The world of video content creation can become a never-ending rabbit hole of analytics, settings, optimizations, social media, and technical know-how. The amount of information available can sometimes seem overwhelming. Worry not, friend! We’ve broken down how to get started streaming on Twitch in just 4 simple steps.
If you’ve already been broadcasting on Twitch for a while, you may want to check out our other articles. These cover more advanced topics such as channel bots, chroma-keying, or our comprehensive OBS Studio guide as a refresher.
What we’re covering in this guide:
So What is Twitch, Anyway?
Chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve at least heard of Twitch. And no wonder! With over 9 billion hours of watched content in 2019, Twitch is still the worlds leading social video platform! Millions of people share live video content every month, and that number continues to grow.
After branching out from Justin.tv in 2011 with a sole focus on gaming and esports, Twitch has grown into the giant video platform it is today. Acquired by Amazon in 2014, Twitch now covers a wide range of topics from music, cooking, arts and crafts, politics and more!
Step 1 – Create a Twitch Account
You can sign up for an account by desktop via https://www.twitch.tv or by downloading the Twitch mobile app (available for both iOS or Android).
- Visit https://www.twitch.tv
- Click the “Sign Up” button at the top-right
- Fill out the pop-up form
- Click the “Sign Up” button at the bottom
- Verify the email you signed up with
- Install the Twitch app on your Android or iOS-enabled device
- Launch the app
- Tap the “Sign Up” button
- Fill out the form
- Click the “Sign Up” button at the bottom of the form
- Verify the number or email you signed up with
You’ll need to provide a unique username (4 – 25 characters in length), a secure password, and a verifiable email. When signing up through the mobile app you can choose to use a phone number instead of an email. It’s also worth noting here that Twitch doesn’t allow anyone under the age of 13 to have an account.
Since we’re wanting to get set up to stream, you’re also going to have to enable Two Factor Authentication (2FA)
Setting Up Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
2FA essentially requires two separate methods of verification before you can log in. This helps make sure your account remains secure but also is a requirement by Twitch if you want to stream.
- Navigate to your security settings
- Select “Enable Two-Factor Authentication”
- Enter your Twitch password
- Enter your phone number
- Enter the verification code you receive via text message
- Tap on your profile image
- Tap the gear icon in the top right corner
- Select Settings
- Tap “Security & Privacy”
- Tap “Enable two-factor authentication”
- Enter your Twitch Password
- Enter your phone number
- Enter the verification code you receive via text message
Congratulations, your account should now be secured with 2FA. You’ll also have access to some sweet new exclusive Twitch emotes!
Step 2 – Choose your Hardware
Deciding what device to stream from often comes down to what you have available and the type of content you’re looking to create. It helps to look at the environment you’ll be streaming in. If you’re cooking in your kitchen with limited space or creating an on-the-go vlog, perhaps mobile is the way to go!
Regardless of the situation, it all comes down to 3 basic types:
Computer or Laptop
While certainly the most versatile in terms of options, a computer also arguably requires the most in terms of additional peripherals. While not required, if you want to be seen while streaming, you’ll need a webcam. A lot of laptops come with a built-in camera but they often sacrifice quality for mobility. You’ll also need a microphone or a headset with a built-in mic. Fortunately, there are also a lot of options available when it comes to affordable webcams, microphones, or headsets. With the massive selection of games available for PC, customization options, and processing power, it’s no wonder a computer is the primary streaming device for most.
If you’re looking for a convenient all-in-one hardware solution, streaming from a mobile device can be ideal. With a camera and microphone already built-in, you won’t need to worry about buying extra peripherals just to get started. While these setups can get quite advanced, they don’t have to be. Mobile streaming can be a simple on-the-go solution and can work well in locations where you just don’t have the space for anything else. If you want to stream mobile games, this also becomes the obvious device choice.
Gaming consoles such as the PS4, or XBoxOne, provide integrated solutions for connecting to your existing Twitch account. This allows for broadcasting your gameplay live from the comfort of your living room. You’ll still want a microphone for your setup but the process for going live remains convenient and simple. Console streaming also becomes the obvious choice if you’re looking to create content around console exclusives like God of War or Horizon Zero Dawn.
