Attention, all streamers and aspiring streamers! The discoverability on YouTube is lightyears ahead of most of the other competing streaming platforms, so why not give it a shot? While YouTube is primarily thought of as the place to go for prerecorded content, they are continuing to add features that greatly improve the streaming experience for both the streamers and viewers. This gives it huge potential to overtake Twitch’s spot as the top platform for live content.
This article will help you understand everything there is to know about stream keys, where to find yours, whether or not it is a good idea to share your key, and how to reset it if necessary.
What is a YouTube Stream Key?
A stream key is essentially a secret password that allows your broadcasting software (like OBS or StreamLabs OBS) to communicate with YouTube. Once you’ve connected your stream key, you will be able to live stream right from your YouTube channel!
How to Find Your YouTube Stream Key
It’s quite a quick and easy process to find your stream key! Be sure to follow the steps listed below:
Log in to your YouTube account.
Click on the Create button in the top right of the window, then select “Go Live”.
Now you’re in the YouTube Live Control Room. If this is your first time here, it may prompt you to manage your settings before you begin streaming. You can opt to either set it up now or at a later date.
In the top left corner, you’ll see three tabs labeled Stream, Webcam, and Manage. Click on Stream.
In Stream Settings, you’ll see your stream key! You can either reveal the key for 10 seconds if you click the eyeball icon, or simply click the copy button to send it to your clipboard, allowing for easy copy and paste action right into your broadcasting software. If you reset your stream key, the old one will no longer work and you will have to re-enter the new key in the designated field in your broadcasting software.
The copy and paste method is definitely the safer of the two options, as the code is hidden by default for security purposes. There will be a more in-depth explanation as to why this is in the next section.
Bonus: This Stream Settings tab is also where you can edit additional options such as latency, close captions, stream delay, and also monitor analytics and stream health.
Should You Share Your Stream Key?
You should look to keep your stream key as hidden as possible. It is specifically assigned to you and your channel, and if it were to fall into the hands of an unwanted individual, it would be very easy for them to take over your stream without your consent. Be aware that there may be malicious people on the internet that may try to trick you into giving out your stream key.
I think we can all agree that it would be a terrible idea to give the keys to your house, or your car, to a stranger, right? I would advise to take extra precaution and never give this code out to anyone.
What to Do If Someone Gets Your YouTube Stream Key
Go to your Stream Settings in the YouTube Live Control Room and click the “Reset” button. Make sure to use this new key and begin streaming for a few minutes. If the unwanted person streaming from your account is live during this time, this should force them offline and end the stream.
Enable 2-Step Verification on your Google account (This also commonly referred to as two-factor authentication, or 2FA for short) This will help prevent situations like this in the future.
Depending on how they managed to acquire your old stream key, they may still have access to other passwords, accounts, and sensitive information. Definitely be sure to change the password to your email, along with the passwords to any other important accounts as soon as possible to prevent any further damage.
For any additional support, reach out to @TeamYouTube on Twitter. In my personal experience, this account usually answers back quickly and has been helpful every time I requested assistance.
YouTube is a great platform to live stream on, and it will only continue to improve in the future. Always remember to keep your stream key private. Best of luck in all of your YouTube streaming endeavors!