Step 3

    Click on the gray box with a “+” sign that appears below the panel extensions, then select “Add a Text or Image Panel.” 

  4. Step 4

    Add the Panel image or description (or both). You can also add a link to the image if you wish. 

5. Set up the Streamlabs Chatbot and Cloudbot

I am fortunate to have three monitors while I stream on Twitch, so I am able to view my chat directly from Streamlabs on my second monitor and have the cloudbot settings on my third monitor. If you don’t have a second monitor, you can see your Twitch chat while you stream using Restream, Baffler, Chatty, or another plug-in. You can even set up a tablet or your phone next to your screen to view your chat messages. 

The Streamlabs Cloudbot will help you moderate your chat and allow your viewers to use commands for memes and information. You and your viewers will interact with it through your chat throughout the duration of your stream. It is one of the most essential tools you can set up when you begin your career on Twitch. 

For more information, check out the following article:

6. Set up Stream Alerts

Stream alerts will show up on your screen when someone in your chat follows, subscribes, or donates to your channel. A great Twitch alert will be visually appealing and match the overall branding of your channel in some way. When an alert plays, it generally sends a ripple effect through your chat room and you can generally receive several other donations.

Setting up stream alerts using SLOBS is easy as the most popular stream alerts widget is also made by Streamlabs. Here is how it is done:

  1. Step 1

    Click the “+” above the Source box to add a new source. 

  2. Step 2

    Choose “Alertbox” from the available widgets.

  3. Step 3

    Name the source whatever you wish, then press the “Add Source” button. 

  4. Step 4

    Edit the setting for each alert by clicking the name of it on the left side of the menu. You can change the title message, what image of gif is shown (you can even upload your own), the colors, and the fonts. You can even set up several variations depending on how many Bits are donated, etc. 

  5. Step 5

    Test each widget at the end to ensure that you have exactly what you want. When you are finished, press the “Done” button. 

  6. Step 6

    Move the widget box to your desired location on the scene by clicking on the image and dragging it. 

7. Set up Your Mic and Audio for Streaming

One of the most important things about a stream setup is your mic. While it is possible to grow a following without a webcam, it is nearly impossible to grow a following without a mic. Sound quality is just as important as people will be turned off by static, background noise, and uneven sound. 

If you can only afford either a good mic or a webcam, go with the good mic. Don’t skimp on your audio quality. 

Add Audio Source to Streamlabs OBS

Most of your audio will already be picked up by Streamlabs OBS. In the event that you need to add other audio sources to SLOBS, complete the following:

  1. Step 1

    Click the “+” above the Source box to add a new source. 

  2. Step 2

    Select “Audio Output Capture” from the Standard options.

  3. Step 3

    Name the source whatever you wish. 

  4. Step 4

    Scroll through your list of audio devices and choose the source you want to input from the drop-down menu. Click the “Done” button to finish. 

Use Royalty Free Music and Sounds

If you are taking your Twitch streaming seriously, you want to make sure that you aren’t breaking any ToS by streaming copyrighted content. VoDs will be muted if you stream music that isn’t royalty-free. In some cases, you could be banned. 

You can find royalty-free music for your stream in a variety of third parties, but I often use music from Epidemic Sound. They offer thousands of new tracks you can use when streaming on Twitch. You won’t ever have to worry about a DMCA strike and the platform allows you to download parts of a track and even adjust audio levels. They also have thousands of sounds you can use. I recommend downloading their 30-day free trial and trying them out for yourself.

8. Set up Webcam, Chroma Key Screen, and Lighting

Obviously, unless you are streaming from gaming consoles using capture cards, you will need a gaming PC in order to stream to Twitch. Most streamers use a solid Windows PC with a solid Intel Core processor to manage everything they need. That being said, I will mainly focus on the visual devices needed to stream to Twitch.

Many Twitch audiences enjoy watching the reaction of the person they are watching. Setting up a webcam in SLOBS makes your stream more personable and helps strangers connect with you. If you have more than one camera, you can import feed from different ones to either show you at multiple angles on different scenes, show a project you are working on, or show off your pet. 

How to Set Up Your Webcam in SLOBS

To set up your webcam feed in SLOBS, complete the following steps: 

  1. Step 1

    Click the “+” above the sources box.

  2. Step 2

    Select “Video Capture Device” from the available options, then click “Add Source.”

  3. Step 3

    Make sure your webcam is connected to your PC so that the software can find it. Choose the right camera source, then configure the settings to your liking. Click “Done” when you are satisfied. 

  4. Step 4

    Move or resize the SLOBS webcam feed anywhere on the scene until you find the right look. 

Use a Green Screen to Stream

If you use a chroma key screen, you can remove your background or replace it with something else entirely. Setting up a green screen in Streamlabs OBS can be done quite easily, especially if you have proper lighting. Creating unique webcam background ideas for your stream can help make it visually interesting to watch.