With streaming from console, you can add your alerts and overlays for more customization with Lightstream. Setup is simple with these steps!
1. Log into Lightstream’s Website and sign in with your Twitch account. Authorize the use of Lightstream to your stream.
2. You will be presented with two types of plans to sign up for: Gamer and Creator. Gamer is the only one recognized by consoles while Creator is used for Podcasts, Talk shows, and such. Each plan comes with a 7 day trial so you can test out the features and see if you like it.
3. Once that’s settled, you’ll be brought to the Project page. Go to the top left and create a name for your project as well as the resolution. Make sure that you check Auto Live so Lightstream knows to go live immediately when the stream does.
4. On the left hand side, you’ll see a blank column called Layers. Here you will add in your overlays, text, sources, and intergrations. Go ahead and click that “+” button to add a Game Source. This will be the console source. Note that if you add your mic and camera through your console, this source will automatically pick those up too.
5. To add alerts and overlays, add a 3rd Party Integration and select the service that you use (StreamElements, StreamLabs, Tipeeestream, etc). Head over to the service that you use, copy the URL of the Overlay that you want to use, and paste it back into Lightstream. Now you’re ready to stream!
6. PLAYSTATION USERS: You will have to tweak your DNS settings to allow Lightstream to match up with your system. Please see here for the steps to do that.
It’s best to take some time and play around with your overlays and see what you can customize. You might be surprised how creative you can get when you see all the options.
Be advised though. As of this publication, the Nintendo Switch does not have the ability to be a streaming platform by itself. You will need to integrate it with a PC or Laptop streaming setup with a capture card.
Step 3 – Choosing your software
Now that you’ve got your account and hardware picked out for your stream, you need to determine what streaming software or method best suits your particular setup.
Streaming From A Gaming Console
If you’re streaming to Twitch directly from your XboxOne or PS4, your choice for software is pretty much set. It essentially consists of connecting your consoles pre-installed streaming software to your Twitch account and going live. Connecting to Twitch is fairly simple although it varies slightly between the PlayStation and Xbox.
Linking your Twitch account on PS4
- Navigate to “Settings” and select “Account Management”
- Select “Link with Other Services” and choose Twitch
- Follow the on-screen prompts for verifying your Twitch account
Linking your Twitch account on Xbox One
- Search for and install the Twitch app from the Store tab
- Open the Twitch app and select “Log in”
- Head over to twitch.tv/activate via PC or mobile and enter in the 6-digit code shown on the Xbox Twitch app
It should come as no surprise that one of the easiest programs to get your stream live is Twitch’s own Twitch Studio. This free software was created specifically with new streamers in mind. An easy-to-follow guided setup, integrated alerts, and customizable starter templates make this a great choice.
Setting up Twitch Studio (Beta)
- Download and install Twitch Studio
- Log in with your Twitch account
- Click Get Started to follow the simple setup guide
Twitch also provides a curated list of streaming software suitable for a variety of use-cases. With such a wide range of options to choose from, often it comes down to personal preference. If you’re looking for more options outside of the basic ones provided by Twitch, be sure to check out our guides on Streamlabs OBS (SLOBS), or OBS Studio.
There are a handful of apps available that allow for streaming directly from your mobile device. If you’re just looking to create IRL content, you can stream directly from the iOS or Android Twitch app. If, however, you want to stream mobile games, you’ll need a more comprehensive app that can capture your screen. Other apps that work well for this include:
Step 4 – Going Live!
Alright, you’re finally ready to go live for your first stream! Arguably, this is the most important step. While the exact process for starting can vary slightly depending on your setup, it’s reasonably straightforward. Whether it’s tapping the share button on your PS4 controller or clicking some variation of “Start Stream” from within an app, the key component is deciding to do it.
Often, people get so caught up in trying to make everything perfect they push back the decision to start. Streaming and content creation, in general, is an ever-changing industry filled with people from all different backgrounds and skill-sets. Hitting “go live” should mark the beginning of your journey, not the final destination!
If you’re just starting your journey as a content creator, be sure to tune into our weekly shows on Twitch, check out our past content on YouTube, and join our Discord for lots of resources to help you learn and grow.