Set Up Your Stream Lighting Equipment

While this isn’t a necessary expense when you first start streaming, once you make a little money, you should look into good lighting for your stream to improve your video quality. When you are just starting, you really only need the key and fill lights to start. If you adjust the fill light correctly, it should also cover your green screen. 

9. Decide What to Stream

Though you have probably considered what you would want to stream before setting up your Twitch account, you will need to have a little strategy in order to bring in new viewers. This will require some market research on sites like TwitchMetrics or SullyGnome. It will also involve some creativity and thinking outside of the box. 

Depending on what you stream, you will need to set up scenes in Streamlabs to show off your content. 

How to Stream Games on Twitch

Most Twitch broadcasters choose to stream gameplay. Whether you choose to play popular games or use a capture card to stream from your Nintendo Switch, you will need a solid internet connection to have a stable live stream. Twitch recommends 3-6 Mbps for your upload speed.

Here is how you can set up your game broadcast settings through SLOBS: 

  1. Step 1

    Create a new scene using the “+” button above the “Scene box.”

  2. Step 2

    Then click the “+” icon that sits above the “Sources” box. 

  3. Step 3

    Select “Game Capture” from the Standard source choices, then click “Add Source.”

  4. Step 4

    Name the source whatever you wish

  5. Step 5

    A new screen will appear with the standard settings with this source (shown above). Edit these settings to your personal preferences. Click “Add Source.”

  6. Step 6

    Streamlabs will automatically pull the visuals for most modern games without you having to input the actual game if you have the “auto” capture on. There are a few games that won’t automatically capture, so you will want to test the game before you go live. 

    Try to avoid saturated games. Instead, pick games that have a good viewer-to-streamer ratio. This will allow you to have a better chance to be seen by random people looking for new Twitch streams to enjoy. 

Other Ways to Stream On Twitch

There are several other ways you can stream on Twitch both in and out of your home. You also have the ability to stream with almost any piece of equipment that comes equipped with a camera. Here are a few other ways people stream around their homes: 

  • If you don’t have a webcam, you can start to stream using a mobile phone. You can easily set it up through SLOBS or other broadcasting software and the quality is good. You can even use multiple mobile devices to stream from different angles while you broadcast gameplay.
  • You can import another streamer’s webcam feed into your software so that you can stream both of you (or stream multiple people) at the same time.
  • Use a capture card if you want to stream from your favorite gaming consoles.

10. Go Live on Twitch

When it is finally time to go live, follow these steps:

  1. Step 1

    Make sure your equipment is turned on and in place.

  2. Step 2

    Launch SLOBS and make sure that your settings are correct.

  3. Step 3

    Select your starting screen so that it is what is seen.

  4. Step 4

    Note: I highly recommend that you set up a confirmation message before you go live. This will help you make sure that your title, categories, and other aspects are correct and prevent you from accidentally streaming when it isn’t your intention.

    To do this, go into your Streamlabs settings, and select the “Confirm stream title and game before going live” option.

11. Build Your Twitch Community

View your first few streams as a practice round. Very few people are comfortable right out of the gate. Ask some good friends to spend time with you in your chat and to give you feedback about what you can improve. Take their advice. If someone joins your channel, interact with them as soon as you can and be welcoming. Let them know that you are just starting and wanting to learn the ropes. 

If the game you are playing makes it difficult to interact with your chat, you may need to find another game while you are streaming on Twitch. Newer channels rely on interaction to grow. Be yourself and laugh as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to poke fun at your mistakes or if something on your stream breaks. Your audience is more likely to stay if you can laugh about a situation instead of becoming angry or frustrated. 

12. Thank Your Followers and Subs and Sign Off

Don’t forget to thank your audience for spending time on your channel. Pay attention to who donated or subbed during your stream and thank them personally if you have the time.

Play your ending scene with a little music to die down or raid another Twitch channel. After you have finished, make sure that you have turned off your webcam and your streaming software. Several people have inadvertently let their camera continue running, occasionally getting banned for streaming content against ToS. 

Conclusion 

We are always here to help. We frequently post new tutorials and streaming guides for beginners. Taking your first few steps as a streamer can be tricky, but with some research and strategy, you could build a great Twitch channel.

The above method isn’t the only way to start to stream to Twitch, but many popular streamers have found success through it. Whether you want to stream Apex Legends or Animal Crossing from your Nintendo Switch, you will need to have an initial setup and strategy that works best for you.

Frequently check your Twitch dashboard to ensure that your streaming sessions are on track or adjust your broadcast settings as necessary. Eventually, you may even choose Twitch teams to join. While learning how to stream on Twitch can seem overwhelming at first, many people find it really rewarding.

About the Author

Lachlan

Lachlan, also known as Eljayem_, is a Twitch Partner with a background in video production. He is passionate about combining his love for video with community building. He’s been playing video games since he was old enough to steal his Brothers GameBoy Colour, copy of Pokemon Blue, and accidentally waste his Master Ball on a Dratini.

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